Sunday, August 19, 2018

A kayaking course at the Archipelago Sea


Last week I spent five days at the sea, with a Vigu specialization course in sea kayaking. It was really nice to participate in a Vigu course again, though this time it was as an instructor, since I graduated from the school last spring.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Trek Full Stache - The very first impressions



It was finally time to get the Trek Full Stache from Nummen Pyörä in the last of July. The Trek Full Stache is a bike I've been waiting for for several years now and I do think it is something new: It's the first FS 29+ bike with a trail oriented approach available for a wider audience. The American manufacturer Lenz Sport has had one for several years, but the geometry of that one seems a bit odd and it would be prohibitely expensive to get to Europe. Salsa has the XC-oriented short-travel Deadwood, and some other manufacturers have bikes that can take undersized 2.6 or 2.8 inch tires, but Trek Full Stache is in my opinion a lot more interesting. I do think Trek has made something extraordinary here.

Monday, July 30, 2018

The 2018 kayaking beginners trip


We decided to have a kayaking trip for beginners again this year, since the one last year was much needed. The trip was fully booked, but one had to pull out in the last minute. Still there were eleven participants and three instructors.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Workhorse


My Salsa Fargo, which I built in January 2010 hasn't gotten much mention lately in this blog, so here is one.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Two more lighthouses


Another little trip on my list was to paddle from Merikarvia to Kristinestad/Kristiinankaupunki or Kaskö/Kaskinen. A one night trip with some daymarks and lighthouses on the route, and also a logistically easy one. During a visit to my wifes homeplace in Närpes with the family, I unloaded the kayak in Merikarvia and started paddling, while the rest of the family drove to Närpes, about one hour away.

Strömmingsbådan


Another lighthouse pretty far out, and known for weather observations, is Strömmingsbådan, somne 20 km west of Bergö. A barren and interesting place, impossible to resist for a sea kayaker.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Norrskär lighthouse


The Norrskär lighthouse is quite far out in Kvarken. I visited it in 2017 when exploring the Rönnskär archipelago.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Glimpses from Gotland


I spent the last week in Gotland guiding a group of 17 cyclists. While there was a fair amount of work arranging everything, actually doing the trip was relaxing and the group was great. The weather was fantastic and we had a good time. Really what I needed at the start of my vacation, since there has been quite a bit of stress lately at work. Some impressions are shown as pictures below.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Trek Full Stache


Finally some bike content again. It seems like May to July are so busy that I don't find time for mountain biking. The archipelago is at its best during the first half of the summer, so I mostly do kayaking then. It is also a very busy time a work. Add some kayaking instruction at the local kayaking club as well as some paid kayak guide gigs and there is not time for much more. I did however ride quite a lot from January to the beginning of May and I do anyway think that a real winter is the best bike riding time, and this winter we had a real winter, though it started a little late.

Rönnskär daymark


The Rönnskär daymark is the oldest still standing wooden daymark in Finland. I visited it in 2017 during a trip in the fantastic Rönnskär archipelago.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Bengtskär lighthouse


The Bengtskär lighthouse is the highest lighthouse in the Nordic country. It has an interesting war history and is also far enough out that you cannot always get there. Thus the place is clearly attractive for sea kayakers.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Blekungen and Flatu daymarks



The Blekungen/Pleikongi and Flatu daymarks are situated close the the Isokari shipping lane. I visited them in July 2017.

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Härkmeri daymarks

After the midsummer storm of 2018 the weather was again nice and I decided to use a Sunday morning to check out the Härkmeri daymarks, including the mystery daymarks.

IsoKari / Enskär lighthouse


I visited the Isokari / Enskär lighthouse by kayak a sunny day in July 2017. An attempt a year earlier was aborted due to hard wind.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Valsörarna / Valassaaret lighthouse



Valsörarna (Valassaaret in Finnish) were visited by kayak a rainy day in 2015 during a week long trip in the Kvarken area.

Ritgrund lighthouse


Ritgrund is a skerry a bit north from Replot in Kvarken, that hosts the Ritgrund lighthouse. I visited it in 2015, during a week long kayaking trip in the area.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Märigrund fishing lighthouse



As a part of my project to visit the lighthouses and daymarks of the Finnish coast by kayak I visited the fishing lighthouse at Märigrund just before the arrival of the expected midsummer storm in June 21st 2018.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Lyökin pooki daymark


I had the opportunity to get out for a night and also had a place I wanted to visit by kayak. A question if anyone was interested was put up on a local FB forum and I got Esko to join me. We got started from Turku and drove for one and a half hour to get to a nice starting point for the Bothnian Sea National Park.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Vigu - Axxell Wilderness Guide school


I graduated as a wilderness and nature guide from Axxell a month ago, so I think I could very well make a post looking back at the fantastic time I've had as a student there.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Skim Beaufort seven month review


Seven months have gone since I wrote about my first impressions of the Skim Beaufort kayak. Though I haven't had an opportunity to take it out in all conditions needed for a full review yet, I think it might be of interest to write about my experiences of it this far.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Third end of May kayaking trip


The third end of May trip of the local kayaking club, Saaristomeren Melojat, took place last weekend. This time I had planned a route at the east part of the Gullkrona Bay and a total of ten paddlers participated. Most of them had been on earlier versions of the trip.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

May Archipelago


Anna, a Vigu mate,  had bought a new Hilleberg tent and wanted to test it. Since you naturally don't test a Hilleberg tent in your backyard we went for a little kayaking overnighter. Below are a few pictures from the overnighter.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Toni's ITI 1000 party


This winter a friend of mine, Toni Lund, did 1000 miles of Iditarod Trail Invitational (ITI), the world's longest and toughest winter race. He pushed his bike for more than half the distance between Anchorage and Nome in Alaska. It was the ultimate test of winter endurance and survival with a fatbike and he did it in 26 days. Being a bike mechanic by profession, he hasn't had time to write about it yet, with the spring being an extremely busy period in bike shops. For those who understand Finnish, there is a radio show and TV show featuring interviews with Toni.

Finding a date for a little party featuring some riding and an overnighter that would suit everyone in our little group of riders is becoming increasingly difficult with everyone being middleaged and having many obligations, and we couldn't get everyone this time either. But three of us (me, Toni and JJ) met up in Kimito on Ascension Thursday to take a look at the best trails of Kimito.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Ekenäs Archipelago National Park

Time for another scouting trip, this time to the Ekenäs Archipelago National Park, for a weekend outing with a group in the end of September. The area was not completely unfamiliar to me, have done some boating there in the nineties and even some paddling in the inner archipelago at the end of the eighties. Things had changed since then, though.

Tarja joined me for the weekend and we got started from Baggö around 19:40 on Friday evening. The aim was to paddle straight to Jussarö and check out the place.

Branta Canadensis.

The weather forecast had predicted sunny and nice weather, but this wasn't completely realized.

Not the best landing place available, but good enough for a few kayaks.

The designated tent site was a complete catastrophy, with a field of gravel and rocks so sharp that the tent floor would have been destroyed and no longer waterproof in just a single night. Obviously so depressing that I didn't even take a single picture of it. Outside this area some barely acceptable places were found, though.

A little food and then sleep.

The next morning had sunshine. I got up a little before seven and took a look at the island. I had actually spent a week there in 1991, in May I think, training city warfare while I did my army time. By then the mine had been deserted for several decades and abandoned buildings were used for training purposes by the army. There are remnants of both mining and army activites on the island.




A view towards northeast.

A little over eight Tarja got up and it was time for breakfast.

I settled for coffee and sandwhiches, which I never get tired of.

We got going a little before ten. Pictures of yours truly by Tarja.


We went down the east side of Jussarö.


A slight dilemma. We should have been on the other side of the west mark, but it was rather shallow there.

Approaching the Jussarö lighthouse at Sundharun.


There would have been a better landing spot on the other side of the island, but we didn't know that yet.

Another lighthouse has been conquered.

Segelskär, a day mark quite far out. Naturally on the list of places to visit at some point.

A funny bird scull.

A view towards east...

... and south.

The next task was to paddle to Modermagan, the second of three official tent sites in the national park. It was about two hours of paddling away.



This landing place wasn't particularly great. We later found a better one on the other side of the island, but it was quite far from the designated tent area.

Lunch. I finally found a really good lunch soup, a Malaysian red curry with suitably burning chili taste.

A little lake on the island.

A few kilometers away was the final official tent site, on Fladalandet.

Fladalandet was rather nice and we could very well have stayed there.



We had however seen an even better place outside the national park a little earlier and decided to paddle back a little.

I tried to take advantage of cliffs with reflections and resulting cross waves to get a feeling for how the Skim Beaufort behaves in waves. No surprises yet, it has a very smooth and predictable behaviour.

We arrived and landed at the chosen island, but after a while I found a sign, which probably hadn't had a readable text for 20 years and became unsure. A look at the map revealed that this was a bird protection area, which in itself might not mean much, especially since there were cabins in the area. An internet search revealed nothing, but we decided to go for another place with no possible restrictions. The next day I got an older kayaking map of the area from Benjamin Donner of Aavameri Sea Kayaking, which revealed that landing on the island was not allowed 1.2 -31.8. That information had been hidden in old paper archives...

We found a decent spot that was allowed and landed there, put up the tents and went to make dinner.

Dinner in the making. Photo by Tarja.

The dinner was quite tasty.

The sun set.

Photo by Tarja.

Jussarö lighthouse.


The open side of the tent proved a good view.

The next morning.



Spring had just sprung, though everything is a little later in the archipelago.

Breakfast.


We got started a little before ten again. I had collected some glass...

... while Tarja had cleaned out a full bag of plastic trash. Most of the trash floats ashore, but one would still hope that people could dispose of their trash properly and not into the nature.

We took a fairly direct route back.

In some places the navigation is too easy.

Arriving back at the starting point.

From a kayaker's point of view the Ekenäs Archipelago National Park feels a bit contradictory. There are some really nice places there, but compared to my usual playing ground, the Archipelago Sea, it is a lot smaller and has a lot of restrictions that makes it hard to have any freedom there. I also assume that there are lots of boats and people there under the most hectic summer months, so I don't think I would go there in July or August. By planning a route carefully and selecting the tent places it would make for a nice trip, though.