Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Bothnian Sea National Park

The first weekend of July it was time for the local paddling club's trip to the southern part of the Bothnian Sea National Park, this time with me as the main guide and Tarja as assistant guide. We had been on an overnighter two weeks earlier to check out the area and to make sure we would have tent spots for two night for a larger group of people. As it turned out, in addition to Tarja we got only two participants, Esko and Jukka, both fairly experienced kayakers. Maybe the start of the vacations have people doing other things or maybe the trip was too demanding... The weather forecast was rather dynamic and we could not plan the route with certainty even on Friday.

We met in Turku at five o'clock on Friday afternoon and packed everything for the one and a half hour drive to our starting point. Some time after half past seven we got going.

We had a short section with nice surf waves before getting shelter behind some small islands again. The weather looked quite unstable.

Closing in on the first night island.

The tents were quickly erected.

Boiling potatoes takes time, but the dinner was great. And the Finnish summer strawberries I had for dessert were just incredibly tasty.


I sometimes feel my Fjällräven Akka Dome 3 is unnecessarily big when I'm alone in it, but it is my only freestanding tent.

The next morning was quite nice.

Mossy stonecrop.

Purple loosestrife.

The weather forecast clearly said that the Isokari/Enskär lighthouse would not be a good idea, with a 10 km crossing that was known to have difficult waves. (A group of kayakers from Tampere still decided to go and got stuck there until the next day). Vekara would be slightly less sensitive to wind, so we went to check the conditions.

We checked the weather forecast in relative shelter and decided to continue. The forecast insisted that the wind came from south, when in reality we had wind from southeast the entire day. The maximum wind forecast was 10 m/s. We decided to continue.

Arriving at Vekara.

Lunch and another coffee cup-in-the-landscape picture.

We took a little walk to check out the island. Vekara is an interesting place that is certainly worth another longer visit.

Eventually we started to paddle back from Vekara. The wind had clearly picked up a bit.

A little rain for a change.

The going was quite slow. We had about 9-10 m/s of head wind the first leg.

When we got away from the little shelter of the island halfway, the wind grew stronger and was definitely stronger than forecasted. The log from Isokari showed 13-15 m/s and a little more in the gusts. The going was very slow, since this was almost straight head wind. No pictures, though.

We checked out Kiuskeri and decided to stay there for the night.

Some clear signs of an early primitive civilization.

Can't have water near you tent.

Yours truly making pizza. Photo by Tarja.

The evening was quite nice again.

Time to go to sleep. Lots of rain was forecasted for the night.

It did indeed rain a lot during the night, but the morning was nice.

We started a little earlier, to see if we would give Isokari a try. There was still some waves and wind.

We went out the feel the sea, but ultimately decided not to go to Isokari, since the weather forecast had been so inaccurate the day before. I was a little reluctant to turn back, but it was of course the right decision. If it doesn't feel right you shouldn't go. Isokari will be there for another time, so I quickly came over the disappointment. Next we landed at Putsaari to check out the hidden church.

The small church or chapel is supposed to be 400-500 years old.

We continued.

An optional narrow passage.

We continued to the sweet water basin, went through the lock, had lunch and returned to the cars.

It was a nice trip with around 55 km of paddling, part of it in hard head wind. Thanks to the participants, it was fun.

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