28 June 2011

Sea kayaking on becoming National Park on Bothnian Sea, Finland

June 2011

Spent midsummer weekend on the west coast of Finland. Weather stayed pretty good, lots of sunshine, low wind but some showers almost everyday. Temperature didn't raise above +20C but stayed close to it.

Did a day trip paddling on Luvia municipal's archipelago, 36km altogether. Shores and islands near the coast were absolutely full of summer cottages. Didn't enjoy them so much, built too full.  However, the main idea for paddling there was to see part of a new, becoming national park, to be called "Selkämeren kansallispuisto", that should be established this or next year (fingers crossing not enough though). The park will start south from Turku (Kustavi to be exact) and finish north to Merikarvia, containing altogether some 160km of coastline's archipelago within Bothnian Sea.

Few words about local area; Luvia is a small coastline municipal, with some 5K people. The sea seems to be an inspiring thing for locals. However, looking at some history books, this tiny sleepy village was famous on 19th century from two reasons:

  • manufacturing of church bells by Mickel Rostedt. He did cast e.g. church bells for Turku Cathedral
  • manufacturing of wooden sail boats, sizes from little Scyllas to big Fricates, Shooners being probably most famous model. They are mentioned e.g. in Volter Kilpi's novel Alastalon Salissa.  This practice was woken up again by voluntary work as a single instance, where local people built a beautiful Galleass called Ihana. I admire such a handcraft very much

The word "manufacturing" may not describe production of things two hundred years ago, but hopefully you've got the point.

Back to paddling; islands after a group of Haavanen islands became more rural and rocky. That meant more beautiful to me. A group of Maskali islands were extremely beautiful; rocks, stones, common juniper trees and common sea-buckthorn bushes inhabited islands. Also there were basically no summer cottages anymore, just few small fishing huts, maybe a hut per 10 islands. Water was clear there some 10km out from the coast, one could easily see three meters deep. Near the coast visibility was less than a meter deep.

This region is famous of common sea-buckthorn bushes which grow in outmost islands. They grow in very tough conditions, bringing some sauer berries which contain huge amount of vitamin C.

Had a break on a tiny rocky island, which had a funny name, called "Hoppostenkloppi". Not trying to translate it. Then continued to north west towards most interesting area, as it contained lost of small rocky islands (I'm repeating now) close to each other. Few of them had small fishing huts. Nothing can be built now to this area due to preparations of the national park.  Variety of birds was rich.

After circling small islands, saw a few lightning hitting on the coast. It was time to return. Almost immediately after that, sun got hidden behind clouds and it started to rain. Rain is usually not a problem while paddling. At this time I was more afraid lightning to come closer and to bring sudden strong wind in gusts. That never happened, thunderstorm stayed on land. Rain continue till the end. Return was a bit boring due to numerous summer cottages built close to each other, I meant really close. Hope people enjoyed they stay at their cottages with surrounding neighbors.

After paddling the sauna was waiting. Nothing to add there.

Here's paddled route (View Larger Map, again Bing Satellite Maps from this region are better):

Galleass Ihana at harbor ...

... and off the sea with full of paying customers

Typical island near the coast; a private summer cottage

Heavy air traffic

Standing still

A typical fishing hut on a remote island

A perfect place for a lunch break

Protecting family

After these two is a coast of Sweden


Another fishing hut

19 June 2011

Paddling to Hellmansgrundet island, Helsinki Finland

June 2011

I usually spend Sundays outdoors, as I did today.

In summer time, if I don't go running, hiking, cycling, being sick or having a hangover, I usually go paddling.  I often select a route ad-hoc while paddling. Thus, the route is seldom exactly the same as previous ones (although most often I start and end the trip from our sea kayaking club house).

Today I decided to go to Hellmansgrundet island (Hellmaninkupu in Finnish) to eat some peanuts, smell salty water and watch waves hitting the rocky island. Couldn't avoid seeing and hearing some sea gulls, although today there were nice to me. Pretty relaxing out there have to admit.

I came back criss-crossing islands here and there.

GPS recorded route 23km (show larger map):

Hellmansgrundet island (Hellmaninkupu på finska)


A place for a tent?     I don't think so

It's a rocky island

How many time waves have to hit there to make its form like this?


Life and ...

... dead

Drink this if you want stomach problems

A giant frog?  Nope, it's just me

A view to Gråskär island


11 June 2011

Sea kayaking to Rövargrundet island, Gulf of Finland

June 2011

Did a 2-day sea kayaking trip to Rövargrundet island, in Espoo archipelago, Gulf of Finland. In addition to staying overnight on the remote island, had two paddling targets; first visit small treeless islands which were outmost ones within the archipelago and secondly to paddle passing Espoo archipelago's numerous islands and 'channels' when returning.

Paddled 22km on Fri 10th and 35km on Sat 11th, so altogether 57km.

Until now, there had been very little leisure boat traffic on waters. It seemed that these hot weather days in Finland had changed that. Huge amount of boats were flying here and there, mostly as fast as possible.

Here's paddled route, including both two days (View Larger Map):

Day 1
Temperature was way too high. Wind at club house was moderate, cooling slightly. After paddled under bridges of Lauttasaari island wind stopped almost totally.  I still wore a drysuit, black colored, and it really started to heat me.

First passed Melkki, a military island, and circled some small islands south and south west of it. I think I'm simply in love of these treeless islands. At this time of the year they are protected by angry sea gulls but once they get their babies off, you'll be allowed to land in them safely. Only very few of these islands have some flat space so that you'd be able to set up a tent in them, a pity.

The next mark on my map was Torra Lövö island. Another beauty with some trees. On the following treeless islands there were some swans in their nests, ducks taught their babies how to move smoothly on waters. Sea gulls made some offending attacks towards me, reminding I was on their territory, no on mine.

Bypassing Gåsgrund island and via some heavily bird populated islands arrived at Rövargrundet island. Immediately after landing, got off the drysuit plus all other clothes and jumped into the sea for swimming. It was cold but not SO cold! I think that concluded the season of drysuit until autumn time.

First two hours I was the only human being in there. During the evening more people came there to do some barbecue just for the sake of it. Some photographers came by a small boat and shooted some hours of photos while the sun started to set. Tried to get some sleep but the tent was like a sauna. Half moon was very nice after 1AM.

A shaped beauty

Two islands, a sky and me

Heading towards Torra Lövö island, not in a great hurry particularly

Newcomers bypassing a lighthouse


Yet another 'Aah'

I know you're gone after July

Rövergrundet island



Heja Sverige!

Snow balls

Towards south-west

Life's tough

Joan Miro's been here?

Hours till sunset

Paddling towards Skorvö island

Pressed 'take a photo button' from a camera

Rysäkari island on the background

Mr and Mrs

The Base Camp

Day 2
Nice sunny morning, not too hot.  I don't know why but usually during my trips I cook and eat a big breakfast; porridge, a pot of coffee, some sandwich, yogurt, orange juice, banana, fried egg ...

Started to paddle about 8:30AM. Headed first to see Rövaren and Kaparen islands from east side. Then circled Stora Herrö island, before headed to Medvastö island.  There are a couple of narrow, channel type of routes to paddle.

Wind had started to raise and was moderate now, mostly headwind. After Medvastö, headed to Suvisaaristo. Suvisaaristo, a group of islands in Espoo archipelago is nice, but too full of houses and summer cottages. There's practically no place for landing. Not nice when the nature calls you.

During the rest of the trip the only noticeable thing was big cross waves while passed Miessaari Peninsula. Annoying thing with lots of traffic.

Rövargrundet was a small island. It's nice but can be crowdy on a hot summer day.

Learning to fly

I am a rock

Rocky shores

There's a wind in the willows

Certainly not a bridge of Kwai river


A hide

Farewell (to whom?)