With 2000 miles of coastline and an archipelago of 24,000lands just off the capital Stockholm, Sweden is a wonderful destination for sea kayaking.
Sea kayaks, or touring kayaks, are longer, more stable versions of the kayaks intended for whitewater paddling. They are effectively small boats with a spray skirt to keep you dry during your adventures. While less maneuverable than whitewater kayaks, they are more comfortable and have a greater capacity for luggage storage. They don’t turn as well, but they are ideal for paddling in a straight line!
Sea kayaks may be designed for one, two or even three persons, with storage space in the body of the kayak for luggage and camping equipment. The possibility to take everything you need with you makes sea kayaks perfect for extended trips around the Swedish archipelagos, especially since, thanks to the “Every Man’s Right” system of public access, wild camping is generally permitted on most of the islands.
The design of modern sea kayaks has its root in the boats used by the indigenous peoples of North America and Greenland. In fact, the word “kayak” comes from the Greenland Eskimo work “kajakka”, meaning “small boat of skins.” Steering is accomplished by a combination of paddle work and, usually, but a foot-operated rudder. The rudder is usually retracted when landing.
These days sea kayaking is becoming increasingly popular, combining as it does much of the hiker’s joy of exploring nature in silence with the novelty and adventure of being on the water. What’s more, although your technique will certainly improve after a few days, sea kayaking is a very accessible sport for novices. The boats are stable and will not capsize easily, and with a little practice even a beginner can cover quite reasonable distances from the very start.
As you glide quietly through the water, kayaks produce very little disturbance to local wildlife, which makes it possible to have astonishingly intimate encounters with marine mammals and birdlife. Kayaks are therefore the ideal mode of transport for marine wildlife safaris!
Nature Travels offers sea kayaking experiences in the beautiful Stockholm archipelago to the east of Stockholm. The experiences are open to novice or more accomplished paddlers, and give you an excellent opportunity to explore this unspoilt area in tranquility and silence.
The waves lap gently at the side of the boat and the cries of an Osprey echo across the water…. sometimes it seems that the Swedish coastline might have been created just for sea kayakers: so get paddling!
The Nature Travels Team