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Fifty Sense: Common Sense Ideas for Thriving after 50
Fifty Sense: Common Sense Ideas for Thriving after 50

Sea kayaking in the coastal waters of Sweden

Paddling among the archipelago along the western coast of Sweden is an amazing adventure for paddlers of all skills. Just north of the metropolitan area of Gothenburg, fjords cut into the Swedish mainland providing calm waters for the paddler to explore the myriad of rocky islands. A few larger islands shield the fjords from the strong winds of the Skagerak Sea while hundreds of smaller ones, some not even with a tree growing on them, others with a rich natural life, make for exciting exploration.

Most islands are uninhabited, and their beaches - often narrow and situated between dramatic cliffs - are great landing points for the kayaks. Take advantage of the generous Swedish public access laws, or Everyman's Right (allemansrätten) (see link Everyman's right) set up a camp and enjoy the fact that the sun is up until after ten in Sweden during summer. As the evening falls the cliffs of the islands change their colors in shades of red and blue while the waters turn still for the night.

Many islands have great hills to climb for the evening view and some have exciting inland tree meadows and small swamps tucked in between the bedrock. Bird watchers have many opportunities for exciting experiences both in designated bird sanctuaries and in the rest of the fjords. If you are a snorkeler, bring your equipment for a tour through the beautiful seaweed forests.

Kayaks are rented at good professional shops in the area, and it is even possible to arrange guided tours and kayak courses. One should always consult the locals to be sure to paddle in the part of the fjords that suit one's level of experience and the weather. Water is obtained from private homes around the fjords (something which often results in great conversations with the hospitable Swedish locals), but food has to be packed for the whole of the trip. Favorite areas for paddling are the waters around the two large islands of Tjorn and Orust.

Between them lies the amazing Stigfjorden, which itself provides for several days of exploration. Off the Skagerak coast of Tjorn and Orust is an amazing string of small islands - a fantastic experience in still weather or otherwise in case of wind, strictly for the experienced.


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