The second week of our Swedish Coastline tour was dominated by winds from the South West and by North flowing currents making for some tough paddling and very rough water.
Heading South from Bua we stopped on a small island opposite Varberg castle before continuing to a beach just East of Falkenburg. With no islands to hide behind we felt the North going current more strongly than before. At Falkenburg we met Thomas, a local paddler who pointed out some nice geological features of the coastline ahead. We continued to Tylösand and with a flat calm sea set off on a 25 km crossing to the island of Hallands Vädero.
Just a few km from the shore a squall blew up from the South East and we dug deep to reach the island in a downpour. The mosquitos were huge and hungry so although we put up a tarp we stayed in the tent as much as we could.
The next morning saw very heavy rain, SW winds of force 5 and poor visibility. The direct line to Kullen didn’t seem wise so we paddled across to Torekov to dry out. Here we found an enchanting little town and a very friendly cafe, so glad we paddled here. Leaving Torekov warm and well fed the weather seemed better so we set off across the bay for Kullen point.
As seems the norm about half way across a strong SW wind kicked in and began to build. As our progress slowed the waves just grew and grew. We bore off the wind to make some headway and by chance had the good fortune to blow into Arild harbour. This was such a pretty and interesting little village with traditional thatched cottages and a strong fishing heritage. We treated ourselves to a very fine meal at the Strand Hotel, fully recommended.
In Arild we met a sailor who explained to us that the currents were best forecast by the Danish weather service, since it’s not far from Copenhagen. (See dmi.dk, hav, prognosa, strömretning). However, knowing that the current will be against you all day everywhere didn’t really help us much.
Leaving Arild we hugged the shore as the wind was from the West, some unusual art installations and a very beautiful rocky coastline remininscent of North Devon.
We found big confused seas off Kullen Point as the currents from different directions met and were whipped up by the wind. The two lighthouses deserved a picture but most of the time both hands were needed on the paddle.
We continiued South to Helsingborg, where the kayak club made us welcome and Christian and Helene, whom we had first met in Hamburgersund, invited us for an exceptional meal and evening of relaxation. Rested and feeling happy we set off the next day like lambs to the slaughter. Dodging the ferries we entered the channel where the gap to Denmark is at its smallest.
The North going current is squeezeed here and is fast and furious. A South Westerly Force 5 gusting 6 made things a little tricky as we worked our way South, passing windmills and commercial shipping ports. Hundreds of swans were seen sheltering behind one of the islands as we ran downwind in a Force 7 on rolling waves to land at Barsebeckshamn strand. There was a campsite here that had been recommended but it turned out to be full and not at all welcoming. We used “Everymans right” and camped on the sand a little way up the beach.
We were keen to leave this place so set off the next day into a SW force 5 gusting 6. Making very slow progress we crawled along the coast, passing the decommsioned nuclear power station before pulling into Vikhög after only two hours. We had planned a short Fika break here but sailing harbours always make the wind seem stronger as the rigging screams and whines.
Vikhög was quite remarkable for the warmth and generosity of the welcome we received there. We were offered showers and the use of a kitchen in the clubhouse. The former chairman, Leif, offered us his yacht as a place to stay for the night and gave us their club burgee. As the strong winds whisled by we felt a small conversion to the world of sailing beginning!
It was hard to leave the next day but we headed out towards the infamous bridge, into winds and adverse currents once again. The famous twisted torso building of Malmö was abeam for far too long and we headed closer to the shore to avoid the current but faced more wind and dodged a few ships. After passing under the infamous bridge the sea state eased a little but soon returned to the usual lumpy state with 2 m waves on the beam.
We stopped at the entrance to Falsterbo Canal and pulled into the marina on the South side. Warm dry clothes and meal made things feel better but we were both dog tired. We found a room for the night at the ELS and watched the kite surfers speeding and jumping high, enjoying the winds that had plagued us earlier.
After a good sleep we set off in rain the next morning with winds still from the west. We had to wait for the barrage on the canal to be lifted at 9.00 but then entered a comletely different world. East of Falsterbo the sea was wonderfully calm and with a following wind we made good progress past Trelleborg, enjoyed a squall from behind for a change, before landing for a fika in Gislövs Hamn.
An easy paddle took us happily into the harbour at Smygehuk, Sweden’s most Southerly point.
With 563 km paddled we took a midsummer break here, Therese headed for Oslo and a family wedding. Kevin stayed at the comfy easy going STF hostel by the lighthouse and was delighted to meet the combined Trelleborg and Wirral (near Liverpool) Ukelele bands having a party in and around the lighthouse. Great fun and the perfect antidote to sea kayaking.
Paddling resumes on Monday!