Breaking the ice

6:15 rang my iPhone alarm and woke me up, far too early for a Saturday, but I made up a plan yesterday when I took pictures from the ice: I want to see the sunrise. From my kayak! I took a short breakfast, packed my camera, water, a snack and my immersion suit and drove to the small Storgrundet beach again. Half of the sea between the island and land was covered with ice.

immersion-suitSome minutes later I sat in my kayak and started my trip. It was harder to get ahead than expected. Even if ice was just three to five millimetres thick you could easily lay down the paddle without braking it. And so I had to prick the blade through the ice to force me forward. The cracking sounds of the ice smashed by my kayak reminded me on the tour with the “Arctic Explorer”, an ice breaker in Piteå. But I’m not sure if I would break as little as a single centimetre with the blade of my paddle. The immersion suit that I wore for protection in case of flipping over or falling into the icy water is quite alike the survival suits on the Arctic Explorer, too. You can lie in ice water for quite a long time without even freezing. But moving in it is hard because the neoprene is quite thick and stiff and the attached gloves are not very comfortable.

The sky was mostly clear, just some clouds in the east gleamed in warm early pre-sunrise colours. And far afield just over the horizon you could see a big wall of grey clouds. The locals call this clouds vinterväggen (The winter wall), since this is a typical cloud pattern in the winter months. It was awesome to be out, feeling the chilly air in the face, listening to the cracking sounds of the fresh ice and watching the changing sunrise colours reflecting on the icy surface.

But the ice gave me a quite hard time and so I decided after a while not to round another island but to head back to the beach and perhaps take another nap after the short last night. Therefore I turned my kayak and paddled back. I could see the channels of open water that the boat cut into the ice on my way there. I tried to use these channels to make paddling simpler, but it hardly help. Not the boat is the problem but the blade. Finally I went ashore again after one of the shortest kayak trips ever. But it was completely worth it!

7 comments to “Breaking the ice”

  1. Per 2014-10-18 21:35

    Great photos Olaf! Just love the one where you put the paddle through the ice! (Where You outside the kajak?)

  2. way-up-north 2014-10-18 21:40

    Thank you, Per. No, I was inside the kayak but put the camera on the thin ice with outstretched arm. No sweat, because the camera (Nikon AW1) is waterproof and was tied to the kayak.

  3. Martin 2014-10-19 13:13

    Das ist eine tolle Serie von einer ganz ungewöhnlichen Situation (Kayaking durch frisches Herbsteis vor Sonnenaufgang)und entsprechend begeistert bin ich von deinen Ergebnissen. Das ist so richtig Futter fürs Fernweh!

  4. Ricarda 2014-10-19 14:14

    Herrliche Bilder !
    Es lohnt sich wohl doch den inneren Schweinehund zu überwinden und früh aufzustehen :) …….nur daß ich selbst es irgendwie nie auf die Reihe bekomme.
    Aber wer weiß……irgendwann mal.
    Schönen Sonntag noch !

  5. way-up-north 2014-10-19 21:01

    Das war auch ein richtig schönes Erlebnis, Martin und Ricarda. Heute hingegen war richtiges Nassherbstwetter, Regen, der so langsam in Schneeregen übergeht und viel Wind. Gut, dass ich das gestern gemacht habe.

  6. Pia 2014-10-21 15:10

    Auch ohne dicke Eisschollen wieder großartige Bilder, Olaf!
    Du mußt Fotographieren wirklich seeehr lieben, um am Samstag um 6.15 Uhr aus dem Bett zu hüpfen.. ;-)

    LG – vermutlich wieder einen ganzen Winter ohne Schnee oder Eis – von Pia

    P.S. Wußte gar nicht, daß es in Skelleftea auch Teletubbies in freier Wildbahn gibt,.. ;-)

  7. way-up-north 2014-10-21 17:52

    Ja, ich fotografiere gerne, Pia. Aber ich erlebe auch gerne und das gibt oft den Ausschlag, etwas zu unternehmen.

    Und ja, einen Teletubbie gibt es in Skelleftehamn ;-) Und viel mehr als „O-o lala“ hätte der auch nicht sagen können am besagten morgen, für mehr wäre er zu müde gewesen.

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