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Thread: A trip down the Obra

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    North wales
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    83

    Default A trip down the Obra

    A belated blog from a trip down the Obra river, Poland, made last August. It's taken a while because I've had to gather all the photos from the others, been on another holiday (sailing, not canoeing) in Greece and had a crash on my push-bike that laid me low for a while, but mostly 'cos I couldn't get around to it.

    So anyway, I was impressed by the reports on here by folk that had paddled the Obra, as was my daughter and my son when I shared the links with them. Plans were made, holidays were booked at work, but if you want to give the devil a laugh, tell him your plans.
    As the others had done, we wanted to stay with Roy at Anglo-Polish Holidays in Chycina, Poland. But - by the time I got around to actually contacting Roy, the dates my daughter-in-law had booked off in work for the trip were unavailable. She couldn't change them so they had to drop out. That left myself, my daughter and her partner and two grandsons.
    More plans were made, planes and a car booked, and I started to panic because I'd never organized a trip like this, that included other people before. Thankfully I got a lot of support from Robbie (Ginger Paddlers) that set me right.

    Preamble over - now to the blog. We flew to Berlin (because the flight arrival times were better than for Poznan), picked up our rental car and headed east to Chycina, arriving in the early afternoon after an uneventful trip. We were all very impressed by the welcome from Roy and Cecilia and by the accommodation. It was early enough for them to take us to the supermarket to get our supplies...

    ..and enjoy our first Polish ice cream. Yummy!

    Back at the ranch, while we were picking rooms and unpacking, Roy had stoked up the firepit ....

    ....and we were treated to a barbecue of Polish sausage, chicken and karkowka (pork shoulder steaks), accompanied by a delicious selection of home-made salads and coleslaw. Then a few beers and wine to get to know each other a little better.

    Our first full day was spent just chillin'. After all the excitement of travelling and an early start the previous day, no-one felt like more travelling, so we just hung around the garden and enjoyed doing nothing. The grandsons played in the lake..


    ...while my daughter and I went for a little paddle on the lake and briefly explored the canal that links to Lake Chycina



    Oh dear!..


    On Monday morning Roy and Cecilia took us all to the yard where we picked up our canoes, and then were mini-bussed to Trzciel, where our journey would begin.

    After launching under a bridge at Trzciel, we paddled down between high reed banks..


    ..to our first surprise - a wide-open Jiezioro Wielkie (translates to "Big Lake") that lived up to its name. It was indeed a big lake, but more surprisingly it was half covered by huge expanses of water lilies - sadly no longer flowering - but instead covered by hundreds of herons and egrets. Remarkable. We stopped in a bank of lilies for lunch because there was a fairly strong headwind and it was easy to "anchor " in there. We saw an eagle soaring high.

    On then, into said headwind, to rejoin the Obra where more even taller reeds covered both banks as we paddled down. It was so very hot, and in between the reeds there was no cooling wind. We stopped ashore for a leg-stretch and were surprised to find..


    .. someones' cannabis plantation. There were only a couple of plants but obviously not accidental since there were mesh guards around the stems at their bases. Onward then, between the reeds, with nothing much to see except hundreds of dragonflies of many colours and kingfishers. We saw a couple of grass snakes swimming and many, many frogs. Oh, and this ...


    It was a long hot afternoon but not far from the end we rounded a bend just as a roebuck (circled) jumped into the river and swam to the other side.



    It's a rubbish photo 'cos the camera didn't have time to focus. That and the fact that he'd picked up a bunch of river weed on one horn and it breaks the shape up.

    At last we reached our "camp site" at Policko.



    Some of us had had enough


    The camping spots were suggested (and probably owned) by Stan, the chap we'd hired the canoes from. It was a flat field (as were the others) with an earth toilet (circled)...

    ...a large picnic shelter with tables but no stand-pipe for water. When we were discussing our camping preferences we'd said that we would rather hammock than sleep on the ground. The shelters were very well suited for this - we could hang between the side and end supports.



    It was a lovely starry night and we saw quite a few shooting stars.

    It's morning... Up and at 'em ...


    We started to see fallen trees ...


    ..but it added to the adventure. Later, there would be much greater tree obstacles, needing drag-overs, lift-overs, step-overs and limbos. Just a couple...



    With all this, we only had to portage twice in the whole trip.

    After passing through Miedzyrzecz, where we stopped to re-supply ...

    And a look at the castle..

    ..Our next camp was at Swiety Wojciech. Oh Lordy, this is getting to be such a long blog..


    Aw, the sheer magic of a child asleep..


    The next was a very hard day - even more obstacles, but such a beautiful place to paddle, with the banks covered with natural forest and the sunlight dappling through the leaves, it was truly magical.




    It was so hard, in fact, that by 2:30 we'd had enough ...

    Especially when we came upon this...

    .. Food like yer mum makes. And a BAR!!
    Before anything else, a swim was enjoyed..



    Then set up camp ...

    ..under a six-sided shelter with electric power point (to charge phones etc) and lights.

    Roy and Cecilia drove over and we had a meal beside the camps' fishing lake. I had carp fried in breadcrumbs and very nice it was too. In the morning we found that a swarm of ants had found the kayak - thousands of them inside looking for spilt juice probably. Even sinking the kayak in the river didn't shift them all..

    Our last days paddling still involved ducking and diving over trees ...





    Last lunch break. No matter how I try, mealtimes always look as messy as a caravan crash on the motorway...

    One of those magic moments happened as we were setting off after lunch. The canoe was only a few feet from the bank when a mink popped its head up out of the water just by the prow. It looked very surprised, but climbed onto the bank and firtled around in the vegetation before scampering off down the track.

    Eventually we came to a portage over a track...


    ...and the river widened so the flow dropped and it was a hard slog in the heat.



    The water was green with algae and great beds of duckweed had to be paddled through until we reached Zalew Bledzewski, an artificial lake formed by a dam built during the WW2 and providing head for a generating station.


    From the zalew, we passed along the Struga Jeziorna (lake stream). Half way through was a low tunnel made of large corrugated drain pipes under a track. There was less than 3 feet of head room at the highest point and lying down in the boats was called for. I have some video but no photos. The channel was enchanting. The water being crystal clear, we could see to the bottom and we watched beds of sunken lilly leaves and shoals of fish sliding under the boats. A whole day could have been spent just snorkeling and drifting along.

    At last, we entered and crossed Lake Chycina, then down the canal and crossed Jezioro Dlugie (Long Lake)..


    ...to the finish of our river adventure...


    After a splash in the lake, we all dived for the shower. After 4 days in temperatures of 38 deg C, for sure we all needed one, a statement anyone down wind of us would have confirmed.

    OK, blog over... More to follow, but you've probably had enough for now.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Bangor, Co Down.
    Posts
    4,608

    Default

    Fantastic blog of a great trip. Thanks for sharing.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Dordrecht, The Netherlands
    Posts
    86

    Default

    Looks like a great trip!
    --
    Martin
    Caesar si viveret, ad remum dareris (If Caesar were alive, you'd be chained to an oar).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Surrey
    Posts
    21,551

    Default

    Excellent stuff! This one is very much on "the list" after the various previous blogs. Thanks for the reminder.

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