· Suur-Saimaa · Sarastus · 19 M

After a busy June, the summer holiday finally began, and what better way to start a holiday than with a sailing trip? The cooler weather before the Midsummer quickly gave way to temperatures of almost 30°C, which caused the swimming waters to warm up at record speed. When considering the destination, we had the Eastern Gulf of Finland and Suur-Saimaa to choose from. The lake won this time, because swimming is far more comfortable in fresh water than in sea water. This time I went out with our youngest daughter. We chose Patasaari, which had been on the list of places to visit but we hadn’t had a chance to explore it before.

We passed Hietasaari on the west side by

After Hietasaari and Petrasaari we came to Petraselkä. From my childhood, I remember it for its foamy, hard-to-spot rocks and cloudy grey skies, which of course as a little boy made me feel a little scared as I retreated deeper into the orange life jackets. This time the experience was quite the opposite. With satellite navigation, it’s easy to stay away from the rocks. The wind conditions were also surprisingly light, probably around 5 knots, compared to what it was like before Petrisaari bypass.

The skipper at Petraselkä

On Petraselkä, it was a little difficult to distinguish the cove of Patasaari. The navigation app told me the bearing of the point in degrees, which I compared to the compass reading with the erratum. With that guide, we arrived at the right place. On the open water, we had measured the temperature of the surface water to be around 19 degrees, while on the beach it was around 26 degrees. Both would be very acceptable temperatures for swimming.

Landing Patasaari

Beaching was easy by wading through the sand and gravel of the bottom. We unloaded our gear on the beach and my daughter started preparing lunch for us. Because of the forest fire warning, it was not wise to use the campfire, but we had packed a cooker instead. In the meantime, I finished mooring the boat.

Preparing the picnic

The food was tasty, especially as it was well into the afternoon and it was more than six hours since breakfast. While we were eating, we admired a Red-breasted Merganser and her chicks. It was amusing to watch the mother bird occasionally picking up three chicks on her back and carrying them along the shoreline.

The menu included rice and chickpea sauce
Red-breasted Merganser with her chicks

After the picnic, we put on our shoes and set off to explore the island. We walked along the sandy beach for a bit and arrived at the shore rocks, where there was an interesting snake-like pattern. We then went into the forest, climbing to the top of a nearby hill. As there were hardly any proper paths on the island, we decided to head back to the boat.

A peculiar pattern on the rock nearby
A boulder in the woods

The fine sand on the beach was first class. It was just a pity it didn’t extend under the water, where the bottom was covered with a relatively uniform layer of gravel. There was a clear site for a beach volleyball field near the point where we had landed. The field may not be up to official standards in terms of size, but it should still be good-enough for casual play.

There was also a nice sandy beach
A place for a small beach volley field

We went for a swim next to the boat, then decided to start our return journey. The family of Red-breasted Mergansers reappeared out of nowhere as soon as we were about ten metres from the shore.

Patasaari left behind

On Petraselkä the conditions were exactly the same as when we arrived, around 5-6 knots. There were curly cirrus clouds in the sky, which normally can be a sign that a weather front is approaching and that the weather is becoming more unstable. The next day at home we had thunder and rain in the afternoon, which was good for the plants after a long dry period.

Cirrus cloud above Petranselkä

On the Skerries and Männtysaarenselkä the wind picked up to around 12 knots, which gave the opportunity to hang overboard and optimise the speed. Occasional splashes provided fresh showers for the crew.

We reached the bay between the Sarviniemi capes at speed. The picking up speed just before entering the harbour is somehow so characteristic of our outings. We set sail next to the moorings and paddled back to the ramp.

We arrived at Sarviniemi at pace

The trip to Patasaari was practically perfect: the weather was just right, the wind did not die, the beach was nice, the water was warm and there were hardly any bugs. Hopefully there will be more trips of this class during the summer.