FAQ / Frequently asked questions about Bengtsår camping island
· Are there mosquitos on the island?
· Is there a kiosk on the island?
· Is there blue-green algae in the waters?
· Is it cold at the start of June?
· Is water safety ensured?
· Where can I charge my mobile phone?
· Have battles been fought on the island?
· Can I come visit the island?
· How can I get to the camping island?
· Water closet or dry toilet?
· Should I be afraid of ticks?
FAQ / Frequently asked questions
Are there mosquitos on the island?
Yes, there are, but they are no longer quite the size of cats… The mosquito situation on the camping island varies every summer. Sometimes there is an enormous amount of them and at other times there is just the right amount. You should bring insect repellent and long-sleeved shirts for the evenings. The camps’ first aid kits include hydrocortisone cream that can be applied to alleviate itching.
Is there a kiosk on the island?
The camping island does not have its own kiosk. Some camps may have their own ‘cafeteria’, but it can be considered a general rule that everyone brings any sweets and other things they need with them. We must also mention that campers have done a commendable job taking care of candy wrappers and other trash. We very rarely come across litter in nature on the camping island.
Is there blue-green algae in the waters?
The algae situation in the Baltic Sea is affected by many factors, and it varies annually. There have sometimes been algae blooms on the camping island’s shores but not in the last few years. The largest blooms coming from the open sea often seem to stay south of the Hanko Peninsula.
For more information on the algae situation and other current news about the Baltic Sea, visit: ymparisto.fi/en-US
Is it cold at the start of June?
The ice in the waters around the camping island usually clears up at the turn of April and May. Spring arrives slightly later in the archipelago than on the mainland. The sea water is slow to warm up. This is why there may still be some cool nights on the camping island at the start of June. You should pack warm clothing, a beanie and gloves for the first few weeks of camping. You will need them at least for long evenings around the campfire.
You can check the current and future weather on the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s website. The nearest marine weather observation station is in Hanko.
Is water safety ensured?
The number one absolute rule of the camping island is that everyone must always wear a life jacket or boating vest (properly fastened!) when we are travelling on water. This applies not only to the campers but also the camp instructors and the island’s staff. The only exception to this rule is travel on board the water bus Benkku. On the water bus, life jackets can be found under the seats.
Life jackets must be worn when rowing, using the water exercise equipment at the activity beach and fishing (on a discretionary basis also when using a fishing reel on slippery outcrops). Island staff have even been spotted wearing a life jacket in the middle of the island… The instructors must make sure that the life jackets are correctly fastened.
At the activity beach, every camp has a life boat equipped with an outboard motor that is operated by two instructors. The camping island’s staff provides assistance when necessary. At least one instructor must provide supervision while the campers are swimming. All instructors are able to swim and give first aid, and at least one of them has taken a water rescue course.
Where can I charge my mobile phone?
The camping areas are equipped with solar panels that can generate electricity for charging a mobile phone in case of emergencies, for example. Should I leave my mobile phone at home? In addition to the lack of power, many other dangers are also posed to our dear friend. In addition to phones dropped into the sea, we have also found phones on the ground after a lawnmower has run over them, and so on. If you still decide to bring your mobile phone with you, take good care of it and always keep it in your backpack/tent when you are not using it.
Have battles been fought on the island?
There are still deteriorated trenches and collapsed dugouts visible around the camping island. They date back to the beginning of the 1940s, when the area was leased to the Soviet Union. At the edge of their chain of defence was Bengtsår camping island, which was partly surrounded by barbed wire fencing and protected with minefields. No actual battles were fought, but Soviet soldiers sank combat materials in the nearby waters upon their departure. The Finns took back the island in 1941.
Can I come visit the island?
Some of the camps organise visiting days for friends and family; they are usually announced in the camp letter. The camping island is not a public recreational area of the City of Helsinki, and you should not go camping there independently. If you are interested in visiting the camping island and exploring its activities, please first contact the island’s manager.
How can I get to the camping island?
Bengtsår camping island is located north of the Hanko Peninsula, approximately halfway between Hanko and Ekenäs. It is a two-hour drive from Helsinki. The camp instructors provide all the necessary information in the camp letter. The dock’s address is: Bengtsår 920, 10900 Hanko.
Water closet or dry toilet?
There is no plumbing on the camping island, which means that there is no ‘water closet’ like the ones you have at home. On the island, everyone takes care of their ‘business’ in a dry toilet. After every visit to the dry toilet, the user must ladle plant litter into the toilet hole from the sack next to the toilet. The plant litter helps reduce the odour and makes using the dry toilet more pleasant, among other things.
Remember to wash your hands with water or purifying hand sanitiser after every visit. An external contractor is responsible for waste management and emptying the dry toilets. The camp instructors take care of daily cleaning of the dry toilet.
Should I be afraid of ticks?
On the camping island, it is possible to run into ticks living in the grass, particularly in the summer when people wear cropped trousers and do not wear long boots. Because of this, the camps hold ‘tick checks’ during sauna bathing, for example. If a tick is found, it must be removed immediately to eliminate the risk of disease using tick tweezers available from pharmacies. The removal is a quick and painless procedure. Tick tweezers can be found in the camps’ first aid kits and are available from the island’s staff. No further measures are needed after the tick has been removed.
What should I do if I get bitten by a tick? (Terveyskirjasto.fi, in Finnish)