Out to the sea

It has been a while since writing something. We have opened our new paddling center and I have been very busy. Finally we are starting to get most of the things organised and hopefully I will have more time to be active with the blog.

Thursday afternoon I realised I didn’t have anything in my calendar for the evening and the next morning. So I decided to escape and spend the night somewhere on the sea. I packed my things and looked at the weather forecast. The forecast was light wind from southwest, which was supposed to pick up a bit the next day. So I decided to head to Eestiluoto and Kutuhället which are about 10 kilometres from our paddling center. They are the last islands before to open sea starts.

Kayaking at Tammaluoto, Helsinki.

The weather was just perfect. The islands are southwest from our paddling center, so I was paddling against the wind. The winds were very light and it was an easy trip. Here I am taking a short break at Tammaluoto, a small islands on the way.

Evening at Kutuhället, Helsinki

I was expecting it to be chilly so far out, but it was actually really warm. Especially on the calm side of the island.

Sunset in Helsinki

I had the whole island to myself and I was just wandering around and taking pictures. So relaxing!

Spider in the sunset

So nice to have places like this so close to Helsinki. There are a lot of recreational islands free for anyone to camp at.

Hammock at Kutuhället, Helsinki

I slept in a hammock and I must say it is very relaxing. I only had my summer sleeping bag, but it still wasn’t cold at all.

Flowers in Kutuhället

In the morning I took it slowly and walked around the island and took some pictures.

Kayaking at Eestiluoto, Helsinki

Here I am heading back to the paddling center. It was a great trip. I think I need to try to to get out again next week! But I will also try to post something about our new paddling center next!

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Back in Tenerife

I was guiding a week of hiking in Tenerife and once I got back to Finland, I have just been running around everywhere. Our new paddling center here in Helsinki is opening first of May and there is still a lot to do before that!

Here are some pictures from Tenerife. It was a great week and a great group. Also a big thanks to our local partner Teno Activo and our guide Nayra for making everything work!

Hiking in the La Orotava valley

On our first day we hiked in the La Orotava valley.

La Orotava

And we also visited the city of La Orotava. It is a beautiful place!

Masca ravine

The Masca canyon was great as usual. It rained a bit at the start, but eventually the weather was really good!

Hiking in Anaga, Tenerife

You could spend a week just hiking in the Anaga peninsula!

Teide National Park

There was still snow up on Teide and Pico Viejo.

Hiking in Arona

On our last day we hiked from Arona to Ifonche and visited Bodegas Reveron to taste the local wines.

Sunset in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife.

We stayed in Puerto de la Cruz and the sunsets there are spectacular! It was great to be a week in Tenerife, but now I am looking forward to start the kayaking season for real!

First kayak trip this spring

We made plans with Joni a couple of weeks agoto go kayaking,if the weather is good. We wanted to open the kayaking season and stay overnight on one of the many islands of Eastern Helsinki. On Saturday the weather was perfect. Sunshine, calm winds and a good forecast. So there was no excuse.

The temperature had been below freezing the night before, so some of the inner bays were frozen again. Luckily we found a spot in Uutela, where there wasn’t too much ice. We had to carry and drag the kayaks for a few hundred meters to get to our starting place. The water is still very cold, so you have to be really careful if you plan to head out. A drysuit is essential and even that isn’t enough if you do something stupid. So be well prepared or wait for a few months before the water is warmer. 🙂

Pulling our kayaks to the starting place

The path was still icy and it was easy to pull our kayaks to the shore.

Breaking ice with our kayaks

There was about 200 meters of ice to break before we got to the open water. Luckily it wasn’t too thick.

Ice on the sea

It was great to kayak through the ice and get really close to the ice.

Sunset at Pihlajaluoto, Helsinki

We decided to spend the night at Pihlajaluoto, one of my favorite islands in Eastern Helsinki. The sunset was beautiful.

Sun setting behind the trees in Pihlajaluoto, Helsinki.

Pihlajaluoto isn’t too far from where we started, so we had a lot of time to enjoy the island and take pictures. The islands are so quiet in the winter time. It is a special feeling being out there.

Fire and the moon at Pihlajaluoto, Helsinki.

We brought some firewood and made a fire. The sky was clear and we were waiting to see the stars as it was getting darker. The forecast was cloudy, but it was completely clear.

Sky full of stars in Pihlajaluoto, Helsinki.

It was great to see the sky full of stars!

Frozen kayak gear

The night was pretty cold and I accidentally took a wrong sleeping bag, so I didn’t sleep to well. And all the kayaking gear was also frozen in the morning. But it didn’t take too long to warm up. It was a great trip and I hope can get out soon again.

 

A short guide to Hiking in Gran Canaria

I have only been hiking in Gran Canaria for 6 days, so I don’t have a lot of experience. But here are some of my impressions and thoughts about hiking on the island.

The hiking route leading to Cruz de Tejeda

General information

Gran Canaria is a small island, but close to half of the island is protected. So there is a lot of nature if you just get out of the coast. There are hundreds of different paths. Some are marked, but it does take a bit of work to find your way around. I recommend having a good map to help you with the orienteering. Discovery Walking Maps has made a map of Gran Canaria. You can buy it from Amazon or it is also available on the island.

Guided hiking trips

If you get lost easily or don’t want to but your energy in finding the best routes, there are also guided hiking tours available. We will be running a trip for our Finnish group in November 2016. But if you go there by yourself, you can book a tour from Walk in Gran Canaria. They offer daily tours or also packages with accomodation etc. Have a look at their webpage about everything they offer.

Pico de las Nieves

Getting around

There are a lot of places to start your hiking trips and for me the easiest way was to rent a car. The rental cars are fairly cheap. My Fiat Panda was about 20 € per day. The roads are generally in good condition and the traffic wasn’t bad. Some of the mountain roads are very narrow and have a lot of turns. So even if the drive isn’t long in kilometres, it does take a lot of time.

My trusted Fiat Panda in Gran Canaria

Having a rental car means, that you need to do circular routes or walk the same route back to the starting place. This of course limits your options a bit, but if you are fit and have time it doesn’t really matter.

Where to go

It is hard to choose just a few hikes to recommend. I won’t go into detail about the routes, but here are a few places I liked a lot!

 

Pico de las Nieves, the highest place on the island. A great place to start a hike. I hiked from here to Roque Nublo and back. Also the place to take sunset pictures, as you can see from this picture and my previous post.

Hiking close to Cruz de Tejeda

Cruz de Tejeda. Lots of nice hiking routes starting here.

Firgas. A lot of good hikes in this area also. I did Azuaje-hike, but you can find 6 different route suggestions at the local tourist office.

On the ridge of Caldera de Bandama

Caldera de Bandama. You can walk on the ridge around the Caldera or you can walk the trail down to the base of the Caldera. I recommend doing both! This area is also famous for the local wine, so maybe you should take the tour with Walking Gran Canaria, which includes the wine tasting. This way you don’t need to drive back to the hotel.

The Guigui beach. You can read all about this in my previous post.

Hiking in Gran Canaria

I am very much looking forward my next visit to Gran Canaria, so I can see more of the beautiful island.

 

Sunsets in Gran Canaria

I had a great week in Gran Canaria just before Christmas. I was planning hiking routes for our new hiking program there. So a lot of walking, but I also had some time to take some shots. It would have been great to be out on the mountains every evening to take photos, but driving back to the hotel in the dark was very unpleasent. The roads are narrow and there are hundreds of turns.
Pico de las Nieves as the sun is going down

One evening I drove to Pico de las Nieves after my day of hiking. It is the highest place in Gran Canaria. And a great place for sunset photos.

Pico de las Nieves at sunset

Here is another shot from the same evening. You can see the top of Teide, the highest mountain in Tenerife, in the background.

Dog at Pico de las Nieves

It wasn’t easy to take the shots, because this dog was in the way all the time! 🙂 It was pretty friendly, but got a bit frustrated because I didn’t want to play as I was trying to take photos.

Maspalomas dunes

My hotel was at Maspalomas in the south. I have heard of the Maspalomas dunes and thought it would be a good place to take some pictures in the evening. It was just getting dark as I got there. There were a lot of sketchy looking guys walking around the area, so I didn’t feel I wanted to stay too long. I just quickly took this shot and then walked back to the main street.

Lookout point on the road to Fataga

One evening I was driving back to Maspalomas a bit later after my hike. I stopped at a lookout spot on the road coming down from Fataga. It is alway nice to watch the sun going in to the sea.

So even if you don’t enjoy hiking, Gran Canaria is a great place take pictures. Just rent a car and drive around in the mountains. There were a lot of other places for sunset photos, but I just didn’t have enough time to go to all of them!