Saturday 15th September
We got up early at 5.30am to leave the hostel we’d been staying in. We had a long walk to our kayaks as we’d left them in the furthest away marina, not realising at the time we could have left them alot closer!
We made good progress, but we were pretty cold and tired at the end of the day. We stopped nearby a few houses after looking for a while for somewhere good to land. We got out our kayaks quickly to get changed in the hopes to get a bit warmer as soon as possible, when a woman called Anneli came out her house to talk to us. She said we looked cold and wet, and said we could use her tumble dryer to dry our clothes once we got changed. We were very grateful for this offer as putting on wet clothes in the morning is one of the worst things on this trip!
So once we got changed we went to her house and she made us some tea and brought out some bread and things for sandwiches. We both tried some horse meat for the first time, and really appreciated the hot drink! She then offered us a warm shower, which was great and we both finally felt warmed through afterwards.
She asked us what our plans were for the rest of the evening. We said we’d need to go find somewhere to put the tent, although we were both feeling very reluctant to leave the nice warm house! She said she couldn’t let us do that as we just looked “so tired and cute!” and made us up a bed upstairs.
Sunday 16th September
After a good nights sleep inside we had another early 5.30am start. Anneli said we could help ourselves to whatever we wanted for breakfast, so we had some yoghurt and muesli.
We kayaked over 30 miles, and stopped at someones holiday house. No one was there so we camped on their grass and left them a note.
Monday 17th September
We got up really early as the winds were meant to be high later in the day. We kayaked 3-4 hours before stopping at another holiday home when the wind got high. We went to knock on the door but no one seemed to be in so we went and got changed. We thought we’d try seeing if there was a nearby town we could walk to, and it looked like there were people in the house this time. We knocked on the door and they said it was fine that we left our kayaks there.
After no luck with finding a town nearby we walked back, and the people in the house invited us in for a hot drink. It was actually a couple of people working on the house and not the owners. They were nice to chat to and made us tea, and it was nice to be inside instead of sitting outdoors all day!
Unfortunately they had finished their work and had to leave so we had to go back outside. But there was some shelter near our kayaks we sat in. We had a quick nap on the floor there as we planned to get back on later when the winds died down and were pretty tired!
We then kayaked until it was starting to get dark and pulled up at a marina. It had toilets and showers open which was really good after another fairly cold day!
We then met Kjell who was there overnight to guard the boats. He let us into the kitchen so we could use the kettle and have some soup.
Tuesday 18th September
Got up around 8am, overslept a bit. Kjell let us into the kitchen again so we could use the kettle and fill up our thermos. We had over 60km to do before our crossing point to the Aland islands which was too far to do in one day. So we decided to do two shorter days instead. Alice’s back was hurting and we stopped to try sort out her backrest a bit.
We stopped on an island and it was raining heavily. We set up the tent outer straight away and sat in it for a while until the rain stopped enough for us to quickly get changed into dry clothes and put the inner of the tent in.
We briefly saw a man who was leaving the island, and there were some people doing some building work nearby.
Wednesday 19th September
Before we set off from the island the next day, Alice went over to the builders to see if she could fill up her water container. After she had done this and they wished her luck we left.
We stopped on an island for lunch. It was difficult to light a fire as everything was slightly damp and it was quite windy. We thought it might be quicker to use the trangia instead, but when we went to use it the lid wouldn’t come off the fuel burner. We tried several times but couldn’t get it open. We managed to get the fire going eventually though and had some lunch.
When we got back on the water the waves were pretty big despite a force 3-4 wind forecast. We looked for somewhere sheltered to pull in, and found an old pier. It was very cold and windy but we found somewhere fairly sheltered to set up the tent.
Thursday 20th September
We were now in the place ready to do the crossing to the Aland Islands. However the wind forecast was force 5-5 which we felt was a bit too high for a 20 mile crossing.
Alice went for a walk around the island and could see a big lighthouse on a nearby island. Kjell we had met a couple of days before had mentioned we might find a room to stay in on an island with a big lighthouse so we decided we’d paddle over there.
When we got over there we saw most of the houses seemed to have lights on in the windows, which seemed a bit odd since it was still very light outside. We went around the island knocking on every door, but no one answered anywhere. It felt very odd, we didn’t understand why all the lights would be on if no one was there!
One of the doors had a sign saying Valkommen! and through the window it looked like a guesthouse, so we knocked there and tried the door. It was unlocked, so we stuck our head inside and shouted “Hello?” to see if anyone was there. A blast of heat came out, but no one answered. Which seemed even more strange, for someone to leave lights and heating on if they weren’t there.
There was another door to the same house, so we tried going to that one and knocking and ringing the doorbell. Again there was no answer, but we heard some yowling from inside. I thought it was a cat, but Alice thought it sounded like a baby. We weren’t sure what to do at this point, and were a bit worried maybe someone was here and was in some sort of trouble.
We went back to the other door with the Valkommen sign and opened it again and tried shouting again. Still no answer. We noticed a door the the right that would probably lead to where the yowling came from so we opened that and tried shouting inside to see if anyone was there. Then a cat appeared, which we were fairly relieved about. There was clearly no one here so we closed the door to that bit of the house.
We were still fairly confused to why there were lights and heating on if no one was on the island, and the bit of the house we were in was clearly a guesthouse. All the beds where made up with towels on top. We decided to stay in the guesthouse, and leave the people some money and our email address incase we hadn’t left enough money. We thought maybe these were the rooms Kjell had mentioned, and maybe the heating and lights were left on incase people arrived late when the owners were not around.
Friday 21st September
We got up early the next morning and left the island ready to cross to the Aland Islands. The weather was good and sunny and the wind was ok. The crossing was 20 miles, and we made fairly good time.
We stopped on the island for some lunch, and I checked my phone. We had a text saying welcome to Finland! Which was a pretty good moment.
We set off again to get a bit further. It was starting to get dark when we arrived at the next island, and the sky was very red. We ended up camping on a big rock, there was a pool of water on one side but we sorted that out with a sponge!
Saturday 22nd September
We got up a bit later than we planned as it was raining alot in the morning. It was a long miserable day, and we didn’t leave our kayaks other than for a quick toilet break. We used the thermos on the water for the first time to have some soup. The rain got very heavy 5-6 hours in and visibility was low. We tried to aim for an island Alice’s gps said was occupied, but when we got there it didn’t appear to be.
We ended up camping on another rock, we were very cold, wet and tired!
Sunday 23rd September
We kayaked a short distance due to high winds and landed on Kokar, with very big waves as we came into land! We tried to walk to what looked like the biggest town and then had to walk back to find guesthouse 3km wrong direction, whilst it poured and poured with rain. Eventually we reached Antons guesthouse, where a nice man Gunnar who owned the guesthouse let us in and showed us to the sauna. Unfortunately we then had to brave the rain again to pick up some food from our kayaks. We then got parts of an email in a text from mark (phone was playing up- large chunks of text missing) about lighthouse island- from what we could gather the owners are unhappy we stayed there, so we need to sort that out!
Monday 24th september
The winds were too high to paddle, so we hired bikes and cycled into town to bank, post office and shop to top up supplies! We cooked a massive meal of sausage and mash.
Tuesday 25th September
Winds were still pretty high,but we battled against them to get off of Kokar. We had a very long long day on the water fighting the wind all day, going north east to get to Korpu to get more shelter from the wind. We reached a military area, got passed this and pulled into somewhere with lights on. We found a long cabin and a very nice man called Karls let us in and gave us food and a place to stay for the night, which was very much appreciated! (especially since our tents abit broken now).
Wednesday 26th September
Had a long bad day wet and cold, wind came down the channels against us still. We kayaked till it got dark and pulled into a place with a light- we were very lucky to knock on a door and met Sara and Einau- who let us in from the pouring rain! They have been great to us.4
Thursday 27th September
We stayed with Sara and Einau in their spare room and they gave us breakfast this morning! The winds should be changing soon to go with us, so fingers crossed for better progress from now on!