Restoring alvars on Kesselaid

For the next talgud we left the mainland with a group of Estonian volunteers to work on a tiny island called Kesselaid. Getting to Kesselaid can be tricky, but not if you are volunteering with ELF. From the port of Virtsu tooks 45 minutes to get to Kesselaid by boat and if you are lucky you can manage to get there with dry clothes. We weren’t lucky, the weather was windy, there were big waves on the sea, so everybody got completely soaked until the end of the journey.

When we were still dry. (Bálint and Marisol in the middle) Photo by Kaia Kask

The aim of this conservational holiday was restoring alvars, clearing the island from junipers and pines. Alvars are semi-natural grasslands with a thin layer of lime-rich soil on a limestone base.  This type of land-space was wide-spread in Estonia a century ago, but not anymore. The first day we cleared a bigger area from junipers and pines, also we burned them. The next day we cleared a pathway, making it wider.

Clearing a pathway from junipers. (Marisol on the right) Photo by Bálint Pinke

We were camping next to the shore the whole time, sleeping in tents, cooking on fire and washing and cleaning in the sea. It was quite nice to be far away from civilization and was hard to leaving the island. After two days of work we had the chance to experience what is like to be on a swimming sauna. You can approach the sauna by boat and of course you can always swim.

Swimming sauna on the sea. (Photo by Karin Küünarpuu)

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