Author Archives: BiTh

Archipelago Paddling, Bohuslän

Another sunny August day – ideal for kayaking. All paddling starts on shore as beginners need a tutorial before taking off. The participants, a family group from Grenoble France,  did a good exam in a short time. It convinced us to start our expedition very soon.  The weather was wonderful with sunshine and a smooth breeze took us out to the outer archipelago. Our little group was gliding over shallow, crystal clear saltwater heading towards horizon. Below the water we could study the rich presence of Japanese oysters.

A little stop at the “entrance” to open sea. In the far distance we saw a stunning image from ancient time – an old sailing ship – a full-rigger that sailed slowly northwards. In the easing swells we moved silently along smooth, of the ice age shaped, cliffs. The Bohuslän archipelago is one of the few places in the world where you can see the effects, especially of the last ice age not covered with moraine.


Ancient beautiful pink colored granite rocks surrounded us in narrow passages.

What a cruising day! After a “taste” of the outer archipelago, it was time for a much needed break. With homemade bread, black currant muffins and other refreshing delights we had filled up energy.

Back to the kayaks again and out on open sea. We were paddling in perfect weather, now moving for a longer distance. After finding an interesting waterway among rocky islands we finally found a wonderful sandy beach for swimming and a nice rest. It was also a perfect place for snorkeling in the crystal clear water.

Turning back home we chose the inner archipelago. Here is a lot to see and discover -remnants  and culture tracks from the ancient society, from times when a lot of people inhabited this archipelago. They where fishermen and shippers and also did some farming for the local household. Today all buildings are repossessed by summer residents. Our last stop was at the nature reserve Ulön Dannemark for a rest, late lunch and a nice walk on the island.

Many thanks for a nice paddling and good company to family Maffet !

Search, Explore and Discover the pearls of Bohuslän archipelago together with us!





Safari aux Fruits de Mer, Bohuslän

Kayaking, archipelago, salt water, collecting and preparing your own sea food – is there a better mixture?

A sunny August day our French guests arrived to the boat houses at Heestrand, eager to experience the Mussel, Crab and Oyster Safari. We were as eager as they were.

Equipped with collecting bags, baskets, neopren shoes and life jackets we were ready for the departure. For comfort and safety we chose the three men kayak for our guests.

Sheltered by the islands from the strong west winds, we had a wonderful paddling over the mussel and oyster banks. In the crystal clear water we could observe the life under water. As blue shells are filterers, the poisonous plankton algaes sometimes can make the mussels inedible in summer season. As we didn’t want to take any risks we were just happy to watch them. We paddled out to admire the mighty waves. Refreshed by a snack pause we were ready to paddle to our harvesting bay.

Periwinkles are semi aquatic organisms and live their lives in the waterline. Wonderful and easy food to collect and prepare!

What a day to search food! The sun was shining and the water temperature was over 20 degrees Celsius. Periwinkles, a few seaweed shrimps and some wild herbs on land was the result.

Now to the next stage – a quick ride by motor boat to check our crab pots. It is always exciting. The crab pots lies on the stone bottom at a depth of around 15 metres.  They are quite heavy to land. And look – some crabs and some whelks.

Back to the boathouses we prepared our food together. Periwinkles, mussels, whelks and crabs were boiled and the sauce for the crabs was prepared.
Starter – Periwinkles – quickly boiled with garlic, leeks, littorial herbs and white wine.
Second coarse – Blue shells à la Christine – white wine, parsley, onions, garlic. (These were bought at the fishmonger for safety reasons.)
Third coarse – Crabs with our special Swedish sauce  – Hovmästarsås. The ingredients are sweet mustard, sugar, oil and loads of fresh dill.
Freshly baked bread was served to all the dishes. There are different ways to “attack” the seafood. For periwinkles you use toothpicks, the blue shells are eaten with your hands and the shell is perfect for the sauce. The best way to get the meat out of a crab is to use a spoon to crack the hard shell.

After a day like this you are happy with life. Nature, physical activity, taking part in nature’s gifts, wonderful food and not to forget meeting new people!

Go periwinkle with us!




Family Kayaking Lake Vänern

The south eastern cape of Värmlandsnäs – near Säffle – is a perfect starting point for beginners of kayaking. We met up with an eager Norwegian family who wanted to experience the joy and freedom of being out in the archipelago with kayaks. As the children were 10 and 13 years old we decided to use a tandem kayak and a single kayak for the family. It made it flexible for all the four members of the family to practice their skills.

After an introduction by the shore and planning of the trip we launched our kayaks by the sandy beach by Åkershus with Kinnekulle in the background The oldest girl was the first brave kayaker in the single kayak!

Off we went with a nice head wind. The sun was shining and as we felt safe with the group we headed south towards Lurö archipelago with open horizon to the east. What a freedom!

You can’t be outdoors without pause for lunch and a swim! We found a sheltered little bay, and to our surprise we found a huge active beaver hut out in the big lake. Fresh birch twigs showed their favorite food last night. Our lunch pack was also delicious!

After a refreshing pause we paddled a bit south for another pause with a swim before we headed back in a gentle tail wind and also a bit of surf!





Project “Around Lake Vänern by Kayak” part 4

Revsand to Baggerud

It’s midsummer which means long days and short nights. The light is fabulous, specially evenings, nights and mornings. This part follows the east coast of lake Vänern, south of Kristinehamn. After a good night’s sleep – we were ready to start paddling from Revsand Camping. A bit headwind from southwest forced us to paddle harder. Wonderful sunshine – a really hot day on shore – but now we could feel the fresh breeze sweeping over the blue waves. In the distance a row of big and small islands appeared in the horizon. On mainland the shore was scattered with summerhouses and private areas. We hoped soon to reach the islands area that also is a part of  a very big protected nature area named “Nature Reserve Värmland archipelago” – for wild life and  outdoor recreation purposes. Soon we passed close to the big island St Marö – covered with conifers and deciduous forest. Out in west we noticed the island Lakholmen with its lighthouse. Next passage was the islands called Raholmarna. Here we had to find our way through reed vegetation. Easily we found our way in the traces of beaver territory. The islands kept a big population of comorants. They were busy training their offsprings fish hunting in a big group formation. We left Raholmarna admiring the fantastic boulders at the southern end.

Out on open water again for 5 kilometres paddling heading southwards in direction Furholmarna and then to Baggerud. After a pleasant paddling along Furholmarna a sandy beach appeared in the distance. A quarter of an hour later we were on steady ground again. Our little caravan offered a good night’s sleep.

Morning had broken when we departed from Baggerud Camping beach. A wonderful morning. The early hours are perfect for photo shooting. The lake was totally calm – like a mirror – and it reflected the sky and nature around in a fabulous way. Our first part was a long distance without any islands. A rocky coastline with boulders and pebbles spread out in the water for several hundred meters off shore. It’s very important to be aware of these circumstances. If strong winds are blowing from southwest, west or northwest it will build up big waves and troubled waters when it hits this shallow rocky bottom. You have to paddle further out in deep water to avoid this danger zone. Today we were very lucky that there was almost no wind at all.

It is really exciting to search, explore and discover “virgin areas”. After some kilometers of blue horizon, clear water and no traces of human settlements a little fishing port “Medhamn” suddenly appeared by a rocky beach. Its only protection against the powers of the weather was a cape protecting against strong southwest winds and a rock pier in the harbor. This port is the most vulnerable in lake Vänern. As this part of lake Vänern almost never freezes its a perfect location for boat fishing all year round!

After leaving “Medhamn” we paddled southwards for miles along deserted wooded beaches and an even desolate blue water and horizon in both west and southwest. Sometimes it was difficult to distinguish the sky and the “sea”. A wonderful calmness appeared in us. Silent sliding on a blue ocean we left miles after miles behind us towards infinity. Suddenly an island or a big mountain in the far south appeared. It seemed like a miracle floating on the water. The nearer we came it grew bigger and bigger and soon we realized that it was Kinnekulle mountain (306 m above sea level). You can observe this volcanic mountain profile from huge distances around lake Vänern – important for navigation etc.

After nice lunch and rest on a little island, we reached the end part of the day “Nötön-Åråsvikens” nature reserve with its vast reed area and a water landscape scattered with end moraines -remnants from the last ice edge. The moraines formed islands. This area has a lot of nesting birds. We saw sea eagle, marsh harrier and hobby.

We really got lost in the labyrints of reeds and end moraines. Thanks our Gps we finally and luckily reached our goal “Kolstrandsviken” after more than 30 km paddling.





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!

Stunning May week for sea kayaking

The Bohus archipelago showed its best when a high pressure moved in from east in the middle of May. With almost no wind and high air temperature the water temperature rose up to 16 degrees Celsius in the sea. During these circumstances its easy to reach the outer archipelago in contact with the huge sea.

The nature exploded with temperatures up to 28 degrees Celsius. We went ashore in a most spectacular nature reserve – Valön. The red granite rock by the sea was surrounded by blossoming meadows filled with all kinds of spring flowers. The cowslips are favored by shells and shell deposits as well as by cattle. Typical for this habitat is the pink thrift. The sounds of the birds in spring are overwhelming. From every bush, on the rocks and in the sky the birds did their best to show up in their colorful plumage.

After a long paddling and a walk on the peninsula it was really refreshing with a swim from the cliffs. The water was crystal clear and we admired the shells, Japanese oysters, mussels and different kinds of wracks in the water.

It was time to leave this wonderful place and slowly paddle back admiring the light on the rocks and the sea in the sunset. We were companied by cormorants, black guillemots, terns and gulls who filled their stomachs with herrings who also were chased by macherels. The eiders were occupied by wooing and the air was filled by the males’ calls.

Summer 2018 entered so quickly!

P.S. We didn’t mention that we went ashore in Bovallstrand and had an ice cream 🙂



L’île du castor – Beaver island

Eventually it was time for beaver safari with kayak. The season will keep on for many months until the winter is here again. We were happy to be here from start and are eager to follow the spring, summer and autumn together with the beavers. In the beaver lodge the last years generation are still with their parents and the new off springs are not yet born.

We started our silent paddling at dusk. The sky turned to blue, pink and purple, the birds were singing and fulfilled the atmosphere of being one with nature. In company of starlings, geese, herons, goosanders, red robins and blackbirds we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The cranes were trumpeting and telling us spring was here. Now and then the sighing fog-horn call from the great bittern was heard from the wide and dense reeds. Suddenly the first beaver appeared! To our joy we realized that the beavers had been busy building two new lodges since August last year. The moon rose, it got darker and darker. We had contact with seven more beavers from at least two different territories. It was time to paddle back by the sound of the snipe dazzling in the sky and the sounds from the wood cock on its route in the sky over our heads. We were looking forward to a good nights sleep and to dream of next day’s adventures.

Morning has broken! Our mission for the day was to investigate the territories of the beavers. As most beavers rest at day in their lodges we didn’t expect to meet any beavers. Splash! A curious beaver right in front of us. Probably it was a young one as it was so interested in us. We followed it respectfully for quite a long time. We went ashore on the beaver island to investigate their habitat. The first signs were young oak trees that were grazed during winter time when fresh food is scarce.

We entered a diversified forest with trees in all stages and ages – from young plants to older trees and dead standing and lying trees covered with moss and fungus. A virgin forest! The beavers’ favorite trees are aspen and birch. They also like willow, rowan, alder and oak.

Since we were here in August last year, a lot had happened. The beavers had really harvested a lot. We observed a concentration of logs in the neighborhood of the new beaver lodge. From the harvesting place paths and canals led out to the water. The branches and logs are used for the building and small logs, branches and twigs as a winter food storage stuck down in the water nearby the dwelling.

Out on the water again to investigate the next territory. Canals in the reeds show where beavers transport their material. The entrance to the lodge is under water to prevent predators to get into the lodge. We followed down stream and on our way we saw a lot of new interesting birds as marsh harrier, grey heron, osprey, buzzard, hawk, hobby, kestrel and white-tailed eagle. It was the first day we met the swallows. There is a saying when the first swallow arrives summer is here. We also observed a lot of geese, swans, whoopers, teals and other ducks, grebes and divers.

Our turning point at the lake showed a fantastic view. Beavers live in rivers, small and big lakes and they are even seen i salt water areas. On our way back we passed another lodge, rebuilt on an old lodge. The logdes are built by logs, branches, twigs, stones and mud. Inside the entrance you find a chamber for eating and also a chamber for sleeping. The “bedroom” is covered with grass and moss to make it cosy and comfortable for winter. In the end of April life changes dramatically for the beavers when nature awakens. After a long winter with a poor diet of inner bark from twigs and branches fresh plants, sprouts and leaves starts shooting. What a feast for beavers!

It is an honor to get to know these wonderful, hard working engineers. You are welcome to follow us in our next blog. More information about ecology in another habitat where beavers build their dams. Of course you are invited to meet beavers together with us. Safari in tandem kayak or by foot!

Food from the Sea – Scary Seafood

Scary Seafood? What is that? In the mid of April we were invited to a very instructive full day workshop at Lovén Marin Centre, Tjärnö for learning more about how to use and prepare the treasures from the sea.

We were offered a mixture of interesting and informative presentations, delicious samples of seafood and insights into recent research of how to use the unexplored food source of the sea.

There is a lot to learn about seaweeds. It’s our new superfood with a lot of minerals, vitamins and proteins. A better name should be Seagreens!

Christine Appelqvist, from University of Gothenburg, and the fishermen informed us a lot about the different species of the bycatch which is possible to use for food. We were served a very tasty soup made from small crabs.

After a day filled with new impressions we are inspired to paddle out on our own and with our customers to “harvest” and prepare what the sea offers us!

Inspiration in Swedish – Scary Seafood!