Today was the longest and last day of our adventure.
It was a quiet morning in Lilla Edet when we woke up. The plan from yesterday was to lock instead of carrying around and according to schedule, the lock would open at 09 for the day.
For some funny reason, none of them were so badly hungry which resulted in us not eating any breakfast. Instead, we calmly packed our sleeping bags for the last time in the kayaks. The idea was that we would arrive at Källö-Knippla tonight!
When the clock showed that it was time for the lock to open, we were not quite done packing. However, it did not matter as it was a couple of large cargo ships that obviously had priority for the lock. We still think it's cool when such large ships find their way up the river towards Lake Vänern, this particular ship was loaded with timber.
In the end, it was still time for us to jump into the kayaks. Floating between a handful of sailboats, we locked down without difficulty.
The paddling went at the beginning of high cruising speed but it did not take too long before the chosen breakfast made itself known. Lowe and Noah wrapped a packet of Finnish sticks while William worked on a cake pack à la white chocolate and cranberries.
We were admittedly well aware that this would be our longest day according to the forecast, but alas, it felt like we did not arrive. At times it was beautiful but the stretch was not the most exciting we paddled through. Closed industry, cow pastures and the occasional boat was what we encountered in addition to the tree-lined river bank.
The hours passed, but in the end we sensed a gray stone facade of a tower with a turquoise green roof: Bohus fortress. Here we had decided to have lunch.
Just this day it was lunch at 17:00 in the afternoon. It is noticeable that we have been on tour together now for a long time with few rest days. For two weeks now we have paddled together without a single day with only rest. At the beginning of the adventure, you were rested and tagged to the teeth, but now that you are starting to get a little tired after all the paddling in combination with a small recovery and a slight lack of sleep, it does not take as much for a little irritation to occur.
When the stomach was empty for several hours, it did the trick to finally eat. We hurriedly threw in macaroni with tuna in the usual order. However, as we are almost as far downstream as you can get in the Göta River, the water quality begins to decline. After all, there are many fields, communities and treatment plants that we have passed on the almost 50 km we paddled. Due to a lack of drinking water with, among other things, an empty water bottle with a missing lid, we had to boil macaroni and coffee with the river water, after all, fish swam there. However, it was not as nice when Lowe finds plastic that was hidden between the macaroni.
In any case, the sun began to set and we had to leave. Bohus Fortress is located in Kungälv, where the Göta River branches in two. One river branch empties into Gothenburg with the name Göta älv while the other arm, which is the most water-rich, with the name Nordre älv moves further west from Kungälv.
With food in our stomachs, we put the paddle in the water and continued. Internally, Noah and Lowe find it amusing that William diligently tells strangers about our paddling trip. They really got a good laugh when there was a man on a boat who two minutes after we threw off the lunch started a conversation with us by asking if we all paddled Melker to which William replied: "Yes, we have paddled from Sysslebäck ”. Sure, we never fell into the water from the kayak but Lowe and Noah were extremely close this time.
These mood swings from brutal laughter to bitter irritation left a unique mark on this very evening. In any case, it was clearly predominantly fun and hilarious moments this day with only a few minutes of bitter elements.
Gothenburg biscuit factory in Kungälv.
We thought Nordre älv was much more beautiful and cozy than Göta älv. Calm and lush surroundings marked the last kilometers until bare cliffs began to approach the sides of the river, a blanket on our proximity to the sea. Our last refill of water was on a farm along the river where we kindly asked if we could refill the bottles. An almost magical place with such soft grass that we never felt like husband.
In addition to fields, villas, farms and a railway bridge, we also passed Kornhall's ferry terminal and two towers that are built along the river. When there is low water flow in the Göta River and high water in the sea, there is a risk that salt water penetrates into the river up to Gothenburg's freshwater source. Hence there are two towers in the North River which at the moment raise a screen to redistribute the water flow. The towers are called Ormo screen facility.
Finally, we float here where we have talked about for so many days, in the mouth of the North River and can see the North Sea. Experiences from previous adventures are that at least a little fascination and other emotions usually hit one, but not quite in the same way this time. It was more: "Well, there we have it, haha."
A short time was spent taking some last pictures in the last light the sun had to offer so late in the evening when it went down after all. After the pictures we went up on a small cob to look over and prepare everything for one last crossing. After all, there were 12 kilometers left to the island we were aiming for.
It must have been the absolute fastest mile we paddled on the whole adventure, boy what did it go away. The first half of the crossing consisted of beautiful singing from three different directions at the same time. Everyone sang a song and roared so loud that you could not hear the others. All the time we did a taste check of the water to see if we had reached the salt water yet. We were at least shocked at how far out the North River estuary stretched, the area where the fresh water from the river mixes with the sea's salt water.
The time was around 23:45 when we arrived at Källö-Knippla. It was a quiet Wednesday night with a summery calm that lay over the harbor and the island when we paddled in. There was a shorter Eriksgata in the harbor before we rounded the island's southernmost tip towards the final goal, a boathouse to sleep in at Williams' country house.
Axel who took photographs of us, drove out food and followed since Vänersborg was already there and welcomed us. Our arrival was celebrated with some nightly rice and a cold beer. WE DID IT!
The lack of sleep and fatigue from 50 km was reminded. We decided to go to the bin, but we came across a surprise we were not prepared for. When the door to the boathouse was opened, we were faced with a giant banner, a sheet, which said in large letters:
WELCOME TO GOAL #MILKERMOMENT
It had been Williams' uncle's family who had been on the move. We were completely taken by surprise by this reception. Even though we were alone, it felt like the whole island was there celebrating. It did not end there, however, behind the sheet was a note that there were ice cream boats hidden to us in a secret place in the freezer. Wow, what a party!
With ice cream in our stomachs and happiness in our minds, we all put our heads against the pillow and dozed off knowing that tomorrow we would not paddle a single meter ...