Monthly Archives: June 2018

Project “Around Lake Vänern by kayak” part 3

Randviken to Stavik

The paddling continues and so the ideal paddling conditions. We decided to make a two day trip from nearby Karlstad to connect with Stavik, Värmlandsnäs, where we ended up last summer. The northern part of Värmlandssjön has the biggest cities in Värmland – Karlstad and Kristinehamn. As Värmland is a forest county two big forestry industries – Skoghall and Grums – are situated by the shore. Historically,  and even now,  lake Vänern has been of importance for transports of timber and wooden products.

We started in a lush bay, Randviken, and headed south to cross Kattfjorden. The head-wind was uplifting as we  came out on open water. In the distance east we could see the enormous pulp mill, Skoghall. We already felt far away from civilization. Oyster catchers and common sandpipers were busy protecting their nests.

Our first stop after 5 km was a sandy, shallow sound where we easily could pass with our kayaks.

Towards south the windmills “Gässlingarna” (The Goslings) showed up. We enjoyed our paddling in the evening sun through nature reserve Segerstad and arrived to our goal of the day – Åsundasundet – in sunset, eager to continue next day.

New day, new horizons! The north and south winds were struggling towards each other which made our 7 km crossing over the bay Åsundafjorden very special. We did meet some loons and some cormorants – otherwise we were quite on our own. And no signs of boats or human beings. In the distance Värmlandsnäs was dimly seen. Water and sky – what a view!

Our first landfall was a little islet patrolled by a sea gull. An erratic block balancing on the rock showed traces from the last ice age. Wonder where it came from. All along our crossing we had observed the 7 m red and white lighthouse Åsnegrundet in the distance. It marks an underwater due and has been there since 1961.

Time for a break to stretch our legs and fill up with a little bit of extra water and energy. Boiled free range eggs are perfect food.

Energized we followed the coastline southbound passing stony beaches and ground gneiss rocks. The rocks with different colors in red, grey, black and white and different patterns are all great pieces of art. Two Canada goose families melted into the environment and followed us for a while. The sky turned grey and we wondered if our trip for today should end in thunder and lightening. In a peaceful rain we arrived at Stavikens fyr, one of the oldest lighthouses in lake Vänern.

 

 

 

 

Project “Around Lake Vänern by kayak” part 2

Hjortens Udde to Vita Sannar

We found a very nice sandy beach to start from, close where the end moraine Hjortens udde heads out in the open “sea”. Blue horizon as long as we could see – only the haze profile of the volcano shaped mountain Kinnekulle breaks the line in the far east. The mountain has always been an important navigation point for seafarers. In the past, the mountain was thought to be  held by magic powers. It was unfortunate even to watch the mountain.Today’s paddle goal was to take us to Mellerud and Vita Sannar – a twenty km paddling. To reach this we had to round a number of capes exposed by waves. That can be particularly dangerous as the waters here are shallow and filled with large pebbles that form ridges on the bottom of the lake. Because of that we always try to keep far out from the shoreline where you reach deeper water – safe water! The area around Hjortens Udde is well known for its shallow rocky bottom. Too many shipwrecks testify that!

Even today the weather was on our side! We could fully enjoy the trip. Lots of birds showed up during our trip. Common sandpiper is more or less our constant companion along rocky shorelines. After passing some capes without strong winds we changed our direction more westwards and immediately the strong headwind pressed us to paddle harder. In our sight was a rather big forested rocky island, “Storön”. In shelter from the island we steered our kayaks in a calm little bay. The geology changed from striped rocks (gneiss) to dark grey/black rocks (gabbro) with lot of cracks. Time for lunch and preparing next stage. An adorable mini archipelago surrounded us. Far in the east we assumed the majestic contour of mountain “Kinnekulle”. Suddenly two sea eagles showed up in the hard west wind – the wind kept one eagle on the same spot in the sky over the forested island – probably their nesting place.

After lunch we planned to try to go inside “Storön”. Our map showed a little channel in the reeds. But after an hour of testing to find a way through we had to give up. Well – back again to the lunch rock. We discussed whether to go the outer way around the cape of Storön or to head back again. Suddenly the air was full of mating and dancing dragonflies. We admired the dancing dragonflies! And then a falcon, a hobby, posed up from nowhere.  As a shooter it chased the dragonflies in all directions and levels. What a show!

We decided to meet the strong headwinds behind the cape of Storön. After 4 km we reached the sandy beaches of “Näs Sannar”. Amazing clear water and fine grained sand welcomed us for a meritorious break!

After some rest it was time for kayaking again. The shoreline with several sandy beaches called  “Sannar” consists of three different beaches: Järns Sannar, Näs Sannar and Vita Sannar. After leaving adorable Näs Sannar we arrived to a mini archipelago and a rocky coastline met us again. Suddenly we heard warning calls from an osprey. We observed the fantastic well situated nest in a top of a fur tree growing on the rock. Quickly we paddled further towards the sandy shallow waters of Vita Sannar.

Hjortens Udde to Dalbergså

Again we started on the sandy beach just north of Hjortens Udde. It has always been an adventure to round this cape, especially when hard winds comes from the big open lake; e.g wind from almost all directions, except western winds. Another factor is the shallow waters in a very big area around the cape. This place is said to be the most difficult place in lake Vänern to navigate across. Hjortens udde is an end morain – created during the last ice-age. The ridge  “dives” under the water to appear again on the other side of Lake Dalbosjön. There it’s called Hindens rev – a four km long and very narrow cape (looks like an arrow pointing to Hjortens Udde in the west). Today we were lucky to manage to pass it close to the rocky beach as the winds “were on our side”. Very soon we passed the old wooden lighthouse – from 1852. It’s the only lighthouse in lake Vänern built by money from the state.

Fantastic paddling over shallow waters with fresh tailwind heading southwards. In the far south we saw the flat “cake” contour of a magnificent mountain seeming to swim on water! It was the profile of Halleberg. The sight southwards was several kilometers along the flicky coastline which informed us to meet a rocky shoreline and several capes to round. We where happy for the perfect weather conditions of today. Wonderful clear sights in air and also clear sight down in the water. This coast is really an adventure to investigate. Wild nature and almost no tracks of human beings! A bay of interesting islands and islets attracted us so much that we took a peaceful rest there.

Incredible clear water, singing birds and a colorful flora surprised us. A perfect place for contemplation and to enjoy a nutritious lunch.

After many kilometers with only sounds from nature itself – the waves throwing us forwards accompanied by sounds from nesting birds like seagulls and terns. We had a wonderful surf experience! Sooner than we expected we arrived to the outlet of river Dalbergså. We arrived with big waves throwing us up the river with exceptionally high speed! Just a few hundred meters of waterway and we where on our starting point again – a camping and leisure boat harbor. Outstanding!

Below are some pictures from the very old remnants of a very important fortress “Dalaborg”  (The headquarter of early “Dalsland”) during its big days 1367-1434! It was worth a visit from land after our kayaking as we passed it so quickly and had to concentrate on paddling in the heavy surf!

 

Project “Around Lake Vänern by kayak” part 1

After paddling, discovering and enjoying lake Vänern in its different environments for some summers, our curiosity led us to the decision to investigate the shoreline of the huge lake bit by bit. Lake Vänern has a total coastline of 4800 km, islands included, but our goal is to follow the coastline to add to our former expeditions to Djurö National park in the middle of Värmlandssjön, Lurö archipelago and the archipelago along the peninsula Värmlandnäs. Lägeskarta

Lake Vänern, with its 22 000 islands and islets, is the third biggest lake in Europe. As the archipelago is shallow the lake is perfect for sea kayaking. Lots of nature reserves, peaceful clear and also drinkable water, open horizon and almost no people out on the lake. You are definitely out in the wild together with flowers, birds and other wildlife.

Welcome to part 1 and follow us some days in the end of May.

Our starting point for this adventure was outside Åmål, heading south to Vita Sannar at Mellerud.

Sunny, warm, calm summer weather welcomed us during the first destination. After launching outside Åmål, we headed a bit north to round the lighthouse Fogden, before paddling south into nature reserve Tösse skärgård. The view of the wide open horizon is stunning!

Into the land of ospreys – have never seen an osprey nest in the top of a spruce! We held a reasonable distance, not to disturb the birds, and paddled to the outer archipelago. The tree on the island interested us. Was it a conifer or a deciduous? When we came nearer we realized that it was a fur tree. A calm lagoon appeared, perfect for a lunch pause and a refreshing swim in the vast lake! Could life be better? Non alcoholic beer, potato salad, tomatoes and smoked mackerel.

New day, new goals! The sun is shining, the lake is calm. Peaceful paddling southbound.

This day ends up to be the most magical part of this expedition. May full moon – and we are there on the lake to be part of it!!!

We approached the final goal and were just about to round the last island – Trollön.
A thrilling name of an island in full moon. Why is it named Trollön? The rocks were wild and had quartz veins. Very special in the dusk and the full moon light. Suddenly a big opening appeared in the rock. The home of the trolls? After a bit of thinking we found out it was an old place for quartz refraction – and it was possible to paddle inside!

A very special place and occasion to end up a wonderful day of paddling along the coast of Dalsland. We struggled a bit with mosquitoes, but didn’t want to leave the place in the magical night. The last 500 metres passing the lighthouse Vingens fyr into Vingens harbor in moonlight  before arriving back to the car is unforgettable. On our way back to the car with the kayaks through the forest, we heard the cat owl howling in the woods and the loon’s sounds out in the lake.

Couldn’t resist to start this day with a photo of the most enormous rhododendron in blossom we have ever seen – at our final starting point by car and paddle destination for this day – Vita Sannar.  After weeks of sunny weather, no rain and  hot weather we welcomed the clouds, we were hoping for rain. The paddling started where it ended last night. Today we were paddling through the nature reserve Yttre Bodane. The sky was dark blue, grey and very dramatic. Now and then the sun broke through and gave life to the water. Impressive!

Through reeds and past small islands. The production of pine pollen has been enormous this spring. We found it everywhere in calm waters.

Beautiful plants and lichens reinforces the nature experience.

Yttre Bodane is a paddler’s paradise. Shallow waters means that the fairway is very narrow and the area for kayaks is large. Silent paddling. We met a swimming roe deer crossing between islands, observed an old beaver hut. Eventually the rain started. It’s a very special feeling paddling in between islands, hearing and observing the raindrops falling – giving new life to nature.  Refreshed by the rain and the paddling today’s passage is done. Back to the car we encounter some friendly cows.

 

Ready for the last part of this expedition. We started at Köpmannebro – the entrance to Dalslands kanal. Stones and walls on the shore shows the history of trading with big ships in days gone by. In the fairway the painted warnings on the rocks for cays are still there, even if new modern red and green fairway markers show the way for boats.

We leave the nature reserve and get a free open paddling before we arrive to areas with human activity. A colony of gulls and terns live their lives on the islets by the entrance to Sunnanå – a big modern dwelling built just by the lake. After some kilometers we arrive back to Vita Sannar. In the warm evening sunlight the expedition is over for this time. The smooth sand and the lukewarm water tempts us to new adventures!