The course is held by Benjamin Donner from Aavameri, one of the foremost sea kayaking instructors in Finland and twelve enthusiastic participants had been chosen for the course, including me.
We met in the harbor on Friday morning and took the boat to Mariehamn. During the six hour boat trip we had some theory, before arriving at Mariehamn and starting the practical sessions in the pool of the Maritime Safety Center. During the rest of the Friday, the whole Saturday and the first half of the Sunday we mixed theory, navigation exercises and practical skills until neither mind nor body could take any more. During this first weekend we focused on rescuing, both solo rescuing and rescuing others. The result of this was broken kayaks, a lot of bruises, aching muscles, some added humility and much more solid rescuing skills. And pool water in the ears, nose and stomach.
I made a short video which sums up the weekend.