I haven’t updated this blog for ages, too much work generally, which naturally gives me no right to complain. To compensate I have picked a one or two photos from each month of 2012, showing a bit of what I’ve been doing this past year.
In January I was back in Denmark to see family, and also to see ‘my’ dog from back when I lived there. Jamil, a beautiful eight year old beagle, is now living with my ex-wife, but he is being taken good care of, and even if I already knew that would be the case, it was nice to see him again after several years.
The Italian sea kayak association Sottocosta has a yearly meet-up of the Italian sea kayak coaches, and I was invited to participate even though I don’t have an Italian coaching award. The meeting was held on the Island of Elba, which is a marvel of Mediterranean beauty, and I got to know a lot of the Italian coaches.
Since I moved to Venice several years ago I’ve been living in a lot of different places, rented rooms and apartments, on informal or short-term contracts, but in March I finally found a home. By a lucky stroke I found a small and affordable apartment smack in the middle of Venice, on one of the most beautiful historical squares of the city, the Campo S.S. Giovanni e Paolo. It is so very nice not being a nomad any more.
Kayaking season in Venice usually starts in late March or April, depending on the date of Easter. Last year we started doing tours in earnest in mid April, and we continued doing tours until November. By now I’ve been paddling down the Canal Grande several hundred times, and I’ve had many thousands paddlers from all over the world with me.
The main rowing and paddling event in Venice is the Vogalonga, which usually happens in May. This year I didn’t participate myself, but stay on the Certosa island to send people off and take over when they came back in again. In there 2012 Vogalonga there were over 1800 boats registered, and some 6-7000 persons.
We were rather unfortunate in June last year. A tornado (EF2) hit parts of Venice and a bunch of lagoon islands, including ‘our’ island of Certosa. Where the were no damages in the marina, our gear took a straight hit, and when I came out to the island later, the kayaks were strewn all over, some tossed as far as 50m, and others thrown up into the air to come down as missiles on the other boats. We lost a few boats, and still have damages to repair on some, but we were very lucky and we were back to work two days after the tornado.
I haven’t had a summer holiday for years, since I started Venice Kayak, but this year, thanks to the concerted effort of my partner Marco and our guide Loretta, I had the chance to go to Canada to see my good friend Steve Lutsch, participate in the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium, and get around to see a tiny bit of the fantastic country that is Canada. The photo above is from Flowerpot Island, near Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario.
Having found an apartment and finally having a bit of stability in my life, next step was to adopt a dog, and I was very lucky to find Stella up for adoption in Venice. She was one year and a half old, but since her first owners hadn’t been too bright, she’d had cubs twice in her short life. She is now sterilized, slightly overweight but fairly happy, I think. I still need to teach her to not eat all the rubbish she finds on the alleyways and squares in Venice.
The Regata Storica – the Historic Regatta – is one of the main events in September, but after five years in Venice I still hadn’t seen one. Last year we finally paddled down there, found a good spot and enjoyed the show and the races.
Later the same month we went rowing ourselves, with a Dutch group of paddlers from Zwalker.nl. I’ve always enjoyed Venetian rowing, but too much moving around meant I haven’t rowed much for several years. That is definitely one of the things I want to chance in 2013.
Venice Kayak regularly ends up in the press around the world, but not all papers are equal. In October Venice Kayak was featured in the Sunday Times travelling section, and it can hardly get much bigger than that.
October was also the month when I met a beautiful girl who just so happened to drop by on the Certosa island with her friends (this photo is from December in the Tivoli garden in Copenhagen).
Living in the middle of Venice brings a wide variety of experiences. Last year saw several occasions of high tide flooding the city, including the sixth-highest level ever measured. The damages caused by the high water are immense, and go far beyond the nuisance of walking in knee deep water to get milk, or tourists swimming and diving in St.Mark’s square. This photo shows people getting about their daily affairs in the Via Garibaldi. Not glamorous at all.
In December I was back in Denmark again for a very short visit. After the tornado had damaged my favourite kayak and I had tried a Valley Pintail, I had ordered one from Valley, through Kajakhotellet in Copenhagen. The Pintail is no longer in production, Valley stopped taking orders at the end of August, and my new Pintail in the colours of the flag of Venice is probably the last Pintail to be ever made. Since we had room on the car for more, we also picked up a Valley Nordkapp LV. I’m so looking forward to paddling this beauty around Venice in the coming years.