Welcome back to SUP the Danube! We have picked up where we left off and have now been paddling again for just over a week.
Our 8 weeks away from the river went incredibly quickly. Kate spent time discovering parts of Europe not visited by the Danube as well as being part of a 24 hour charity paddle in the U.K. whilst Andy spent time in Indoneisa with some of the Say Yes More team and then rediscovered Australia, a land he once called home.
Our return to the river could not have been in greater contrast to our first experience in almost every way. The sun is shining, the snow is gone, the trees are starting to turn green and we are loving it. From the outset we knew the journey would be affected by the people we met along the way but neither of us realised how great an impact they would have. On hearing that we were to pause for two months, friends of Andy's offered to come out with their stealth camper van and spend the first few days acting as our support team. Their help and support in enabling us to find our rhythm on those first few days was invaluable. From collecting our boards from storage to providing a welcoming cuppa (or beer) with some awesom conversation each evening when we finished for the day, nothing was to much trouble. Will & Taz we salute you both and thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
But it's not just people we knew before starting that have helped us out and become part of our story. Upon finding we had developed a puncture with one of our boards not just one SUP shop came to our rescue but two. Simon from FiftyEight supplied us with patches, glue and repair kits while Uwe & Danny from SUP ULM leant their expertise in making sure the repair was done properly. On top of this the rowing club in ULM waved our camping fee for the night which added to the warm glow we're starting to feel from the river community.
We have now been going again for 7 days and should reach the 2500km mark tomorrow (distance to go, not completed!) After a few spots of rain on the first couple of days we are currently basking in lovely spring sunshine and paddling in shorts and t-shirts. We've had a mixture of camp sports from wild camps through to small camp grounds with fresh water, a toilet (and on a couple of occasions even a showe.) The angry white water and unmarked weirs seem to be behind us now and we are into a river which is widening by the day but also slowing down. Add this together with a strong headwind and the last 48 hours have seen some tough paddling and small daily distances.
Newsworthy items include an irate old German man running down his garden shouting that the river was closed and we should paddle back the way we had come. (Needless to say we carried on anyway.) After the first meal we cooked once Taz & Will left us, Andy managed to develop some quite spectacular 1 am food poisoning which resulted in a more gental days paddle while he recovered. And in a long running theme of "Don't believe a word Andy says," he was able to convince Kate that Dick Van Dike was the inventor of the DVD....
Tonight we are wild camping next to the river and hope to hit our next town of note, Ingolstadt in a couple of days.