On July 1 and 2, I went to Rauma, a lovely town on the Western coast of Finland. My friend Bjørn was visiting from Denmark for a few days, but I wanted to do something else with him than visiting Helsinki (I’ve done that a few times already).
So I took him on an adventure. We went there by bus (Onnibus ❤ via Turku, but without transfer) for a few pennies, a tent and a pair of sleeping bags in our luggage. We were lucky, for that weekend was very warm. We arrived on Saturday in the middle of the day, the sun was shining when we “checked-in” at the camping. Unfortunately, it was not a very tent-friendly camping: there was plenty of room available for camper vans and caravans, but tent campers were only given a gentle slope with trees, rocks and roots aplenty… We found a spot that was kinda flat, raised our shelter and set sail to Rauma itself.
The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, but on this Saturday afternoon, the scenic streets lined by colorful houses were essentially empty, and very quiet. This did not prevent us from having an ice cream by the canal (a young Jackdaw (Corvus monedula) was very interested in it… this would have been a glorious opportunity for close shots of this smart species, except I had a massive and delicious cone in my hand), and then a pizza in a small Italian restaurant.
Then we walked back to the camping, where we enjoyed a soft and long sunset. It was serene.
Before leaving Helsinki, we had nothing planned for Sunday. In the camping, we realized there was a water taxi going into the archipelago, to the edge of the Bothnian Sea National Park. We decided we might as well do that, even if it was a bit pricey!
So we took the boat, and hopped off in Kylmäpihlaja. That was where I would have liked to sleep, but the only accommodation on this skerry was the hotel, and it was way too expensive. On the harbour piers, I saw Black guillemots (Cepphus grylle), but I did not manage to approach them enough to make pictures. The bus from Rauma was leaving early, so we had only a few hours to spend on the island.
Still, it was more than enough to walk around, for it was a very small island. The difficult part was not to bother too much the many sea birds nesting – terns, gulls and geese teemed there, with chicks already out of the eggs, roaming or hiding, confident in their camouflage coats.
On the edge of a colony, we met this little fellow, possibly a Common gull (Larus canus). We sat still and waited, watching it walk around, curious about these intruders but wary at the same time. After some time we left, trying not to cause any trouble. I suspect the adult standing on a wooden post nearby was the parent.
We climbed up the lighthouse, then had a picnic nearby, surrounded by swallows. I would have liked to spend more time in Kylmäpihlaja… maybe next time 😉
Follow me on Facebook for more adventures in Finland (and beyond!) – Samuel Bloch – Eiwar Photography