We woke up to a near freezing chilly morning atop a cold rock at Norrholmen isle. We skipped breakfast, took down camp snd set off paddling in a cloudy overcast but still calm weather to round the southern tip of Emäsalo.
After paddling some 9 kms we stopped for a quick breakfast at the western point of Onaslandet. At this point the clouds removed themselves towards the south and the sun came out!
At this stage the wind was from the S @ approx 3-4 m/s. This was the first time I dared to use the SeaDog Commander sail unreefed. The help from the sail was minimal but noticeable!
We made good time to Kaunissaari in hopes for a cafe.. there was a cafe but it wouldn’t open for another 2 hours.. slightly annoyed by this we settled for our thermos teas and a couple handfuls of trailmix before continuing to the days final destination: Kallahti , Natura Viva Paddling center.
Just as we were leaving Kaunissaari thunderstorm in the north near Vuosaari port looked like it might turn south as the winds were gusting up and blowing from the north!! A quick route replan and we headed south thru the safety of a group of isles before turning back west again towards Hattusaari and Natura Viva. Enroute had to play ‘wait and see’ with another dark thundercell before crossing over 4 shipping lanes to Hattusaari… almost there!
After a quick Snickers chocolate bar “lunch”, we made it to the NaturaViva oadfling center quite easily.
It would seem that since the previous day we nade reasonable progress despite the northwind and actually the wind direction was favourable for our progress, the powers that be deemed it necessary for a change in wind direction.
When woke up the wind had turned SW… another day of stiff 8 m/s
headwinds awaited us – again!
Despite this physical and mental challeeeeenge, we set off. Trying to find a short cut I won the first ice cream bet of the trip. I hsppened to guess cirrectly whether we could cross through a very narrow reed infested strait. We could and I won! 😊
We were approaching Keipsalo from the east with intent of rounding the northern tip and continuing SW to Kabböle marina for water refills, coffee and that ice cream. All the way in an annoying headwind! Gusts probably oeaked to oerhsps 12 m/s wave height was around 60 cm. Energy sapping headway we made.
At Kabböle we decided that continuing SW with this headwind wasn’t very smart on the long run so we planned on paddling another 9 km to the next recreational campsite on Byon isle known as Bockholm.
9 km’s of intensifying headwind later we made it to Bockholm. A natural cove harbour, A nice place for boaters, sailers for sure, but not so ideal for kayakers. Landing space for kayaks is limited to maybe 5-6, otherwise the shore is steep. Suitable tentspaces are far from shore.. but since thete was enougj room for two paddlers and we were a bot tired we decided to stay.
The wind, waves and cold of the previous day had taken their toll on us. We didn’t feel too energetic as we headed once again into a chilly headwind up the passage between Kuutsalo and Lehmäsaari isle’s. Yet we trudged onwards. Past Lehmäsaari we turned SW and followed paralel to the shipping lanes, past Mussalo harbour. At this stage headwind was no more and the rest of the day we paddled in a southwesterly course in the windless side of islands or we had a rear quartering tailwind while in the open areas.
We had two rest breaks during the day, the longer on the southern rocky shore of Långön, a very photogenic location.
I had been used the sail starting on kilometer 16 and had it up the rest of the day (some26 kms). It was quite fun and relaxing at that stage. However the wind was still pretty cold.
Some 6 km out from Lilla Hudö the wind began to die and the setting for the approaching sunset was begining to look nice!
We made it ashore sometime at 2130 hrs – Totally exhausted! It had been a VERY taxing day!
The paddling and route taken was affected by the strong north winds. The day stated out sunny but was chilly from the get go. Temperatures didn’t get much better once it got cloudy and random rainshowers
crossed our paths! Winds were roughly 6-8 m/s but during the rain showers I suspect gust peaks were 12-14 m/s.
The 3 hours we paddled in above described headwinds. After reaching the northern tip of Kuorsalo we turned westward and had a sidewind. In a couple crossings the waveheights were in the 40-60 cm range. Quite manageable but tiring and tense paddling as the waves coming in came from two different directions.
I had a chance to use my SeaDog Commander sail for about 8 Kms.I had it reefed the whole time due to the sudden gusts that kept bombarding us at rabdom moments. The sail worked nicely even when reefed and especially in the above mentioned conditions! On one occasion when we were passing thru a narrow straight between two Islands, with a gusting tailwind the kayak was cruising along @ 7 km/h with no aid of paddle! ( kayak fully loaded + sailed reefed!) . However in the afternoon I took down the sail due to the strengthing of the gusts + waves from the side that were approx 60cm high.
At one point Marko’s kayak hit some underwater obstacle with a LOUD bang! Inspection, revealed a two fair sized gouges in the forward area of the hull about the size of a 50 eurocent coins. One gouge was center keel on the kevlar and the second one was approx 12 cm next to the first one. Both exactly where the forward bulkhead is located!!! Guessing on how the gelcoat was gone and the laminates had turned white, I would wager that the hull would have been holed, had the impact hit anywhere else than where the forward bulkhead was located.
Quick assesment was made and due to the cold weather we decided to wash, dry and patch up the dings with gorillatape and continue onwards. It was too cold to mess about with epoxy anyways.. some 13 C.
The day passed by quickly and passing thru the straights between Kuutsalo and Kirkkomaa we realized the cold the wind and the waves had tired us considerably. It was time to call it a day. We found a decent campsite on the southern shore of Kuutsalo.
First day on the water. First time in medium wind and waves with a fully loaded Beaufort! Not bad. After some getting used to the whims of the Beaufort the going was easy and fast.
The wind was blowing from the north around 6 m/s with gusts maybe upto 10+m/s. Fortunately for us thus meant an easygoing tail wind with some opportunities for short surfs! According to my gps top speed in a surf todaywas 11.2 km/h( no sail!!) ! With a fully loaded kayak as well!
Camp @ Suuri Pisi. A wonderful isle with nice views on the westely beach. Only minus was the ten trillion mozzies that were blood frenzy thirsty… It hasnt been this bad in a long while.
The weather forecast for the next two days is a strengthening North wind, so we will probably first head north to hug the coast as we start a trudge towards the west.
For the upcoming finnish coastal paddle, Marko and myself took our new Beauforts for a ‘spin’, or more seriously a trial run. A couple night trip with basic camping loads to figure out how these kayaks work, how they should be loaded, how we perform, how new bits of kit work, what we forgot, what we won’t need and also.. just for the fun of it! 🙂
We logged some 100 km’s total trip. The weather was beautiful! Not so much wind, = very little sailing. The sun and warm more than made up for the lack of the wind.
Overall the kayaks worked VERY well ! Both were pleased. On smooth waters and a semi-full load paddling @ 6.5-7 km/h daily average speed was surprisingly easy for day trips of 36-38 km. We could have improved that average quite easily if we felt like it. But being the first trip of the season, we took it easyish.. Nothing fell off, nothing broke so all in all a VERY good trip!
A more complete or review of the kayak will follow after this summers trip!
Got a couple semi-decent pictures along the way. Trip took place in the Lake Saimaa system, mainly: Yövesi, Liittokivenselkä, Varissaarenselkä, Pajusaarenselkä and Hietasaarenselkä
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