Baltica Project Day 10

Blog written by Zuzanna

It took us only 4 days to sail through the Vistula river between the two beautiful touristic cities of Poland, Sandomierz and Kazimierz Dolny, and yet we had so many adventures on the way! According to Marek Kaminski's guidebook, the Vistula river between these sites is presented in the best of beauty and I can totally agree with what the explorer said! This time, our crew was composed of 5 people only:Julia, Krzysiek, Grzesiek, Maciek and Zula, but we had many more activities on our way than before.

After some sightseeing in Sandomierz, we left the harbour and sailed into the plain river. I almost forgot how difficult the beginnings are 🙂 In good weather (and with experienced crew), it is quite easy to steer the raft, but our first day together on the deck was windy and we had serious problems on the water. Of course each person went through a safety briefing and had knowledge on how to behave on the water, but it was a new situation for 80% of the team. Happily we moored the raft in a beautiful place where San meets the Vistula and two huge rivers continue their way to the Baltic Sea.

Each expedition needs some sun and some rain also. We reached Józefów nad WisÅ‚Ä… in the pouring rain. There we had a great time at a local school, where I met children of different age groups and talked with them about environmental protection. I was very surprised to see how well-educated in the question of ecology the kids were. Józefów nad WisÅ‚Ä… is a small village situated in area protected by a program 'Nature 2000'. It turned out that people involved in environmental protection often visit this school and give presentations to the kids.

It felt great to continue what they are doing! Kids were extremely interested in the animals of the Vistula river, and, obviously, technical details of the raft really enjoyed time with them. Later on, we had a meeting with Robert Rudolf – ornithologist from Józefów. Each year, he organises a bird-watching camp on an island on the Vistula river. He took us to the island where we could see how exactly they work, and he explained the importance of bird ringing and shared his knowledge with us. Unfortunately it is now bird breeding season and we didn't get the chance to observe many rare species (but we saw a grey heron!).

I'm very happy that the Baltica project pomotes local ecological initiatives and hopefully thanks to us more people will hear about bird ringing program. I wish we could spend more time on the island, but there was a long way ahead of us to cover and other breath-taking views to see… We saw the 'gull-island' (according to what the ornithologist said, the island is a home for more than 15 thousand of gulls every year!) and the recognisable buildings of Kazimierz Dolny on Tuesday afternoon and sailed into the port with full grace!

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