We did it!!! On the evening of Sunday 31st July, we pulled into Haparanda on the Swedish-Finnish border to complete our journey around the coast of Sweden. After 56 days of paddling, nearly 1.5 million paddle strokes and dozens of mosquito bites, we are lean, tanned and in surprisingly good condition. 2220 was an amazing adventure, surprising, grueling, thrilling and very demanding.
We encountered winds over 12m/s, seas of over 3m, people who were kind and generous to us and all sorts of wildlife: harbour and grey seals, a snake and a toad, horseflies the size of bumble bees… we were surrounded by a flock of sheep, invaded by a herd of wooly cows and came across the jumping pike of Haparanda!
We have paddled in all kind of conditions: thick fog, strong winds with and against us, long rolling swells and high fast chop. We’ve been chilled, baked, wind dried, tumbled about in confusing roller-coaster seas and enjoyed hours speeding down surf waves. At times, after days of paddling into the wind, it seemed it would never end, then a strong following wind, a breathtaking sunset or waking up on a beautiful sun-drenched sandy beach would make it all worth it.
There were a few close calls: a night paddle when the skies darkened, the wind picked up and we had to head out around a breakwater; the longest 5km ever paddling along the sea wall in Helsingborg harbour amidst ferries, currents, a strong side wind and big refracting waves; there have been a few near misses with dozy speed boat drivers and two flash gales when the paddles felt like they would be ripped out of our hands.
When it was good it was very very good and when it was bad we wondered why we weren’t in the tropics sipping margaritas. Over the next few weeks we will be going through our logs, sorting through the 5700 photos and posting up our story to the site in a new Expedition area.
Finally, a big thank you to our sponsors, all the people who supported us throughout 2220 and the wonderful people we encountered on our journey.
Just Over Half Way
After an 80km paddle yesterday (not recommended !!!) we finally arrived at Resaro at 3.30 in the morning. A couple of days re-stocking, washing very smelly clothes and minor repairs to the kayaks at Pernilla and Christian's kayakers retreat and repair home :). It's been a stunning 32 days so far, with some pretty demanding conditions (up to 11m/s and 3 m waves), a very scary 5km roller coaster ride through Helsingborg harbour and a rough night paddle (the forecasters got it wrong!). We have also stayed in some wild places - a family's back garden after wind forced us to land; a marina Jetty after failing to find anwhere suitable at 1.30 in the morning and a rocky island(?!?) we shared with a snake and a toad. Then there have been the beaches that could have been in the West Indies, the heavenly smoked fish from the Fiskhusset in Torekov, the numerous people we have met along the way. So in a day we will be off on the next 1000km.
When we write this there are 24 hours to go until start, the next time you read something here we will have finished our expedition. We are aiming to complete the 2220km in 60 days. As always we have far too much equipment but the final packing will sort out the most essential from 'what seems like a good idea'. We will of course be bringing along a bottle of our wedding champagne that will accompany us to the finish and there may be room for the kitchen sink (well a collapsable bowl at least).
Big thank you to all our sponsors and supporters and we hope you have a great summer - see you in August - or somewhere along the Swedish coastline...
We arrived in Stockholm on 5th May, one month and a day before our2220
6th June departure. First task after the unpacking was to get our
boats from Resarö to the Point 65 shop at Pampas Marina, their
The 32km journey started with thunder and torrential rain but as the
afternoon wore on and evening set in, a beautiful sunset accompanied
us through the heart of the city. The journey down the main shipping
lane was busy with the local ferries and a whole battalion of Finland
ferries setting off for their Saturday night cruises, but once we
got through the lock at Slussen, a calm quiet ride up a dark canal
saw us to the Marina.
With the marina only a 20 minute walk away, we get out for a spin
round the block most days: a 10km paddle around Kungsholmen which
takes us right into the heart of the city, spectacular at night. It'
a hard life...
Bright sun and fresh winds from the north west made for a great days
paddling on our second Saturday. We really put the kayaks (and ourselves)
through their paces. If we were looking for experience with water
traffic then we sure got it: motor boats, yachts, a very rapid speed
boat, cruisers, ribs, steam ferries, you name it, they were all out
for the day. The kayaks handled really well, reaching a top speed
of 11.2km/h (6 knots) with the wind from behind, the rest of the kit
is performing well and we're not doing bad either!
Packing up for our move to Stockholm and the last
few weeks of preparation. The equipment is almost all ready and at Easter
we flew over to Stockholm to pick up our kayaks. The intention was to
spend 4 days paddling and outfitting our new boats but nature decided
to play it cool - spring broke with brilliant sunshine and rising temperatures
but the ice was only just starting to break up...
Part personal challenge, part photo documentary, 2220
is a sixty day kayak expedition around the entire coastline of Sweden
by husband and wife team Louisa Rolandsdotter Bichard
and John Paul Bichard . Alongside the personal challenge
of a 2220 kilometre paddle (hence the expedition name),
we also aim to record our experiences in an innovative and accessible
way. We will document the Blue Ribbon expedition as a location
based photo series by recording the coordinates of our shots as we progress.
On our website, we will link the images and journal entries to their location
on an interactive map of the route. This will allow viewers to share our
experiences from where they occurred, get an idea of our impressions of
the unfolding landscape and explore our encounters with weather, sea and
The project will be documented in several ways:
Daily log – recording the core information about the expedition; routes, weather conditions, distances and performance.
Photo Series – a location based photo documentary of the expedition.
Journal – documenting a more personal account of day to day events, experiences and thoughts along the way.
Photo-response – we will invite people we meet along the way to take photographs of what the sea means to them.
We intend to collate and edit the documentary material after the expedition in order to publish the photo-series and interactive map on our 2220 website (part of our existing Hydropia website, see below). The 2220 website will be bi-lingual (English and Swedish) to be of appeal and use to a broader audience. The intention is to also approach a publisher to produce a book about the expedition.
Kayaking is one of the most environmentally sound means of transport available as it relies solely on muscle power. We will exercise low impact camping along the way to preserve the natural environment for the benefit of others by adhering to acknowledged principles as set out here.
This website will be developed throughout the spring
It will be the focus of our ongoing publicity and news as the project progresses, culminating in the full interactive site once the expedition is completed.
HBB, Havspaddlarnas Blå Band
The Blue Ribbon is an established kayaking challenge. The rules are simple: to within a year paddle from the Swedish-Norwegian border to the Swedish-Finnish border in single kayaks, unsupported and using only paddle power. We can only imagine what the personal reward of completing the challenge will be, but the knowledge that we will join a handful (72) of kayakers in having done so is very exciting in itself. The current record for men is 23 days, for women 63
– we are aiming to complete our 2220 in 60 days or less.
John Paul Bichard
E-mail: john[at sign]hydropia[dot]org