Today’s paddle took me a bit around the strait of Øresund. I started at the shop, Kajakhotellet.dk, and first I just planned to do on of the usual tours in the vicinity, but the sea was so calm and the sun was shining from a clear sky, so I changed plans and paddled to Saltholm, an islands about 6km east of the beach park, at Barakkebro, the only allowed approach on Saltholm at this time of year. Most of the island is a nature reserve for birds and seals, and all access to that area is restricted in the breeding season.
I then paddled north to Flakfortet, where I have never been before. I spent some time exploring the small island which is now a leisure harbour, and it was fairly crowded due the good weather.
Flakfortet is an artificial island made just before the first world war, as a part of the defences of Copenhagen. It is shaped like a horse shoe with an inner moat, so it can be circumnavigated both on the outside and on the inside. It was almost lost to looting and nature when the military left in the 60s, but survived when it was turned into a leisure harbour. Now there are a restaurant and a kiosk there, and it is a popular stop for leisure boaters.
From there I went back towards Copenhagen, to the wind farm at Middelgrunden. I zig-zagged down the line of wind turbines, listening to their different sounds. The sea was so calm you could see the reflection of the wind turbines in the water. It was actually quite fun to paddle in the middle of a modern power plant.
From the southernmost wind turbine I crossed back down to the entrance of the beach park and the shop, seeing nothing more exciting than an empty beer can floating in the water.
All in all, my little trip lasted three and a half hour and I paddled 24km. Below are the trip as rendered on Google Earth and the double circumnavigation of the huge island of Flakfortet 🙂
One of the disadvantages of keeping one’s kayak at a shop is that it can be mistaken for a rental kayak. I have a bright yellow Valley Nordkapp PE, and most of the rental stuff at Kajakhotellet are Valley PE boats: Avocets, Aquanauts and some Nordkapps. As I was helping in the shop before my trip, a group mistook my boat for a rental kayak, and I let them do it. People come to the beach and rent kayaks to have a good time, not to have someone make them feel miserable because they took the wrong boat when there was so little left on the racks. I even helped them in the water.
One of the advantages of paddling from a kayak shop is that when someone mistakes you private kayak for rental gear, you can borrow some really great stuff instead. They have Valley, NDK, Skim Kayaks, Nigel Foster Design, Wilderness and much more. I grabbed a Skim Dex (with a keyhole cockpit) from the racks and had a great time.
The Skim Dex is mostly a playboat. It is really responsive and very manoeuvrable, but it’s tracking is lousy unless you deploy the skeg. Then it tracks OK. If you forget the skeg, you’ll waste a lot of effort trying to go straight, especially if there’s a bit of waves. This is very different from my Nordkapp, which tracks reasonably well even without the skeg, but then, the Nordkapp is not quite as lively as the Dex.
The Skim boats have some really neat little details. The bulkhead behind the seat is slanted a bit so it is easier to empty the boat of water and it gives a little more room in the day hatch. It has two strong straps on the sides for paddle float rescues with handles for easy detachment of the paddle. Just behind the cockpit is has a recessed metal axel which can be used to locking the kayak to something, and with the rope clutch on the side it gives a central point of drag when towing, and a quick release mechanism for the rope.
Miraculously, I did not forget my sunscreen this time, so The Pink Paddler did not return, except for an odd shaped patch on my back. Apparently, my arms are too short.
I have very fair skin and must always be careful when exposing myself to the sun, but if I want to go kayaking I will expose myself to a lot of sun, so I try to get some sun, especially on my torso. The project is, so to say, to get rid of The Pale Paddler without inviting in The Pink Paddler 🙂