Kayaking in Linnansaari national park in lake Haukivesi in autumn is very peaceful. The boating season is definitely over, at least for visitors. Days are still very nice for kayaking.
September trip around Linnansaari island
On a fine September day I made a trip around Linnansaari island which is the main island of many Linnansaari national park’s islands. Only a 15 kilometers tour from my starting point, it was a relaxing trip in very fine weather.
I passed the Linnavuori viewpoint, up on the silhouette against the sun.
There were hardly no wind on the western side of Linnansaari which faces the big open waters of lake Haukivesi. When winds blow from other direction this side of the island can get pretty rough for kayaking.
The view to the north-west was pretty amazing.
Passing Eteläniemi of the island I heard strange voices from the shore. The flock of sheep that are kept on the island is summer were on the shore and quickly returned to the forest when I went by.
The end of the kayaking season in October
In early October the water is getting colder pretty fast. It is time to close the exceptionally long kayaking season. The colors have gotten really beautiful. Such a priviledge to go kayaking with all these views around me.
I was hoping to see a Saimaa Ringed Seal on my last kayaking trip of the season and luckily it did show up. Such a nice way to end the season.
I did not see a single boat on my trip, having at least this part of the national park to myself, wow! The evening is getting closer, it’s time to return.
Evening light at this time of the year is very hard and the sun goes down quickly. In an hour from this point it got dark.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Checked willow grass in the bay nearby to see if pikes were at home. None spotted.
In early July I went to the kayaking trip to lake Saimaa. Saimaa is a large lake area in eastern Finland with a lot of connected lakes.
The weather was a mixture of strong winds, sunshine, rain but not particularly warm. We started and ended our trip from the harbor of Anttola village. Paddled through lake Luonteri to waters near Puumala village, to the south near waters of larger Saimaa and then back north the other way to lake Luonteri.
The route went through partly quite sheltered waters and partly across wide, open waters. Saw a couple of canoes also, but a kayak is really a more suitable boat to those waters. There are quite many boat harbors on islands and even some places to add your drinking water supplies.
Such a nice kayaking trip with occasional gourmet cooking. Certainly a place to explore more.
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.
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.