When the Kvarken archipelago was accepted onto the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2006, Fredric Sandvik had an idea. He thought it likely that the number of tourists visiting the area would grow and so he founded his company Kvarkenturer, which offers boat trips. For eleven years now, Kvarkenturer has organised boat trips to, for example, the group of islands known as Valsörarna, where it also provides tours of the lighthouse. Other services on offer include fishing trips and charter trips according to customers’ wishes.
From midsummer to August, Kvarkenturer’s customers are mostly independent travellers, whereas in the spring and autumn the majority of clients are companies that are organising events for workplace health promotion for their employees. Some trips still take place in October, but there are no activities over the frozen winter months.
Fredric Sandvik, owner of Kvarkenturer, has played around in boats all his life. Now he offers customers boat trips around the Kvarken.
In a manner of speaking, Kvarkenturer is a summer job for Sandvik, who looks after his metalworking company, called Sandviks verkstad, over the winter. When founding both his companies, Sandvik has found the advice of the Vaasa Region Enterprise Agency Startia and later the help of VASEK’s business advisors crucial. He very much appreciates the fact that he can always call VASEK and get help when he needs it.
Visitors are fascinated by the archipelago’s rocks and moraine formations
Sandvik grew up in Björköby and has been messing about in boats all his life, first with his parents and later by himself. Sandvik has two boats, one cabin boat and the other an open one. Each boat accommodates twelve people at a time. What he finds appealing about boating is the opportunity to admire the beauty of the archipelago and also the freedom of movement.
“I have a high respect for nature and the wind. A boater is always reliant on the wind, so you have to adapt to it,” Sandvik says.
The Kvarken has seen more and more tourists come every year. Many of them come from all over Finland, but they also include foreign visitors. Sandvik particularly remembers a Belgian couple.
“They were fascinated by the rocks in the archipelago. The husband asked me if it would be OK for him to take a rock home with him. I said, ‘of course’. Then he asked if his wife could take one too. Again I said 'yes’,” Sandvik remembers, smiling.
Tourists find the De Geer moraine formations in the region fascinating. They feel very close to nature when Sandvik drives his boat right next to the moraine ridges. Over the years, Sandvik has seen clear signs of how the archipelago is rising from the sea.
“There are new islands here that didn’t exist when I was a child.”
Sandvik has two boats, one cabin boat and the other an open one.
“Everyone should visit the Kvarken and see our World Heritage Site”
Weather-wise, previous summers have favoured the boating entrepreneur as no trips have had to be cancelled due to bad weather. The trips also always include a local guide who talks about the archipelago, its nature and formation. Age is no obstacle for participation, as proven by the oldest participant so far, who was 90 years old. Pushchairs, however, are tricky to use on the nature trails, which is why it is best to bring along children who can walk.
“The best part of this job is meeting new people and offering them something they’ve never seen before. Everyone should visit the Kvarken and see our World Heritage Site at least once in their life,” Sandvik recommends.
Text and photographs: VASEK
Translation: Taina Pemberton
The Kvarken archipelago is the only World Natural Heritage Site in Finland listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The archipelago is rising from the sea in a process of glacio-isostatic uplift in which the land that used to be weighed down by the glacier during the last Ice Age continues to lift today. Nowhere in the world is this uplift better displayed than in the Kvarken, and at rates that are among the highest in the world. Consequently, you can see unique glacial formations in the Kvarken archipelago, such as De Geer moraines and ribbed moraines, which make the scenery so exceptional and varied.
For more information go to: http://www.kvarkenworldheritage.fi/experience-kvarken/
Read the other articles about the Kvarken archipelago:
Molpehällorna island, Cruise to the Mickelsörarna, Granösund Museum, Sommaröhallen crafts shop, Aava Kerttu homestead, Merenkurkun Majatalo inn, Café Salteriet & Villa Meribjörkö.