The weather forecast looked ok for a short kayaking overnighter this weekend as well. The night temperature was about the same one as one week before, but a stronger wind would mean less risk for getting too much ice. Or so I thought. Regarding the wind, the weather forecast was not optimal, but it looked like there would be a suitable window between Saturday afternoon and Sunday noon. I got T from the local paddling club to join me this time.
We got started a little later than we would have wanted, a little over four in the afternoon, but there would still be enough light to get to a tent spot, which incidentally was the same one as the week before. The first leg in Pitkäsalmi had a strong headwind, but no big waves. The temperature dropped to below freezing, but the fingers were still warm and cosy.
The waves in the harbor were surprisingly big and sharp, considering there was a rather short distance the waves could form. (No, you won't see any pictures of any non-small waves, since I need the support from the paddle and cannot use the camera in those circumstances).
The temperature was now clearly below freezing, since the map collected ice rapidly.
On the Ruissalo side we were sheltered from the north wind of around 7-8 m/s (looking at the log from Rajakari), which was a little more that forecasted.
We didn't expect any problems with the 1 km crossing from Kuuva to Saaronniemi, but that turned out to be completely wrong. The wind generated surprisingly big waves and the waves from a freight boat added some excitement. T now started to have acute problems keeping the hands working in the cold and hard wind, and we were forced to land on Saaronniemi to warm the hands. My hands were not particularly warm either. We discussed this later and it is clear that there definitely was some risk in this situation. One thing should have been made differently: We should have followed the shore closer, maybe the entire bay, which should have given more opportunities to land in case of problems. T said that there was a real risk that the cold hands could have prevented her from gripping the paddle. I also could have had a tow line ready to use in case of problems.
After twenty minutes or so we continued. The following crossing should have been the crux of the entire route, but either the wind had become weaker or the deeper water generated less waves, since this was now easy.
The final section was easy in a slight tailwind and enjoying the colors of the evening.
We landed a little over seven and immediately put up our tents and changed into dry clothes.
The rest of the evening went making food and looking at a nice evening and the ferries between Turku and Stockholm arriving and departing again.
The night was colder with a temperature of -5C, but I was cosy in my Tarptent Double Rainbow tent and the 600 g down bag reinforced with a quilt. I got up a little after 6:30, and went out the check out the sunrise. The weather was crisp and clear. I also checked the weather forecast, to see if there would be any changes, but everything still looked like we could get away before the wind would pick up too much.
I knew exactly where my Italian Moka Express was, and it was unfortunately not with me. The morning coffee was still great, though.
T got up at eight and a little over nine we were packed and ready to leave. It now seemed clear that the wind picked up a little faster than forecasted. The first 20 minutes still went easily in sheltered waters, though I had some problems in the beginning getting my sprayskirt attached. It is quite tight in normal conditions and being stiff from ice didn't help. I should probably get a spare sprayskirt that is looser.
The crossing of Airisto was now a little more demanding that we had hoped. The Rajakari log showed a wind speed of about 8 m/s at this time. My skeg control had frozen, so I had to compensate for the weathercocking only by paddling. The waves were also bigger and partly breaking. The crossing from Saaronniemi to Kuuva was also a bit choppy, but this time we mostly followed the shore. Around Kuuva the sea was choppy with reflecting waves and continued for a while until we got the waves almost straight from behind. We decided not to do any surfing, even though the kayak really wanted to. This section was still well within our limits and during the summer with less cold water this would have been real fun, but now with the freezing water it was a bit too exciting. And yes, no pictures.
When we got to more sheltered waters, the worst was behind. At least that what was we thought. Now we started to encounter more and more ice, but still could get round or through it. There also started to be some amount of ice on the kayak.
The final section, Pitkäsalmi, proved to be impossible because of the ice. We went ashore at the SAR pier, only to find us locked behind a military area gate.
On with the now rather cold clothes and really cold gloves for a new try. We paddled a bit back and landed at Pikisaari, where T quickly changed into civilian clothes and took a taxi to the paddling club, where we had our cars.
I waited with the kayaks and after some time T arrived, we loaded the kayaks and gear onto the car and the trip was done.
This was a great trip, that to some extent went over the limit, which means that there is something to be learnt from it.