Sunday, August 6, 2017

A kayaking trip for beginners

The local paddling club, Saaristomeren melojat, had a weekend trip for beginning kayakers this weekend. Eleven participants with three instructors, including me. The weather forecast for the weekend was extremely dynamic, which made everything quite interesting.

We packed the kayak trailer and jumped into a few cars to drive to Pleikilä, where we made ourselves ready and started a little before eight in the evening.


Kari can be identified as an instructor based on the kayak, a Tiderace.

There was little hope for a nice sunset according to the forecast but it seemed like we would get some color at least for a while.

Esko, leader of the pack.

We did have some nicely colored sky with rain showers visible in the distance.



An unusually nice rainbow.

The rest waiting while I returned from having checked out the west side of Kaaskeri, which was too exposed to the wind of 7-8 m/s.

We landed at the north side of the island, which gave good shelter from the wind.

Kari.

The sun set at around ten in the evening, so it was getting darker as we made dinner. We went to sleep around 23:30.


The night was warm and the sun still rises early enough to warm up the tent in the morning. I forced myself to sleep until seven.

Kari just bivied, despite the mosquitoes in the evening.

At least the morning was nice and warm.


Why not have freshly baked croissants for breakfast?

Sea aster.

Ikea bags is standard equipment for Finnish kayakers.

Going through the coming day.

We launched and I stayed last on the beach to help with launching, since it was rather slippery. Well out in the water we noticed that the waves were way higher than suitable for beginners, coming straight from open sea with a wind of around 9 m/s . No pictures here, since we immediately paddled to shelter behind an island.

A short visit to the Katanpää fortress island, which was the northernmost one in the Russian defense line of the Baltic when Finland was still a part of Russia.


The island was later used for prisoners, who got to quarry stones for paved roads.


We continued and took the most sheltered route we could find, since the wind was now forecasted to reach 11 m/s, which was more than we wanted for a beginners trip.


We took lunch at Eeliskeri.


A nice salmon salad provided by Esko.

Cookies with cheese and fig jam for dessert. Quite acceptable.


We only had about a half hour of paddling to reach Lanskeri, where we set camp.



Everyone had done quite well in the conditions that mainly were beyond what we would have wanted for this trip, but we wanted to take advantage of the situation and offer a little more. After having set camp we started with our empty kayaks at around six in the afternoon with the intention of checking out more waves for those who wanted.




It all went well. Nobody capsized and this provided a good opportunity the feel how the wind, probably around 9 m/s, affects the kayak. With too big a kayak it becomes very hard to turn into the wind, which one participant noticed. A short tow salvaged the situation. We then paddled back to make dinner.


I was responsible for the instructors' dinner, which consisted of tortillas and a red wine.


I had an audience when making the dessert, an apple pie.



No colorful sunset this time either, but we stayed up until it started to rain sometime a little before eleven.

Some small amounts of rain was forecasted for the night, but it was not realized. Instead we got a whole lot of rain during the night, as well as fairly hard wind. The morning was rather wet.


I had put my tent on the sightseeing spot on slick rock. Though I did take possible rain into account when picking the exact spot, I wasn't prepared for an amount the exceeded the forecast by ten times. There was a rather large area collecting rain water and part of it formed one stream on each side of my tent and when the rain was really intense also under my tent. The Hilleberg Niak stayed entirely dry and I only got some water in it when emptying it.

I did erect a tarp in the previous evening, because of the forecasted rain, and it came in handy during the breakfast.


The rain paused enough for us to pack the kayaks without getting everything too wet and then started again as we started paddling. 

Because of the weather we decided to skip lunch and paddle directly back to Pleikilä, though not using the shortest route.





That's it. Great fun and quite varying conditions. The participants did great and with a little more forward paddling training for a slightly higher speed they should have no problems participating in the paddling club's other trips. I do hope that this gave everyone more confidence for the future, since everything went so well.

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