Monthly Archives: February 2014

Kevät helmikuussa

Useimmiten näin helmikuussa pakkaset paukkuvat ja lunta riittää, mutta ei näköjään tänä talvena. Lunta ei ole nimeksikään ja merellä lyö aallot heikkojen jäiden päällä. Onneksi etelän puoleinen tuuli heikkeni hetkeksi ja jäälle pääsi taas. Kamera sukelluskoteloon turvaan, pelastuspuku päälle ja reissuun…

Usean päivän jatkunut lämpöaalto ja reipas etelätuuli olivat tehneet tehtävänsä, jään päällä oli nilkkaan asti vettä ja sohjoa, eikä luntakaan ollut enää ollenkaan. Railoista ja kivien kupeista jäälle oli puskenut paikoitellen jopa 5 cm kerroksen hiekkaa. Uveavantoja oli syntynyt keskelle tasaista jäätä ja jään väri vaihteli kirkkaan sinisestä lähes mustaan.

Lämpöaalto oli tehnyt tehtävänsä jäälle. Kuva: Keijo Suihko

Lämpöaalto oli tehnyt tehtävänsä jäälle. Kuva: Keijo Suihko

Hiekkaa jään päällä. Kuva: Keijo Suihko.

Hiekkaa jään päällä. Kuva: Keijo Suihko.

Kivien ympärille oli tullut sulia onkaloita, joihin luonto oli tehnyt omia näyttelyitään.

Jääonkalo. Kuva: Keijo Suihko.

Jääonkalo. Kuva: Keijo Suihko.

Kävelin pienen saaren lähettyvillä nilkkoja myöten sohjossa kahlaten, kun edessä vilahti jäällä jotain. Ensin katsoin, että siinä ajelehti vain roska, mutta roska lähtikin uimaan karkuun jään päälle jääneessä lammikossa. Onneksi kukaan ei nähnyt seurannutta näytelmää. Minä konttasin vesilammikossa rähmälläni kamera ojossa pienen kalanpoikasen paetessa henkensä edestä. Varmaan vartin jaksoin yrittää saada kunnollista kuvaa, mutta kala veti pidemmän korren. Nappasin vastahakoisen mallin kiinni ja laskin sen uimaan kiven vierestä. Kiitokseksi sain pari kunniakierrosta kiven ympäri, jonka jälkeen malli katosi jään alle jatkamaan elämäänsä.

Malli jään päällä. Kuva: Keijo Suihko.

Malli jään päällä. Kuva: Keijo Suihko.

Tämän kevään retkeilykelit meren jäällä näyttävät olevan uhattuina. Jos nämä lämpimät kelit jatkuvat eikä pakkasjaksoja enää tule, niin jäät tulevat olemaan todella heikkoja kevään mittaan. Jään päälle kertynyt hiekka ja lämmin vesi sulattavat jäätä nopeasti, mikä saattaa aiheuttaa heikkoja kohtia paikkoihin joissa normaalisti niitä ei ole. Veikkauksessa minulla ei yleensä ole onnea, mutta tällaisen sään jatkuessa voisin sanoa, että talviturkki saattaa lähteä monelta varomattomalta ennen aikojaan. Muistakaa pitää vähintään naskalit mukana, ettei tule isompia vahinkoja kuin kastuneita vaatteita.

– Keijo Suihko

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Tuulta, aurinkoa ja kirkasta jäätä

Hieman se alkoi talvisen merellä liikkujan mieltä huvittamaan kun vielä ennen joulua säätiedotuksesta sai lukea aallonkorkeudesta eikä jään paksuudesta, mutta onneksi se talvi tulikin nopeasti ja sen jälkeen onkin saanut nauttia mahtavista ulkoilumahdollisuuksista merellä. Huhupuheiden perusteella näin hyvin on päässyt autollakin liikkumaan jäillä viimeksi parikymmentä vuotta sitten. Itse olen liikkunut enimmäkseen jalan, suksilla tai koiran vetämänä, mutta eniten jäällä liikkujia on näkynyt autolla. Puoli metriä teräsjäätä ja jään pinnalla vain pieniä laikkuja lunta, kelpaahan siinä ajella.

Uusiakin harrastuksia on tullut kokeiltua kun olosuhteet ovat olleet niin mahtavat. Retkiluistelun maailmaan pääsi tutustumaan usean viikon ajan vuodenvaihteen tienoilla ja onhan se mahtavaa. Pitkiä potkuja ja maisemat vaihtuvat nopsaan. Välillä jopa liiankin nopsaan. Kerran hieman puolihuolimattomasti sen enempää ajattelematta valjastin koiran ja kytkin sen vyöhön. Hieman epäröiden koirakin katseli isännän potkuttelua ja uutta ääntä takana, mutta kun se hoksasi että siellähän se isäntä roikkuu perässä eikä kitkaa vedossa juuri ole niin sitten mentiin. Vauhtia riitti sen verran etten suosittele ihan heti kokeilemaan, tai laittakaa ainakin kypärä ja jääkiekkosuojukset päälle.

Vauhdittaja. Kuva: Keijo Suihko.

Vauhdittaja. Kuva: Keijo Suihko.

Alkutalven mahtavat jääolosuhteet ovat olleet omiaan myös kalastukselle. Verkkoja oli helppo viritellä kirkkaaseen jäähän, eikä vettäkään ole ollut jään päällä haittaamassa liikkumista. Kalastuksen lomassa on päässyt myös tutustumaan vedenalaiseen elämään, eri kalalajit tulevat paikalle eri aikoina. Kilkkien elämäkin alkoi kiinnostaa kun niitä ilmestyi verkon alapaulaan paikassa jossa kesäisin niitä ei ole näkynyt sukeltaessa eikä kalastaessa. Lyhyen selvityksen jälkeen tulikin nopea vastaus kilkkien liikkeisiin, ne asuvat kesällä syvemmillä vesillä ja nousevat talvisin matalampiin paikkoihin. Pitää toivoa että keväällä olisi jään alla sen verran kirkasta että pääsisi kokeilemaan sukellusta jään alle ja tutkiskelemaan näitä otuksia luonnollisessa ympäristössä.

Verkot jään alla. Kuva: Keijo Suihko

Verkot jään alla. Kuva: Keijo Suihko

Kunnollisten varusteiden ja olosuhteiden tuntemista tuskin voi liikaa painottaa ja merellä liikkuessa keli voi vaihtua nopeasti auringonpaisteesta nollanäkyvyyteen. Itse olen jo kerran tälle talvea joutunut luovuttamaan ja lähtemään pois jäältä. Kalastus 15 asteen pakkasessa 15m/s tuulessa sai hanskat ja varahanskatkin jäätymään siihen kuntoon ettei niitä saanut enää edes käteen. Onneksi takin povarista löytyi sinne unohtuneet hanskat ja silmille sai laskettelulasit. Ilman kypärähuppua, laskettelulaseja ja varahanskoja paleltumia olisi varmasti tullut.

Täydessä talvivarustuksessa. Kuva: Keijo Suihko

Täydessä talvivarustuksessa. Kuva: Keijo Suihko

Kannattaa hyödyntää nämä hienot jääolosuhteet merellä ennen kuin lunta tulee lisää, lähialueiden laavut saavuttaa nopeasti eikä nuotiopaikkaakaan tarvitse etsiä kinoksen alta. Aina retkeen ei tarvitse edes kohdetta, eilen iltapäivä meni sujuvasti lähirannan pusikon reunoja kierrellen ja katsellen hirvien, jänisten ja kauriiden jälkiä.

– Keijo Suihko

Around the Bothnian Bay in three days, part 3

The final day began as grey as the previous days, but our journalists were on a good mood. They gathered up on the hotel lobby and were given Jopo-bikes, a Finnish one-size bike that fits everyone. A cycling tour around Oulu was about to start. Sightseeing by bike was a lot more convenient than by bus, because it’s easier to stop and look at things when you don’t have to get out of a bus and then rush back in dozens of times. The temperature was just above zero degrees, so the roads were a kind of mixture of slush and ice, but there weren’t any major fallings or accidents. The tour ended on Oulu marketplace, where our journalists left their Jopos and had a quick cup of coffee and a bun.

Lars Westerlund and John Pagni looking at things with the guidance of Minna Hukkanen. Photo: Olaf Schneider

Next stop was Hailuoto, the biggest island in the Bothnian Bay area. Usually people take the ferry to the island, but this time the 7 km journey was made with a hoverboat. It took about half an hour for the bus to reach Hailuoto with the ferry, but the hoverboat was a lot quicker and it went across the bay in 15 minutes.

The hoverboat took our journalists to Hailuoto a lot quicker than the ferry.

The hoverboat took our journalists to Hailuoto a lot quicker than the ferry. Photo: Olaf Schneider

It was time to have lunch in a small cottage. Some fish soup and sandwiches. Coffee was served outside and it was made on a bonfire. When stomachs were filled with food, the journalists headed to the ice after their host Sampo, to do the fishing nets that lay under the ice. Sampo told them how they managed to put the fishing net under the ice and pulled up some fish caught on the net. Sampo was like a huge celebrity posing in front of the flashing cameras while our journalists did a bit of paparazzing.

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Sampo Marjaniemi joking around and showing his love for fish. Photo: Olaf Schneider

The bus took off and the group was taken to Marjaniemi, a beautiful beach on the coast with a lighthouse and a fisherman village, where they could stroll around and take pictures. After that it was time to rush to the ferry. The journalists were given the option either to go with the bus in to the ferry, or take the smaller car with eight seats and drive the ice road to the other shore. Six of them decided to take the ice road. The ice road was a bit bumpy, slippery and wet, and a little bit frightening, because of the thought of having only a layer of ice between you and the raging sea. When the 6 journalists reached the other side, and started to wait for the ferry to reach the shore with the rest of the group, they got a phone call. The ferry didn’t operate as frequently as usual because the ice road was open, so the bus was stuck in Hailuoto for the next two hours since it was too heavy for the ice road. The problem was how to get 10 people on one drive from Hailuoto side to the other with a car which only has eight seats. And what to do with the ones already on the mainland, because the wind was freezing cold and there was no shelter. But with a bit of logistics and clever thinking and one extra car and one taxi, the problem was solved and all the journalists got to Liminka Bay Visitor Centre only about 40 minutes late.

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The sun was shining through the clouds as the cars rushed on the ice road to pick up journalists stuck in Hailuoto. Photo: Olaf Schneider

The Liminka Bay Visitor Centre is located in Liminka, bout 20 kilometers south of Oulu, and it’s mainly concentrated in birds. There are tens of thousands migrant birds stopping in the Liminka Bay area yearly. Olli from the Liminka Bay told the group about the visitor centre over a cup of coffee and then the group explored the exhibition. The journalists were a bit tired because the last days had been long and full of things to do. And when the bus finally made it back from Hailuoto, they were taken to the hotel to get ready for the last dinner of the trip.

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Olli Help (in the middle) guided our journalists around the Liminka Bay Visiting Centre. Photo: Olaf Schneider

The dinner was served in Sokeri-Jussi, Sugar John’s and it was hosted by Travel Marketing Oulu Ltd. The food was good and the atmosphere was warm. Laughter flowed and everybody was enjoying themselves. After dinner it was time to see some nightlife in Oulu. Since it was Monday night our journalists could wander the streets almost by themselves, but it didn’t matter. Some fire drinks were served in a bar called Kuluma and some of the journalists ended the night in 45Special, a famous rock club in Oulu.

Then it was time to say goodbye. All journalists headed home the next morning so the night and the morning were full of goodbyes and promises about keeping in touch with each other. Then there was only one thing left to do: write the stories about the fun, active and long days they spent around the Boundless Bothnian Bay.

Around the Bothnian Bay in three days, part 2

The second day of the trip started very early, but the journalists took the bus and headed to an icebreaker in Piteå Havsbad. The weather was quite bad, wet and windy, but it didn’t matter.  The winter has been unusually warm, so the river was not completely frozen. The icebreaker headed upstream the river where there was some ice to break.

The icebreaker stopped and hosts climbed the stairs of the icebreaker on to the ice. They set up a table with some warm juice to keep the guests warm in the windy winter day. The hosts pushed some snow away from the ice so that the journalists were able to float on the water. They put on these kind of ridiculous looking orange overalls that were made to keep the water out. The suit made people look and feel like a teletubbie. A leash was a put around the waist and from the edge of the ice, they slowly glided in to the freezing water. The first touch of the water felt weird, the suit sucked itself around the body and it was quite impossible to do anything but float. But afterwards the feeling was relaxing, like floating on a waterbed. The water didn’t feel cold, although gloves let the water through and made hands wet. One after another our journalists floated, even those who had decided not to and they were glad they had done it.

Looking ridiculous but feeling relaxed in the water. Photo: Olavi Joensuu

After the floating, the icebreaker headed back to the shore. Everyone were given a certificate of the icebreaking adventure, a nice memory to put on a wall. The journey continued and the bus headed to Töre in Kalix, the northernmost point of the Bothnian bay. It was time for the most feared part of the trip: tasting of surströmming, the local delicacy. It was served outside, because this fermented herring smelled so bad and the smell could have stayed on clothes. Served in a roll with onions, creme fraiche and a potato, the surströmming didn’t actually taste as bad it could have tasted. For some of the journalists the experience was a struggle, but some of the others had five rolls and wanted even more.

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Ann Mari serving surströmming, the foul-smelling fermented herring, which wasn’t bad after all. Photo: Olavi Joensuu

There was a yellow buoy sticking through the ice that people were traditionally supposed to run around as a sign of reaching the furthest part of Baltic sea. Group photos were taken sitting on the buoy and everyone ran around it. Yet another certificate was given. Afterwards another local delicacy was served, the Kalix Löjrom, vendace roe harvested specially from the Bothnian Bay area. It is usually served in the Nobel Dinner. Much better than the surströmming and it nicely took away the lingering taste of the smelly rotten fish.

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Posing for photos by the yellow buoy in Töre. Photo: Olavi Joensuu

It was time to cross the border. The weather was equally as bad in Haaparanta as it was in Tornio. The journalists walked across the border and were told facts about the Tornio-Haaparanta co-operation and the future of these two cities. But the schedule was tight as usual, so the hungry journalists had to rush back to the bus and travel to Kemi for a late lunch: hot mushroom soup on a table made of ice. The Kemi Snowcastle was impressive and . There were ice sculptures, hotel rooms and even a church, and so many different slides you could glide down. All made of snow and ice of course.

In the evening the group reached the biggest city of the Bothnian Bay area, Oulu. After a quick look at the city center, the journalists were taken to Maikkulan kartano, an old mansion full of feeling and old surroundings. Then it was time for the first sauna experience of the trip. And not just any sauna, a smoke sauna. First the ladies and then the gentlemen tried not to lean on the soot-covered walls, while they enjoyed the smoky and mellow warmth of the smoke sauna. After the sauna, Janne and Pauliina from the BusinessOulu hosted a nice, big dinner for the tired journalists and the enthusiastic chatter and laughter was only disturbed by Timo Kinnunen, who played few  impressive songs with the accordion.

Then it was time to head to hotel Eden where the journalists got some well deserved sleep before they headed towards Hailuoto in the morning.

Around the Bothnian Bay in three days

Twenty one people are sitting in a bus heading towards Kalix. Among those twenty one are people from all over the world: Finland, Sweden, Germany, Russia, Belgium, United Kingdom, Spain and even Australia. They are journalists and they are writing stories about the Bothnian Bay and all the things they will experience during their few days in the area.

While the beautiful Swedish countryside flashes past the windows of the bus, it’s time to tell you about the amazing trip.

The journalists arrived in Skellefteå on Saturday morning. It was easy to gather the group together in the small, but convenient airport. As soon as they landed they were taken to the center of Skellefteå to watch the Swedish Open Winter Swimming Championships.

Before the competition started, the host welcomed the Finnish national ice swimming champion to the arena. He felt the freezing cold water with his hands and shouted ”Perkele!”. Then suddenly there were men walking towards him, all wearing black suits and serious faces. It turned out, that the Finnish national champion of ice swimming wasn’t who he claimed to be after all. Instead, he was Petri Sirviö, the leader of the Mieskuoro Huutajat, a choir of thirty shouting men from Oulu. The choir ”sang” the Swedish national anthem ”Du gamla, du fria” and many other winter themed songs. People were confused at first, but at the end they enjoyed the performance.

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Mieskuoro Huutajat performed at the Swedish Open Winter Swimming Championships with serious faces as usual. Photo: Olavi Joensuu

Then the swimming started. One after another the participants managed to swim 25 meters in the 0,4 degrees water. Many of the journalists were cheering for their friend John Lule, the 18-year-old Ugandan guy who was away from his home country for the first time. He swam the freezing 25 meters very fast and he finished second on the whole competition.

John Lule from Uganda swam like a shark in the freezing cold water. Photo: Olavi Joensuu

John Lule from Uganda swam like a shark in the freezing cold water. Photo: Olavi Joensuu

After lunch, the journalists climbed the stairs of a bus and headed towards Gammelstad of Luleå. Journalists toured around the beautiful old church town and were invited inside one of the cottages. It was owned by this elderly couple Per and Sonja Sundberg, who offered some knowledge about the cabin and some warm lingonberry juice. The cabin was very cozy and warm although it didn’t have running water. Candles on the walls and a fire in the fireplace made the finishing touch and the experience was perfect.

Per Sundberg welcomes the journalists to his cottage in Gammelstad Luleå.

Per Sundberg welcomes the journalists to his cottage in Gammelstad Luleå. Photo: Olavi Joensuu

Nobody wanted to leave the cabin, but the schedule was tight. Journalists were taken to see a concert. Not just any concert, but one with an ice cave, ice instruments and ABBAs music. The band was called Icing Queen and the instruments were really made of ice. The instruments required a bit more tuning than regular instruments, because of the cold air of the ice cave, but the sound was genuine and everybody enjoyed themselves. Despite the cold air and the snow, the feeling was warm and happy.

The Icing Queen playing Abba with their ice instruments in an ice cave. There were more than 160 people watching.

The Icing Queen playing Abba with their ice instruments in an ice cave. There were more than 160 people watching. Photo: Olavi Joensuu

After the concert the journalists were ready for dinner and the discussions were interesting as they compared their experiences from the first day of the trip. In the morning they headed for Kalix, Haaparanta and Kemi, but more about that later.