Another relief was my injured knee. Although it was a bit complicated to get in and out of the cockpit with it it didn't cause any problems once I was in the boat. But quickly it became apparent that my arms and shoulders were not used to paddling - they hurt. On an outdoor forum I had received waypoints for possible campsites in the archipelago and I checked one out now. Immediately I encountered a foreseeable problem: I had to beach on rocks! The rocks were very smooth so no problem for my foldable kayak. But the submerged part was so slippery from algae that I had great problems getting out of the boat. But the campsite was great: flat spots under pine trees on soft duff with views over the sea in all directions. I also found an easier beaching spot. But it was only 4 pm with almost four hours of daylight left....
Unfortunately this changed around noon when one boat passed me so close that I had to fight against
the waves it created. Very few boaters had the courtesy to slow down for a humble kayaker like me. But other than that it was another beautiful day. As I consider this a learning expedition I ventured out a bit further today where I had to do traverses of more than 1 km between islands with no mainland in sight. Still no problem because there was only a light breeze and the archipelago is relatively sheltered.
In the evening motor boats became really unnerving as I was paddling in a main shipping canal. Again I was tired and exhausted way before sunset and tried my camping luck on a small island. Again I discovered an established campsite with fire rings and even a clothes line. I had to paddle around the whole island to find a suitable beaching area for because I wanted to avoid the slippery rocks. I was rewarded with a wonderful sunset and an almost full moon.
|Lock at Mem|
|only accessible with service card|
Eventually the sun came out again and I asked a responsible looking person if I could camp here at the lock. Yes, I could. Then I made an even better discovery. The little stream I had coincidentally paddled into led all the way to Söderköping saving me three portages around locks. These were bright prospects for tomorrow.
Bottom line: My short visit to St Anna archipelago was a great success and I highly recommend this area. I myself will definitely come back one day and discover the Eastern Swedish archipelagos in much more detail. Logistically I had found a perfect solution: I had started in Valdemarsvik which can be reached with hourly buses from Norrköping which in turn is on the main train line between Malmö and Stockholm. The best thing about Valdemarsvik though was the conveniently located Grännäs campground which is less than one km from the bus station along a nice bike path. Even at night with all my luggage getting there hadn't been a problem. There is a decent size ICA supermarket in town which can be reached easily in less than 15 minutes on foot via the same bike path. The tent camping area at the campground is right next to the dog beach where you can assemble and launch your boat. The campground is relatively small and quiet for Swedish standards but of course there are all facilities. In off season I was only charged 150 SEK which is cheap for Sweden. I am sure there are other good ways to access St Anna but this way has worked out great for me.