Which channel is greyhound racing in the sky
The archipelago from Gothenburg to the Norwegian border is a paradise. Rocks and islands smoothed by glaciers cavort along the Bohuslän coast. In between, picturesque fishing villages appear with their boat sheds crouching against the rocks. On Tjörn, Orust, Marstrand and the many other islands you can not only have wonderful holidays, the island world also invites you to go on extensive tours with the sea kayak. The sea can be very calm between the islands, which makes paddling pleasant. But be careful! The wind and the sea are not to be underestimated here. And the many sailing and motor boats also require increased attention.
We have tested two tours around Marstrand for you:
Tour 1 at Marstrand: the unplanned one
We rent our boats at marstrandskajaker.se. The kayak rental is right at the entrance to Marstrand on the left-hand side of the road and can hardly be overlooked. The canoe shop not only rents out sea kayaks, it also makes its own. So if you are thinking of getting your own boat, this could be the right place for you. We borrow a boat, paddle, life jacket, spray deck and a map (everything is included in the price). How important the nautical map is, we find out later, when we paddled around between countless islands that all somehow look the same and without a map would have quickly lost our bearings. In the harbor basin we paddle a little until we get used to the boats. Then it can go.
A natural channel as a challenge
The first section already shows that paddling in and around Marstrand is not for absolute beginners. We turn to the west and first have to pass through a narrow, natural channel between two islands. However, this canal is also the central waterway to and from Marstrand. We are therefore constantly overtaken by sailing and motor boats or they come towards us. Not all motorboats are considerate, so that they speed past us at high speed and we have to fight the waves. At the same time, of course, it is also fun to paddle through high rock walls in this narrow channel.
After about a kilometer, the archipelago opens up in front of us. Flashing sea, countless small and large islands, in between the white sails of the boats. Splendid. We haven't planned a route, we just want to paddle away without a plan. It works wonderfully here, because no matter which island we pass or take a break, it is wonderfully beautiful everywhere. In some archipelago there are stone signposts for the ships, in the distance - now behind us - the mighty fortress of Marstrand rises. It is the only fixed point in the world of the archipelago where it is otherwise difficult to find one's way around.
Marstrand is a kayaking paradise
Sun, blue sky, sparkling sea
The only annoyance is once again the motorboat drivers. Some of them feel they need to show others how much horsepower they have hidden in their engine. Sometimes they recklessly slide just a few meters past our narrow boats. But these few moments of anger are nothing compared to this wonderful landscape, which we can fully enjoy under a cloudless sky and sun. We take a break on a small island called Ängholmen, unpack the disposable grills and enjoy ourselves. It goes without saying that we have garbage bags with us in which we can transport the grills and the rest of the rubbish back to Marstrand.
In the afternoon we paddle back and forth between the archipelago, everyone gets sunburned before we come back to Marstrand through the natural canal in the early evening.
Tour 2 at Marstrand: the circumnavigation
It is a beautiful but windy day when we set off from the canoe rental to tour the island. We want to drive around the island Koön - the cow island. One part of the town of Marstrand is located on this island. The other part including the fortress is on a smaller island that can only be reached by ferry.
The circumnavigation of Koön: about 15 kilometers
In a double kayak we first paddle westwards through the narrow canal. The same game as on our first tour is repeated: It is fascinating to paddle along here, but due to the many boats it is also not completely harmless. Then we turn north and head towards the narrow point that separates the islands of Koön and Instön from one another. There is absolutely no trace of the wind here. The water is calm and shiny, we drive relaxed between the two large islands and under the road bridge. When we leave the narrow point at its northern point and now turn east, we notice that the wind is stronger than we had thought in the protected area of the islands. The waves are getting higher, but everything is still fine.
At the boat rental in Marstrand
We take a short rest on one of the two islands called “Brothers” / “Bröderna”. It's sunny and warm, but a bit cool in the wind. Seagulls screech, a few sailboats can be seen, the air smells of salt - a sea kayak tour as we would like it to be.
The waves get higher.
Then it goes on. We leave Backudden, the bay of the campsite on Marstrand, on the left and paddle further east on the north side of the island. The wind is getting stronger, the waves are getting higher. They are still coming from the beginning, so that they do not pose any major problems for us. But when we have left the two archipelago “Kråkorna” behind us and have reached the northeasternmost point of the island Koön, the situation changes. There is no longer an upstream archipelago that could provide protection from wind and waves.
The open sea lies before us. We now have to turn south to make the last stretch of the island tour. But that also means that we often have to drive across the waves that roll in higher and higher. A real challenge in the inflexible and not so easily maneuverable double kayak. We finally decide to turn back, even if we only had a few kilometers to go.
When we paddle back into the narrow sea road between Koön and Instön after the Brethren Islands, the wind and storm can no longer be felt. In the shelter of the islands the water is calm again, only tiny waves ripple on it.
Through the canal we finally get exhausted but happy back to the harbor and boat rental. It was a nice tour: exhausting, challenging, but beautiful!
Södra Strandgatan 3
Booking: online or on 0046- (0) 70 626 07 42
280: - SEK per single kayak and day, 340: - SEK for a double kayak.
Do you prefer paddling in a canoe and on a lake? Then maybe Vättlefjäll near Gothenburg or Dalsland would be something for you.
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Where are your favorite canoeing areas in Sweden? Let us know and leave a comment!
Post picture: Per Petersson / imagebank.sweden.se
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