Meeting at Orust Kajak with owner Thomas and his staff, we prepared for our five-day exploratory tour among the islands of the west coast archipelago.
Historically associated with granite quarrying, both small-scale extraction and with larger more extensive activity, the region has also always seen fishing activity.... small towns cluster the waterfront of many islands..
Larger houses built for former boat captains stand above the small fishing huts that cluster the waterside, now often converted into dwellings.
Large wooden vessels are not uncommon
The islands create many channels with options for sheltered landing
...while the outer shores are typically bald, bold rock faces rounded during the last ice-age and weathered by the sea.
Calm weather opens the option of exploring close along outer shores without the added excitement of wave action
...and even when the wind blows onshore it is possible to find shelter from swell, if not from the wind itself
Kristin climbs higher to get a broader view
...while at water level the wind has brought jellyfish into the shelter of the cove
So we launch with some care, avoiding the stinging tentacles of the jellyfish when we wade into the water
Stopping to fill up our water bottles, we park our kayaks beside a field of upturned boats
and swing the handle to pump up water from the well.
At this time of year the village is sparsely populated, after a busy summer
and we pass semi-deserted quays and boathouses.
on our way around this island and onward to a place to camp
Here a patch of open flat ground offers good camping with plenty of space amongst the wild flowers, with some great bird-watching
A look at the map reveals a land route to a village, suggesting a destination for the evening
although the village is extremely quiet
It's not the place to find a wild nightlife tonight
Lines of mailboxes suggest more activity than we see, but it's evening and most folk are probably relaxing at home....
and man-watching through the same window.... in different directions
One of the larger fish we encountered... began life hooked on a line, dragging the waters to snag mines behind a minesweeper....
... great paint-job!
With the summertime bustle over, the sheltered small boat harbor is serene.
with a few older wooden boats with inboard diesel engines among the modern fiberglass shells with outboards
We make use of the heavy beam set up as a bench for watching and chatting, using it for watching and chatting.
Which reminds me of the expression "sometimes I just sits and thinks..."
And the rest of it, which goes, "...and sometimes I just sits..."
Kristin, truly relaxing!
before the stroll back through the woods and across the moor to our tents
We cross a shipping channel, before it gets busy
and sneak past between ferry sailings
to find a quiet corner away from the breeze to brew espresso and eat lunch
As a contrast to our remote camping spots and exposed coastline we occasionally seek contrast and turn a corner to squeeze into a channel between red-painted fishing huts and moored boats
At a narrow pace we pull aside to let a larger boat cruise through under motor, although we watched it cruising under sail in the more open water
Our last camp site on this years trip has a rocky overlook where we prepare our food while watching the sun sink.
Joachim, startled by the "headlights"
Shallow water close to our camp offers a chance for some to learn or practice rolling.
and a spell of quiet weather lets us explore the outer coast so often an inhospitable place in the wrong conditions
Espresso, with the Kri Kri ceramic cups we always carry....
during a lazy sun-baked lunch break
before rock-hopping without wind or waves.... the quiet before the storm that arrived in time for the Stockentraffen event at the weekend....
visiting "town" for ice cream and to buy bags of local shrimp ready for an evening feast...
Joachim, unable to sit still for long, paddles the entire way back to our island standing in his kayak
A huge pile of stones on a hilltop... one of the many prehistoric relics
We'd love you to join us on one of our annual tours along Sweden's west coast. If you go it alone, you can rent kayaks from Orust Kajak and buy the booklets that describe how to act sympathetically in this wonderful yet fragile area, where to camp, and what to see.