There it is!
My spring training and work has now paid off and I have finally been recognized as a professional nature guide."The certification is a professional certificate based on the industry's quality criteria for a professional nature guide. It guarantees the visitor a safe, engaging and professional experience", writes our industry organization Naturturismföretagen. Thea the swordsmith (who usually adorns us and others with beautiful tattoos) helped me to combine the much sought-after logo with my latest portrait from Hofsnäs Nature Reserve (where I got to know the old oak trees). Now I can proudly display my recognized skills and confidently offer my services.
Just today, when our Airbn'b guests from the big city of Hamburg checked out after a week's stay in our beautiful archipelago, I experienced with a warm heart how well we humans thrive on interaction with nature. They almost struggled to put their feelings into words, but eventually formulated feelings of peacefulness and wonder. These are great, healing, and life-giving feelings. And I am so happy and proud that in this profession I can share them!
Now it's summer!
Spring passed by and a lot has been going on... A major focus has been on preparing for certification as a nature guide. It feels important to have some kind of "quality stamp" on my competence in the area, and therefore I, along with five other very competent "adepts" have undergone our industry organization Nature Tourism Companies'solid test battery. On 12/6 it was time to show our practical skills, this in beautiful Tunhems Ekhagar below Hunneberg. This was completely new surroundings for me, but I chose the theme "Get to know the soloists in the spring bird song choir" (very long word, that!) - the spring birds sing wherever there are some bushes and trees this year ... It was nervous! Especially the aspect of keeping time. The tour would last 40 minutes, +- 5 minutes. One minute outside this meant failing! But many other aspects were judged during the tour - a lot was about "shaping the group", being responsive to the needs and questions of the guests, emphasizing the German law and other regulations, safety, etc.
Here I am just about to finish my tutorial... and I made the deadline!
The day was very nice and educational; the other five conducted very nice and interesting guided tours. Afterwards, it felt like we could build a new product together - a full-day nature guide safari! Now I am waiting for the assessment of the theoretical part, once it is approved, I have a new "label" to display here on the website!
Meanwhile, I continue to paddle, both with and without guests! Hope to see you this summer!
Welcome to winter paddling!
Going out in a kayak at this time of year is an extraordinary experience! It's true that autumn has been unusually warm so far (which is a bit of a double whammy, as thoughts of climate change are constantly present), but out at sea it's still noticeably empty and deserted. The occasional lobster fisherman can be seen on the horizon, otherwise you are completely alone. And when the holiday memories have started to fade a bit, and the autumn darkness has limited our opportunities to refuel new energy outdoors in daylight, the feeling of freedom, adventure and joy becomes so much more tangible!
When paddling in winter, it is particularly important to consider safety aspects. A dry and warm change of clothes must be provided. Warm liquids as well. And you should not go out alone in your kayak. As a rule, it is recommended that you wear a dry suit when the water temperature is below 13 degrees Celsius. My tours include a dry suit, neoprene gloves and shoes.
Wealso have the option of ordering delicious and warming soup from Lilling Cottage, which we can heat on the camp stove when we make a beach stop.
After more than 30 guided kayak tours this summer, as well as completed GSRT (BSRT- Basic Safety Rescue Technique) training and kayak leader training step 1 for Friluftsfrämjandet (an old Swedish outdoor promoting association), I can say that many thoughts and challenges have been about safety. And this summer's tragic accident in Lake Vänern, where two young men died during a kayak trip that proved to be too challenging for them, has really put the finger on an important issue.... Although kayaking is very much about enjoyment, recreation, outdoor life and wonderful nature experiences, we must not forget that in a sea kayak you are actually in a rather vulnerable position; the weather can suddenly change, other boat traffic has difficulty seeing you, if you end up in the water you must be able to save yourself and/or your companion, be able to contact help and make sure you don't get cold. If you are paddling in unfamiliar waters, you will also realize that navigation is not a simple matter.
So you need to be aware of the dangerous situations that can arise and have a plan to deal with them. In my beginners' courses (one of my most popular products), we practice basic safe paddling and peer rescue. These exercises should be done regularly, at least once a season. There are also a lot of good tutorials on YouTube on self-rescue and peer rescue.
What I want to share with you today are the Swedish Canoe Association's films on safe paddling. Here and on their website there are many thought-provoking tips to absorb. Take some time to improve your skills, and remember to practice often, close to land and under safe conditions.
Start of the season!
Last Sunday the first hiking group of the season arrived! We had a wonderful trip in the sun and wind. In the scarce and sparse greenery, we started by meeting the singing birds, then we went up the mountain and looked at a 360-degree view. We spent a lot of time studying our fantastic gneiss rocks, looking at the sand through a magnifying glass and having coffee in the lee of the sun-warmed rock. We had wonderful encounters between people and with nature.
A few days later, the first kayaking guest of the season arrived. We got into our dry suits, went on a lovely evening trip and greeted newly arrived "chirping" shelducks (they certainly have a funny sound). We enjoyed a warming cup of tea and sandwich on the rocky shelves of Lindholmen, between the freshly sprouted thrift, before paddling home in the sunset.
Now nature will become more and more magnificent every day and more singing bird friends will return to break the great winter silence.
This is where I wish us a Happy New Year!
Spring Festival in the Archipelago
Last Saturday I participated in the Spring Festival in the Archipelago. I was invited by Skärgårdshotellet Hönö, because this spring and summer we have developed a package offer with our products - fresh accommodation with a delicious breakfast buffet, a guided nature tour (hiking or paddling) and a picnic basket from Skafferiet. Here are our packages!
The quay at Hönö Klåva was filled to the brim with sunny visitors who came ashore when the ferry Kungsö docked outside the Fish Museum. Our local chefs had developed small unique tapas offerings that visitors could enjoy on their "tapas walk" between the different restaurants and local producers presented their new products in the Ice House. The shops offered new products and the troubadours entertained both in the restaurants and in the "Big Square".
I met talkative strollers who wanted to hear about the offers I had, or tell me about nice nature experiences they remembered. The children were the ones who dared to try out the kayak and many were curious about the bird models I use when I talk about my beloved singer friends.