Photo by Ken Bruland

Ten plus years ago his friends came on a kayaking trip to Beaver Island, upon their return home to Chicago, they raved about it to Ken Bruland.  It took him another four years before he was able to make the trek and now he's one of the islands residents.

Paddling on Font Lake - Photo by Ken Bruland

Born on the east coast, he graduated from Purdue with a degree in anthropology and returned to school to get another in education.  He became a teacher of Spanish in Gary and Valipariso, Indiana.  But old things and foreign languages weren't his only interests.  He had done some white water kayaking in Pennsylvania but the Chicago area didn't offer many waterfalls for doing that so Ken checked out the sea kayak, perfect for paddling on both small inland lakes and out on the Great Lakes. There's a difference between the two crafts; the white water kayak is only 8 to 10 feet long as opposed to the sea kayak which is 16 to 18 feet.  An ancient design, the Inuits of Greenland, Canada and Alaska invented the kayak and it's modern day cousin hasn't changed much over the centuries.

A few years ago he started Inland Seas School of Kayaking.  Operating out of a tiny building across from the Dalwhinnie, Ken offers both islanders and visitors a myriad of classes from kayaking, to astronomy, and this year he's including Spanish.  A person could sign up for a morning kayaking class, have an afternoon paddle to Little Sand Bay, and the evening could be studying the heavens all the while speaking only Spanish. 

Happy kayakers - Photo by Ken Bruland

The schedule for kayaking lessons are flexible, if you can't make the 9 am, he can set you up at 10 or 1 or even 6 in the evening.  If you are a beginner, you can paddle around within the limits of the harbor until you're comfortable making the trip to Little Sand Bay.  For the intermediate level, how about a paddle over to one of the outer islands?  Inland Seas also offers guided tours for a low price.  

Inland Seas provides quality sea kayak instruction with an emphasis on safety and protection of the environment.  Bruland is an instructor with the Coastal Kayaking and American Canoe Association and a member of the British Canoe Union.  He's a licensed Medical First Responder and by next summer will be a Emergency Medical Technician.  He is also licensed in CPR and first aid.

For a summer 2001 schedule of classes please email Ken at telephone 231-448-2221 or write to Inland Seas School of Kayaking; Beaver Island, Michigan 49782.

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