Incredible! What a way to experience Finland!

The Ekenäs Archipelago National Park is the sea kayakers’ nirvana and Jöns Aschan is the kayaking guru. Together they bring enlightenment that this unique stretch of Finland (or the world, for that matter) is a seaside Shangri-La.

The park is dotted with hundreds of islands and islets. Kayaking through the narrow channels to our destination, the island of Grytskär, we spotted a white-tailed sea eagle, one of the largest raptors in the world, and several species of sea birds. Unique rock formations and rugged tree-covered islands contribute to the feeling of natural splendor.

Jöns is an experienced and confident kayaker (as well as a former world-class competitor) who is patient with newbie kayakers like me. He gives clear instructions on all aspects of kayak-ology from the theory of hull dynamics to the Eskimo Roll. He also suggests what to take for an overnighter and how to pack the kayak to keep everything dry.

Jöns knows the Ekenäs Archipelago like the back of his hand. He grew up there and is very knowledgeable of the flora and fauna. He is very sensitive to the environment and concerned by the many threats to this fragile marine wonderland.

Pete Balding