Going to the Baltic Sea I usually choose Autostrada Poznańska to get out of the city quickly and enter the highway at the Szczecin Podjuchy junction. I every time cross the Bridge Most Pomorzan where a beautiful view at Międzyodrze opens. I pass the turn to Dziewoklicz Public Beach about a half kilometer ahead.
Although I’m a native of Szczecin since born, I must admit that I don’t know this beach. One visit with friends from primary school in the ‘90s to sunbath and a few outdoor dates are not to be count.
I don’t know why I ignored this place and it never was direction for family walks even it is only 7 km from my home.
I noticed the potential of this place since I have been floating on my board. I had no opportunity during three SUP seasons so I decided to find time before the end of 2019 as part of my looking for new reservoirs to prepare my body before the next edition of Planet Baltic SUP Race.
I was able to launch the board on the second day of Christmas. The morning sun softened the night frosts which made me optimistic about the ambitious plan to cover over 10 km at this time of the year. It was my first winter SUP trip, moreover my first paddling on the river.
The float included:
- overcoming Leśny Canal 4 km long,
- taking the direction on the south on the Regalica River and passing 0,2 km,
- entering Obnica and covering the entire canal 4,5 km long,
- reaching the Western Odra and floating along 2 km to the north from there to get to the starting point.
The parking lot, full during Summer, was empty at this time of the year thanks to it I had a lot of space to prepare my equipment. I chose the southern bank of the Leśny Canal as a launching point which required crossing the footbridge.
THE LEŚNY CANAL
My optimism faded as soon as the sun which disappeared behind the clouds immediately after I entered the water. However the wind blew at me till the end of the trip and was an ally only for the first 4 km. The board went smoothly through the Leśny Canal without my help. I paddled at the speed of 3km/h to keep the assumed time of four hours floating. The monotony of the landscape was broken by the harbouring of barges and the Wiskord’s chimney – the highest object in Szczecin (250 m), a remnant of a former artificial fiber factory – visible from every place of my chosen route.
THE REGALICA RIVER
Entering the Regalica River gave me an opportunity to admire the Railway Drawbridge with a colourful “panorama” of the Podjuchy suburb in the background. I was afraid to get closer to it because of the wind direction and the need to float south, against the river current. I gave up taking photos of details of the bridge’s construction until more favourable conditions. On this short distance I saw mooring piles up close – “those famous” rectangular structures.
The Obnica turned out to be a quite wide canal between natural banks on both sides. Birds were hiding in high reeds. Ducks were getting into the air in some parts being disturbed by my presence. A big surprise for me was a camping trailer, partly flooded in a result of being set on unstable ground, which awkwardly blended with the surrounding. I was more curious how it got there.
I covered the whole distance against the wind. Consequently, I had to focus on paddling. Unfortunately, there were not many occasions and subjects for photos to be taken.
THE WESTERN ODRA
I felt broken down seeing the conditions when I entered the Western Odra. Stronger gusts of wind and waves scared me. I doubted in my ability for the first time. I was scared that I may not manage to complete the trip. I was out of strength to paddle. My feet were numb with cold. Lack of access to the ground and time close to 3:00 pm pushed me to find a sheltered place that I could at least grab a jelly bar from my backpack. The last 2 km to go were a nightmare for me. I was so thirsty that I wanted to reach the finish line as soon as possible. I was glad that I wasn’t alone on the water and I had the support of my SUP companion close.
The only photos from this part are those with the Pomorzan and Karol Świerczewski’s Bridges right after it. I even gave up recording a surreal situation like pair of boars crossing the Odra River to get the opposite bank, being afraid that the wind would pull me back far enough that I wouldn’t be able to make up the way back.
It started getting dark when I finally stepped on the land. Before I left the beach, I put a poncho on, sat on a cap of the quay and took everything I had to eat and drink out from my backpack. A roll with cheese and hot tea had never tasted so great.
I packed the gear quickly into my car and drove home for a plate of my mom’s hot soup being satisfied with that day my SUP achievement and the fact that I found a nice place for spring trainings.