Is it safe? I have never gone sea kayaking before.
You need no prior kayaking experience to do this trip, just a little bit of guts and common sense. Double kayaks are incredibly stable and well suited for beginners and intermediates, while singles require more skill since they can roll over. There are no tides, currents or big swells to worry about in Saint Anna. Windy conditions will be your biggest hurdle and you do need to be sensible and realise your limitations. Sometimes it's better to wait out some windy weather on an island rather than battling the seas
What about emergencies?
We give you a cell phone and the whole area has reception. If something happens civilisation is only a phone call away and you can be reached by boat taxi or the coast guard in up to 20 minutes. Luckily accidents are very rare in the archipelago and if any problems occur (for example broken equipment, minor medical problems) we will assist you.
What about tides?
There are no tides whatsoever in Saint Anna. The sea level stays the same, which means no time tables to consider and no transporting kayak and gear from the waterline. Also, there are no big swells because of all the islands breaking up wind and waves.
Do I need to be fit?
You don't have to be fit to go sea kayaking. It's easy and you completely decide your own pace and how much distance to cover. Kayaks are suprisingly quick with just a little effort. If you are paddling against strong winds, it can be pretty tough however. It can often be avoided, but not always. We'll teach some tricks to avoid the wind as well as basic paddling technique.
I don't know anything about navigation. Will I get lost?
We'll teach you what you need to know, it's not that difficult. You just have to be attentive and continuously compare what you see around you to the map. It's an advantage to have a little knowledge of maps, orienteering or navigation, but we've had many novices over the years and they do just fine too. One person in your group will be assigned navigator and have the rolling compass, map and hand compass strapped in front on the kayak.
What are weather conditions usually like?
The weather in the archipelago changes often and quickly. We give you a cell phone and text you the weather report every morning. When you are out for a few days you are very likely to experience a couple of calm and sunny days and a couple of windy and overcast ones. Sometimes it rains of course, but it usually passes pretty quickly. We provide good water and wind proof clothing. Temperatures vary a lot, a typical summer day can bring you 33°C and sunshine, or 17°C and rain, but mostly it stays around 20–28°C.
How warm will the water be?
It's always hard to predict water temperatures. It depends completely on the weeks leading up to the summer how early you can comfortably swim. All it takes is a couple of weeks of warm weather to heat the water nicely (Nordic style, we're not in the Mediterranean). In general it may look something like this:
Early June: 14–19°C
Late June – mid August: 19–24°C
Late August – early September: 19–22°C
Late September: 14–19°C
Isn't Sweden supposed to be cold?
Ask any Swede and they’ll praise the Swedish summer as superior to anywhere else. It's absolutely beautiful. Everything turns incredibly green and flowery. The light is fantastic and there is so much natural beauty. Swimming and sunbathing is at the top of the list, we just have to choose our days a bit more carefully than if you live further south.
Is there a set paddling route?
No, not at all. You choose completely where to paddle and how far. There are a three different pick-up points so you start and finish at different spots. When it's time to go home, using the provided cell phone, just let us know let us know where and when. You will see that wind direction will have a big say in what route you'll be taking. We do advise you of a general plan though.
Is there anywhere to re-stock supplies?
No, not really. You should order all your food and bev in advance through us. (You pay cost price and we shop and pack for you.) Or, if you are organising your own transport to Saint Anna, make sure you plan your food well and buy everything you need before your trip. There are a couple of small camp shops, but they have nothing fresh and a very limited assortment, so much better to be organised.
We will supply fresh water that will last half your trip and show you a few places where you can fill up on the way.
Can we just put up camp anywhere?
Yes. In Sweden we have something called "the right to public access", which among other things mean that you can camp wherever you want, as long as you are respectful to the area. You'll see that camping in the archipelago is something really natural in these surroundings.
I have a GPS, What are the coordinates for Saint Anna?
A GPS is not neccesary at all, but if you already have one it's a good place to get to play with it.
You will start your trip at ”Mon”:
Latitude 58.36500 or N 58° 21' 54"
Longitude 16.82728 or E 16° 49' 38"
Do you have a weather link for the area so I can check the forecast?
Check the weather at smhi.se/en/Weather, search for "Söderköping" or "Soderkoping"
Any dangerous animals I should know about?
Saint Anna is a low danger area. We don't have any dangerous animals at all. You might see a water snake or an adder, but they'll keep their distance. Otherwise it's just birds and the odd sheep or cow, so no worries on land or in the water.
Sometimes there are ticks in high grasses and they can, even if it's very rare, carry and transmit TBE or Borrhelia, which untreated can lead to lyme decease. We give you tweezers and info on how to check for and remove ticks quickly and correctly. A tick has to be latched on for several days for anything to transmit. We strongly advice against walking through any high grasses without long trousers tucked into your socks. The area is almost all smooth rocks and moss, so it's not difficult to simply avoid that kind of vegetation altogether.
I’m continuing traveling afterwards and have a lot of gear. Is there anywhere I can store it?
Whatever you don’t wanna bring paddling you can leave with us. You will get to re-pack your stuff into waterproof bags anyhow and leave your bags/backpacks behind.
The Ryanair flight coming in is so early. Isn't there a better flight?
The best option is to fly in on the late flight the night before. Skavsta is a very small airport in the countryside, so you just take the airport shuttle to Norrköping (55 min)and stay at the hostel or hotel there. We will come pick you up there in the morning.
Is Sweden expensive?
Sweden is definitely on the pricier side, although not even close to Norway and Iceland. Prices are similar to London, but more expensive than most places in the UK or northern Europe. A few examples:
1 x liter of milk: 10.50 SEK, £1, €1.20
1 x kilo frozen chicken breast: 89 SEK, £8, €11
1 x 500 ml beer at the supermarket: 12 SEK, £1.10, €1.40
1 x decent bottle wine at the store: 70–90 SEK, £7–9, €8–11
1 x 500 ml draft beer at the pub: 60SEK, £6, €7
Dinner main at restaurant: 100–300 SEK, £10–30, €12–36
Private hostel room for 2 in Stockholm: 700 SEK, £70, €83
Double Hotel room in Stockholm: 1800–3000 SEK, £180–300, €215–360
How much does food normally cost per person?
You will order everything in advance from a very comprehensive food order form and pay cost price, same as in the supermarket. Food and mosquito repellent for a 4 night trip usually adds up 600-800 SEK per person depending on how lavish you choose to be. Alcohol comes on top of that. If you are a big group it can end up a lot cheaper too.
Can I get a discount if I bring some of my own gear?
You are more than welcome to bring you own gear, however we cannot lower the prices because of that. The majority of our expenses lie in transportation and the hours put into your group.