On the solidified shores of the Lulea Archipelago in the Gulf of Bothnia, lies Pine Bay Lodge, our home for seven days of energizing winter exercises. Our top-notch settlement is a little boutique lodging in the exemplary Swedish Red Cottage style. In this area of Sweden, the ocean can stop up to a meter thick, while the tidal flows of the Baltic Sea make an energizing setting of broken pack ice, some of the time a few meters high. During the week we will go by snowmobile out into the inlet to encounter this stunning regular marvel. On different days we appreciate increasingly customary, Arctic exercises including ice-angling, an imposing safari through the woodland, and a snowshoe climb through perfect backwoods looking for the striking Aurora Borealis. This is an ideal seven day stretch of exercises for those hoping to get into a remote corner of this delightful district of Sweden.
Those on the group flight will arrive at Luleå airport via Stockholm and will be transferred to Pine Bay Lodge by private transfer (approximately 40 minutes)
Winter in Swedish Lapland is made comfortable by learning how to dress and behave in the cold Sub-arctic climate. You will be provided with warm outdoor clothing and strap on snowshoes. Our guides will take you on a 3-hour journey into the nearby forests and lead you through an adventurous and educational excursion. Here you will learn how to make a fire and cook some coffee, before heading deeper into the forest to learn about the nature around us. We finish with a barbecue lunch near the lake. The afternoon is free for an optional excursion or you may choose to relax back at the lodge after a busy start to our trip. * *
Today we spend four hours on the glistening ice and the islands of the Luleå Archipelago on a snowmobile. Along the way, the guide will tell you about the surroundings and about life in the northern wilderness. Weather permitting, we will attempt to reach the island Brändöskär in the outermost archipelago, an idyllic fishing village dating from the 17th century. The chapel from 1774 and one of the fishing-huts will be visited. Right across the frozen Bothnian bay, we will see endless fields of pack ice and snow, sometimes as high as 10 metres, created by the heavy currents of the Baltic several metres below. This is a snowmobile trip like no other in the Nordic region. We enjoy lunch cooked on an open fire before heading back to Pine Bay Lodge where we enjoy a few hours free before tonight activity. This evening experience starts with a snowmobile transfer from your Lodge. On arrival to the Aurora Hideaway, you will be introduced and offered a drink of your choice. Wine, beer or a warm drink. Your guide will then serve a hot steamy soup as your first dish. The stove in the Aurora Hideaway has a sparkling fire roaring and the candles and tea lights create a magic atmosphere. You now have a chance to go outside to look for the Northern Lights or just enjoy the absolute silence and the stars in the sky. The guide prepares the main course over the outdoor fire. A relaxed evening is finished off with dessert and tea/coffee before returning to your Lodge.
Today we drive out to a local husky kennel for a fantastic adventure with these beautiful dogs. First, we learn to control the husky team (as they are known) before driving them out and do a long loop through the forest. You will drive the sledge yourself swapping with a partner halfway. We return to the lodge around 1pm for lunch followed by some free time for an optional excursion, before hopefully seeing the Northern Lights right outside. In the evening we also visit a local astronomer and will learn of his passion for stargazing and photography.
With a reindeer-hide over your shoulder we head out together on the big snowmobile sled with our guide for two hours of ice-fishing on the frozen sea near Pine Bay Lodge. We drill a hole in the ice, which is sometimes over a metre thick! We then start fishing, a normal catch would be perch or sometimes pike. Lunch is also included back at the lodge, but don’t worry we’ll provide extra if you don’t catch ‘the big one’! The afternoon is free for some optional excursions or some relaxation at the lodge and sauna. * *
Today is free for you to enjoy one of the longer excursions such as the popular Hovercraft Pack Ice Tour which involves a journey across the ice-covered landscape with the goal to reach the pack ice fields of the outer archipelago. Alternatively, you may choose to relax at the lodge and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this beautiful setting. In the evening, after dinner, we head out on snowshoes to try and catch the northern lights one last time; stopping for a hot beverage along the way to warm up. * *