No matter how far and wide we travel, there’s always more to find just around the corner from where we’ve spent all our lives. That was the thought passing through my mind as I was slowly gliding through the shallow water on a sunny, hot, July day. The cranes were singing their duets as they flew over our heads, or standing in the reeds, looking majestic, as always. The fish were jumping and the terns were fishing. Otherwise, it was quiet – it wasn’t yet weekend, so people hadn’t arrived at their summer cottages; and anyway, the water was so shallow that you couldn’t possibly find our secluded part of the archipelago unless you had a kayak.
The world looks different from a kayak. Sometimes, I forget that I’m actually sitting in a boat of sorts – it starts feeling like a part of my own body. Being so close to the surface of the water gives a different perspective, and the shape of the kayak means that you can go places that are otherwise hard to reach. To me, it’s also a good lesson in learning not to always think, “This would be such a great photo!”, but to enjoy an experience for what it is – while kayaking, I keep my camera packed away safely in a waterproof bag.
Kayaking once a year is almost a tradition now. Me and my wonderful friend Ika started it in 2009, continued in 2010, then took a 2-year break, and started again this year. Despite mostly keeping the camera hidden while kayaking, I managed to take enough photos to share with you. After all, we spent the nights in beautiful places and enjoyed ourselves as much as possible. So here’s a peek into our little adventure in the Replot archipelago (part of which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site) – just around the corner from where both me and Ika grew up.
A calm evening at our first sleeping site. Thanks to the “every man’s rights“, it’s relatively easy to find a beautiful place to stay.
The most delicious breakfast in the world – porridge with freshly picked bilberries on a cliff by the water’s edge. With great company.
The flowers of the brackish water-crowfoot (Ranunculus peltatus) were a nice surprise. There is much beauty coming from the depths of the sea!
We shared one island with some sheep. Who knows what they did to our kayaks at night… They looked a bit suspicious!
The Gentleman Paddlers. Yes, I’m in the photo and yes, I’m the photographer – tripods and remotes are great! And bow ties are cool.
Another beautiful island we stayed on.
… It was full of mating insects!
The last night, we slept under the stars. The next day, it started raining and never stopped – after which it was wonderful to return to hot soup and a sauna.