Archive for April, 2013

East Coast Paddlesports and Outdoor Festival

A few days ago I returned home from the East Coast Paddlesports and Outdoor Festival, which is an awesome event that takes place in James Island County Park, located in Charleston, South Carolina. This was my second time instructing at this event, and both times I’ve found South Carolina to be unique and wonderful.

Vendor booths around the lake.

Vendor booths around the lake.

I arrived at the event early, and spent some time exploring. It was the first time in months that I’d been somewhere warm enough to wear shorts, and I enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the park.

Chariot races.

Chariot races.

The event started on Friday, April 19, and after instructing Fun, Balance and Games in a warm lake, I made my way around the many vendor booths to catch up with people, meet people and check out the latest in outdoor gear. The event had some extra attractions this year, which included rock climbing, mountain biking and archery.

Look, no hands!

Look, no hands!

On Saturday I instructed Advanced Greenland Rolling with Dubside, and the class had a blast learning new rolls in the warm water. On Sunday I instructed Simplifying the Roll, and despite some wind, we were able to find a calm corner to roll in.

Boiled peanuts, a tasty South Carolina treat.

Boiled peanuts, a tasty South Carolina treat.

Evenings were spent socializing and eating tasty southern food, and there was no shortage of demonstrations and presentations to watch.

Dubside looks for alligators in the rice fields.

Dubside looks for alligators in the rice fields.

On Monday I instructed private rolling in the lake, and Tuesday was play day. Event organizer Diana Belknap took me and Dubside out for a really fun day. When asked what we wanted to do the decision was mutual… find alligators. Diana thought this was funny, but found us alligators, and we made our way around the rice fields, spotting 13 of the magnificent reptiles.

A mother alligator enjoys the afternoon with her three offspring.

A mother alligator enjoys the afternoon with her three offspring.

After a fun afternoon of alligator hunting Diana had more treats planned for us, and we ended up at the McLeod Plantation, which she is the caretaker for. We had the opportunity to explore both inside and outside the plantation, which is currently under study and restorative repair. It was wonderful to explore a place with so much historical significance.

The McLeod Plantation.

The McLeod Plantation.

Thank you to all of the organizers, and especially to Diana for taking such good care of us!

A very old grand piano adds personality to one of many spacious rooms.

A very old grand piano adds personality to one of many spacious rooms.

Pictures by Helen and Diana Belknap.

BCU 5 Star Sea Assessment: March 29 to 30, Anglesey, Wales

Date: March 29 to 30

Location: Anglesey, Wales

Description: This two-day discipline specific assessment is designed to show that a successful candidate has the appropriate level of skill to safely lead a group of paddlers on challenging journeys in advanced tidal waters and dynamic weather conditions typified by the climate of the British Isles. This award is intended for paddlers who journey on the sea in areas where tidal races, headlands, open crossings, swell and overfalls will be encountered.

Achieving the award demonstrates that a candidate is competent to judge the conditions and the standard of the group to make appropriate decisions on the water as part of a planned route, while showing an understanding of the need to modify plans when required. The assessment will be against criteria set out in the BCU 5 Star Sea syllabus and will examine the following areas:

Personal Paddling Skills

• Launching and landing
• Efficient forward paddling
• Effective manoeuvring and boat control
• Navigation on the water and in poor visibility
• A range of self-rescues
• Rolling in rough water

Rescue Skills

• Application of appropriate rescue skills
• Different towing methods

Safety, Leadership and Group Skills

• Leadership, judgement and decision making processes
• Safety awareness and risk management
• Group care and management tactics
• Paddler welfare and community building
• Ability to handle a range of incidents

Theory

• Equipment
• Safety (includes coastguard and rescue services)
• Weather
• Hypothermia/ First aid
• Access
• Planning
• Group awareness and management
• Navigation
• General (and historical)
• Leadership responsibilities
• Water features/hazards

Prerequisites: Endorsed LR form; BCU 4 Star Sea; BCU 5 Sea Star training (or equivalent evidence); BCU Open Water Navigation and Tidal Planning (or equivalent course); a valid first-aid award (minimum 16 hours); 25 days logged experience in 3 different sea areas.

BCU Information: For syllabus details, visit the BCU website.

Contact: For more information, course fees or to register, e-mail info@greenlandorbust.org.

BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment: March 15 and 16, Anglesey, Wales

Date: March 15 and 16

Location: Anglesey, Wales

Description: This two-day discipline specific assessment is designed to show that a successful candidate has the appropriate level of skill to safely lead competent paddlers on coastal journeys in moderate water conditions. Achieving the award demonstrates that a candidate is competent to judge the conditions and the standard of the group to make appropriate decisions on the water, while showing an understanding of the need to modify plans when required. The assessment will be against criteria set out in the BCU 4 Star Sea syllabus and will cover the following areas:

Personal Paddling Skills

• Lifting, carrying and launching/landing
• Efficient and effective sea paddling skills
• Forward paddling
• Reversing and stopping
• Maintaining direction
• Changing direction
• Moving sideways
• Support strokes
• Rolling
• Practical navigation

Rescue Skills, Safety, Leadership and Group Management

• Boat and shore based safety and rescue skills
• Incident management and first aid in the 4 star environment
• Being an effective team leader and team member in rescues/incidents
• Application of leadership
• Leadership strategies, judgement and decision making
• Safety awareness and risk management
• Group control and management
• Equipment

Theory

• Safety (includes coastguard and rescue services)
• Weather
• Hypothermia/first aid
• Access
• Planning
• Group awareness and management
• Navigation
• Etiquette (includes collision regulations and signals)
• General (and historical)
• Leadership responsibilities
• Water features/hazards

Prerequisites: Endorsed LR form; BCU 3 Star Sea; BCU 4 Star Training (or equivalent evidence); BCU Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning (or equivalent course); a recognized first-aid award (minimum 16 hours).

BCU Information: For syllabus details, visit the BCU website.

Contact: For more information, course fees or to register, e-mail: info@greenlandorbust.org.

Stolen Kayaks – Repost

The following blog was previously posted on September 27. It is possible that these kayaks have been in hiding for the winter, and with warming temperatures they may just show up for sale in your neighborhood. Please keep an eye out. Thanks for your help!

I don’t think that there’s a person out there who hasn’t had one of “those” weeks. The week where everything seems to go wrong, and just when you think it can’t get any worse… it does. Mark and I are having one of those weeks, which compounded when we walked out of our hotel room this morning to discover a cut lock, cut cam straps and two missing kayaks.

The kayaks were stolen from our car sometime during the night of September 25 to 26 while we were staying in a hotel in Surrey, B.C., which is located just north of the U.S. border.

Both kayaks are Tahe Marine Greenland LC’s. Both are a carbon, kevlar, fiberglass blend, and both have black keel strips. The black one has (had?) large stickers on the side saying “Tahe Marine Expedition.” It is (was?) marked with Greenland or Bust stickers and is about three years old.

The second kayak has a white deck and a black hull which has the carbon fibre pattern on it. On the front of the deck it says TCI Lite. It is (was?) also marked with Greenland or Bust stickers. It is new. If you see these kayaks, please contact us at info@greenlandorbust.org (taking into consideration that they may have been sold to an unsuspecting person), or contact your local police department.

Please help us to spread the word to the Canadian and U.S. paddling communities.

Below are pictures of the stolen kayaks. Thanks for your help.

Helen and Mark

Will you be at the 7th UK Storm Gathering?

After several weeks of intense work on our upcoming DVD, Mark and I took a road trip to Scotland to work on logistics for the 7th UK Storm Gathering, which takes place in Oban on November 9 to 11, followed by BCU Week. We left England in the afternoon and drove for a large part of the night before falling asleep in the back of the camper van.

A gorgeous spring day in Scotland.

A gorgeous spring day in Scotland.

In the morning we opened the van door to an incredible view of the surrounding mountains. It really did feel like we had crossed into a different place.

A leisurely paddle around some of the islands.

A leisurely paddle around some of the islands.

Occasionally we would paddle past a distant castle.

Occasionally a distant castle would appear in the background.

Throughout the next few days we explored the area by both land and kayak. The air was crisp and calm, with an occasional gentle breeze winding its way around the islands. The potential for rough seas was there though, and this felt like the calm before the Storm Gathering.

The water seemed unnaturally calm on this day.

The water was incredibly serene at times.

We spent some time chatting with local paddlers, playing around town and tasting some of the local cuisine. An afternoon was spent touring a distillery, followed by an evening paddle from the Kilbowie Outdoor Centre, which will serve as this year’s home base. We got back just after the sun had set and enjoyed some tasty local seafood at one of the many restaurants in town. We also checked out the Falls of Lora, which will no doubt be a popular rough water feature during the event.

Watching the sunset by kayak.

Watching the sunset.

Our overall impression was that this venue really does have everything that the Storm Gathering requires, lots of exposed water, currents, tides, waves, an enthusiastic paddling community, tasty food, even tastier whiskey, and most importantly, it has a special vibe to it that confirms that this year’s Storm Gathering will be absolutely incredible.

The waterfront base camp for this year's Storm Gathering.

The waterfront base camp for this year’s Storm Gathering.

Logistics are falling into place, and registration will open soon. So wherever you live on this watery planet, we hope you’ll consider joining us in Scotland.

The Bridge Over the Atlantic, which several people joked around about it being older than the United States.

The Bridge Over the Atlantic, which several people jokingly stated is older than the United States.

Of course there's lots of places to explore on land as well.

Of course there’s lots of places to explore on land as well.

Greenland or Bust’s April newsletter

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