Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Another perfect May kayaking trip

Last year we had a perfect kayaking trip at the end of May. It made sense to aim for the same date when planning a weekend trip for the local paddling club. I had some getting the order for the weather through, though, with everything between snow, hail, rain and sleet just one and a half week before the trip, but the nice weather came through just in time.

I was the main guide and Tarja the assistant guide. In addition we had seven mostly quite experienced participants. Starting on Friday after work meant that the actual paddling would start quite late, and this time we started from Kasnäs at 20:20. We had a little less than two hours before sunset and a little more than two hours of paddling to the planned tent spot. No hurry then, since the weather was great.

At some point the sun started to set.

Me. Photo by Jarkko Holopainen.

Our planned tent spot was occupied, which is quite an unlikely event in the Archipelago Sea, since there are few paddlers and lots of islands. A large Israeli group of kayakers led by a few Finnish guides seemed to have fun there.

We continued to the other side of the island, where there were more nice tent spots. It was now becoming darker and after a while the headlamps got used.

I teamed up with Jarkko for the dinners and he made sautéed reindeer and mashed potatoes.

And then it was night. It no longer becomes completely dark, though.

It rained in the morning, which forced Jarkko to to stay in the tent until it stopped at six in the morning. I got up at seven.

Mandatory morning coffee picture.

Spring has finally sprung.

Part of the tents.

We started paddling again at ten.

The weather was great and after maybe twenty minutes I stopped the group to discuss the question that everyone anyway was thinking about. The Bengtskär lighthouse, the crown jewel in every kayaker's lighthouse collection, would be an easy catch in these conditions. I had already pondered about the security aspects, since this would be a deviation from the original security plan, which is not anything to be taken lightly. The conditions and the forecasted weather were however clear and it would be safe, safer in fact than a July attempt, since everyone had a drysuit this time. We made the decision to paddle there, 14.5 km straight to the south from our position.

A short break on a small island, which had this impressive chives.

A small pond.

Red color by some algae.

This island  was also the continue/turn around point. The weather forecast remained excellent, so it was easy to continue.

Closing in.

The lighthouse raises 52 m above the sea, making it the highest one in the Nordic countries. It also has an interesting history with a dramatic battle against invading Soviet forces during the Continuation War. The island itself is barren and small.

There were around 300 common eiders on the island. Seemingly a good place to brood the eggs.

The stairs up the lighthouse.

After a long lunch break it was time to continue. We had a little under 10 km to a potential tent island.

The island was to be our home for the night.

Lots of time for a long dinner, starting with a chicken sauce with rosemary, chives, white wine, cream and feta cheese, eaten with rice.

Dinner spot.

For dessert I made a sort of cheesecake. Digestive cookie crunches with butter was heated in a frying pan and on top of that whipped cream mixed with Philadelphia cheese and lemon curd made a suprisingly tasty result. So good in fact that most of it was gone when I remembered to take a photo of it.

The rest of a nice evening.

The night was warm, even though the wind rose a little. I got up at half past six, when it was already quite hot in the tent.


Packing the kayaks for a start at nine in the morning.

On the move. The navigation duties were split between the participants and Jarkko got the honor to do this interesting section.

This section had many small features and narrow channels.

The idea to paddle to Örö, which anyway was on the route I had planned, for an icecream was tossed, so there we went.

Our entire gang on the 12 inch Obuhov artillery gun.

A visit to an exhibition about Örö showed that the climax of 13000 years of history was when four paddlers arrived as the first civilians when the military had left the island and it was opened for the public. I was one of them...

After Örö we continued through a tight section with many small islands.


After the lunch it was quite hot and it became necessary to cool down a little more.

Back at Kasnäs a little after two in the afternoon. Thanks everyone for the company, it was a nice trip of just under 60 km in great weather.

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