Sweden Sea Kayak Safari

Sweden Sea Kayaking 2014 from Live The Adventure on Vimeo.

Following on from our arrival (and previous Blog), having arrived on the west coast of Sweden for our first night at Ramsvik, we prepped our kit and took in the sea views towards along the coast and our route for the next 4 days.

The following day our friends from Nautopp arrived with all the kayaks and camping kit we hire each year for all of the group. Tarbjorn and Kathrine run Nautopp with a kayak shop based at Lysekil and both sell and hire kit out and do kayak tuition. I have used many operators around the world to outfit trips for me over along period of time and Nautopp are without question provide the highest quality and standards, and a fantastic couple to work with.

With their assistance we distributed the kayaks and kit, took the boats to the water and then started the challenge of that first pack! Our own clothing, sleeping bags and mats, tents, cooking kit, food and water (and wine!) had to be shared out and packed into the kayaks. Out of the boats it looked an impossible task, but once we got the hatches opened, pulled things in and out a few times, we closed the hatches to find everything was in! Enough for the next 4 nights. It’s amazing when you look at how much food we had, how much water we would need for drinking and cooking for the duration – its like a mini expedition with Bill looking after food logistics and me looking after the route, navigation and where we stopped each day!

The first day we left the mainland on the west coast for a short paddle to our lunch spot about 1.5 miles up the coast on a small island just off the mainland. This was a simple sheltered start passing some villages through the first maze of islands getting everyone accustomed to their new mode of transport with some hints and tips along the route. After lunch we continued  a further 3 miles north and a little further away from the mainland to our first evening stop, a great island with stunning views and nice grassy areas to camp. Sweden has a great policy on open access allowing you to camp out on the many islands providing its not a nature reserve or in someones garden, with the policy of leaving no trace of being there. The policy is very rare in any country now so very important that this access is respected allowing others to enjoy this stunning area and location for years to come. With the sun setting very late at this time of year this allows plenty of time to wander to the high points on the islands for views across the archipelagos , or as some did – a little fishing. Our first camp meal was accompanied by the fresh Mackeral caught that evening before settling down to a warm nights sleep.

Day two meant into the routine of packing up camp and loading kayaks, before getting the shorts and paddling kit on an a check of the camp area to ensure its left as we found it. Todays journey took us through many more islands with opportunities to get out and enjoy the views, with a little head wind at times picking up a few small waves and ensuring we put a little effort in to reach camp, a total of nearly 8 miles at a nice leisurely pace. Each day would see us pulling up at a lunch spot for a while to enjoy the islands, sun and scenery, before arriving at camp by around 4 pm to then set up and have time to relax and read, fish, chill out………

Our camp this night was our furthest from the mainland about 2 miles out and a little more exposed with us having plenty of sun, but quite a windy night, so after food and the odd glass of wine it was time to climb into the tents again.

We awoke on day 3 to another glorious sunny day but still with the wind blowing offshore. For this reason the decision was made to take a route that took us still further north but closer inland using the many islands to shelter behind to assist the paddling. During the morning we did have to appear from behind the islands to cross a few more exposed channels which just meant a change from the normal very flat calm water that is normal here, to the odd few splashes from small waves but still well at ease for our group. For our lunch spot we decided to find a location in the sun, away from the wind and relax for a while after the mornings paddle. Some read, some relaxed and some fished, with great results – Steve catching a lovely sea trout! After lunch we completed our journey to a great spot on the north side of one of the islands with a lovely sandy beach and sheltered grassy camp spot by the water. By now the kayaks were getting lighter as we worked through our food, water and wine stocks, but Bill still managed to cook up a great meal, this time with the addition of freshly caught fish from earlier in the day and some fresh shellfish, along with some none fish options for those that didn’t want to sample the days produce.

Our final full day saw us pack the tents for the last time and with our lighter kayaks enjoy the wind behind us and the sun in our face as we turned south and followed a route close to the mainland to our secluded island lunch spot. After lunch and with their new found confidence in sea kayaks the group opted for the more challenging route around the back of the island of Valon with a little head wind and waves around to the East side of the island and our destination – the wonderful hotel at Velo. This makes a great last nights stop for the group with a stunning hotel set in landscaped gardens down to the water, overlooking the town of Fjallbacka in the distance. A walk to the top of the island gives you the best view across the whole of this area and a chance to see the route we have completed and some of the distance camp stops we made. I’ve used this hotel twice for this trip and the hosts are wonderful, food fantastic and hospitality very welcoming – we even had music and entertainment with our drinks!

The final day we packed our kayaks for the last time and made the short 30 minute journey across to Fjallbacka to meet our friends from Nautopp to unpack boats, sort out kit and find a fresh change of clothes from the awaiting cars. The afternoon was spent with a leisurely drive along the coast and over the ferry at Lysekil to Gothenburg airport and our flight home to our awaiting minibus to drive us home.

We have run this trip for the last two years each May half term with great success and is a personal favorite of mine due to the stunning location, easy kayaking suitable for all levels of ability (including complete beginners) and the freedom to explore, each time with different routes and camps.

This trip is based on 2 nights hotels and 3 nights camping and will continue to be run as part of the travel we offer each year. In addition we are developing a second trip to be run each year sea kayaking from lodge (hotel) to lodge taking out the camping to replace with rooms and showers! We hope to run the first of these this summer so keep an eye on the website and blog for the two dates – May ‘Sea Kayak Safari’ and ‘Summer Lodge to Lodge Sea Kayak’.  Any one interested, get in touch soon!

 

Ant

 

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