Crossing paths around Simskäla, Åland

2009-08-18–23

This year took us back to the islands of Åland, the north eastern part. We met up at Magnus’s place in heavy rain – a bad sign? Left for Åland on the evening ferry from Kapellskär and stayed the night at Pensionat Solhem in order to shop food early.

Wednesday

The starting point, Sandösunds camping, provide parking, a nice beach to launch off and containers for waste – all for a few euros a day.

On slipping my kayak into the water, I notice the it’s leaking at the skeg – again. So I rent a VKV Lisa off the camping.

Grouped and finally on our way: Magnus, Peter L and Peter N. Well, we were lucky to have Peter N aboard, because he thought we we were to leave the next day.

…and George Truly

We paddled against the northern wind, east of Sandön and then across to Simskäla where we passed under the bridge in the sound between the eastern and western parts.

Here’s the peaceful bay just on the other side of the bridge.

We continue up to Stora Kroksholmen and found a sheltered site for the night. I managed to pur wine into my handheld and was sadly enough cut off from email for the rest of the trip. Magnus provided a nice, thai style, pork casserole for dinner.

Thursday

The wind had turned to the south and increased. As the forecast had plenty of warnings for strong winds, we decided to skip the more open waters and thereby miss going all the way to Saggö.

While at the water we had cloudy weather, but on land another sunny day.

We headed against the wind and followed the western shore of Västra Simskäla.

Look closely, there’s a red fox that watched us for a good couple of minutes.

We crossed over to Furön for lunch.

Here we found a good looking watch tower, but it was closed up.

Heading north again, Peter N’s resting his sore right wrist.

We aimed for Trätö for the night.

And found a nice place to set up our tents.

I’m not the only one with a leaking kayak, Peter N had to pump out many litres at every stop. Time for investment?

And Peter L’s enjoying the sun and a beer after a swim.

A sweater is needed as the sun is setting. Tonight’s casserole was sausage based and provided by Peter L.

Magnus and Peter L contemplating going to bed (Peter N and I stayed up to watch the stars come out – simply amazing out here with no disturbing light).

Friday

The weather report talked about strong southerly winds and Magnus wanted to verify.

He also took off to get a feel – and judging from his hair style got a real scare.

Well, all things considered, winds 10-14 meter / second, Peter N’s sore arm and that all interesting islands are out in open waters – we decided to rest for the day. Although sheltered from direct winds, there would be lots of flapping tents, even if we tried tying them down. In gusts, we considered tying ourselves down with duct tape.

Swam, lay in the sun, tried (unsucessfully) to walk round the island. See a taxi (?) boat passing, otherwise the only sign of life is an airplane and a helicopter, both in the distance. An afternoon beer and some nice Finnish tango on the radio.

Another beautiful sunset. Peter N prepared a tinned beaf casserole for us.

Saturday

Woke to yet another sunny day.

We had too move out despite continuing strong (12 m/s) south easterly winds. The sea had build up fiercely too (although I did not bring the camera out where it shows).

We rounded Trätö and passed through the canal at Viggskär.

Continued as sheltered as we could.

Here is Peter N, who minutes later had to help me up after my kayak got stuck on a hidden rock and flipped over. An interesting experience in the wind and waves. Luckily enough I had my feet on under water rocks and could prevent the kayak from ending up on the rocky shore close by. But it took a while emptying it and getting back in.

We found a decent, but no more, camp site at Näset on Västra Simkäla. A rainy afternoon and everything wet, but it eased up for a late dinner.

And another enjoyable sunset.

Tonight’s casserole was based on dried rein deer meat and also dried tomatoes and onion. To which was served a delicious potatoe mash (dried of course). Chef = George Truly.

Sunday

Finally, light winds (westerly), so we headed east around Simskäla…

…and down through Österkärssundet.

Another day with almost no other boats or people in sight.

Took a last break and a swim at Södra Flisgrundet.

And then across Vikarfjärden…

…and back to Sandösunds camping.

Rounded off with short visits to Bomarsund and Jan Karlsgården (where the lady from the prison museum, we met her this spring, gave us another nice history lesson).

Returned via the ferry to Kapellskär.

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