24 June 2012

Revisit Bothnian Sea National Park

June 2012

Spent the midsummer weekend on west coast. Had an opportunity to make a quick revisit Bothnian Sea National Park.

The park is about 150km long and some kilometers wide stripe on (south) west coast, few km's off the coast. The park was established a year ago.

I paddled only on a small area on it, the area somewhere between cities of Pori and Rauma.

Weather was fine, low 4m/s north west wind (which was predicted to rise up to 7-8ms/s in the afternoon and it did so) and clear blue sky with lots of sunshine. Temperature stayed under +15C.  All in all, fine conditions for paddling.

Last year spotted an interesting area south of Sappi Lighthouse. The area contained lots of small rocky and stony islands, with few old fishing huts on them. Some of the islands contained trees and bushes. Wanted to circle that area again.

Some of the islands belonged to a nature reserve area, too. Wide variety of birds inhabited most of the islands. Amazingly saw some sheep on a remote island, too. Nice!   Some information told me there might be seals lying on small rocky islands, which raised my interest, too. Didn't see them, maybe next time.

First few kilometers in the archipelago were full of summer cottages. People had come to their cottages to enjoy the longest days of summer. When islands ended, started to cross a bit larger peninsula. Waves were small and side-head wind didn't bother too much.

After reaching the north-most islands decided to turn back. There were two islands with huge amount of Great Cormorants on them. Never seen so many of them in one place.

Sheep in one of islands cheered me. They were so curious about visitor. Didn't want to land and disturb their life so a couple of photos from the kayak was enough. Wasn't able to capture their smile, just a curious look.

Found a very small flat and low stony island and parked there for a lunch break. It didn't have any birds nest, therefore I was able to stay there quite alone.

After lunch break continued paddling south, circling islands from west side.  When the wind started to raise, decided to turn back. Tail and side wind was welcomed. More boats were now on waters.

Wasn't so keen on large islands near the coast which were absolutely full of summer cottages, one next to each other with practically so free space between them. However, those remote islands were absolutely nice and worth seeing again. Although landing on most of them was prohibited until birds nesting was about to finish, still paddling around this region satisfied me.

Midsummer weekend was in full speed. It was about time to return and get sauna warmed.

GPS recorded route about 32km,  paddled anti-clock wise (view a larger map): 

Some photos along the route

S├Ąppi Lighthouse in about 5km distance

Lots of parking space but quite demanding

Typical shore of an island

A fishing hut


Much better parking lot


A typical scene


A place for lunch

Simple food tasted awfully good there

Sea-Buckthorn grew on many islands there

Someone's landed

Didn't know their name but looked nice

Holy Ghost

A Landlord

Synchronous flying

Sounded like a rubber duck

A Great Cormorant

Many, many Great Cormorants, and some more

A pair of Common Eiders

A nest of a Common Eider


A Herring Gull (?)

There were loooots of Common Eiders there


Heading north

Heard about stories of 'a fish on a dry land' but never seen it before

Follow-the-plane plan

Curious and pretty they were

17 June 2012

Paddling overnighter on Lillskorvan Island

June 2012

Been too busy with all sort of work this year and haven't really had opportunities to do over a day long kayaking trips.  Shameful. This time squeezed some spare time and escaped for a short overnight paddling trip on Friday afternoon.

Weather was very promising, low or moderate (head) wind and lots of sunshine.

Did a quick packing. Subconsciously thought something's missing but luckily almost all important things were on board (matches: yes, a towel: no). Which reminded me again a need to create a complete packing list some day (good ready-made templates highly appreciated).

Decided to paddle to a small Lillskorvan island, about 26km south west from our kayaking club house in Helsinki. The sun was shining strongly thus some protection was needed. This trip was also the first time where I didn't use a drysuit this year. Water temperature with a low 5 ms/s wind in archipelago still felt pretty cold.

While paddling, ducks, seagulls etc. were busy and reminded me I was in their territory and was an unwanted visitor, even without landing on any island.  I wanted to explain them that I only paddled by near their islands and didn't really want to disturb their life, at least not intended to do so. They never listened me.

It took about four hours to paddle there. I arrived after 9PM but the sun was still up and shining brightly. Wind had died almost completely. Along the way, many islands had boats, both motor and sail, parked into their piers. Lillskorvan island had a couple of other paddlers but surroundings were very quiet. Perfect, just what I needed.

I had a camera with me. I knew that so called 'a golden moment', i.e. a perfect time for shooting photos around sunset was approaching soon. Thus I hurried to set up a basecamp. It meant install a tent, air mattress and open a sleeping bag. About 10mins later all was done. Dinner had to wait until I satisfied my photography needs. Also, a swim on a sea had to wait until next trip as I forgot to take any towel with me.

Sun shined only the west side of the island, keeping the east side shadowed and dark, which narrowed my chances of shooting photos. Well, maybe next time then with better time.

Dinner was quickly served, a couple of sandwiches followed by candies. Quite far from a gourmet one.

Bugs and mosquitoes; yes they were there but not too much. However, a lot more than last two years together. None of them bothered me during the night. Thanks for that.

Couldn't sleep properly as 'weird' sounds of nature kept me awake. Waves hit rocks every now and then, birds kept singing, too. I wonder when I fully get to use to them as I've got to use to city noise, too?

Next morning had to make an early wake up as another activity waited me in the afternoon, Jukolan viesti, one of the greatest and boldest orienteering relay race in the world, where I had to be around 2PM for ladies start (missed that my 5mins though, sorry!). Mens start was at 11PM but I wasn't competing there this year.

Wind had died during the night almost totally. Had a small breakfast, presso coffee and fried eggs with rye bread. It's so nice to have an early breakfast on an island watching calm sea and beautiful nature. Could watch it forever.

Paddled back via a bit more outer route. Checked couple of other islands, where I might still do trips during this summer.

After about four hours paddling arrived at club house. Happy and slightly exhausted. Mind requested from brains when's the next trip but a body rejected these requests for the time being. Let's see.

GPS stored paddling route (54km altogether), west side to go, east side to return (view in a larger map):

Some photos captured during the paddling trip


Basecamp set

Self generated

Other visitors

In a parking lot

In bloom

Little garden 


Enjoying scenery

Somebody's home


Master of flying

Getting height


A queue

Great Cormorant showing who's who

Father leads a way

Aah ...

City of Helsinki in horizon