Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Kayaking in the Archipelago Sea

The continuing (too) hot weather still makes kayaking a lot more tempting than riding in the woods. Fellow Vigu students Benjamin and Dani decided to join me on a three-day trip in the eastern part of the Archipelago Sea. The Archipelago Sea is an archipelago with many thousand islands, most rather small. It is quite well suited for kayaking. In bad weather it is possible to avoid larger passages or stay in the inner archipelago, while good weather permits interesting trips in the outer archipelago.

After having left off the kids at the bus for a three-day scout camp, I picked up Benjamin and Dani and drove 40 km to Granvik, where their kayaks rented from MyKayak had been delivered. We could have started from Turku, but it would then have taken a full day of paddling to reach the interesting parts of the Archipelago Sea. We started paddling at 13:00.

The water quality was great and the water was also quite warm.

Banana break.

After an hour or so we started arriving at interesting more open waters. Unfortunately, the water quality now went down. The Archipelago Sea has seen the worst algal bloom in ten years this year and the heat wave just made it worse.

A late lunch at Västerlandet, a bit west from Högland.

After lunch we continued towards Sandön, which was supposed to be very interesting.

Having a plastic kayak, I decided to try to get through an opening with very little water.

I got through by pushing off with my hands.

 Continuing along a chain of small islands.

We arrived at Sandön (the sand island) at six o´clock in the evening after 21.9 km of paddling. A track is found on Garmin Connect.

It was hot enough that a swim was warranted immediately after arriving. After that it was still hot enough that we preferred making dinner in the shadow.

It was a nice place...
 ... and the water was crystal clear and nice where we had our kayaks.

On the other side of the six meters wide sand bridge, the water was covered with a disgusting algae soup.

Purple loosestrife.

View towards the kayaks and the tent.

Wild thyme.

Near our kayaks a sand bridge connected Sandön and Tallören. On the northeast side of the island, another sand ridge protruded into the sea.
Benjamin checks how far out the sand ridge extends. It should at least continue no longer than to the east mark.

A few more pictures from a splendid evening.

We went to sleep not much after ten in the evening. Benjamin and I took a bath to cool down ourselves before going to sleep. It worked well and I was actually a tad cold during the night, since I didn't have a sleeping bag. The tent was placed to get shadow in the morning, but by 7:30 the temperature was already rising and a morning swim became necessary.

Ranunculus peltatus ssp. baudotii.

We slept in the bug inner tent of my Golite Shangri-La 5. A real tent would probably have been intolerably hot, but the bug protection is quite necessary.

After breakfast and everything we started paddling a little over nine in the morning.

Good water.

There are always ways to cool yourself.

Our next goal was the guest harbour at Högsåra, for coffee and icecream. Paddling there, the sea offered a very depressing view.

We got our coffee and ice cream at Farmors Café.

After having passed Högsåra, we turned our heading towards NW, and had the waves and wind mostly at our tail. The paddling was now easy.

The lunch was at Norra Benskär. A swim would have been nice, but the water quality was not inspiring.

Lunch in the making.

We continued in the same direction and spent the time trying to catch waves for surfs. The waves were a bit small, but we still made good speed. I had some five seconds surfs with a speed of 11 km/h.

Tistronören offered a good pausing spot, with clear water for a swim.

Veronica longifolia.

After the refreshing break we continued for less than an hour, before we arrived at Österlandet, a possible place for the night. Benjamin checked it out.

We decided to stay here for the night and erected the tent at the most even place we could find, a devil's field. The distance of the day was 33.6 km. A track is again found on Garmin Connect.

Dinner coming up, a chili con carne without meat or chili. With no tomato sauce either, it became a tasty bean stew.

A stroll around the small island before a second evening swim turned out to be the perfect activity.

Angelica archangelica.

Dani and Benjamin are supposed to be asleep, but I'm not convinced.

The night was airy and nice, and my air mattress evened out any possible bumps on the ground. The next morning was cloudy and distant thunder reinforced the feeling that a change in the weather was coming.

We again started paddling a little over nine.

Going north.

We continued paddling for around two hours until we arrived at the Pensar Syd guest harbour. After a quick swim, it was time for icecream and coffee.

Leaving Pensar Syd, the clouds and sound of thunder came closer.

The wind increased, giving us some good surfs and soon the rain was upon us. We all had great fun!

At one point I managed to hold a wave for maybe around ten seconds in a speed of more than 12 km/h, maxing out at 12.6 km/h. A scream of joy could be heard.

Eventually the wind ceased and the rain mostly stopped, so we took lunch. I now noticed that the rear cargo space had some water in it. I now from rolling exercises that some small amount, a few tablespoons, can enter, but this was more. It soon turned out that my 15 liter foldable water canister leaked, after more than ten years of service. Now I'll have to find a similar one from somewhere.

Sea aster.

After the lunch we intended to paddle the last hour of the trip in calm water, enjoying the views.

I have a Garmin Forerunner 910XT, which is quite informative to have on the deck. The battery lasts for 20 hours and can easily be recharged during the night.

Suddenly a noise approached us from behing. A glance backwards revealed what was coming.

We still had fun.

The last stretch.

We were back at Granvik with a distance of 25,5 km paddled since the morning. The track is here. After having moved our gear from the kayaks to the car, we did a short rolling session before driving back to Turku.

A most excellent paddling trip. Thanks to Benjamin and Dani for the company!

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