How do I get there? Pictures Description

The Rönnskär archipelago is located almost 40 kilometres west of Vaasa. The archipelago consists of about one hundred islands and islets. Finland's oldest preserved wooden beacon is on Fäliskäret, which was previously the centre for pilot activities in the area. South of Rönnskär is Bergö Gaddarna, a group of rocky islands with a wealth of birdlife.

Pohjakartta © Maanmittauslaitos lupanro 172/MYY/02

Rönnskär

Visitors who come to the Rönnskär archipelago by boat encounter outer skerries with many scattered islands and islets where only the larger islands are forested. The area is in the birch zone; only small stands of spruce are found. Heath vegetation dominates the on the smaller islets. The beaches are rocky and boulder-strewn, with the occasional cliff. Some of the islands are relatively high and the wider channels are navigable even for bigger boats.

Storskäret is the biggest of Rönnskär's islands. On the west beach of the island is a legendary medieval grave and a maze. On the east side of Storskär are several fishing cottages, mainly used for recreational purposes. Storskär has rich, lush vegetation with several interesting species such as figwort (Scrophularia nodosa), wild pansy (Viola tricolor), downy alpine oatgrass (Avenula pubescens), male fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) and marsh woundwort (Stachys palustris). This wealth of plants is attributed to the fact that Storskär is in an area with diabase, which is for many plants a more favourable type of rock than granite and gneiss. Two newcomers to the area's plants are gilmour (Centaurium littorale), which is found on Bergö Gaddarna, and Scottish lovage (Ligusticum scoticum), which grows in a few places on Rönnskär. Around Bergö Gaddarna south of Rönnskär the water is extremely rocky and difficult to navigate, but the area is home to a variety of birdlife. For example, a substantial portion of Finland's greater scaups (Aythya marila) breed here.

If you visit the Rönnskär archipelago you will probably go ashore on Fäliskäret. Fäliskäret is the "centre" of Rönnskär with its wooden beacon and former pilot station. The red wooden beacon was built in 1784, and is Finland's oldest wooden beacon. Many buildings have been built and some have also been torn down since then, including pilot cottages, houses, bakeries, sheds, warehouses, a windmill, a smithy and several barns.

The new pilot station was completed in 1966. When pilot activities ended in 1983 the coast guard took over the buildings. In 1997 the entire island with its buildings was transferred to the ownership of Metsähallitus. Today the old residential buildings are leased to organisations such as a yacht club and diving society. The pilot station was renovated and converted into a nature station with accommodation for about 10 people. The previously white building now has red siding to better fit in with the local setting. The shipyard by the beach has also been renovated and now contains bunks for 8 people, a beach sauna and exhibition facilities. The facilities can be reserved directly through Metsähallitus for various types of guided activities (contact information below).

Fäliskär is open with only a narrow line of trees along the east beach. The northern part of the island is rather high and rocky and there are lovely cliffs along the western shore. The island narrows to the south where it is covered by rocky heath. Visitors to the island in summer should stay close to the houses and the cliffs on the north side of the island. Many birds breed on the southern end of the island and they need to be left in peace during summer.

Photo: Lise-Lotte Molander
Photo: ÖFPL/Göran Strömfors
Photo: Lise-Lotte Molander
Rönnskär beacon
Residential buildings
Cliff formations on the west shore of Fäliskäret
     
Photo: Pertti Malinen
Photo: Timo Hissa
Photo: ÖFPL/Göran Strömfors
Rocky waters of the southern Kvarken area Photo from Bergö Gaddarna
Birds-eye view of Fäliskäret
Ten flashing lights help boaters travel safely through the Rönnskär archipelago
     
Photo: Lise-Lotte Molander
In late summer the profusion of flowers is striking on the islets. In the photo are purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), yellow common toadflax (Linaria vulgaris), white lesser stitchwort (Stellaria graminea) and green curled dock (Rumex crispus)

How do I get there

You can reach Fäliskäret by following the marked channels.

Services

On the east side of the island is a harbour with a proper dock and room for visiting boats. There is a sheltered barbecue on the beach. The island also has waste service and an outhouse. The nature station can be reserved through Metsähallitus Terranova tel. no. 0205 64 5281.

Pointers

Many companies arrange tours and cruises to Rönnskär, see Boat Ride and Nature Guides.

Links

Malax municipality http://www.malax.fi/
Rönnskär nature station http://www.luontoon.fi/page.asp?Section=2935&Item;=3430 (in Swedish)


Texts: Anders Enetjärn, Lise-Lotte Molander.
Translation: Accent Språkservice AB.
Layout & illustrations: Päivi Anttila.
Webbdesign: Fredrik Smeds, Freddi Com Oy Ab.
for maintenance & updates contact: [email protected]