Opening the kayak season

“4:45” showed the clock when I woke up this sunday. Seventy minutes later I stood at the shore – just on time to see the sunrise. My kayak still was fixed on its cart with paddle, camera and dry suit inside.

I put on the dry suit, pushed the kayak into the water and started the tour. When I left home it was -6 °C and parts of the sea where covered with thin new ice. Thin enough to melt under the day but thick enough to give me a hard time to break through with the kayak.

I’m always a bit nervous when I stick my paddle into the ice. Will it break one day? But until now it went well. Sometimes it was easier to take the hand and pull the kayak ahead. And sometimes, when the ice got really thick I used the paddle to hack small holes into the ice that I used as handles for pulling me forward.

But after a time I reached open water and paddled along some old ice floes that were much, much thicker.

And a bit later I came to the huge icy surface, that lays between the mainland and the islands Norrskär and Bredskär. I got out and stepped onto the ice. I think, this is the first time that I stepped onto the sea ice from my kayak. I wasn’t nervous, first of all is this old ice really thick, I should guess at least 30 centimetres, probably more. Then I always wear my completely waterproof immersion suit when I make a kayak trip in winter.

After a short break I continued the tour and headed to the island Gåsören. On the outer shore there were some impressive ice floes left.

It took a while until I could go ashore, because I had to cross another field of new ice. I took a longer rest and took of the dry suit. Ugh! Like always I sweated in the thick neoprene suit and now I smelled like a dead Puma. I took on some other clothes and first it was quite chilly. The spring sun however had enough power to warm me up and soon I took of my gloves and cap.

Most snow has melted and beside of the ice covered rocks at the eastern bank Gåsören almost looked like spring was here.

After a while I dressed for paddling again, entered the kayak and returned to the starting place. With the last ice behind I had a beautiful view of the islands Klubben, Flottgrundet, Gråsidan and Nygrundet. With the blue sky and the blue sea I had the feeling of leaving the winter behind me and paddle into the spring.

When I was home again the thermometer showed +7.3 °C. Almost spring!




5 comments to “Opening the kayak season”

  1. Annika 2015-03-15 18:28

    Doesn´t look like spring, though :-) Beautiful pictures.

  2. way-up-north 2015-03-15 18:31

    The last picture doesn’t look like winter neither. Two years ago I took the skis to go to Gåsören. 30 march – two weeks later than this year:

    Gåsören im Winter (German).

    Compare the images and you will admin that it looks quite springlike, compared to two years ago.

    Some more images of the Baltic Sea two years (minus two weeks) ago: Über das Meereis – zwischen Angst und Faszination (German, too).

  3. Elijah 2015-03-16 16:12

    With due respect, but why should you need to travel around when you can have this just around the corner of your home???
    This is really state -of-the-art paddling!

  4. Ma HB 2015-03-16 19:21

    Olaf, last year we were looking at the little lighthouse, like a toy and now photos in front of isle Gasören with big ice floes and – so beautiful
    reflexions. Very nice! Ma HB

  5. way-up-north 2015-03-17 07:34

    Elijah: That’s a very good question and it’s not the first time that I ask myself the same. Some thoughts are mentioned in the latest article Nordkalotten 2015 – final review.

    Ma HB: With the big ice floe in the front the lighthouse still looks like a toy in my opinion.

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