'Ahooooy!' we shout to a group of fisherman standing and the river bank and staring at us (as if we were doing something weird or unusual, I have no idea why…).'Ahoy!' they answer shortly. 'Where are you coming from?' 'From Kraków!' 'Seriously?' they ask. Now they stare at us…. 'And where are you going?' 'To the Baltic Sea!' we answer, proud of our raft. 'Woooow…. You must be joking. Good luck, anyway!'.
We follow this scheme of a talk at least 10 times a day. Although we aren't the first group ever to build a plastic bottle raft, people still find the idea quite innovative or simply crazy. We receive lots of support and help from the locals, and a lot of attention too! This is what makes us most happy – the chance of influencing the inhabitants of cities, towns and villages located by the Vistula river.
We left the charming town of Kazimierz Dolny on Wednesday evening with the plan of getting to Warsaw on Monday. But we're on water and so it's the river that dictates the terms. This week we faced some really
difficult conditions. It is especially hard to navigate the raft on windy days, and we had 3 days of wind and rain both in places where the raft currently was, and also in places where we came from. It created a wave of higher water level, moving from Kraków to the sea. It reached us near PuÅ‚awy and accompanied to the capital.
This week we were mainly discovering the beauty of the river on our way. We set up our tents on sandy beaches, desert islands and observed wildlife of the river. However, the purity of these places is always
disturbed by a terrifying amount of garbage, thrown into the river. We, ourselves, witnessed a situation where someone threw some trash into the river, not eve trying to hide what he did. So each time we stay for the night on a beautiful spot, we make a clean-up. The greatness of nature is particularly noticeable in these places, as despite so many harmful factors, life continues to develop in the Vistula river. The fact that its riverbed is not completely regulated is a blessing for the river, because it strengthens its ability of self-purification.
We no longer swim in the river since we passed PuÅ‚awy, an industrial city where they produce nitrates. Since then, some kind of a yellowish foam floats on the surface of water. Paradoxically, we expect the water to get slightly cleaner once we leave Warsaw, as there are many filters and wastewater treatment plants installed on the river in the capital.
But regardless of the weather or even the condition of water in the river, the crew is having a great together. The raft brings together many inspiring people from different cities of Poland (and not only! this time we hosted an Erasmus student from Taiwan for one day with us; and from the next week on our team will become definitely international) and it is impossible to get bored during the trip! Even after 16 days spent on the water already, I'm looking very much forward to the next part of the trip!