Sälspaning från kajak i Blekinge

Track seals

- from the kayak

by Niklas Kämpargård

 

"Sealfi"

The happiness can hardly be described in words. A bubbling joyful experience that never ends.

Sälspaning från kajak i Blekinge

Suddenly the seals are everywhere around the kayak.

Life's living seals only a few meters from the kayak. Curious individuals, young baby seals and older seals that playfully splash in the water and swim under the kayak, some so close to feeling its existence as small vibration in the kayak's hull. A youngster who plays with the kayak almost makes it impossible to take a picture. Photographing backwards when blowing strong side wind turns out to be easier said than done.

Sälspaning från kajak i Blekinge

Kayaking offers unique opportunities to get close to both seal and bird.

 

Wild animals

- for real!

Just like luck, the feelings rinse through the body when you see a flock of lions on the savannah, a bear outside the photo shed or a colossal moose far into Sarek, the pleasure does not really let go when the seals pop up. These are nature experiences at their best, where we as humans are horribly small and insignificant in comparison to nature's amazing creations. Meetings with wildlife for real.

Paddla med sälar i Blekinge

So many great meetings with seals in Blekinge archipelago.

 

Sälspaning från kajak i Blekinge

 

Blekinge offers fantastic paddle water.

 

Under the surface

I almost can not stop smile. Every time I stop paddling, the distance to the seal's increases. At least above the surface. In the water, on the other hand, I both see and hear how the seals swim really close as if they enjoy being close without being seen. Friends who snorkel with seals previously just certify the same thing. Under the water, the seals are more curious than above the water surface. Down there - in their world - a man is not a threat. At least not physical. Instead, their unusual discoveries trigger by our mere existence, and as long as the seals only encounter paddles during a few occasions per season, curiosity is likely to pass.

Sälspaning från kajak i Blekinge

At the furthest in the sea belt, meetings with seals become more frequent.

 

Track seals

- on the seals terms

Of course, there is no guarantee to see the seal when you are out and paddle. The tip is to paddle in low season, preferably in early autumn or late in the summer, preferably on sunny days, when the activities in the archipelago are reduced to a minimum. It's hardly any secret that the seals do not like motorboats or watercraft running through the archipelago as deadly projectiles. On the other hand, the seals will be happy as soon as you turn off the engine and let the boat drift in the water.

Sälspaning från kajak i Blekinge

The seals usually appear farther in the sea belt.

 

Sälspaning från kajak i Blekinge

If you do not see any seal you can always swim and enjoy the archipelago in other ways.

 

Paddle goal oriented

Keep in mind that seals do not like to be surprised without paddling targeting and talking to each other if you are out several and paddle to minimise the risk of the seals feeling threatened. Even if the seal - or seals - disappear when you approach them, it does not take long before they are back on the islet to sunbathe. You do not need to be afraid to disturb the behaviour of the seal, but should of course show consideration and keep the distance (which can be difficult when the seals are very close).

Paddla i Blekinges skärgård

Far out at sea will be meetings with the seal more frequent.

 

Three seals in the Baltic Sea

In total there are three different kinds of seals in the Baltic Sea; Gray seal, "Knubb" seal and the "Vikare". The biggest is the gray seal which can still be up to three meters long and weighs almost 300 kg. The gray seal feeds their kids on the ice - or islets and rocks - in February or March and stays there for about three weeks before the kids leave alone until they are big enough to chase on their food. From the moment the baby is born until the mother leaves, the seal dramatically increases. From 10 kg to about 40 kg. The "Knubb" seal is significantly smaller than the gray seal and can weigh up to 100 kg and become about 170 cm tall (male). "Knubb" sälen is found mainly on the west coast but and also found in many colonies in the Baltic Sea. The baby seal is born around midsummer and, in contrast to the gray seal, can jump into the water immediately after birth and accompany the mother in search of food. The "Vikare": Is Sweden's smallest seal, significantly smaller than the "Knubb" seal. The baby seals are born in February or March in a cave made by the mother in the ice. On the other hand, if there is no ice, probably the kids are drowning after birth, and nobody knows why the seal does not breed their kids on land when there is no ice.

Sälkoloni i Blekinge

Great experiences in Blekinge archipelago.

 

Paddla med sälar i Blekinge

The seals like islands, islets and rocks.

 

Sälspaning från kajak i Blekinge

Seal safari from the kayak in Blekinge.

 

Here you can see the seal in Blekinge:
• "Utklippan" in Karlskrona archipelago is a great place to see the seal (gray seal) in quantities. Never paddle alone as the weather can quickly change far into the archipelago. The dive company "Saltstänk" also arranges seal safaris. www.saltstank.nu
Listerby archipelago (between Nättraby and Ronneby). There are no site-specific colonies without the seals appearing as spontaneous meetings in the coves.
The seal area in Olsäng (on the east coast south of Kristianopel) is Blekinge's only seal protection reserve. It is also the county's only colony with a knot seal. Just like bird sanctuaries, the area is protected and you must not leave or stay in the reserve between April 1st and September 30th.