SKANDINAVIA TRILOGY 1: HELSINKI–TURKU


FACTS

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++ The first leg of our three part trip from Helsinki to Stockholm ++
++ Are you ready for one of the greatest sea kayak adventures in Europe? ++
++ Over a period of three summers, we'll be crossing the entire Baltic from Finland to Sweden, through the most beautiful archipelagos in Scandinavia: thousands of islands are waiting for you, your kayak, and your tent ++

COST: 2100 CHF
Excluding travel to and from the destination, accommodation and food. Surcharge if fewer than 4 people attend: CHF 250

LEVEL: GREEN
What is my level?

13.–26.06.2021

DETAILS

    • Overview
      Two weeks paddling through the archipelagos of southern Finland. And the same again the year after. And in the third year it'll be the grand finale, hopping across the Baltic for a triumphant arrival in Stockholm. The best of Scandinavia in three stages, each one almost exactly 120 nm (222 km) in length. Coming?

      There’s not much more to say about this tour, really. Pretty much everyone who has kayaked in Scandinavia has dreamt of embarking on this great adventure. And now we're going to do it. Two weeks of kayak camping and the best of Scandinavian friluftsliv, every summer, for three summers. And even though we have a clear aim for these three summers – there's something else we want to make just as clear: we don't want to “conquer” the Baltic – we want to experience it. Ultimately, the thing that matters here, even more than the physical challenge, is the fact that we want to live in nature: a new camp every evening, surrounded by nothing but the landscape and the elements, enjoying the peace and the inner calm. And during the day we’ll paddle, mile after mile, through a fascinating paradise of islands, sometimes calm and peaceful, sometimes windy and wild.

      The south-west coast of Finland is unique, as it has very little to do with what we usually associate with the word “coast”. It's more of a fluid transition from water with lots of land, to land with lots of water. In the inner area of the archipelago, you barely even notice that you are paddling in the sea. Here, it's forested, calm, and sheltered, just like kayaking on a lake. On the outer skerries (rocky islands), it's a completely different story: here the vegetation is sparse, and the thinly scattered islands are often just bare outcrops of rock, with the wind sweeping in almost unhindered across the open sea. This tour will give us plenty of both: there will be quiet, relaxed sections across placid waters, where we’ll sleep on wooded islands – and there will be sections where we’ll be exposed, paddling across open water, from rocky island to rocky island, surrounded by nothing by the big, blue Baltic Sea.
    • Day 1
      Day 1
      Over the course of the day, we’ll meet up in Helsinki – on the extremely urban campsite of Rastila, not far from the big Vuosaari Bridge. This very centrally located but otherwise not desperately charming campsite is ideal for our purposes, as it is almost right on the water’s edge and is very easy to reach by public transport. So, this is the best place to use as a launching point for setting off on our great adventure.

      There’s no specific meeting time as such. Those of you who would like to arrive on Saturday and have a wander around the beautiful city of Helsinki are of course welcome to do so. Yuri will arrive by ferry from Tallinn at some point on Sunday. In the evening, we’ll cook something together and work out our plan for the next two weeks. Whilst in Estonia, Yuri will already have got hold of supplies for the first few days, so it won’t be necessary to go on a big shopping mission in Helsinki. This should save us quite a bit of time. During the tour, we’ll buy local specialities and additional supplies as we go. This also means that we won’t have to load our kayaks to the gunwales with food.
    • Day 2–12
      Day 2 to day 12
      From today onwards, your days will only consist of the following things: sea kayaking, camping, cooking, eating, and sleeping. And we will enjoy each of these activities to the fullest. The first few days, we'll kayak towards the south-east, past a thousand skerries, until we get to the southern tip of the Hanko peninsula, which is the southernmost point of the Finnish mainland. This is where the little town of Hanko is to be found, a perfect spot for shore leave, and a place where we can also stock up on supplies.

      From here, we’ll be heading off in a north-eastward direction. The next 9 nm (16 km) or so will be a bit more exposed. Here, we’ll be passing only smaller skerries, but they’ll all be big enough for us to make an emergency camp if we need to. Soon, the islands will start getting bigger again – we’ll leave the outer skerries and enter the archipelago of Åboland, a landscape in which land and sea blur into one another.

      Whenever the weather cooperates, we’ll travel at least 13 nm (25 km) per day on this tour. If the wind ends up messing up our plans on any particular day (which we can safely assume will happen!), then we may end up having to extend the distances we travel on the other days. A bit of slack is built into our schedule – but on a tour like this, anything's possible.
    • Day 13-15
      Day 13 to day 15
      At some point on the 13th day, we should arrive in Turku. As this city of 190,000 doesn’t have a centrally located campsite, we’ll be ending the tour somewhat outside the city at the “Ruissalo” campsite. From here, it's about 20 minutes on the No. 8 bus to the railway station.

      Quite how we’ll end up spending the last evening of our tour is something we don’t really want to set in stone yet. But one thing’s for sure: we’ll be celebrating our arrival, and surely drinking a toast to the next time we will all be together again – next year, for the second leg!

      Depending on how you are planning to get back home again, Turku provides a number of possibilities, all of which are very straightforward. On the one hand, it’s easy to fly straight back home from here, but you can also take the train to Helsinki (2 hour journey), and then catch the ferry from there back to Travemünde.
    • More info
      Group size: Min. four participants, max. eight.

      The price includes
      boats, paddles, life jackets, spray decks and, if required, neoprene long johns, shoes, paddling jackets and helmets. Also, make sure you bring your own functional underwear (wool or snug-fitting fleece, NOT cotton!) and swimming costume.

      If you like, you can also rent a drysuit from us. Cost: CHF 200

      The kitty:
      As always, in Finland we will also set up a kitty for meals. In fact, there will actually be two: one for food (€200 contribution per person) and one for alcohol (depending on how much you consume, or your best guess at it). Nobody is obliged to pay into the kitty, nor to eat together with us. But cooking and eating together after a strenuous day's paddling is just good fun, and not only does it help to strengthen our tired muscles; it also helps us to create a sense of community. Find more on this topic here.

      Weather: As you might expect, we can't make any guarantees in terms of weather or sea state. In order to ensure everyone's safety, our guide will decide how to carry out the planned programme locally on a daily basis, and whether to do so. As experienced sea kayakers, we know that Neptune always has the last word.

      Accident insurance is the responsibility of the participants.
      We also strongly recommend that you obtain travel cancellation insurance. Please read our GTC on the topic of cancellation fees, cancellation deadlines etc.
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    PARTICIPATION REQUIREMENTS:

    ++ Must be able to swim ++
    ++ You are confident out on a lake in a kayak and you can do the basics ++
    ++ You can deal with your spray deck independently, getting in and out of your kayak etc. ++
    ++ You are confident paddling in Beaufort force 3 and small waves ++
    ++ You are fit enough to spend 14 days paddling around 16 nm (25 km) per day ++
    ++ You are an experienced and enthusiastic camper ++
    ++ You love being in remote places and enjoy simple outdoor living ++

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    CLICK HERE TO RESERVE YOUR SPOT


    How to get to Helsinki:

    • Rail & public transport

      ++ Much easier than you’d think: a comfortable and low-cost journey from Switzerland to Hamburg by night train. From there, it’s a 1 hour 40 minute train trip to the Travemünde's Scandinavia Quay. ++
      ++ The ferry to Helsinki is a mini cruise! Enjoy 29 hours at sea with a sauna, Scandinavian buffet, and drinks on the sundeck! ++

    • Road

      ++ From Switzerland, drive through Germany to Travemünde ++
      ++ From there, catch the ferry described under “Rail & public transport” ++
      ++ Only makes sense if you want to carry on travelling around in Finland / Scandinavia. Otherwise, our recommendation is: take the train. Taking the car on the ferry means you'll just have an unnecessary and expensive extra load ++

    • Aeroplane

      ++ You can fly to Helsinki from all over the world with all sorts of different airlines ++

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