Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sea kayak instruction in motion

I've been pondering the idea of coaching on a journey for a few years, and so it was a pleasure to put this into practice on a recent "destination course" I was able to assist with circumnavigating Cumberland Island, Georgia, for the Geneva Kayak Center

Our group met up in historic Saint Mary's, where we packed our boats, reviewed tidal planning and created a trip plan. 

The trip began with a navigation lesson, led by Ryan Rushton (far right).
The location lends itself to this sort of trip. It features tides, currents, twisty rivers, islands and open ocean shoreline exposed to Atlantic swell. The environment poses excellent opportunities to learn and practice navigation, leadership, and rough-water skills.

Christmas Creek, en route to the ocean.
Which isn't to say that there isn't also a lot to see, explore and admire along the way. Cumberland Island has a distinctly southern feel. It's home to several historic former Carnegie family homes, feral horses, and sleepy pin oaks draped in Spanish Moss. 

The ruins of Dungeness, which burned in 1959.
A lunch spot along the way, with Spanish moss hanging overhead. 
Over the course of five days, there were ample opportunities for learning, many inspired by actual conditions and events. Sometimes these were on the water, and other times while together in camp. They included spontaneous rescues, discussion about vector planning, and real-life examples of leadership in action. All arose organically.

Practicing self-rescues in conditions.

Pondering the fine points of vector  angles.
In the end, destination courses are an ideal way to teach and learn, and they offer lots of ideas for incorporating into everyday coaching.  

-- Alec

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