We got started a little over five.
A first interesting spot.
Continuing towards the Lyökki/Lökö daymark.
NOTE! Don't go to the Pookinmaa island, on which the daymark is, during 1.4-30.6. After the trip we found out that it is not allowed, something we didn't find out earlier, even though some attempts to do so were made. A little rant about these things can be found at the end of the blog post.
A family was at the island by boat, but were about to leave when we arrived. We checked out the island, taking special concern not to disturb any birds. Esko is a biologist and knows these things. It turned out that there were surprisingly few birds on the island, so few that there was no risk that our presence would be a problem. A good tent spot was found and we decided to stay there for the night. If there would have been too many birds we would have paddled 12 km to Vekara.
The daymark is the oldest one still standing in Finland, built in 1757.
A black-headed gull had its own little pond to play in.
We couldn't stop paddling yet, though, and continued around the neighbouring islands.
In some places it looked a lot like the Kvarken archipelago.
We landed, packed up our gear and set up the tents.
There was actually something of a prepared camp spot on the island.
On the top of the world.
Esko made dinner.
The neighbouring islands had more birds and we both had brought binoculars. Velvet ducks flying by.
The Isokari/Enskär lighthouse 25 km away.
Panorama (click for a bigger picture).
Going to the neighbour island, which as far as I can tell should be perfectly allowed to visit.
No only cliffs and sand.
This island actually had more birds and we had to take a little detour to avoid the oyster catcher chicks.
It looked like a loo, but had obviously contained something powered by gas at some point.
A nice evening.
Back at the tents we had time to drink a beer while the sun set.
The arctic terns had nothing against our presence.
After sunset at 23:05 we were allowed to go to sleep. We both got up around seven in the morning.
The common curlew is something of a surprise in the outer archipelago, but it's not the first time I see one in similar circumstances.
The daymark again.
And then we started paddling back, with a one hour detour in the wrong direction to check out some other interesting islands.
Not many islands here.
Arriving at the interesting islands.
More velvet ducks.
We landed to take a closer look at a place where we saw no birds.
The arctic tern is a fascinating bird. It comes to the northern breeding grounds for summer and spend the other half of the year in the summer of the Antarctic coast, making it the longest migration by far. Satellite trackers have shown that arctic terns can fly up to 90000 km (56000 miles) a year. Half of the arctic terns live past their 30th birthday, making the distances flown under a life time truly spectacular. This is my favorite bird.
We now had 11 km of uneventful and rather boring paddling back.
This was a short trip with only one night and a total of 30 km of paddling. The area is nice, though, and definitely worth a visit outside the 1.4-30.6 period.
It is often quite difficult to find out what rules apply in different places. National parks are almost always easy, since the rules can be found from internet and everything is up to date. Islands which are prohibited have signs in visible places. It can be almost impossible to find out the rules for private nature reserves, they can reside in dusty archives in forgotten places. A nature reserve per se does not mean anything for the everyman's right, but there could be restrictions (that are hard to find out). For this particular place I found a web page from an ornitologist, that said that only one place, which we didn't visit, had restrictions, the other were listed at great places to visit for bird watching during the spring. From looking at the map, I assumed all islands at the place belonged to the national park, in which case something about the restrictions should have been mentioned on the national park web pages. Zooming in more, though, showed that one island was actually outside the national park (and completely missing on one map) and instead a private nature reserve and there actually was information about the restrictions on the web. This is not the first time I've encountered similar problems, the whole thing is a real mess. And maybe one could argue that if the restrictions were important, there would be more easily accessible and even marked in the terrain. Still, I do think all restrictions should be respected.