Monday, July 16, 2012

Preparing for a trip: Paddling!

We spent several weeks assembling all the gear and supplies we'll need for our upcoming trip along the shoreline of Pukaskwa National Park and Superior Highlands in Canada. But all the planning and preparation would be for naught if we didn't also get out and paddle.

We're doing just that this month in the San Juan Islands in Washington state, where we're coaching some courses for Body Boat Blade International and paddling in this beautiful, dynamic location.

Alec paddling on a calm and clear day.
OK, so being here isn't solely trip preparation. It's actually an opportunity for us, as Great Lakes paddlers, to develop our knowledge of tides and currents and how they affect trip planning and ocean features, to work on our navigation skills, and to learn from Shawna Franklin and Leon Somme, two of our coaching mentors.

Shawna, demonstrating a yoga pose atop a kayak.
Leon, "speed launching" surf-style.
Being here is not particularly conducive to blogging, however. Our only access to the internet is at the shop, which isn't where we're spending most of our time. Rather, we're out on the water as often as possible. 

We began our time here assisting with a five-day kayak camp, a "learning vacation" for paddlers with some prior experience that covers paddling technique, rescues, rolling, tides and currents, navigation and risk assessment.

A couple of mornings were spent in the shop working on navigation, tides and currents... 
...or on the beach, learning about weather systems....

...before heading out on the water to work on strokes, maneuvers and rescues.

The course culminates in an overnight trip that participants plan and execute, complete with a cookout and a night paddle in the bioluminescent plankton Noctiluca scintillans

Loading up before heading out. (Hey, this counts as trip preparation!)
Sunset at Sucia Island, where we spent the night.
The goal of the course is to provide participants with the core skills they need to safely embark on their own trips. As with all courses at Body Boat Blade, the aim is to create independent paddlers. Judging by the paddling these participants set off to do after the class ended, and the thoughtful way they approached their plans, the five-day camp attained this objective.

Alec gets a star.

1 comment:

iffatali said...

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