23 June 2014

Call of the Baltic

I retire to the tent late, tired; it has been a long day.
I lost track of time because I did not need to know, my watch stowed somewhere deep in my kayak.
The sun has been shining since very early morning and now has almost made a full circle around the sky. I watched it eagerly skirting the horizon but it just doesn't want to set.

Sea kayaking in the Baltic sea is extraordinary.
The labyrinth of islands where I choose not to navigate electronically (no GPS for me) are truly endless.
I don't have to rush to find my campsite as I don't have a set destinations; there is an incredible abundance of good spots to stop for the night.
The wind has been pushing us North and made our journey easy.
The sailors we meet along the way are intrigued by our kayak sails and often question us.

I have  a great sense of freedom here.
The vast choice of routes and destination, places to stay for the night and easy waters create an environment suited for my style of travel. I am not pressured by tidal flows and timing needed to reach my camp, I get up when I feel like and paddle as long as I want; night comes too late to have to fret and usually I tire out way before I run out of daylight.
And there is no sand at camp: always a bonus for me. While sandy beaches are gentle on the kayak's hull they are my nemesis when camping. I rather have hard granite under me anytime over messy sand that seems to stick to all things it shouldn't.
The sea water is so much less salty here; I use it to cook pasta and potatoes but just a bit too briny for drinking. I don't have to carry much fresh water with me anyway since there are enough houses around with a hand pump in the back where I can refill every couple of days.
The Baltic sea offers me the perfect blend of civilization when I need it and remoteness when I want it. The islands closer to the mainland have more vegetation, more houses, shops. Further away are the outer islands: often desolate low elevation polished granite shores exposed to the wind and waves.A great place to camp in fine weather where I rarely seen any other sailing boats and hear no noise but the one of wind, waves and birds.

For the next couple of months is where I will be.