After the daring and highly successful ice cream swim to Söderarm there was more waiiiiting to do. And trying to get some sleep. According to the forecast a 16 hour weather window would open, but not before 2100.
We had an early dinner and started packing the boats and as we have learned to expect the weather forecast was spot on and 2100 we were on the water paddling off for an estimated six hour crossing.
We did a bit of risk analysis. Main risk: a lot of boat traffic; we haven’t spent an hour at Tyvskär without one, more likely two or three large boats in sight. Mostly ferries crossing between Sweden and Finland and most going to the north of our planned route. But far from all. Mitigation: lights on all boats. Most of us use head torches, but Mikko went one better with and anchor light attached to the kayak. And then we carry two VHFs so we are able to communicate with nearby traffic.
Second risk that a forecast is just forecast. In case the wind was to pick up we planned to go via Flötjan, a lighthouse ca 2/3 of the way across. A very interesting and memorable place to try to land according to Mikko, but doable if absolutely needed.
In the event we were in luck. The wind came down more than forecast, the few boats that crossed our course were far away. Well, all except M/Sa Pluga from Transfennica, a container ship which crossed less than a hundred meters in from of us.
We realised it would come close, so we waited in a “float” with all lights pointed in its direction and monitored it close lest it should change course, and we were ready with the VHFs.
Size and distance is difficult to judge during the night. The ship did cross in front of us as expected, but a bit closer and quite a bit larger.
Larger ship means larger waves and as soon as the ship had passed Erling commented that “maybe we shall dissolve the float and and get the paddles in the water”. The contours of the waves were impressive against the night sky..
In the end the waves were about two meters high and quite steep, but no longer breaking. Four turns in the rollercoaster and we were through.
All went to plan. We could see the two lighthouses from about 2200 and onwards. We passed Fløtjan after four hours with no desperate needs suggesting a landing and at after six hours we set the kayaks ashore on the pebbly beach at Lågskär. We were in Finland!!
But no time for an “anchor aquavit” just pump the mattresses roll out the sleeping bag and good night.
We expected six hours sleep, but we had forgotten that there is a time difference between Finland and Sweden so five would do. Weather forecast suggested that we should be in the boats no later than 1200 to have time to do the two crossings between us and the well shielded part of the Åland archipelago. We took time for breakfast and and a morning dip (a bit rich on algae, but passable)
We were on the water as planned, but with one piece of bad news: one footrest on Mikko’s boat came loose and rendered the rudder partially useless. Since we were a bit short on time we decided to go and have a look at the first break
At the first break Stein dug deep into his ample repairs supply and found a bolt that Mikko could use. Mikko used his leather man to make a hole in the boat to thread the bolt through and a makeshift repair was in place. Mikko McGyver 🙂 Hopefully it will do to Kökar.
The rest of the day was paddling through a archipelago of skerries and small islands much the the annoyance of multitudes of terns and also some eagles that reluctantly broke their rest and flew away.
Finally at about 2000 we arrived at Bergskär where Mikko spotted a campsite we non-Finns would have paddled straight past. another 29 km since Lågskär, making fora total 60 km over 21 at times eventful hours.
And we are in Finland! No aquavit today. It was time for finnish “ädel brãnnvin” or “Jallo” as they say here.
And then it was time for bed. Tomorrow we will aim for the 30 something km to Kökar, weather permitting.