Monday, July 7, 2014

Our Excellent Helsinki Kayak Adventure (or men in skirts :^)

The first stop on our 50th wedding anniversary Baltic cruise with most of the members of our family was Helsinki, Finland.

Our 16-year-old granddaughter, Samantha, is a bird expert who loves the outdoors. She expressed interest in a kayak adventure to the eastern archipelago of Helsinki that was available as a land tour during the Baltic cruise we had scheduled to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. Her dad, Jerry, and I agreed to join her and it turned out, for me, to be the most worthwhile tour of a wonderful cruise!

The photos above capture some highlights of our paddle, including our wearing of kayak skirts (more about that below :^).


Ira, Lorin, and Bill
My kayaking started relatively late in life, in the 1990's in New York where I purchased a kayak and did some mildly white water. I brought my kayak with me when Vi and I moved to Florida and continued paddling here where the waters are calm (except for the occasional street sign or alligator :^)

I sold my kayak when we moved from our private home in The Villages, FL to our current digs in an Independent Living facility, where storage space is at a premium.

I had not been in a kayak for over two years when I accepted Samantha's invitation.

Lorin, Bill, and Frank
Naturally, I was concerned that I might make a fool of myself in front of my granddaughter in Finland, so, a couple weeks before our Baltic cruise I invited a few friends from Freedom Pointe to join me in a refresher paddle. We had a great time on the Rainbow river, as the photos indicate!

In over a decade of kayaking, I've never wanted to do an "eskimo roll" and so have never worn a sprayskirt that seals the cockpit opening. 

So, I was totally unprepared to wear a skirt on our Helsinki adventure!


On the Helsinki paddle, we didn't do any rolls, but we did wear skirts. The lower right inset in the top photo shows our group that consisted of Claudia and Tanya (from Australia), along with Ira, Samantha, and Jerry.

We highly recommend the outfitter, NATURA VIVA, and the able leader of our tour, Outi, for their high quality equipment and enjoyable adventure. (See

Outi and Anna and the others at Natura Viva made us comfortable and were highly professional in helping us don the skirts and life vests and rain gear.

At a stop at an island, we enjoyed some amazing refreshments, including the juice of the "Sea buckthorn".
Samantha, Jerry, and Tanya drink        --   Our leader, Outi, pours   --         Jerry and Samantha enjoy the view !
"Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) ... known as nature's most balanced fruit. ... The Sea buckthorn fruit is also known throughout the world as Sandthorn, Sandorn, and the "Wonder Berry". Consider sea buckthorn's nutritional profile: Sea buckthorn contains more than 190 biologically active compounds and with its full range of omega fatty acids in perfect balance. Sea buckthorn contains more than 60 antioxidants and high ORAC value. The fruit of sea buckthorn is very rich in vitamin C (300-1600 mg/100 g), which is 4 - l00 times higher than any vegetable and fruit."

Outi told us they had diluted the highly concentrated sea buckthorne with pineapple juice to make it palatable for us. REFRESHING !!!

Oh, and Samantha pointed out a hooded crow (grey except for black head) and a muted swan, among other birds we saw.

Ira Glickstein

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