Yesterday round 8 o’clock it began to snow. Wind increased and it snowed twelve hours nonstop. The violet coloured crocus, that Annika found some days before was gradually snowed in.
After work I took a winter bath at Vitskärsudden.
The water was as cold as usual, but the gusty wind and temperature round freezing point cooled me down in the short time period between leaving the sea and being dry and dressed with parka and boots. A good opportunity to make a fire in the oven of our uterum –the unisnsulated room beside the living room – and take the dinner there with a wintry view.
This morning is calmer but still round 0 °C. The next snow is expected on Tuesday … .Then it’s only three more days to the first of May, where again some centimetres of snow are expected. Warm spring seems to be postponed for the moment.
Change of subject. What’s this?
Some of you might know, so a question to the others: What’s this? Write your guesses in the comment section. But that’s an easy one, isn’t it?
The sky is blue, the air is calm. Today we will get the first two-digit temperatures of the year.
Scene 1: excursion
After having breakfast outside Annika and I go to the fishing harbour Rovögern hamn by car. It’s pre-season and Kvarkenfisk, the local fish restaurant with sale is still closed. Directly to the west lies the island Rovögern. A woman picks up some guests by boat. We have a look at the small cabins by the sea, stroll along the coast and through the forest. We take a picnic on the wooden terrace by the harbour (frugal, since we forgot the buns at home). It’s a nice place and we have to come back again, when Kvarkenfisk is open.
Scene 2: flower spotting
I drag my kayak from the garden to the coast. For that I have to cross 40 metres of wetland. I lay the kayak upside down and to tie up to a large rock. Now it’s even easier to take a short (or longer) kayak trip. I clean the wetland from the flotsam and jetsam of the winter floods. A tire with an attached rope used as a swing, driftwood, a small buoy, a railroad crosstie too heavy to lift. While cleaning I find the first spring flower home. A white crocus in full bloom.
Scene 3: winter bathing
Just before preparing dinner we head to the beach of Vitskärsudden for a winter bath. The shortcut on foot is still flooded, so we take the bicycles and the longer way. The smooth surface of the sea looks like silk and it looks beautiful to swim through it. Of course the water is still cold– hardly above zero – but the air is warm and there is no wind. So Annika and I do not have to hurry to dry off and throw us into clothes again. We are not the only swimmers. This winter the place has become quite popular.
Scene 4: paddling
After dinner I paddle round the islet Lillskär. It’s less than a kilometre. Special today: Since I keep close to the land I dare to paddle with “everyday clothes”. What a delight, to glide almost effortlessly through the water and to be able to move the arms naturally without fighting against the stiff neoprene of my waterproof rescue suit that I used the last times.
Bonus: Annika managed to take a picture of me through the old spyglass that we normally use to passing ships, watch seabirds or other animals.
I saw the first tussilago flower already on 1 April, but in a ditch by the E12 from the car. Today I searched for the flower and found a lot of them. I saw butterflies, too, hardly imageable considering the snowfall some days before.
After yesterday’s snow fall Umeå municipality sent an SMS to Annika today at 8:28: “Olles Spår 5,0 km, Klassiskt preparerad”.
Olles Spår is one of Umeå’s cross country ski tracks. Annika and I planned to ski there after work today. I was however a bit doubtful, because at home the snow was thawing away the whole day and in the afternoon it even rained.
When we arrived at the parking place of Olles Spår only a single other car was parked there. And that is what the parking place looked like:
We planned to ski at least 1 km no matter how it goes, but the ski track was much better in shape than expected and so we skied 5 km.
Perhaps we ski again this week, otherwise it was probably the last time this year. And then spring shall come!
Apropos spring: On the way back we stopped at Degernäs – a bird’s paradise. At least a hundred common cranes flew overhead within minutes and a several hundred whooper swans had been gathering in the shallow waters of the flooded meadows. Not mentioning the many geese. That’s another clear sign of spring.
Yesterday the whole day was sunny. The sun was warm enough that we could take breakfast on the terrace. At lunch time we took a bath at Vitskärtsudden. Of course the water temperature is hardly above zero, but it felt springlike to go barefoot over the sand of the beach. Yes – sand, no more ice or snow!
In the morning it has started snowing and since then it has been constantly snowing at temperatures round 0.3 °C. A good opportunity for …
… kayaking! Although wind had become stronger the Baltic Sea still was calm. Maybe it was the snow, that created a wet blanket of slush and made parts of the surface slow and doughy, but that I don’t know.
I just took a tour round Lillskär, but took some photos with my Nikon. That took time, because each time I took photos the wind blew me back 50 to 100 metres again. But as I said, the water was calm and it didn’t took long to round the island, cross a field of floating slush, disturb some geese and return home.
Short experiences can be great and memorable experiences!
A photo from the afternoon – still snowing. The original photo looked almost black-and-white and so I made this composition completely black-and-white with a slide blueish tone.
The background: a line of trees, dimmed by the intense snow fall. The middle layer: A line of rocks in the sea, covered with snow. The foreground: The sea, covered with a layer of slush.
Yesterday at lunch break: The sky is blue and the sun illuminates our little bay. After last nights frost it is still covered with fragile, transparent ice. I stand ashore and take a photo of some ice floes. The inner part of the bay behind me is still covered with thick, old winter ice you can walk on.
Today at lunch break: The weather forecast of SMHI was right: a hard and gusty wind drives wet snow from the sea. The water level is more than 60 cm over normal. (Remember: no tides in the Baltic Sea). The breaking waves have broken all the ice that yesterday still covered the bay and wash the ice floes ashore.
Impossible to make a photo without spray on the lens! Therefore you can see some pale bubbles on the photos.
I stepped from one large ice floe to the other. They float and move under my feet, they raise and fall with the waves but they are still stable enough to bear my weight.
And so looks our house from the middle of our bay Grundviken:
Time to show some more abstract black and white images that I made today. One of the wooden barrel (or whatever it is), almost covered by the sea. Another one of the snow bucketing down from the low hanging clouds.
In the last weeks a lot of snow has melted and the sea ice has vanished. Only in some shallow, protected bays as Grundviken behind our house some ice is left. Spring is near!
Today I took advantage of the calm and sunny weather and took a short kayak tour round the island Bredskärssten. This island is 900 m from the mainland and round 300 m long.
Paddling to the island was easy. That’s, because we mostly have wind from the west and many kayak tours start with tailwind. Some ice floes floated in the lee of Bredskärssten.
I could hear a deep droning sound. A ship? I looked over my shoulder and behind Bredskär – the larger island nearby – the bow of Wasaline, the ferry to Finland appeared. I “parked” between the ice floes to take some images. with my mobile phone.
I continued paddling round the island. Two geese fleed loudly quacking from the island. I saw the reason seconds later: an eagle wheeling above the island.
Of course I had headwind on my way back. But the mainland was near and home in view all the time. Soon I arrived at the very same ice floe where I had started the tour. Time to continue my work in my home office …
With dressing, undressing, dragging the kayak and all the tour took an hour.
The first own video on way-up-north.com – just a rough edit
It is wind and waves that break the sea ice in the spring. And it already feels like spring. Last weekend I saw the first whooper swans and then the first seagulls – either swimming or standing on the ice bridge to the near islet Lillskär.
One week ago I dragged my kayak over the ice to that islet to start a short paddle tour from there. Since then Annika and I could watch how the open sea nibbled at the ice from both sides until only a broad ice bridge was left over.
This ice bridge became narrower and narrower. Today I used my lunch break to slip into my waterproof suit and walk to Lillskär. Even the solid ice had become cracks and these future ice floes raised and sank with the waves. As if the sea would inhale and exhale under my feet.
I went to the island, trudged to the snow and watched the waves at the outer shore. When I returned I saw, that the ice bridge almost had gone. I managed to walk back without wading or swimming, but it was close. Half an hour later the last ice shield was crushed away by the waves and Lillskär is an island again.
Today I don’t show photos but a video. I apologise for the lousy editing but I’m a video newbie and wanted to publish the video today.