Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A late summer kayaking weekend

I really got into kayaking again this summer after a long break, so it felt natural to join the local paddling club, Saaristomeren Melojat, to get in touch with more people doing kayaking. The club arranges trips and courses and an interesting one that also fit my schedule was to take place in the middle of September. I got in touch with Kristian, who arranged the trip and he interviewed me by phone to see how I would fit into the trip. A useful thing for a guide to do, though the final truth is revealed on water. The trip promised fall weather, paddling in the darkness and maybe bigger waves.

We met at the paddling club to pack everything into and onto cars, and then drove the 40 km to Granvik, where we got ready for the water.

At six o'clock we were ready to leave. There were fourteen of us, including Kristian and assistant guide Olli-Pekka. With around two hours until sunset and around 13 km to the planned destination we were a bit ahead of schedule, putting the darkness paddling into jeopardy.

Some instructions before the darkness paddling. We were all assigned a number between one and fourteen, enabling a quick check that everybody is still with the group.

It did get darker.

And darker. The route was lengthened a bit with a section that lacked all navigational lights.

We arrived at a small island a little south of Pensar around ten in the evening. Everybody just erected their tents and soon went to sleep. I had a place in Esko's tent, but opted to sleep in an open place in my bivy bag. The night was a little cloudy at first, but later the clouds disappeared to reveal the near full moon.

The next morning was foggy and the bivy bag was wet from dew.

My spot. I had a bug net hanging from the tripod, since there were some late mosquitoes out.

No more porridge for me. An excellent breakfast with Putin cheese spread. (Because of the sanctions against Russia and countersanctions, we have some products originally intended for Russian export in our food markets.)

Some other tent spots.

Ramaria flava, When I was a kid, this was mentioned as a tasty mushroom, but nowadays it is considered edible, but not much more.

The landing place.

The rowan leaves had some small spots of red...

... but we soon started to suspect that this was not fall trip at all. The sea campion was still in bloom.

Planning the route of the day.

The ducks were loaded and we got going at around eleven in the morning.

By now most of us had accepted that it was indeed summer and paddled in short sleeved shirts, but Kristian persisted.

Lunch break a few kilometers southwest of Gullkrona.

I settled for a salad.

Summer indeed.

Viola tricolor.

On the move again.

Generally this is the mark that you should avoid, but with a kayak it doesn't make a difference.

Riitta studies the map.

A short break just north of Fur-Birskär. Just before that I actually paddled onto a water snake, or rather it swimmed into the side of the kayak.

The last leg of the day.


Arriving at Mellanlandet, a nice island for the night. 23 km was the distance of the day,

Though I've been contemplating switching to a more agile British style kayak, the Prijon Kodiak really is excellent for kayak touring, It has lots of room, big hatches that make loading the gear easy, it is both stable and quite fast and the material is bombproof.

Chili con carne for dinner.

Dinner time for everyone.

A nice evening.

This belongs to the plants I really don't know and as I have understood it is somewhat difficult to determine the exact species.

Click to see the panoramas in a bigger format.

Sea mayweed.

Another tent group.

Just a few more pictures of the evening.

Time for an evening gathering. The ducks have their own pond.

Evening gymnastics.

The evening was nice, but there were also a lot of mosquitoes out, and I happily retired to my bivy after some photography. I still stayed awake for a while and woke quite often to check for Northern Lights. A fair chance of auroras was forecasted and I had a unobstructed view to the north, but nothing appeared.

The night again saw moonshine. For some reason there was no morning fog, even though there was even more dew this night.

Purple loosestrife

The famous levitating islands of the Archipelago Sea,

My DIY wine bag pillow started leaking after a little under four years and maybe 120 nights out. I guess I'll have to buy some wine then.

The bivy bag protected from the dew, but the quilt still collected some moisture from inside.

Sebastian makes breakfast.

More sea mayweed.

Kristian got the dishes again.

Anyone know this little bug?

Morning briefing.

Common jellyfish.

Paddling again.


Lunch break at Högland.

A view back at Mellanlandet in the middle of the picture.

Paddling back towards Granvik.

A slight navigation dispute.

The last bit was again in the inner archipelago.

Some final games or exercises. The duck shows if you move your head too much when paddling.

Back at Granvik after 14 km.

This was an excellent trip in good company. Thanks to all the participants and especially Kristian and Olli-Pekka.

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