Wednesday, June 29, 2011

11. day 46 km (in total 405 km)

<Gustavsvärn, Hanko - Sandön, Dragsfjärd>

Long crossing from Hanko to Archipelago of Hiittinen went very well due to a optimal weather for such demanding crossing. It was blowing only 1-3 m/s tailwind and I was able to paddle straight. It was hot and sunny day. I was planning to paddle to Sandön beautiful island on Archipelago National Park.There are white sandy beaches and campfire utilities on the island. It is one of the most beautiful camping spots on this area. It seems high pressure has conquered Finland and paddling feels now like a holiday hobby :)

Forest on Sandön island

A few words about equipment I have with me. On the front deck I'll have everything needed for navigation: Deck compass and map (cycling map 1:200 000) in a water-proof case. GPS is for tracking the route and measuring the distance. It is used as a backup for the map, if the visibility is zero due to sea fog. Of course GPS works as a safety equipment in case of emergency to easily notify the location. In addition of navigation equipment I'll have on front deck safety gear. If I capsize then I'll have floating device, which helps me to get back to kayak with paddle, pump for pumping water out of the kayak, leash attached to paddle so that I don't lose my paddle and mobile phone in a water-proof case to call help, if needed.

Front deck

On the rear deck I'll have only spare paddle, light for paddling during the night and a foam to help drag my kayak on a rocky ground.

Rear deck

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

10. day 27 km (in total 359 km)

<Fladalandet, Tammisaari - Gustavsvärn, Hanko>

This was another great day for paddling! When I woke up at 7:30, when sun was raising, there were no wind at all. At the same spot there were 2 boats in anchor and one of them, M/S Cindy I had seen before. When I started chatting with the owner we noticed we had spent 3 nights in a row at the same place! This night at Fladalandet, yesterday at Stora Fagerö and day before at Lähteelä. What a coincidence! The same route and same schedule... I wish you a very pleasent and relaxing vacation trip, wherever you are heading! Hopefully we'll see some day again...

Crossing between archipelago of Tammisaari and Hanko, no wind at all

The other boat owners had fished perches in the evening and just before I was leaving in the morning they gave me smoked perches. What a kind persons you are, thank you and warmest greetings to you.

When I started crossing towards Hanko, sea was calm and there were no wind at all. What a perfect weather for paddling. I was feeling absolutely great.

After 4,5 hours paddling I reached my destination, Gustavsvärn lighthouse island. I had agreed before with the president of the Finnish lighthouse society that I could spend a night on their lighthouse. Finnish lighthouse society is doing a great job to preserve and renovate old lighthouses, if you are not yet a member, join immediately! I have been working as a voluntary and renovating Märket lighthouse. I have visited Gustavsvärn as well. There were 2 voluntary workers, Tuula and Hilkka welcoming me to the island.

Hilkka and Tuula welcoming me to Gustavsvärn

I was able to do all the "services" I was planning to do here. Charge all of the batteries of equipment, do the laundry and have the sauna and wash myself. Sauna was absolutely fantastic!!! Great work Alpo & co.

Tomorrow I have a long crossing but fortunately weather forecast is showing a mild wind. Now I'm feeling like I would be at home, because I have reached the area which is familiar to me. Earlier I have been paddling at Tammisaari archipelago, visited Gustavsvärn and tomorrow I'm heading to Saaristomeri, where I have been paddling many times already.

My warmest thanks to Finnish lighthouse society for accommodation, Tuula and Hilkka for excellent meals & warming up sauna, Fladalandet boaters for smoked perches and M/S Cindy owners for great company.

The flag of lighthouse society fluttering in the wind

9. day 44 km (in total 332 km)

<Stora Fagerö, Inkoo - Fladalandet, Tammisaari>

Today was the first day since the start when I was paddling without dry-suit! It was sunny and warm day. After one hour paddling from Stora Fagerö, we stopped at Barösund to change paddling clothes, because it was too hot. At the same time we visited at local shop and I got first ice cream since the start, delicious !

Great day for paddling

It was a pleasure to paddle on such a weather and beautiful scenery. We headed towards south-west and Tammisaari archipelago. It was nice to have paddling company for three days, thanks Minna. From now on I continue again on my own. I arrived late in the evening at Tammisaari national park and paddled silently through the maze of tiny islands in a totally calm weather. This is paradise! I headed onto a most beautiful camping spot I know, Fladalandet and enjoyed amazing sun set at warm rocks. Superb!

At Fladalandet

Sunday, June 26, 2011

8. day 39 km (in total 288 km)

<Lähteelä, Kirkkonummi - Stora Fagerö, Inkoo>

Wake up was already 5 AM due to weather forecast. After sleeping only few hours my body was feeling tired already in the start. But the wind was gone. Instead there were fog and 6:30 we headed towards Porkkalanniemi and Rönnskär island, which is military area. The island has daymark called Rönnskär, which have been earlier lighthouse. We passed the daymark, but couldn't land and visit the island, because we didn't have permit to enter military area.

Passing Rönnskär daymark

Just a bit over two hours paddling to the sea and we arrived onto a remote rocks having Porkkala lighthouse. It's located in a restricted area (seal protection area) and need a permit to visit there. We had acquired a permit before and were able to visit this beautiful and remote lighthouse now!!!! This was the absolute highlight of the trip so far...

Finally!! Porkkala lighthouse

Wind was increasing in the afternoon and we managed to paddle back to archipelago of Inkoo just in two and a half hours.

Paddling at Porkkala lighthouse :)

Due to a sunny day and early wake up we put our camp already at 4 PM at Stora Fagerö island, rested and enjoyed the rest of the day.

7. day 50 km (in total 249 km)

The wind was supposed to be 1-2 m/s and I was expecting as a pleasent paddling day, but it turned out that wind was blowing 4-5 m/s from SW. Thus this was 6th day headwind in a row.
Welcome to Suomenlinna island!
The first stretch from Pikku leikosari to Suomenlinna was familiar from previous paddling trips. Silja and Biking ferrys were just arriving onto a harbour. The break at Suomenlinna was quite long due to reason every cafe at the island was closed, except one. We managed to grip hot chocolate and delicious cakes.
Thus Suomenlinna was the first lighthouse visited on this trip. 

Suomenlinna lighthouse
We pushed against the wind towards southeast and Porkkala and got some shelter from the islands on the way.

At break
After 10PM we arrived to Lähteelä, camping area at Porkkalanniemi.

Friday, June 24, 2011

6. day 35 km (in total 199 km)

<Stornäsudden, Porvoo - Pikku leikosaari, Helsinki>

Heavenly Sauna

Last night I pitched my tent carefully and tied up my kayak with a rope onto a tree due to a storm. When listening the wind during the night I can easily imagine the forecast for 20 m/s was quite right. However my kayak was OK in the morning...

The first leg was across the Porvoo oil refinery and the wind was still 7-8 m/s headwind from SW, what a surprise ! First two hours I was fighting against up to 1m waves and the wind, before I managed to take a more sheltered route. I had a nice lunch break at Kalkkiranta and went to a local restaurant to have first meal indoors in six days.

A couple of days ago I was wondering the pain in my back and now I found a reason. There were some ants inside my dry suit and when I started paddling they started to bite me. I couldn't do anything, but paddle.

Mid-summer evening at Helsinki archipelago

After 7 hours paddling it was awesome to arrive at Pikku leikosaari, where Minna was waiting me and sauna was warming up. I had the chance to wash and it felt heavenly. In addition the weather is really nice, like mid-summer weather needs to be. The amount of boats is enourmous at this time of the year, which I noticed when approaching Helsinki.

For some reason I have had problems with GPS and thus the route is not continuous, but having breaks from time to time.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

5. day 39 km (in total 164 km)

<Kabböle, Pernaja - Stornäsudden, Porvoo>

Very narrow and sheltered route

After arriving late in the night to Kabböle, I just immediately fell asleep. I had shortage of water and needed desperately recharging of my batteries for laptop, cell phone and GPS. I managed to charge all the batteries of different equipments, buy some more food and fill up my water bags. Now I can continue another 4 days without need of supplies.

This guy was cheering me up on my way

I started a bit over 10AM and chose a very sheltered route, because the weather forecast warned sailors and boat drivers of stormy weather and strong winds, even up to 20 m/s. The wind was occasionally rough in gusts, but I managed to reach my planned destination at Porvoo and found a small recreational area with tenting possibilities. There were dark clouds and heavy showers on the way. I'm hoping to see some sunny days during the rest of the trip :)

Didn't asked the price...

4. day 43 km (In total 125 km)

<Svartbäck Krokö, Pyhtää - Kabböle, Pernaja>

Wake up already at 4AM and paddling started at 4:30 due to milder wind during early morning. The wind was still blowing from SW and were headwind all the day. I paddled 5 hours and took a long lunch and rest break during 12AM - 6PM.

There are rocks everywhere

The wind was strongest at that time and there were no sense to try to do multiple 5-6 km crossing. In the evening I passed by Loviisa nuclear plant and completed paddling just before midnight. Now I'm having a well deserved rest...

Views at Loviisa

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

3. day 24 km (in total 82 km)

This was a windy day. I was fighting against 8-12 m/s (SW) headwind all day and managed to paddle on the waters of Pyhtää. I was hoping to continue still, but on gusts wind was so strong there were no sense to continue. I tried to find a camping spot and last found a small ledge, into which I pitched my tent. Sure this has been one of the hardest paddling days I have had. It seems headwind is going to continue, hopefully it will calm down a bit...

Camping spot on a ledge

Monday, June 20, 2011

2. day 38 km (in total 58 km)

At the beginning of paddling every item seems to be lost. I don't have routine for packing stuff into a kayak yet. It rained during the evening and night and the wind increased from yesterday. I started a bit after 9AM and noticed a strong headwind and moderate waves.
I pushed all the day in 6-8 m/s headwind (from W and SW) and long crossings between islands took all my strength. Finally I reached my camping place just in front of Kotka after 7PM. Actually this looks a nice spot with cooking shelters and toilets.

Lonely kayak at Lehmäsaari beach

When I was approaching the camping beach, one swan was trying to escort me a bit further by showing a way in front of my kayak. Maybe it had youngsters nearby...

Swan escorting me

Sunday, June 19, 2011

1. Day 20 km (in total 20 km)

At start at Virojoki

1. Paddling day started after Saturday's 50 km adventure race and Sunday's Jukola orienteering relay. My body was totally exhausted already in the start. Quarter to five I headed onto a water at the center of Virojoki. The first leg was 20 km paddling in a calm weather, 2m/s from SE and occasional showers.

Approaching national park area, Suur-Pisi island in front

 I put my tent on a Suur-Pisi island in the national park of eastern gulf of Finland. I'm pretty sure I'll have a good sleep tonight...

Landing beach at Suur-Pisi island

Friday, June 17, 2011

First aid module 2

Hypothermia bag

Two days at Rovaniemi contained a first aid module 2, which were fine-tuned for the outdoor professionals. We were practicing a simulated snow-mobile accident at Saariselkä fell area in a virtual class room, which enabled us to see the actual terrain and snow fells of Saariselkä, felt the coldness and howling wind. This virtual environment for practicing different types of accidents was pretty real-like. Amazing!

First step : Digging the roots of spruce

On the second day we went outdoors and practiced how to make the stretchers from different trees like birch, pine and spruce.

Second step : bind pine frames together with spruce roots

Third step : use ropes/clothes/sheets/etc... to fill the center of the frames

Fourth step : Finalize stretchers and place injured patient on it and cover him

Fifth step : move injured person

Tomorrow on Saturday we'll have a 50 km adventure race at Rovaniemi, including following disciplines : roller skating, paddling, coasteering, running/orienteering and some adventure tasks. I need to fly after the adventure race in the Saturday evening to Southern Finland in order to compete in a Jukola orienteering relay on Sunday morning. Let's see on Sunday how I manage all this during one weekend...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sea kayaking at the Baltic Sea

At the calm sea

It was sunshine and high pressure all over Finland during the weekend and thus it was a perfect weather for sea kayaking. The group of 11 paddlers headed on the waters of Pori on the western coast of Finland. The aim was to visit on 3 different lighthouses within 3 days and enjoy sea paddling.

At Kallo lighthouse

We succeeded to visit on all of three lighthouses, which were Kallo, Säppi and Kaijakari. All of these are not too far away from the coastline and only within 5-15 km distance from the city of Pori. The temperature were even bit too high (+30 degrees) and therefore we had constantly swimming breaks during the trip.

Refreshing feet

The route of the paddling trip was : First day, Second day and Third day.