Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kayaking in Helsinki

Kayaking is a very popular outdoor activity in Helsinki. The city after all is surrounded by bodies of water and bays, lakes and rivers abound in the city. Kayaking is mostly done in the summer months when kayaking centers open up their shops in late May or early June up to the end of September.

There are various ways to go kayaking in Helsinki. You could choose to settle for guided kayaking trip in and out bay of Helsinki. If you and your family are touring Helsinki in a campervan you can contact any paddling center in Helsinki, make arrangements and they would gladly pick you up at the pier and take at the paddling centre. You will then be fitted with kayaks, paddles and paddling skirts. Expect a general orientation talk and quick kayaking lessons and safety/rescue measures before setting out. There are paddling centers that offer trial “paddling” first before letting their guests sign up for a kayaking adventure.

Most of these tours have guides that entertain and inform guests with the history of the islands they visit. A light lunch of sandwiches, cookies and drinks is included with the €59 per head rent. This type of kayaking tour usually takes 2.5 to 3 hours. It could take more should the infamous Helsinki wind starts to blow. It is almost always windy in Helsinki and no one can really predict when it’s coming.

If you are not new in kayaking, you can always take a paddling tour with your friends and family sans a tour guide. You can drop by a paddling center and rent kayaks. Ask for recommendations from the owner as to which islands to paddle to. Do not forget to ask for a map and compass or GPS should you venture without a guide. Better yet, bring your mobile phone so you can call the owner of the rentals should anything goes wrong.

Another type of kayaking is more of a combination kayaking and camping event. You and a friend could drop by any paddling center and with the help of professional guides plan and map out your trip. Make sure though that you are not a total newbie as island hopping on a kayak and camping out at night are not for total neophytes unless they have skilled guides with them.

If you are into this type of adventure make sure you have the necessary equipment for camping. Do you have an easy-to-manage tent? What about earth matting and sleeping bags? Pack enough food for the duration of the trip. Do not depend on what you could fish for food. Bring food to grill and instant noodles and anything that does not easily spoil. Instant coffee or tea will do during this kind of trip. Pack cutlery, paper plates, mugs and portable burner, foil, matches, lighter, toilet paper, wet wipes, first aid kid and an axe.

Whether you opt for a 30-hour or a 2-day/night kayaking trip, the experience will truly revive your senses.

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