Tag Archives: Haukivesi

Kayaking and fauna in Linnansaari national park

Every kayaker knows how easy it is to get close to local animals while kayaking. In areas where you do not visit daily, it is great to observe not so familiar species or even make first encounters with some.

In this summer while kayaking in Linnansaari national park on lake Saimaa in Eastern Finland, I met variety of animals. The king of the water birds, the Black-throated Diver or Arctic Loon (Gavia Arctica), kuikka in Finnish, is a familiar sight on clear waters of Saimaa. At the beginning of August, some of them were already gathering in groups, preparing for migration. For those interested more in arctic loons, check the new, magnificient book with great photos “KUIKKA alkulintu” (in Finnish) by Mauri Leivo.

Loons

Another huge bird I observed from quite close while kayaking was an osprey (Pandion haliaetus), sääksi or kalasääski in Finnish. This one had built its nest on the top of a big rock in the middle of the lake and was observing passer-bys from afar while its baby was in the nest.

Osprey’s nest

While trying to avoid disturbing the osprey, 5o meters from osprey’s nest I observed first a beaver swimming by the shore and then its nest.

The highlight of these encounters still was when I saw a Saimaa Ringed Seal (Phoca hispida saimensis), saimaannorppa in Finnish, while kayaking one afternoon. I observed it for a while from my kayak. There are only under 300 individuals left, so it is among the most endagered species.

This individual carried a radiotransmitter on its back. At the local “Fish Day” at the village of Oravi, I met researchers from the University of Eastern Finland, who told that of their research and that 9 seals are “under surveillance” in the area.

This little radiotransmitter is used on baby seals.

Saimaa ringed seal tracker

The seal I met was an older one and was probably quite used to humans because it did not dive away but remained quite close to my kayak. I managed to get some video though I was pretty excited to spot it. Did not want to disturbe it more so I somewhat reluctantly kayaked away.

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Fishing from the kayak

Fishing from a kayak can be fun even for a casual angler. I was a fellow kayaker when a brown trout got caught by trolling on lake Haukivesi.

Trying to get the fish out of water is not the easiest part, especially if you have an average kayak, not one designed for fishing. The front hatch was used to transfer the fish to the shore because we were close to it.

Can’t really use this storing technique if angling alone

When you are not angling but paddling, you should fasten your equipment well to your kayak. Under one strap on the deck is not enough while one is busy doing something else like trying to reach chanterelles from the shore without having to leave your boat.

The rod just after being rescued from the bottom of the lake

Another angle to fishing is trying to catch fish with your camera. While I was close to the shore, I noticed this curious perch swimming under my kayak. I put my camera on a monopod and into the water and tried to catch him swimming. How elegant moves.

Shores of lake Haukivesi in July by kayaking

Arrived again in lake Haukivesi area, a part of lake Saimaa near Linnansaari national park. Though it has been quite wet and cold in the area, the first kayaking day of my stay was very nice and sunny.

The water level is exceptionally high this summer. Here are some pictures that show the situation the same time last year compared today.

Last year
Today
Last year
Today

Checked willow grass in the bay nearby to see if pikes were at home. None spotted.

Pike’s hiding places

Underwater video of the willow grass bay.

Paddling in Linnansaari national park

In July I spend a couple of weeks in the lake area near Linnansaari national park. I have paddled there before and seen some of its islands. This year I stayed at the cottage on the shore of lake Haukivesi which Linnansaari national park is part of. I made day trips  to the national park area with a kayak and a canoe.

Linnansaari is home of the endangered Saimaa Ringed Seal (Phoca hispida saimensis). I’ve once seen one lying on the shore of an island in Linnansaari national park when kayaking a few years ago but this time I did not see any though looked intensively.

Linnansaari is a great place fo those who want to see protected Finnish lakeland area and explore it by a kayak. To enter the park, Oravi village is good starting point where you can rent a kayak or a canoe. From Oravi there is boat service in summer to Sammakkoniemi camping site in main island of Linnansaari. Linnansaari national park is part of lake Haukivesi which is part of greater Saimaa lake area. It means that you can start paddle south past town Savonlinna to lake Pihlajavesi, pass Puumala village and end up in town Lappeenranta in south-eastern Finland. To north you can reach town Kuopio or kayak to another national park, Kolovesi np. See my other post on Kolovesi.

To go kayaking in Linnansaari national park your have to be a fair experienced kayaker because the transfer route to the closest islands of the park is at the shortest a kilometer away and to Linnansaari island over 5 kilometers (from Oravi village). The weather and wind conditions can turn quite hard pretty quickly so be prepared with latest weather forecasts. There are long open waters where wind can form quite big waves. On good windless weather it nice for even a less experienced paddler.

If interested in other national parks in Finland for paddling see my other blog post– it is a short introduction of the best parks to paddle.

Best possible weather in Linnansaari national park in July
Oravi Outdoor Center - good place to rent a kayak and start your trip
Typical view when paddling in Linnansaari np
In July 2011 water level was quite low
Beautiful bays of Linnansaari islands
Water of lake Haukivesi is quite clear - helps you to see hiding underwater rocks
One of the sandy beaches that are not shown on maps
In July there's still long daylight - this is taken at 8 pm
Lots of cliffs on the shores..
Some are quit steep..
With a kayak you can get really close..
And see things from different perspective..
Nnature's own art..
Close-up of cliffs on the shore from a kayak - heather and lichen
Some sort of algae, Trentepohlia iolithus?
"I could not stop laughing"..
One of those of tens of islands in Linnansaari national park
Huge nest (of osprey I guess) on top of "Kermit"
This is where pike, perch and pike-perch hide
Perch is quite curious - they swim with you
Chanterelles for lunch
Organic superfood of Finland - blueberries
Some visit the park by rowing a so called "church boat" - takes 15 people
View towards a few kilometres of calm open waters of Peonselkä
There are nice routes between islands - this one Selkä-Anttonen and Väli-Anttonen islands
Leaving little islets behind near Vehkaset islands
Perfect day for kayaking again
Heavy rain, no wind - only one day of 14 it rained
Sunset at 10 pm in 29th of July
Just a moment before midnight
Really unbelievable luck with weather - thunderstorms passed by all the time