Across Ukraine Part One

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Across Ukraine Part One

Post by xeniv23 »

Regarding camping while kayaking the Dnieper River in Ukraine.

I just did the trip from Gremyach, on the Sudost River beginning a few kilometers downstream from the Russia/Ukraine border, along the River Desna to Kyiv and then down the Dnieper River past five dams (dragging it all on a kayak cart), into the Black Sea and on to Vylkove on the Danube River. Romania is just across the river about one kilometer away. There is no way to legally cross the border in that area. 66 days, 2018 kilometers, 1254 miles. 100 percent old guy powered.

You can camp anywhere. I never saw a sign that prohibited camping. Having said that, I only camped in a few places that were truly nice. It was the tyranny of the numbers. I had a long way to go and had to put in the miles. I passed many very beautiful spots to camp and did not because I had not yet met the numbers. Once I had the miles in I just took the first suitable, but perhaps not desirable, spot as I was tired. Often very tired. From Kyiv to Dnipro, around 380 river miles, it was a constant headwind until I turned the corner of the great bend and was heading southwest instead of almost due east. Some of the reservoirs are 100+ miles in length and as wide as 20 miles. Plenty of fetch to create very large and challenging wave action. The two most difficult portages are at Khaniv and Zaporozhiya. You are going to sweat a lot. I tried to be very near the portage point the evening before so that it was a short paddle in the morning. I tried to drag the kayak and all sundries when I was relatively fresh. It was always a hard day.

Take at least 3 or 4 spare filters for your water filtration system. The algae blooms in the reservoirs will quickly plug your filters. Occasionally it was like paddling in split pea soup. Pump all the water you can when you get the chance. Don’t put it off. You can get very thirsty if you do. Choose to pump away from shore and in areas of lower concentrations of algae. Not always possible. It was recommended to me that I not filter water but it was extremely impracticable to find places to buy water every few days. That would have taken much time better spent paddling. I was fine. I started buying water when I hit the Black Sea. There it was not a problem as there are many resorts along the shore with beachfront shops and stands where it is possible to buy water and Ice Cream! I ate very simply so that I could restock in small village shops. I would live in Ukraine just for the bread! I often camped on crowded beaches along the Black Sea and no one cared. Just do what everyone else is doing. It's very relaxed and informal. If you want a night's sleep better not to camp near vehicles on the beach. Loud stereos. Always keep an eye out 360. Thunderstorms are numerous and fast moving. You can see one in the distance and think that you are ok for some time. 15 minutes later you fervently wish you were on the beach. Always put up the rain fly immediately after pitching your tent. Stake it well.

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