Sunday, April 26, 2020

Spring in the archipelago

There was a short window with less wind in the middle of the week. Unfortunately I missed it and also left my phone in the car.

I was looking forward to getting some kayaking done in the archipelago. One month earlier when I was out, the birds had not still arrived in numbers. Now the weather was warm and less windy, but I had some work to do and could unfortunately not get out in the middle of the week. By the time I was done with the work it was Thursday evening and the wind was again stronger. The weather forecast didn't look too bad, so I still went out.

The kayak ready to go a little over seven in the evening.

I paddle in the nice archipelage mostly sheltered from the wind. Almost immediately I noticed that the birds, which were missing a month ago, now were back. Eiders, long-tailed ducks etc.

I arrived at my planned tent spot about half past eight after around 9 km of paddling and started unpacking the stuff. The idea was to make some epic archipelago drone shots during sunset. Now was the time that I noticed that I didn't have my phone with me. I immediately realized that it was in the car that now was back in Turku. The phone is needed to pilot the drone, but more importantly for someone to get in contact with me and to a lesser degree to look at weather forecast.

The phone could also be useful in a possible emergency, though when you are going out solo in cold water you basically are on your own, should anything happen. One of the few scenarios where it could be important is if you capsize, manage to get back aboard and land on an island, where hypothermia would prevent you from anything else than calling for help. Or break a leg on an island. But, I think when you are out solo you shouldn't count on getting help with your mobile phone, since that would give you a false sense of security. Help is too far away and the water too cold (4-6°C), even with a drysuit.

Still, not having a phone definitely would mean not being out for more than one night. The possibility exists that someone from home would try to contact me, e.g by SMS text message, and not getting any answer within a reasonable time could lead them to start wondering and eventually trigger a totally unnecessary search and rescue mission. Hence, the trip would have to be shortened to only one night, unless I could find someone who could lend me a phone, something very unlikely in the spring archipelago.

After this quick pondering of my situation, I just unpacked my gear, erected the tent and relaxed to enjoy the evening.

Having had a slight flue, nothing indicating the corona virus, I went to sleep early and slept for almost ten hours.

The tent was placed to catch the morning sun and get a nice warm temperature to wake up to. This is something you wouldn't do in the summer, but now with the night temperature being barely above freezing it was a good idea. I got up around eight and made coffee without leaving the tent.

A little morning stroll followed.

Paddling again.

I paddled via Dalskär, a popular nature harbour for boats and cruisers, to see if anyone would be there and to possibly make a phone call. Unsurprisingly, nobody was there.

The next stop for me would be Skalloglanden. I had wanted to visit the place for some time now, but had to cancel it this time as well. Too many birds were to displeased with my being there.

A seal came to check me out, but unfortunately didn't dare to come too close.

The next stop would be Västra Dömmaskär, in the middle of the Gullkrona Bay. A crossing of about a half hour, in fairly good tail wind. The waves from behind were big enough that I preferred to keep my hands on the paddle and not take any pictures.

I didn't actually expect to see any signs of spring on the island yet, the spring is usually up to two weeks behind in a place like this, but I was wrong. Probably the non-winter with unusually warm sea water has something to do with it.

It's perfectly natural to eat lunch in your base layer. It dries up nice in the warm sunny weather.

A little stroll after lunch offered more surprises, thale cress in this case.

And a characteristic flower of the archipelago, viola tricolor, which you can see from April to October.

An old black alder.

Many of these stones on the beach.

A nice pattern.

Cloudless sky to the west.

Something happening to the east and northeast.

I continued towards east and had a little tailwind for a while. At Sandön I turned back north and had shelter from the wind for a while.

The sand ridge extending out towards east.

Now an 11 km stretch with head wind followed. It clearly rained on land and everything seemed a bit gloomy.

A snack to get some energy.


I took one more snack break at Högland to get some energy. At this point I didn't have enough energy to take photos anymore. I don't know what I would have done if the waves would have come from behind in the final crossing from Högland, since it could possibly have been too risky, though I also needed access to a phone. Fairly hard wind and maybe 60 cm waves were safe when they came at a 45 degree angle, but it was a bit cold in the 45 degree headwind at the time. The last hour went in relative shelter and arrived back at Granvik a little over six in the evening. The total of the day was 42 km, which could be felt in the body at this time of the year.

At Granvik I could borrow a phone and call for someone to get me. That's it. It didn't exactly go as planned, but a fine outing anyway.

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