One World One Love

Kayak, canoe…lake, river, sea…alone, with friends, with customers…sun, rain, light, dark, warm, cold…one hour, three hours, overnight. I does not matter. What matters is just paddling.

I was kayaking first time at the age of about 7 somewhere in the 70’s with a handmade Finnish wooden kayak that my father got as a present when he graduated on 1961. Then I had a short break ’til 2008 having my first kayak guide training. Then a break again and a new start in the wilderness guide education 2015. And after that, dozens kayak tours on the Baltic sea, some whitewater and working as a guide. Summer fun number one! (During the breaks I have paddled actively with a canoe, so the moving element under the equipment was familiar)

Why kayaking? I have been thinking the issue quite a lot. Or canoeing? I have a canoe at my summer cottage, a small island in quite a small lake in Southern Karelia. I have seen the same islands, same coastlines and same cottages for hundreds of times but never got bored. What is the reason for that?

Therapy. Experience. Feeling. It’s something not so easy to explain. What is fascinating is that with a kayak or canoe it is possible to reach places that are not reachable otherwise and it all happens on a floating base. The nature is very near and can be felt with all the senses at the same time…voices, colors, fragrances, motions. So, we are talking about a very overall impression that you can not define beforehand. When kayaking, it is very easy to be just with you and your thoughts even if you are paddling in a group. At times you may concentrate on the techniques, at times on the environment and then, just on you and your mind.

And, paddling is also a very good combination of exercise, travelling, sightseeing and…yes…escape. It is very difficult to imagine how the nature is like less that 10 kilometers from Helsinki city center, no traffic voices, no busy people.

“Me, myself and I”

As a part of the wilderness guide education there is a possibility to work as a trainee at some company working on the business. I had a great honor to be able to work in a Paddling Center Natura Viva, located in Vuosaari, Helsinki. This year the paddling season at Natura Viva started on May 1st and ended yesterday, on Sep 30th. Mine started already on Apr 30th…the sea was as calm as it can ever be.

“Apr 30th, first kayak trip 2016.”

“Tour with friends Artturi and Sanna on May 1st at the great opening day of the new paddling center Natura Viva built during the winter.”

“Ilkka, training us in the guide course on May 2nd”

“Having break in the guide course on May 3rd”

“Natura Viva Paddling Center”

“Sign on the wall, worth visiting, the webpage and the place”

Last time I worked as a summer trainee was more than 25 years ago. I could not imagine what this summer 2016 could give to me. Shortly, the ensemble. The people, very professional in paddling but also when serving customers. They take a very good care of kayaks and other gears and naturally of customers and environment. I learned so much about guiding the individuals and groups and the safety on board, the most important issue. I met hundreds of smiling, happy and satisfied people from many countries and heard no claiming.

“Early calm summer morning”

The last day of the season, Sep 30th. I am thankful for being the other guide with the last group of the last day. Day was stormy but we found a pretty nice beach in the shelter of the wind to go on. The autumn colors were very beautiful from the seaside with the harmony of blue sky and setting sun. Good day for finishing the season.

“The last one”

“Aurinkolahti (the Sunny Bay) at Vuosaari”

“Last photo from Zephyr 160 @2016”

“Closing time, we will meet again!”

Next season will start soon, on May 1st 2017. I will paddle, but not as a trainee any more. this summer goes to category ‘Never Forget’. Thank You, Natura Viva!

“October 1st, no kayaks any more”

About the header “One world one love”, actually it has nothing to do with the writing. I saw the text painted in the wall of a dressing room near the paddling center. I think it is somehow quite a good sentence as a header…somehow.

Täältä tähän. ’til the next time. Cheers!





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