06 December 2012

Winter Trip to Utö Island

December 2012

Had a chance visiting Utö island at Archipelago National Park (south-west of Finland) by paddling a year ago at summer time. Ever since wanted to visit the island again but winter time.

Found some spare time, booked a room from the island and off driving towards the ferry.

(Un)fortunately a winter storm had hit southern Finland while I was suppose to drive and to take a ferry to the island. Wasn't sure if boat transported on such conditions. Called first the Captain of the boat. He confirmed me the boat will be on schedule. So no need to cancel the trip. Felt great, soon being on a remote island while storm continued.

Learnt also that all these ferries and the boat trip to Utö was completely free. Amazing!

Reserved a bit longer time for driving from Helsinki to catch the boat. The boat would start from an island of Nauvo, where you already had to take one ferry. Wind blew snow everywhere, was difficult to drive.

Reached the harbour in good time on Nauvo island. Wind blew about 25 m/s so high waves was to be expected. The boat would start at about 6PM, so dark it was. There was some 50 people on board the boat.

The boat was called M/S Eivor, about 40 meters long boat, and would be able to carry some cars on it, too.

The boat stopped in a couple of other islands before arriving at Utö after being four hours on turbulent sea (stopped on Nötö, Aspö and Jurmo islands). We arrived at 11PM. It had been dark all the time. Once stepped on the land, gusts threw you other direction, was truly difficult to walk straight ahead.

On the next morning weather looked better. Storm had died during the night. Wind stayed under 10 m/s figures. Temperature was about -8C. All in all quite a nice winter day, except it stayed cloudy almost the whole day (the sunrise was about 9AM and sunset was about 3PM).

Had nothing specific in mind other than to enjoy scenery, observe nature and take photos.

The next day the sun appeared slowly. The boat was to depart at 11AM so there was some time to do final walk and capture some photos again with small glimpses of sunlight.

There was some bird watchers who'd been observing birds on the island. Typical set was some 40 different species within two days. To me that's a lot considering the time of the year.

I personally spotted a seal, a fox, few sea eagles, some hazel grouse and lots of small birds of different species.

It was really relaxing time to be there. Recommended.

Village and the Lighthouse

Morning darkness

Loads of goods on board to Finland

A garage

Waiting for summer

A work horse

An island

An alley

For small scale fishing


A garage

Does a Postman ring twice?

A chap riding with a fatbike back and forth

Connections to modern world

Roaring guns

Beautiful Aluskär island on 5 km distance in south



Snowy reeds

Pattskär island


Results after strong wind 

For birdies


A frozen rain drop


Moss like a clover

A monument for drowned Draken

A view

A view

Bönehuset, a chapel


A small fishing hut

An entrance

For fishing nets

A Bohemian Waxwing

A Robin expands its feathers to keep body warm

'Watch how I eat' said a Great Tit and continued eating

Knock knock

Leftmost ...

... middle ...

... rightmost

Boats for Maritime Pilots interest people

Utö Lighthouse. There's a church on the 2nd floor

This much the sun brought its light

Maritime Pilot boat arriving


Fishing nets

Rocky shores

Green snow


Old Post Office


This must be owned by a sailor, look at the colours of handlebars!


Utö Havshotel

Sunday morning, the sun about to shine soon

Old basketball place nowadays occupied by sheep

It's not frozen yet


M/S Eivor

Busy village road

A village road

Wall of the Lighthouse

The same view but now in sunlight



People waiting M/S Eivor on Jurmo island

Wind is a professional artist

A couple

Local church on Aspö island

On line

Berghamn island


  1. Excellent photography. How was the trip there on Friday? Large waves?

    1. Thanks!

      On Friday, it was pretty smooth, only twice it hit hard. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed as it didn't sway so much that I had hoped for, sometimes one didn't notice almost anything. I think the direction of the wind (east) was the reason (so it was a side-tail wind most of the time).

  2. I can understand you disappointment. I once went to Utö (actually to Jurmo but the boat couldn't go there) in a strong January storm with the old boat, MS Aspö. At Utö the wind was measured to 30 m/s and the waves were higher than the boat. It was quite an experience.

    1. Wow. Although might have been fun, security comes always first.