Spring winter kayaking through the ice.

After yesterday’s ugly and windy conditions the weather today looked quite promising. A good ooportunity to take another kayak tour. At eight o’clock I put on dry suit and life vest and dragged my kayak to the open water by the islet Lillskär.

I paddled slowly to give two pairs of swans time to retreat and then kayaked round the islet. Here a large field of ice floes awaited me.

There were open patches of water, but mostly I paddled through dense ice fields that were moved by long and smooth waves. The large floes were 30 cm thick, some of them even thicker.

How does paddling through the ice work? Most ice floes are small enough to be pushed aside. I tried to paddle around the larger ice floes. Sometimes I bumped into them. and sometimes I just paddled over them by purpose – “brute force”.

After a kilometre I reached open water and then another ice field with thinner and smaller ice floes. Here I could just paddle through and the transparent ice glittered in the sun.

I wanted to reach the “ice berg” south of the islands Obbolstenarna. Out there is a large shallow with some rocks. There the waves build a temporary island of ice and snow. This year it was two to three metres high. I didn’t dare to circumnavigate this icy island because in the shallows around the waves were high and breaking. I considered this being too risky to kayak there since I was alone.

I didn’t kayak around Obbolstenarna neither for the same reasons so I returned. I could see the Finnland ferry in the harbour some kilometres away. Soon I entered the ice field again.

As on the way there I paddled through the floes without any problems. I only landed in a dead end once and that was on purpose for the photo.

Since the weather was great it was so exceptionally beautiful out there I parked my kayak on a larger ice floe and took a short break.

Then it was time to return to the ice edge, walk back to our house and enter my office because this was my first day of a week of home office. Farewell ice floes. Thanks for good company.

2 comments to “Spring winter kayaking through the ice.”

  1. Martin Golaszewski 2024-04-09 09:32

    Very impressive account of an icy paddle into the Baltic Sea. How did you get the kayak on the sheet of ice? I used my hands for that. I just pushed the nose of the kayak and then pulled myself up. Is this how to do it? Is there a better way?

  2. way-up-north 2024-04-09 09:42

    Hej Martin!

    Since the ice sheet is quite flat with a freeboard of less than 10 cm I just paddle straight ahead onto the ice sheet as fast as I can. Then I may use my hands or ice spikes if the ice is too slippery.

    If the ice is thicker I park my kayak sideways and use my paddle to stabilise it. Then it is easy to exit and just lift the kayak onto the ice.

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