An inveterate explorer who has biked across the U.S. and the Tibetan Plateau, Joakim Hermanson is also a skilled paddler who's written the book, literally, on paddling the coastline of western Sweden. Given the absence of strong tidal currents and variety of scenery and experiences, "West Sweden has some of the best sea kayaking in the world," he notes. Following are ten of his favorite places to paddle. Hermanson owns adventure outfitter Upplevelsebolaget, which offers guided paddling excursions as well as equipment and advice for self-guided trips.
Wake to breakfast on your own private island in Koster Marine National Park, opened in September 2009. Ninety-eight percent of the park lies underwater and harbors a diverse array of sea life that's nourished by the salty, nutrient-rich currents of the North Atlantic.
The tent is pitched and it's time for a swim. Not only popular with intrepid sea kayakers seeking solace, the islands and islets offshore from Hamburgsund brim with summer sailors enjoying the coast between Gothenburg and Strömstad near Sweden's border with Norway.
September sun on a guided trip in the nature reserve around the island of Bassholmen, located in Gullmarn Fjord. A 38-bed youth hostel, accessible only by motorized boat or kayak, on the island offers a place to commune with nature and nature-loving backpackers.
Early spring among the smoothly shaped granite islets in the Gåsö archipelago. Glaciers from Europe's last great Ice Age imbued the area with its unique geological character, grinding down the coastal bedrock and depositing glacial debris on the south-facing cliffs of many of these islands.
Gliding silently through the warm summer waters of Hjältön. Contact Joakim Hermanson via Upplevelsebolaget for information about guided paddling excursions along the coast of West Sweden as well as equipment and advice for self-guided trips.