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.

We got started from Pargas Port at seven in the evening. The weather was the same as on the earlier versions of the trip, i.e warm.

Enjoying the sea and archipelago.

This was an interesting looking island, which I need to visit at some point.

We arrived at the island for the night after a little over 11 km a little after 20:30.

Up with the tents..

... and on with the food.

An arctic tern wasn't entirely happy with our dinner place and forced us to move maybe 15 meters, after which it and its mate stopped complaining.

The new food spot. Jarkko was responsible for this dinner, which was excellent.

Dessert, mudcake with vanilla sauce.

Nothing to see here, just go on. (Picture by Jarkko).

The terns seemed to accept our presence. That was to change the next morning.

A nice evening again.

The night was warm, but that is no problem with a quilt. A lot more comfortable than a sleeping bag during the warm period of the year. I had, as I mostly do, chosen a tent spot with nice view and slept with the side panel open.

The next morning.

The breakfast was the usual one: I quickly made bread from pre baked bread in the oven and had it with coffee and Emmenthal cheese. Some of the others were less fortunate during their breakfast, though. The terns were very agitated.

It took some time to realize the reason for this: They had a nest next to a tent and during the night eggs had been laid. No wonder they were upset. After realizing this everyone moved away and the terns calmed down. This is the downside of spring kayaking, you risk disturbing the bird life. No harm was done in this case, though.

It turned out that one participant had fallen ill during the night and had spent some time vomiting. Not good when you want to paddle a kayak. While it's possible to tow a kayak for a full day, it's not fun for anyone, so I came up with an alternative solution. My rough route plan contained kind of a loop anyway, so I took Jarkko with me and escorted the sick kayaker to an island that could be our island for the night, or at least fairly close to it. The rest of the group went another route a little later under Esko's lead and the intention was to meet at lunch. I took Jarkko with me in case the sickness would get worse. Though I have no personal experience of it, I've heard that vomiting in a kayak almost certainly leads to capsizing. With two persons available to help, one can keep the sick paddlers kayak upright while the other can tow both kayaks.

With the sick kayaker marooned with a cell phone and oatmeal I continued with Jarkko to the lunch island.

The others had arrived a little earlier, but we were again one group. As expected, Esko had arranged an excellent lunch.


After lunch we headed south along a line of islands. The kayaking was a little boring, since the area was pretty open, but I wanted to check out Kråkskär.

Kråkskär was a very nice place. It was also the place I had planned to stay in for the night, but the for the next day wind from north was forecasted, which would make the distance back too long in headwind.

We paddled back north along another line of islands.

This section was a little long and I would have preferred one hour less paddling. A clear misjudgement from my part. We finally arrived at the next night island alternative at 17:45, which turned out to be a nice one, surrounded by some other very uneven islands. (I once spent a night on a neighbouring island and the most even spot found was a devil's field). The main group had a 33 km day, a little over the specification. It was also rather hot in the drysuits this last stretch. The warmest May month of the recorded history in this part of the country had warmed up the water, but the sea was still cold enough to just warrant using drysuits and I didn't want the replan the security anyway, so we sticked with the drysuits.

I went to meet the sick paddler, who had now recovered. Esko's tent spot in the picture.

Our camp. I got around 40 km of paddling this day.

Dinner time.

I made pizza. (Picture by Jarkko).

Dinner entertainment: The nicest tent spot with a 360 degree view turned out to be too windy...

... and Esko showed his remarkable yoga flexibility.


A mute swan guarding the eggs while the mate is out eating?

Hotel Hilleberg x 2

More tents.

The wind was stronger during the night, but in the morning it was a lot below what was forecasted.


More kayaking yoga?


We started paddling at half past nine and started with a nice island labyrinth.

Spelharun daymark.

The others waited patiently while I added the daymark to the collection.

A stop at Dalskär to check out the place. Not especially suited for kayakers and otherwise not in my taste either.

We continued a few kilometers...

... and took lunch at Mellanlandet, which is a very nice place.

Skim parking only.

One of our peaceful neighbours, a water snake (Natrix natrix).

Nice views from the island.

The final stretch back to Pargas Port.

The distance of the day was 19 km. All in all a nice summer trip, thanks to everyone.

PS. Just as we packed away our stuff at Pargas Port a kayaker paddling the entire coast of Finland 1200-1300 km turned up and chatted with us for a while. Check out his blog in Finnish here.

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