Tuesday, June 20th.
An interesting day to say the least. In short: after spending the whole morning convincing Charlotte how safe it is to go in a canoe, we tip it over without even moving a meter.
The long version: The day started out nicely with sunny weather and breakfast outside the cabin. It was pretty windy and a bit cold, but that’s how you know you’re in Sweden: you sit outside anyway. We had some nice bread with butter and fresh chives that Kelly cut from just around the corner, where they are growing in the wild.
We discussed what to do today and decided that it would be great fun to go out in the canoe, which is something our host Susanne suggested yesterday. The plan was to follow her directions: start out in the lake outside the cabin, go across, carry the canoe around a collapsed bridge, get into the next lake, paddle to a hydroelectric power plant, have fika in a wind shelter on the shore and then head back.
We prepped sandwiches, snacks and beverages. We put on layers of clothing (since the weather shifted completely about every 5 minutes), grabbed our backpacks, brought a blanket and took Charlotte’s brand new fancy camera with us. I talked at length about how difficult it is to tip over a canoe, how you “really have to work for it to happen”, to put my mother-in-law at ease for this super safe and fun activity we were about to do. We walked down to the lake and put life vests on. Stig, our other host, came down and introduced himself and his dog Biggels. He told us that we could even see beavers and showed us where on the map. He left. Kelly was excited about seeing beavers.
We got into the canoe, all three of us. It felt wobblier than normal (I have been canoeing many times before). And then we tipped over. Seriously, we didn’t even leave the dock. Actually, that was probably good, because it meant it was easier for us to get our stuff out of the water. It was very muddy water right there, not the kind you wanted to take a dip in. The new camera went in the water, but Kelly grabbed it quickly. Maybe it’s okay, maybe not; we still don’t know. Poor Charlotte was destroyed, I think partly because of the camera and partly because she felt responsible for tipping us over. She thought she had ruined our whole day, but Kelly and I assured her that, well, shit happens and it wasn’t her fault and we have to just deal with it and the day wasn’t ruined because of this. It’s not exactly what we planned though. I have been canoeing so many times in my life, and I have never ended up in the water before. Seriously! But this canoe was different than the ones I’m used to, apparently…
Later in the day, after changing into dry clothes and feeling less traumatized about it, Kelly convinced me to try again, just the two of us. We had been doing it wrong earlier, according to Stig; all of us should have been sitting in the bottom of the canoe with our legs folded underneath us. Kelly and I tried again, and it was still very unstable, but this time we sat on the bottom on our knees. We went to the other side of the little lake – where the broken bridge was – and then back again. My feet and legs were killing me from the sitting position, so I said no to any longer trips in the canoe (like to where the beavers were). I don’t even understand how we would get out of the canoe and onto land, in order to carry it to the other side of the bridge. It felt like if someone sneezed we would have tipped over again. Kelly was greatly disappointed, as he had looked forward to possibly seeing beavers.
Even though nothing worked out as planned, I think we all ended up having a very nice day after all. It felt good to at least try the canoe again. Our hosts were nice and helpful and bought rice for us to put the camera in. We did other stuff. I suggested that we should go out in the row boat instead. Charlotte replied that she never wants to set foot in a boat again.
The lake closest to the house, Båtstjärnen
Beautiful flowers, lupines, by the lake
Kelly and I are giving the canoe a second chance