Sunday, August 11, 2019

Söderskär trip

I participated in a kayak club tour to Söderskär south of Borgå/Porvoo as assistant guide. The target of the trip was the Söderskär lighthouse.

After a 200 km car drive we arrived at Kalkstrand/Kalkkiranta and packed our kayaks. We started paddling a little over six in the evening with a good tailwind.

We arrived at the tent island after about one hour of paddling. The place was surprisingly good and quiet, taking into account that the Helsinki metropolitan area with 1,5 million inhabitants, more than one fourth of the inhabitants in the country, was just some 15 km away.

It was of course time for dinner, but I encountered a slight setback. The Primus Omnilite stove didn't want to burn cleanly, and when I tried to check that everything was seated the burner cap broke completely. The silent burner cap, without which the Primus multifuel stoves are completely unusable, had been deformed for a while now and now it became unusable. My theory is that it hasn't been able to handle the extra heat of being used for long times under my Bemco Backpacker Oven.

Fortunately I had my old faithful MSR PocketRocket stove with me, so I didn't go hungry. The evening was quite nice and the only thing missing from the place was a wider view of the horizon.

The Söderskär lighthouse about 13 km away.

The sun set already before ten. Fall is coming.

Morning a little before seven.

The great cormorants kept an eye on us.


While this sort of sea cairn wih a letter also marked in the sea chart is easy to recognize, it is quite boring compared to traditional cairns made of stone.

Paddling again a little over nine in the morning.

Coming up on Pörtö/Pirttisaari we encountered this shop boat, which stopped a bit later. Immediately an armada of small boats came from the closest island.


A short land break.

The final leg to Söderskär.

The landing spot that had been recommended was quite suboptimal, so we continued around the most of the island until we found an acceptable place to land.

A slightly uneven route to the next island.

The Söderskär lighthouse was built in 1862 and is 32.5 m high (40 m over the sea). The first sketches were made by Albert Edelfelt and the design finalized by Ernst Lohmann. The result is in my opinion an unusually beautiful lighthouse.

The lighthouse was automated in 1957 and finally turned off in 1989, when it no longer had sufficient significance for navigation. The status today is that of a daymark.

View from the top.

The fresnel lens system was made by Sautter & Co in Paris in 1862. With a range on 13 nm the light was considered extremely bright.

Interior details.

We had lunch at Söderskär and then continued, but at first there was a rescue operation. A map had found its way into the water.

A good route takes advantage of interesting places on the way.

Approaching the tent island.

Now this was a tent island in my taste. Slick rock and a good view towards the horizon in the south.

Dinner, tortillas with chicken fried with Shawarma spice, a favorite of mine.

The evening was as nice as they come.

Picture of yours truly.

Söderskär about 13 km away.

The sun set.

Another fine morning.

The summer is nearing its end. The purple loosestrife is looking worn...

... the fireweed has no flowers left...

... and the beautiful white bunchberry flowers have been replaced by berries.

It has also been a fairly dry summer in parts of Finland. This rowan is drying out.

No breakfast without coffee.

I always have short bits of rope attached to the tent to be able to easily secure it with stones. And remember, the stones must be put back in natural places and no one should be able to see that you have been there! And definitely stay clear of the stupid stone balancing menace that now have arrived to Finland. It might have a place, but definitely not in the nature.

Paddling again.

An old stone quarry. This one, called Napoleon's stone, has been worked on quite a bit, but was left there.

An island occupied by great cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo). The great cormorant causes very polarized debates in Finland currently, with one side advocating absolute protection and another side wants to shoot them all. It becames a bit ridiculous when the shooters, who otherwise are not the least interested in science, start debating about which subspecies it belongs to, carbo carbo or carbo sinensis, trying to argue that the sinensis subspecies is foreign (it is not) and has no place in Finland. The great cormorant does have negative sides to it: It destroys, at least temporarily, the islands it nests on, the odour is really foul and it eats a lot of fish.

A short bit left. The total distance was about 55 km.

A nice overnighter and the area was a positive surprise. Despite being so close to the most densely populated area in Finland it was suprisingly quiet.

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