Wintery Jurmo Island

I confess, I’m an autumn or a winter type.

I love the colors of a clear autumn day, the rain, the storms and even the dark. The best things about winter are the crackling snow and the frost. In hiking’s perspective these seasons create the perfect setting for serene trekking, since summers can get pretty crowded.

In February I acquainted myself with an interesting destination; Jurmo Island in the archipelago. The island is very well known especially among bird watchers. On our arrival it was quiet and void of both people and birds and some of the time we were the only visitors there.

No crowds but room to breathe!

With a gorgeous sunset accompanying us we set sail from Pärnäinen Harbor on SS Eivori. The free ride takes about three hours depending on how many stops at the smaller islands is necessary. People use the vessel to transport groceries and municipals from and to the mainland. So it’s a vital part of their daily lives.

We had booked a cabin on the island from Klas Mattson, who, not surprisingly, rents out cabins. He was waiting for us at the harbor in a pickup truck, so we could just toss them out back. It was only a kilometer from the harbor to the cabin.

There’s no store on the island, which is why people bring stuff with them. In the summertime, however, there’s a cafeteria serving in the harbor. The Mattson family live there all year long, in addition to two elderly couples. They also have an elementary school but it’s on the neighboring Utö Island and every other school is in the mainland. They also utilize Skype for educational purposes.

Our accommodation was in the oldest building of the entire island. It was built in the 18th century.

Fjäderkammare aka the Feather Room was 160x600cm in size and oh so cute! They used to pluck birds in that room. Now it has a double bed, a small table, a hotplate and a fridge. Bathroom business in conducted in outhouses and water is to be fetched from a well. So a perfect getaway!

Out first touch on the island brought a wide smile on my face. Alpacas came to greet us with curiosity. The Mattsons have five of those things roaming free around the island. They use their wool for mittens and beanies and such.

The island is about five kilometers long and a kilometer wide. Part of it is a national park and because of bird reservations it’s prohibited to visit certain areas between April 1st and July 31st. But in wintertime there’s full access.

We walked all around island during the visit, savoring and enjoying the winter nature. The narrow and long and rocky peninsulas were like made for enjoying the sunny days. There were also dreamlike alder woods on the island. Most of the island was covered in heather and juniper. Metsähallitus and hardworking volunteers have burned and cleaned up the excess juniper so other plants can thrive. During summer cattle takes care of this for them.

After sunset we scuttled back into our small chambers, made dinner and warmed up the sauna. We sat in candle light, reading books, conversing and admiring the stars.

Jurmo Island threw all its best moves at us during those four days: magnificent sunsets and sunrises, glorious night skies, rugged and beautiful landscape and peace.

I’d love to experience a storm on the island, though…


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