Over 50.000 islands, rocks and skerries
Our main playground and extraordinary haven is the Finnish Archipelago Sea, the largest archipelago in the world with its around 50.000, often tightly clustered, islands. We have been arranging sea kayaking tours in the world's greatest sea kayaking destinasions around the globe since 1995, but still our own Archipelago Sea is the most special area for us, and extraordinary area which we love to take our customers to.
The Archipelago Sea (Finnish: Saaristomeri, Swedish: Skärgårdshavet) is a part of the Baltic Sea between the Gulf of Bothnia, the Gulf of Finland and the Sea of Åland, within Finnish territorial waters. The size of this area is over 8000 square kilometers, of which 2000 square kilometers is land. A massive amount of these islands are uninhabited, a fact which together with the Everyman's rights giving visitors the right to camp on and visit almost every island, makes this area a very unique place for wilderness enthusiasts.
We work in a close cooperation with the islanders living in the Archipelago Sea, and on our tours, you will get an insight in the archipelago culture and lifestyle.
Some of the larger islands in the Finnish Archipelago Sea are inhabited and a few of them are connected by ferries and bridges. The Archipelago Sea is a significant destination for visitors wanting to experience the wilderness, beauty and culture of the area. Together with the everyman's rights concerning camping and moving around almost anywhere where you do not disturb others makes this is a great destination for outdoor and nature enthusiasts.
The archipelago is a result of the last ice age, Weichel, which began around 110.000 years ago and ended around 10.000 years ago. The islands began emerging from the sea shortly after the ice age. Due to the post-glacial rebound the process is still going on, with new skerries and islands being slowly created and old ones enlarged or merged. The current rate of rebound is between 4 and 10 millimetres a year. The islands consist mainly of granite and gneiss. The sea is very shallow, with a mean depth of only a little over 20 meters.
WildlifeThe Archipelago Sea with its varying nature offers a unique and diverse environment for wildlife. While the islands closer to mainland are often covered by forests, the outer archipelago consists of islands with very sparse or no growth at all. Sea eagles of the White Tailed Eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) species are something that you often spot both far and close.
Safety in the archipelago
Although the archipelago is mostly well sheltered from the highest wind-speeds and from big waves, these do occour, and we do not rent equipment for unguided tours to people not competent with kayak rescues and manouvering techniques. The water temperatures vary very much; in the midst of summer the water temperature is usually above 22 degrees centigrade, but in may the water might some years not be more than 10 to 15 degrees some summer days.
In our area, there are no poisonous or otherwise dangerous sea animals. On some of the islands, vipers (vipera berus) which is Europe's most common poisonous snake, can be found. Bites from these are very rare, but could be dangerous and a doctor should always be contacted immediately if bitten by one. Ticks, possibly bearing borrelia and tick-born encephalitis, are found on some but not all islands; walking in high grass and/or checking your body for these in the evenings is recommendable. This said, the Finnish nature belongs to the safest in the world.
Links worth visiting:
- NationalParks.fi : The Archipelago National Park (maps, insight, camping spots)
- Retkikartta.fi: Online topographical map of the Archipelago Sea
- SeaKayaking.fi: Weather forecasts for the area
- SeaKayaking.fi: Sea Kayaking Expeditions, Guiding and Rental for the Archipelago Sea, Finland