The kayak club arranged an excursion around skanör/Falsterbo 20090725. There was 9 persons from the club attending the journey, which started 8:30 from Malmoe with transporting the kayaks to the starting point in Höllviken.
The weather forecast was acceptable, although not perfect (moderate to strong breeze, possible rain, possible thunder). It turned out that the forecast was right. Most of the time we had a breeze of 7-10 meter per second. We did have rain on a number of occasions, but also long occasions with just clouds or even sun. The thunder was heared, but not close, and not long, so we got luckily away without that as a problem. The route we travelled (except last part of sand reef and the straight way home after sand reef), was tracked on my new GPS. Picture below is from google earth. Clicking on the picture gives a hi resolution version of it, and the google earth file can be reached by following this link (you need to install google earth on your computer if you do not already have it).
The interesting things of which I have photos from the trip was:
- Falsterbo Canal starting point
- Falsterbo House beach
- Seals at southern Falsterbo ness
- Crossing Falsterbo ness instead of rounding it
- Setting out in west side water
- The large sand reef north of the cape
The starting place was inside Falsterbo kanal. A large area where you can bath and anchor ships while waiting for passage.
It is surrounded by a large stone wall so waiting ships can stay in calm water.
I thought it an impressive sight first time I saw it. The entrance on this side (we used it as exit way) can be seen between the two piers seen in the top background of the picture. If you are coming through the canal from the entrance on the other side the canal, then the connection to the canal is outside picture, far to the right.
In the foreground is many of the excursion memebers preparing to launch their kayaks.
The plan was to stop for lunch at the south turning point of the trip. However, since we were paddling in 10 meter per second breeze, and almost directly against it, it took a long time and hard work to get anywhere (at least it felt so, but when checking, we actually made a speed of 5 kilometers per hour, so the speed was ok).
One member got too much water into the kayak from the breaking seas (although the waves were not as high as they could have been, the wind were coming from west, and the water was thus calmed by the southern tip of Falsterbo ness). Since I do not take photos from the kayak in high waves, there is no photos from that part of the journey. The picture here is taken after reaching shallow water that broke the waves to smaller ones.
Due to the problem with water in one of the kayaks, the first stop had to be changed from southern part of Falsterbo (måkläppen), to instead be at the beach of the old impressive building of Falsterbo hus.
At the time we had landed, it had rained quite a bit and most people were wet. The skies did anyway contain sunny spots, and the weather kept changing between sunny, with short periods of rain. Most part of the day it was not raining, only cloudy. That did not stop us from having a coffe break. Some people took the chance to eat at the same time, others had separate snacks, and waited with the food to a later occassion. In all cases, it was nice to be outside the kayak for a while and stretch the legs.
During the break, a number of persons passed on the beach, so it was not deserted in any way, but there were no persons just lying there hoping for sun or so, so it was neither constantly full of life. At the time for departure, the beach was lying quite empty except for ourselves. The weather continued to look like somewhere between rain and sun.
The last picture is taken when a number of the kayaks are already out on the water, but many other remain to get out. This was the end of the first unplanned stop, and the start of next leg, where we got to see a lot of seals.
I have seen seals before from the kayak, but at some distance. I am still keen on seeing them more close up and thus I kept my eyes out for them all the journey. I had done so through the whole first part of the journey, but only spotted some birds.
Almost where we were going to turn west, to cross the Falsterbo ness, we finally got to see the seals. In fact, we got to see a lot of seals.
First I saw two of them. Then a bit further away I counted another group of 4 seals at the same time on the surface. I even captured 3 of them in the same photo. So this was a very happy experience, lot of seals, studying us just as we studied them. However, they still remained to distant for making good pictures.
At another spot, I saw two others, and then I got very close to yet another one. Without my camera though, but that did not do too much. The seal was on the surface, straight in front of my kayak, looking strauight at me. It did not dive until I was about 5 meters away from it, which really was quite close. It dived on the right of my kayak, and through the water I could see how it crossed to the left of my kayak, right when I passed over it. Then it swam forward to the left of me, in high speed. This was the closest I have come to a seal and really made me feel good, that was one of the things I had hoped for with this trip.
We had a map from länsstyrelsen, showing the allowed spot to cross the ness instead of rounding the whole southern tip, which would be a lot more paddling, and this without getting into the nature reservate. The good thing with the map was that it was offical, it really proves it is allowed to take that route.
The map led to a crossing where the boats had to be dragged instead of paddled, and later on even lifted over land, but only a very short part land. However, it shortened the journey considerably, and felt like a good alternative. This with stepping out and dragging the and carrying the kayak was something new to me, but before this trip was over, I would really have walked a lot in the sea, far from land.
The crossing does not seem to be visited often, The ground gets you wading up to the ankles in dirt before the feet has sunk into sturdy ground under the water. It is not a pleasant feeling of having your feet sinking for every step. And every step releases bubbles and smells, which does not make it any more positive. But in the distance I could see a lot of green vegatation. And after the first part of only grey sand and smelly water, that green expands, and suddenly you find yourself in a very nice looking environment. This is also a very positive special experience from the trip.
Something that struck me then was the very green green in the area. I was surprised to see my camera showing the same thing. Probably most of it is due to a comparison the eyes does with the very dull grey from all the sand in the first part of the crosssing entrance, but since the camera also gets fooled, it must have to do with the balance of colours. Anyway, from about this place, maybe 50 meters from where we started wading, we could again paddle the kayaks, and thus exchanged walking in a grey smelly environment to instead paddle in a very nice, green, special looking environment.
The route led us to pass one of the golf holes just when people played out from tee, not more than 10 meters away from us. The poles driven into the ground around the golf course, disappearing into the water, first led the thoughts to a fortress. So when gliding forward in the kayak, my first thoughts were about why this was built, and if it was new or old. Then I saw the people on tee, and I understood it was all a construction to keep the golf course from disassembling into the water.
After making the crossing of Falserbo Ness almost all the way to the West side, we could hear a different sound from the water. Here, it was the same wind, but the ground we had just walked and paddled over during the crossing was the land that kept the waves small on the side we came from. Here, the same wind resulted in larger waves. The sound we could here was the sound of the waves hitting the shore, it was clear from the sound that the waves would be a lot higher on the next part of the trip.
We all set out into the water from the sand. Considering the area we were in, which is famous for the number of seals, it is interesting to note that the method of pushing the kayaks out over the sand into the water is sometimes referred to as a seal start. For most people this went well, but a seal start forces you to choose between two not so good things. Either you put the kayak out into the water quickly, and then put on the spray skirt out in the water. My wife preferres that method. If you do not have good balance, and is quick about putting the spray skirt on, you might find yourself sitting in a kayak with a lot of water in it. The other alternative is to put on the spray skirt before launching, my preferred method, but that forces you to drag the kayak through more sand (since if you go out too far with the kayak, it will be turned sideways by the waves before you launch.
The water was nice, the waves reasonable, and we were now looking forward to doing the full west side with the wind to a large extent from the back.
Unfortunately, two of us got the skeg unusable through the sand start. I was one of them (photo of my launch by Anne-Grethe). This was unfortunate for me. I think that my kayak, a Romany, need a little skeg when the water is coming from the back. I paddled about a kilometer without the skeg, but then was helped by one of the members who managed to fix my skeg while still out in the water.
We did good speed with the wind in the back (the payback for facing the wind in the beginning of the day). So, earlier than expected, we reached the next stop, which was Skanör harbour. During the stop, raining set in again, so we ate from our lunch bags while standing under a covering roof.
When we reached skanör harbour, the weather was still good. Or at least good in the sence that it was not raining. The wind was there, as well as the clouds. The harbour is not very big, but it has a pier that is very long in comparison to the size of the harbour. Not hard to understand considering the placement, it is usual with waves in this area.
We lined up all our kayaks except one which stayed in the water, along the grass close to the landing place. Since it had rained, and also since we had travelled in waves all day, many selected to change to dry clothes before the lunch or coffee pause, whichever it was considered to be. Luckily, the paddling instructions had mentioned at least one change of clothes...
When we left the harbour, it was still raining a little but not much.
As can be seen in the picture though, it had in between rained enough to make the ground wet and with some puddles of water.
During the last part of the trip, while just rounding the northern part of the cape, came a very special moment. We had been paddling in rough water for a long time. To our right we had surf, but no mainland. The surf all came from a very large sand reef, covered of maybe 10 centimeters of water, and very vast. The lowered depth of water led to the surf appearing, but also to a complete calm area with calm water on the other end of the sand reef (it is hard for waves to be high on a depth on 10 centimers). I have never before been on such a large sand reef, and it led to a strange feeling standing so far from land, surrounded by calm water, with rougher water so far away that it could hardly be seen.
These two first pictures are taken when we land onto the sand reef. Outside, there is surf, but as soon as the reef gets high enough, the water starts to calm down. From the beginning, few of us know how far the reef would extend, so there were optimisatic thoughts on paddling in shallow water to the other side.
It is a strange feeling standing here. It is nowhere close to land. Distances are hard to measure and from the same place you can see the bridge over Öresund, the north shores of the cape, and the windmills in Öresund, and the eastern shores of Höllviken. It is hard to judge what is the closest, although the bridge can be identified as being furthest away also by an untrained eye.
These two pictures are taken 10 minutes later than the first two. Everyone is now walking, all attempts to paddle are futile since it is shallow enough for the kayak to get stuck in the water. The two pictures spans a large area with walking kayak members, as well as a large area without anyone. We are all spread out, trying to find deeper water as quick as possible, but it is a huge area to cover.
This last picture is taken 45 minutes after we landed on the reef. It has been a number of attempts to sit down and paddle. The last two minutes has seen an increasing number of members sit down in the kayaks again and starting paddling again (after 45 minutes we now it is tougher paddling in shallow water than walking). We are now on the verge to reach deep enough waters to paddle.
After finally reaching the end of the reef and being able to paddle, all plans were changed to let us get home immediately. So we took a straight aim for the canal opening and paddled straight over the water. It was still around 9 meters per second in wind, but there was again a land area keeping the waves small. Not even in the middle of the passage between the sand reef and the canal opening did they exceed half a meter.