After a long time we had the opportunity to go out on a sailing trip. Our original plan was to sail to Kaito, but on the way we had second thoughts.
On the way there was a light breeze blowing, giving us a peaceful cruise. In front of Päihänniemi there was again a bit of a thrill, as we were at the crossing of the waterways at the same time as a cargo ship coming from the north. We lined up on the south edge of the waterway to give the ship heading for Imatra enough room to navigate.
At the island called Raappi, we decided that instead of Kaito, we could actually go to Hiekkapakka, where the Finnish Meteorological Institute has a measuring station. Despite its sandy name, the island’s shores are mostly stones and rocks. The best place to land is on the south shore of the island, where the bottom is mostly made up of small stones. Due to the wind blowing from the north, this side of the island was now sheltered. So we landed there.
Hiekkapakka is a very small island. It is perhaps 150 metres long and has a low tree cover, especially after cutting a couple of years ago. There were some bushes (Solanum dulcamara) growing on the island with red berries. We felt it was better not to taste them. I read afterwards that the whole plant is poisonous, but it has been used in the past as a medicinal plant.
The real attraction of the island is, of course, the weather station. It consists of a tiny log cabin with solar panels and a high pole with measuring sensors. On the other side of the hut was an anemometer with a ropel, but we assume it is older, obsolete technology.
We had a picnic and took a swim. The water was about 20°C, which was pretty refreshing. The bottom with its rocks was not ideal for walking barefoot, but with crocs you could get deep enough to start swimming there. We left our shoes on the foredeck of the boat.
Despite the ruggedness and small size of the island, visiting it was an interesting experience. We could be there all alone, watching the traffic passing by and enjoying a beautiful sunny day.
As such, it is quite rare to have such a pleasant temperature with a northerly breeze. If the wind had been from the south, the landing would have been more difficult. This rare weather pattern provided us to the rare moment.
Eventually, it was time to head back. The wind was a bit lighter, but we didn’t have to tack once.
We had a nice relaxed sailing trip to a slightly different destination this time. It’s good to remember on those dark winter evenings.