April 11, 2006, Jöns Aschan - The ice gave way and what was left was a dark hole that is seen in front of the bow. I went down to my waist and got up like the cork of a bottle of champagne.
We say "rotten ice" which means it forms vertical pipes maybe even 20cm's long and originally well tied together. When the sun rises higher on the sky the pipes catches heat from the sun and surrounding ice becomes water. The crystals bonding the pipes disappears. A swamp of vertically floating pipes is the result. The swamp is impossible to recognise compared to still bonded crystals, and carrying ice. Everyting happens under the surface.
At that point I changed to sitting in the kayak. The ice edge I was approaching breaks so easily and it is much easier to step into the kayak from standing on the ice than from a swimming position.
Ice weight carrying properties comes from two effects: Rigidity and floatation. The rigidity on the edge is compromised since one side of the ice is open and the ice you stand on is easily bent loose. When there is a little bit of bending from a persons weight water will enter and the floatation loss increases bending effects.
The ice in the fairway is broken by ships and melting. It is ice free on a distance of 7km from Lappvik to Ekenäs.
Edges of fairways are stronger than naturally melted edges. You could perfectly reach the water standing on the ice if it has been broken by wind, waves or icebreakers. Early winter ice blocks would float around. The closer to summer we get, the more of the ice is rotten and the open water more difficult to reach. - Or the other way around: It might be easy to get out in the morning and a difficult task to get back in the afternoon.
A drysuit is mandatory since there is an overhelming risk of becoming a swimmer. Moving around on, or in weak ice could be a struggle also for a fellow rescuer unless he is correctly positioned from the start.