Monday, September 5, 2016

Paddling at Etelä-Konnevesi National Park

The first weekend of September was booked for a short paddling trip at Etelä-Konnevesi National Park.

At Pieni Navettasaari -island

Started paddling on Saturday morning from small harbor, which were next to National Park. Etelä-Konnevesi is one of the newest National Parks in Finland. There are lots of small rocky islands in a tiny area of Konnevesi - lake.

Under the cliff

It was beautiful day with sunshine when we paddled slowly and silently in the maze of the islands. We spotted other paddlers as well during the day, they were coming from Kuopio. They stayed and had reserved sauna, but we continued our way to small island where we stayed overnight.

The paddling route of Saturday can be seen here.

On Saturday sun was shining

On Sunday we headed quite straight back to harbor and our cars. The day was clouder and colder than Saturday.

The paddling route of Sunday can be seen here.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Vuoksennauhamelonta-paddling, day 9 Puumala - Lappeenranta (62 km)

Sunday 28.8.

After strong Rauli - storm on Saturday paddling continued to Lappeenranta.

The whole Saturday was spent in Puumala listening the howling wind, which was pretty strong. It must have been at least 15 m/s in the evening. We were staying at Puumala camping and visited town on afternoon.

Tractor gathering at Puumala

There were dozens of old tractors gathered on a local square and after awhile they drove through the town on this event, which is organized every year.

The storm passed during the night and wind was moderate 6-7 m/s from north-west in the morning. This direction of the wind was optimal for us, because we were paddling to south-east or south whole day. It was much colder than yesterday due to change of direction of the wind.

At Puumala camping

The first leg was roughly 30 km to Kutvele,where we planned to have a lunch break. After Kutvele - channel we landed on a beach, which was on a shelter from the wind. Sun was shining practically throughout the day.

Lunch break at Kutvele

When crossing Suur-Saimaa after Kutvele,waves were moderate, but still rather easy to paddle. The last 15 km felt endless, but finally we reached Lappeenranta and the beach of Myllysaari, which was the ending spot for Vuoksennauha-paddling.

After 10,5 hours paddling at 18:50 we had paddled 429 km from Nurmes to Lappeenranta.

The paddling route of the ninth day can be seen here.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Vuoksennauhamelonta-paddling, day 8 Savonlinna - Puumala (69 km)

Friday 26.8.

The autumn storm has been forecasted to hit Finland on Saturday and wind is expected to increase up to 11 m/s. It seems that we can't paddle on Saturday at all.

Calm evening at Kietävälänvirta / Haapaselkä

Because we have reserved only three days for paddling and now it seems to decrease to two days we had to make new plans. We have still nearly 140 km to go.

We decided to plan a longer day today and try to reach Puumala. In the morning wind was blowing from west, but we managed to plan the route in such a way we got shelter from the islands on the way.

The first stretch was a long one, 33 km,  up to Telataipale - channel, where we had a lunch break. The wind was calming down and afternoon / evening was expected to have pleasant paddling with non-existent wind.

The ferry "Nestori" at Kietävälä

I was feeling powerful today and paddling was easy. It seemed possible to reach Puumala just at sunset and we landed on a beach just after sunset. However it was not allowed to camp on a beach and after a quick decision started paddling again towards Koskenselkä - camping place, a bit north from the beach. It was already dark and we paddled silently through the harbor towards north.

Close to Puumala

Landed on camping place just before 10 PM. The timing was just perfect, because wind started to increase immediately after our arrival.

Puumala - bridge after sunset

The paddling route of the eighth day can be seen here.

Vuoksennauhamelonta-paddling, day 7 Enonkoski - Savonlinna (48 km)

Thursday 25.8

In the morning I felt on my muscles the stress of the previous 60 km paddling. The weather forecast was not too good. Rainfall and strong headwind all the day. The wind was increasing in the afternoon and we decided to start early.

However it was already at 8 AM when we managed to start the paddling. The day was hard for me. The first part until Haponlahden kanava - channel went pretty OK, but after the channel the headwind from south striked us.

Rainy day at Haukivesi

It was raining and we fought towards south to cross Haukivesi and Pieni Haukivesi water areas. The plan was to paddle directly and as fast as possible to Savonlinna, before wind increases. However we didn't succeed and due to not having lunch break I was totally exhausted, wet and cold when we finally arrived to Haapavesi and Savonlinna.

Selfie

As a miserable ending for the day the camping place - Vuohimäki - had closed already few days earlier. We got a permission to land and pitch our tent though, but there were not any facilities or services. This was not my lucky day...

On the evening went to downtown and had supper on a local restaurant. This night I was sleeping like a baby.

The paddling route of the seventh day can be seen here.

Vuoksennauhamelonta-paddling, day 6 Pyhäselkä - Enonkoski (61 km)

Wednesday 24.8

Because the previous day was a short one, only half a day, we had to paddle one longer day i.e. 60 km distance. The wind was quite strong 6-7 m/s but it was blowing mostly from north-west or north. Therefore we didn't had headwind, but still it was quite demanding to paddle on large open water areas, where waves were higher.

At Savonranta

We had a long first stretch to Savonranta guest harbor, where we had a long and rewarding break at local cafeteria / restaurant. The first pizza during this paddling tasted heavenly.

At Jouhivuori

We managed to find a small spot - Jouhivuori - for staying overnight. There were even "laavu" - a lean-to shelter, but we pitched the tent because of the mosquito. The temperature was only 11-13 degrees whole day due to wind from north. The signs of autumn are on the air...

The paddling route of the sixth day can be seen here.

Vuoksennauhamelonta-paddling, day 5 Joensuu - Pyhäselkä (20 km)

After two weeks Vuoksennauha paddling continued from  Joensuu.

Our kayaks were at Joensuun kauhojat - paddling club's premises and after 5 PM on Tuesday 23.8 we were packing the kayaks again. Because sun was setting already 8:30 PM we had only three and half hours paddling time.

View from Joensuun Kauhojat - paddling club

Our goal was to cross Pyhäselkä and stay overnight at Tikansaari on a small beach. Fortunately wind was not that strong than two weeks ago and there were only mild headwind during the crossing. I can imagine how bad and difficult Pyhäselkä is to cross on heavy wind...

Staying overnight at Tikansaari - island

Roughly at 9 PM we landed on Tikansaari - island and had pleasant night at tent.

The paddling route of the fifth day can be seen here.

Monday, August 22, 2016

LEO gathering at Rovaniemi

It was already two years since we had previous LEO (Nature Experience Guides) gathering at Santa-Sport at Rovaniemi, which have been selected as one of the Olympic training centers in Finland.

Santa-Sport is Olympic Training Center

The weekend 19.-21.8 was booked for this year gathering event. We started on Friday by updating Finnish Climbing Association's Rope Work Supervisor - license by climbing and practicing at Hiidenkirnut - cliffs just south of Rovaniemi.

Updating Rope work supervisor license

The license needs to be updated every 5 years, so the next update will happen in 2021...

On Saturday we headed to Vikaköngäs rapids and started rafting. Couple of runs before the competition round, where altogether 5 teams were competing. The first start was the sprint and our team got the second best time. After the sprint there were head-to-head rounds and we managed to go onto finals, but again one team was faster than us.

Rafting marathon race at Vikaköngäs

At the end the competition was ended by marathon race, where our result was second again. Therefore our final ranking was second.

At adventure park Huima

On Sunday morning we familiarized ourselves with Adventure park Huima, which is located next to Santa-Sport.