5 day kayak trip in the Stockholm Archipelago
5/28 - 6/1/18 (4 nights)
2018 bag nights: 10
Most of this post is for my memories, but I had a hard time finding much information about actually paddling in the archipelago so maybe this will help someone else. My goals for this trip were to explore/see as much as possible and to avoid people. I was worried that the inner archipelago would be crowded, but I barely saw anyone (one kayaker and a couple sailboats and motor boats) the whole trip. I think it was a bit early in the season, since it appeared that most of the vacation houses were unoccupied.
Something to consider in planning a trip like this. While you can camp almost anywhere you like because of the "Right of Public Access" a lot of the shoreline is very steep and almost always rocky. This means that actually getting ashore is frequently difficult or even impossible. Don't just look at a map and assume you can camp on any island.
I rented my kayak from HORISONT KAJAK - https://horisontkajak.se/en/
The Archipelago Foundation owns a lot of islands or parts of islands all over the archipelago.
I was near three of the foundations nature preserves. There is a map as well as a little bit of info about the area on each page
Möjaskärgården - http://archipelagofoundation.se/omrade/mojaskargarden/
Gällnö - http://archipelagofoundation.se/omrade/gallno/
Hjälmö-Lådna - http://archipelagofoundation.se/omrade/hjalmo-ladna/
Photo of nautical chart from the kayak place, I was glad to have rented it for the trip, but I was also glad to have my phone with GPS to help figure out where I was since low down on the water the islands tend to blend together and make channels hard to see. My regular phone broke a couple days before the trip so I used an old phone with Backcountry Navigator and maps already loaded. The Open Street Maps of the area worked great. Supposedly, there is cell service over most (all?) of the archipelago, but I did not get a SIM card for my old phone. Probably a good idea to pre-load maps ahead of time.
Day 1: 6.5 miles
Day 2: 9.5 miles
Day 3: 7 miles
Day 4: 12.5 miles
Day 5: 7 miles
Total = approximately 40 - 45 miles
In general, I paddled about 6 hours a day. I was very happy to find places to walk when I was done paddling for the day. I would suggest avoiding camping on the truly small islands unless you are very happy just sitting with a book. I'm a very happy reader, but I also get a little stir crazy if I sit too long, having rocks to climb on or a path to hike was very nice each night.
Something else to consider, the sun rises around 4:30 am and sets around 10 pm in early June. You could easily paddle early in the morning before the wind picks up, take a long lunch break and then paddle in the late afternoon. Even when the sun sets, it is not really dark. I only used my headlamp to read, so it would be easy to be setting up camp at 10 pm.
Overview map, Stockholm is off the map to the left
Jet lagged in Stockholm, the whole family went for a little bit of exploration and food. There was a large bush covered with these flowers in one of the parks.
The next day I had about a one mile walk to the bus station and then about an hour ride, followed by a 3km road walk to get to the kayak rental place. The weather was nice so it just felt like an easy hike. I got to the kayak place about 1pm and found out that they did not sell denatured alcohol for my catfood stove, must have been the other kayak place that mentioned it on the website. The lady in charge was nice and set me up with a gas stove so I was able to heat water for breakfast/dinner. I filled my water bottles and loaded up the kayak and away I went.
I headed basically north across the main channel directly into the wind. It was strong enough that waves were breaking across the bow and for a little bit I wished I had rigged the spray skirt. the paddling got a lot easier once I got out of the channel and into the shelter of some islands. I was very glad to not have to dodge any large ferries or other boats as I was crossing the channel.
I weaved my way through the smaller islands near Gallno with no real destination in mind.
I paused to rest/stretch a couple of times.
One place I wanted to check out was the water well on the north part of Gallno. I had plenty of water for the first couple days, but would need to be careful if the wells were dry (supposedly there had not been a lot of rain recently).
This is the view from the beach where the well is located. There was a sign in Swedish attached to the well pump. I don't understand Swedish, but something about it made me think it said to boil the water for 3 minutes (I wish I had a photo).
There is a trail going both north and south from the well. I headed north to stretch my legs a bit, very pleasant walking with minimal bugs.
Then I paddled a little more until I found a place to set up camp near one of the Foundation outhouses on the island of Lisslo. There was an obvious path that I followed across the island past a couple of homes, but I did not see anyone.
I woke the next morning to glass-like water. After paddling for about an hour I started wishing for a little bit of a breeze to cool me off.
After paddling for about 6 hours with a lunch break and a couple miles walking on the road on the island of Sodermoja, I arrived on Granholmen where I found five very curious sheep in the field near the water well. This made me nervous about the quality of the water here. I still had enough until the next day, but I need to figure something out since I wasn't sure I had enough fuel to boil water for the rest of the trip.
In the meantime, I followed the path south through the field and into the woods. There was a stretch where the trail was blazed with teddy bears ...
There were quite a few wildflowers along the way.
Then back to a very nice campsite for dinner.
After dinner I took a short paddle in the little bay and explored a nearby island, ...
... then headed back to camp to climb around on the rocks and wait for sunset (about 10pm).
I can't figure out which of these 3 photos I like best, so I posted them all.
The next day I decided that I would fix my water situation by heading to Berg on the island of Moja since I knew there was a grocery store there. Unfortunately, the wind had picked up and I was heading straight into it.
The wind wasn't bad on the lee side of the islands.
I took a break on Ostholmen near the sauna where I managed to slip trying to get back into the kayak. Thankfully the Baltic wasn't freezing, but I did not want to linger in the water. After drying off, I headed to Berg.
I got water and some bread and cheese in the grocery, checked out the church, ...
... and got back on the water. This lighthouse is in the channel south of Moja and east of Berg
I took a late lunch break on the north shore of Bocko-Storo and when it was obvious that the wind wasn't dying down got back on the water to continue into Mojaskarden.
I found an inlet that looked like a good place for the night.
I set up camp and went to explore. There was an obvious path along the rocks that lead east to the middle of the island and a large inland lake.
At the end of the inlet. My camp was at the end on the right.
I liked the look of this tree, even though it has been dead for years, it still looked "majestic"
No view to the west for sunset, not to mention it was still really windy. I chose to hunker down out of the wind and enjoy some bourbon and a book.
The only hard part of the day was the ~2.5 miles across open water. As I was starting the open water paddle, a seal popped up very close to the kayak. He stuck his head up a couple times, but I was never able to get a photo.
After paddling towards the west for a couple hours, I was across the open water and back among islands and sheltered water. Around 6pm, I started looking for a campsite. I was closer to Stockholm and there were a lot more houses around. I stopped for a break on an island that looked promising. In my explorations I found a perfect sand beach near a swing-set but away from any houses, so I decided that would be home for the next 12 or so hours.
After dinner, I climbed on the rocks and explored the island a little bit.
One of the home owners clearly liked building stuff. There were a couple small boardwalks and this bench.
Last day, perfect weather, a couple of hours of paddling and I was back.
This was a great trip with perfect weather, highs in low 80s farenheit and lows in the upper 50s or low 60s. The mosquitoes only bothered me on the second night and that was after the sun went down. Also, I never saw a tick and supposedly the archipelago is crawling with them. I think that I got lucky with weather. From what I heard, it is usually cooler and wetter in the end of May.
Knowing what I know now, I would probably start in Berg and just paddle in Mojaskarden. I saw kayaks for rent not far from the ferry dock and grocery. I suspect it is not much harder to get from Stockholm by ferry to Berg vs. by bus to where I started.
I found this link http://www.mojahavskajaker.se/22208692 for kayaks in Berg. But, I was very happy with my experience with Horisont Kajak