Mark and I both have birthdays in March. That’s also the month that we celebrate our wedding anniversary, and we decided to do something special this year. We were already in Wales, so it was just a hop, skip and a jump (or a short ferry crossing) over to Ireland to celebrate both Saint Patrick’s Day and our anniversary.
Saint Patrick’s Day in the U.S. is celebrated by eating corned beef (if you’re a meat eater), cabbage and potatoes, and by drinking beer. It’s a festive holiday where people wear something green, and if they don’t, their friends will pinch them.
Saint Patrick’s Day in Ireland is a massive party. Streets are packed with people, carnival rides operate at several corners, most people display an Irish flag in some form or another, and there is Guinness everywhere. Oh, and there’s no pinching going on, because everyone is wearing green.
Being in Ireland for Saint Patrick’s Day was a wonderful experience, and I really enjoyed watching the Irish (and lots of other people) show their Irish spirit. Perhaps just as nice though, was the day after, which is also our anniversary. The streets were quiet, and miraculously all of the garbage that had been tossed on the ground the day before, had disappeared. For the next couple of days we strolled around by foot, enjoying the sights of Dublin, as well as lots of traditional food and drinks.
After three days in Dublin we boarded a ferry that had the ammenities of a small city, and made our way back to Wales where we ran a Simplifying the Roll class out of Point Lynas. Compared to the snowy conditions of last year, this year’s temperatures were ‘almost’ tropical, and the full class of rollers did very well.
Later in the month clients Malene and Magne arrived from Norway, for our five-day “Anglesey Adventure.” Day one took us from Trearddur Bay to Silver Bay and back.
Day two took us from Moelfre to Cemaes Bay.
On day three the weather wasn’t great for being on the coast, so we headed to the protection of the Menai Straits, where Mark gave a moving water class in The Swellies, which is located between Menai and Brittania bridges.
Day four took us to Llyn Padarn, where I taught a rolling class, and then we explored, showing our clients a little bit of the beauty of Wales that can be found on land.
Day five we headed out from Porth Dafarch , through the tide race and overfalls of Penrhyn Mawr, and past South Stack and North Stack, ending the day at Soldier’s Point. It was a wonderful five days of adventure, both on and off the water.
We’ll be having an Anglesey Adventure again next year, in case YOU would like to join us.
SPRING IS HERE! • THE U.S. STORM GATHERING SYMPOSIUM
For us, March was a month of celebration. Both our birthdays fall in March, and so does our wedding anniversary. March is also the celebration of season changes. The days get longer, and the grass turns from brown to green. We’re currently in Wales, and tiny lambs are roaming the hills, flowers are popping up in every crevice and field, and life is once again appearing. The other great thing about spring is that the whole kayaking season lies in front of us, and this year is looking very exciting.
In March, Helen headed to Half Moon Bay to teach Simplifying the Roll and Combat Rolling for California Canoe and Kayak. Mark ran a BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment with James Stevenson, and we brought in guest instructor Pete Jones to run BCU Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning. After that, we hopped on a ferry to Dublin, Ireland, where we celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day and our wedding anniversary. Once we were back in Wales we ran Simplifying the Roll, BCU Open Water Navigation and Tidal Planning and a BCU 5 Star Sea Assessment.
At the beginning of April we are guiding an expedition around Anglesey, and then we head to the Ladies Paddle Symposium, also in Wales. After that we go to Scotland, where Mark is teaching an Advanced Leader and Trip Planning class. Meanwhile Helen is flying to the U.S. to run Yoga for Paddlers and a Paddle Day for our local club, Explore North Coast, teaching Combat Rolling and sticking around to teach private rolling classes during the ENC Kayaking Social.
Later in the year we have classes and symposia scheduled in the U.S., Wales, Scotland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Israel and Mexico. We will also be guiding an expedition in South Greenland, which is now fully booked.
We’ve been working hard on organizing the U.S. Storm Gathering symposium, taking place in Trinidad, California on March 6, 7 and 8, 2015. Save the date!
As usual, visit www.greenlandorbust.org (http://www.greenlandorbust.org/) for more information and our current Events calendar and Blog postings. For questions, comments or to schedule us in your neighborhood, email email@example.com.
- Helen and Mark
Dr. T’s Coaching Corner
If you have ever worked towards a specific goal, be that learning a certain technique, perfecting a roll or preparing for an assessment, the chances are you may have received some guidance from a friend or coach along the way. But what happens afterwards when the goal is accomplished? You might consider becoming a mentor to someone else who is on the same pathway.
Mentoring can be a powerful personal development and empowerment tool for everyone involved. Not only is the mentee challenged and guided, it is also a test of the mentor’s knowledge and understanding of the subject. For instance, if someone has recently become a sea kayak leader, not only can they share their experience of the assessment process but also what they did to get to that point.
BCU 5 Star Sea Assessment:
March 29 to 30, Anglesey, Wales
March 31 to April 4, Anglesey, Wales
Ladies Paddle Symposium:
April 5 and 6, Glan Llyn, Wales
Yoga for Paddlers and Paddle Day (ENC):
April 19, Big Lagoon, California
April 20, Crescent City, California
Advanced Leader and Trip Planning Training:
April 18 to 23, Oban, Scotland
Private Rolling Classes (during the ENC Kayaking Social):
April 24 to 27, Big Lagoon, California
Simplifying the Rescue:
May 4, Whiskeytown, California
Simplifying the Roll:
May 3 and 4, Whiskeytown, California
Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning:
May 9, Anglesey, Wales
BCU 4 Star Sea Training:
May 10 to 11, Anglesey, Wales
BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment:
May 17 to 18, Anglesey, Wales
South Greenland Expedition:
July 9 to 20, South Greenland
May 23 to July 4 and July 24 to August 31
Copyright © 2014 Greenland or Bust, All rights reserved.
Helen Wilson and Mark Tozer • (707) 834-5501
Last weekend I headed down the coast to California Canoe and Kayak’s Half Moon Bay location for a weekend of classes. Both mornings I ran Simplifying the Roll, a multi-level rolling class, in the calm of the harbor. Participants worked their way through everything from first rolls to hand rolls, and great weather added to the summery feel of the day.
Both afternoons I ran Combat Rolling. This class started in the harbor where participants cleaned up their rolls and were given scenarios to take their rolling out of the “comfort zone.” We then went on a short paddle across the harbor, followed by an even shorter portage. We spent the rest of the afternoon playing with our rolls in surf, rocks and sand.
It was a wonderful weekend, and it’s always great to hang out with the awesome people from California Canoe and Kayak and their friends. Thanks everyone!
I love traveling, I truly do, but one thing that traveling does for me is it makes me appreciate home, my friends and Trinidad, California, my home waters.
After the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium earlier this month, I took the rest of February off, to enjoy being home. For Mark and I, kayaking “season” gets busy again starting next month, so I’m soaking up as much of home as I possibly can.
Last Sunday our local kayaking club, Explore North Coast, had a rescue practice day at Trinidad. Conditions were a little wonky, to say the least, with forecasted swells of 14 feet at 13 seconds. One thing that’s nice about Trinidad though is that it has both a harbor launch and a surf launch, so there’s usually a way out no matter what the conditions. In the nine years I’ve been paddling here, I can only recall a couple of days when we were unable to launch and went for breakfast instead.
I met my paddle pal Michael Morris for a before rescue practice paddle, and the two of us headed south to go around some of the larger rocks. This was not a good day for rock gardening, and as we went around one of the larger rocks we had to pick up the speed a little as a large swell started to crest. As we dropped down the other side I couldn’t help but smile. I LOVE Trinidad.
After going around a few more rocks and stopping to watch the waves crash in amongst others we headed back to the beach to meet up with the Explore North Coast group. We didn’t land, but instead sat back and watched as everyone made their way out.
Mike Zeppegno and Damon Maguire were the hosts of this paddle, and they had several exercises for people to practice, including both assisted and self rescues, as well as rescue scenarios in rocks using both towlines and swimming. All in all it was a great day to practice skills, but an even better day to be home, on the water and with friends.
Last weekend I headed to the San Francisco Bay Area for the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium (GGSKS). This was the event’s sixth year, and I’ve been lucky enough to have been at each one. The GGSKS is an open water event that takes place under the Golden Gate Bridge.
This year’s event had more sign ups than any other year, and spirits were high as the sun shone brightly the first day. Throughout the weekend I instructed two days of Bracing and Rolling and one day of Fun, Balance, Games and Rolling. One thing that I always enjoy about the GGSKS is working with instructors that I haven’t worked with before. I had the opportunity to run classes with Jarrod Gunn McQuillian, David Johnston and Cindy Scherrer. Clear skies and bright sun filled the first two days, and on the final day the rain and the wind arrived. This was good, as California is in a drought, and participants celebrated the much needed rain by spending the day playing in it on the bumpy water.
This year’s keynote speakers were Erik Boomer and Sarah McNair-Landry. Their presentation was on a 65 day, 1,000 km journey across Baffin Island in traditional skin-on-frame kayaks that they built for the expedition.
The GGSKS is an open water event, with classes that are designed to challenge participants. Once again, Sean Morley and Matt Palmariello did a fantastic job of putting everything together. This year’s event hosted both new and previously popular classes. It was great to catch up with participants, coaches and staff. Thanks to Sean and Matt for having me there once again, and to Riley and his assistants for keeping everyone so well fed.
When our train pulled up to the station in Ronde, Denmark we stepped out to a fresh layer of snow and a strong breeze. We were here for the DGI Sea Kayak Winter Festival, a symposium for kayak instructors. This was our first year at the event, and we were thrilled to not only be there, but to be there in the winter.
Michael Sorensen organized the event, and guest instructors were Jeff Allen, Trenk Muller, Mark and myself. The forecast for the weekend was for snow, rain and strong wind. This being a winter festival however, we were prepared to get creative to minimize exposure to the elements.
Participants arrived at the fantastic event headquarters, Lergravgaard & Brugnaturen, on Friday evening for a wonderful dinner and social gathering. On Saturday morning I ran Yoga for Paddlers, and was impressed that 16 people dragged themselves out of bed early to participate. Several people were there to take a weekend-long first aid and CPR program. Those that were left split into two groups. Jeff took one group for a towing class. The second group split in half, with me instructing how to teach rolling, and Mark and Trenk teaching paddling technique. In the afternoon I traded groups with Mark and Trenk, and the following day, we switched groups with Jeff. This was a great format, because it meant that everyone had the opportunity to participate in all of the classes.
As much as this event was for instruction, it was also a fantastic social gathering. This was clear Saturday night when we had a communal dinner cooked over open flames in the Viking Banquet Hall.
Thanks to Michael for taking such good care of us. We had a wonderful time!
Pictures by Trenk Muller and Mark Tozer.
For the past few summers Mark and I have traveled to Scandinavia to teach classes in the Nordic countries. We’ve witnessed people sunbathing on warm rocks, kids dressed in shorts and tank tops enjoying ice cream on park benches and have chatted with friends during barbecues long into sunlit nights. We’ve heard stories about winter in Sweden, how the sea transforms into an ice field, kayaks are replaced by ice skates and how the rock gardens that we usually paddle around become passages only accessible by foot.
When Pelle and Carina of Nynas Kajaks invited us to visit, Mark and I were thrilled to go. We had a very busy 2013 and decided that a vacation with friends during the “off-season” for kayak instructors was just what we needed, and experiencing a Nordic winter sounded like a blast.
As luck would have it, Sweden was having an unusually warm winter, with rain and fog replacing the usual ice and snow. It was still good to be there though, and Pelle, Carina, Mark and I took advantage of the chance to explore both the land and the water.
One morning we awoke to winter. The transformation was amazing, and where there had been grass the night before, there was now a thick layer of snow.
We’re now on our way to Denmark, for the DGI Sea Kayak Winter Festival. Thanks Pelle and Carina for a great vacation!
Pictures by Pelle Hammarstrom, Mark and Helen.