The small fishermen’s cottages on Sandskär lie between land and sea. Peace and calm prevail here, in the northernmost part of Gulf of Bothnia.
Your skipper on board the SS Bosmina II, Staffan Svanberg, is waiting for you on the quay in Haparanda with piping hot coffee and a tasty sandwich. Staffan also supervises the Haparanda archipelago national park and enjoys recounting tales of this fascinating borderland between land and sea.
The pleasant boat trip from Haparanda harbour to Sandskär takes a couple of hours, passing beside large and small islands that have been shaped by the waves. Nowhere else can you see so clearly how islands are formed. The land elevation increases by one centimetre per year.
The loud screech of birds is carried through the summer air and wild geese, sea swallows and gulls are breeding on some of the islets. You can also see the round heads of grey seals looking up inquisitively out of the shallow waters.
In Sandskär there is a lunch of smoked salmon, potatoes, vegetables, beer or soft drinks and coffee awaiting you and after the meal you set off on the island walk with Staffan Svanberg as your guide.
Sandskär inspires you to go rambling. In the fields by the shore buzzing insects hover above the brilliantly coloured flowers such as the meadowsweet and valerian.
It’s exciting since the vegetation here changes continually. There are beaches with shallow water and shingle, others with an incredible profusion of flowers, Mediterranean – style beaches and large areas with sand dunes.
There is also a remarkable wealth of birdlife. On Sandskär, for example, you can be watching a gull and then suddenly hear the laughter of a ptarmigan in the background. Whilst walking round the island you can see how the red-necked phalarope does pirouettes in a pool of water to whirl up food. There is an abundance of stories about life in bygone days. You can have a look around in the old herring-fishing village, visit the weather-beaten chapel and inspect the lava-covered stones that indicate the position of poles once used by fishermen to hang their nets out to dry.
It’s quiet and peaceful in the simple but cosy cottages in the fishing village and now is the right time to enjoy a sauna as the sun sinks slowly below the horizon. Next morning, the early birds among you might like to visit the bird station and see how the birds are ringed. Or you can, of course, also enjoy just being there, stopping now and then to study an interesting plant, listen to the soft singing of the birds or simply enjoy the fresh air.