‘Helen’s Blog’

Ireland, Rolling and our Anglesey Adventure

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 Dublin.

Saint Patrick’s Day in Dublin.

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.

Spirits were high, and there were lots of costumes.

Spirits were high, and there were lots of costumes.

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.

Dublin is home to the Jameson Distillery.

Dublin is home to the Jameson Distillery.

Dublin is also home to Guinness, and the Guinness Storehouse provides lots of activities to keep people entertained. One such activity is a contest to pour "the perfect pint." (Did I mention that I won :-)

Dublin is also home to Guinness, and the Guinness Storehouse provides lots of activities to keep people entertained. One such activity is a contest to pour “the perfect pint.” (Did I mention that I won :-)

Guinness mustaches all around.

Guinness mustaches all around.

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.

Watching porpoises from Point Lynas. They're hard to capture on camera, but they were really fun to watch.

Watching porpoises from Point Lynas. They’re hard to capture on camera, but they were really fun to watch.

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.

There were lots of archways and caves to explore.

There were lots of archways and caves to explore.

Anglesey is a magical place.

Anglesey is a magical place.

Bay was a great turning around point.

Silver Bay was a great turning around point.

It was also a good place for lunch.

It was also a good place for lunch.

The Rhoscoyln Beacon is a distinct feature.

The Rhoscolyn Beacon is a distinct feature.

This offshore rock is only exposed during extreme tides, and with the combination of Spring Tides and a Spring Equinox climbing it was a fun part to the day. Malene and Magne were true adventurers and swam from their kayaks to the exposed rock.

This offshore rock is only exposed during extreme tides, and with the combination of Spring Tides and a Spring Equinox climbing it was a fun part to the day. Malene and Magne were true adventurers and swam from their kayaks to the exposed Maen Piscar.

Day two took us from Moelfre to Cemaes Bay.

Island.

Ynys Dulas is a wonderful island to paddle to.

The old brickworks buildings was an obvious place to stop for lunch - and to explore.

The old brickworks buildings was an obvious place to stop for lunch – and to explore.

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.

Sea caves, Menai Straits style. Here Mark rests in front of

Sea caves, Menai Straits style. Here Mark rests in front of Plas Nywedd.

Using the eddies as much as we could to make our way through The Swellies.

We used the eddies as much as we could to make our way through The Swellies.

Talking about crossing eddy lines before heading out into the current.

Talking about crossing eddy lines before heading out into the current under the Menai Bridge.

Sometimes learning about moving water can be enhanced by standing above it and watching. Plus, the view from the Menai Bridge is stunning.

Sometimes learning about moving water can be enhanced by standing above it and watching. Plus, the view from the Menai Bridge is stunning.

Maybe one of the prettiest places to teach rolling.

Maybe one of the prettiest places to teach rolling.

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.

A true cultural experience - trying Marmite.

A true cultural experience – trying Marmite.

Names in Welsh can be lloonngg.

Names in Welsh can be lloonngg.

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.

A nice little blow hole to play in.

There’s just something funny about being hit by the spray from a blow hole.

Studying Membra Mawr from above before crossing through.

Studying Penrhyn Mawr from above before passing through.

Steve shows us how it's done.

Steve shows us how it’s done.

We’ll be having an Anglesey Adventure again next year, in case YOU would like to join us.

Greenland or Bust’s April Newsletter

Newsletter

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 info@greenlandorbust.org.

Happy paddling!
- 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.

Mentoring should be a helpful relationship based upon mutual trust and respect. It not about ‘do it my way or it’s the highway,’ but more about wisdom sharing and reflection.

Program Schedule

BCU 5 Star Sea Assessment:

March 29 to 30, Anglesey, Wales
Anglesey Expedition:

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
Combat Rolling:

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
Nordic Tour:

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
info@greenlandorbust.org

Sun, Fun, Surf and Sand

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.

A gorgeous day on the harbor.

A gorgeous day on the harbor.

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.

Gentle waves provided a great learning environment.

There are lots of ways to break through surf.

The day was all about getting wet.

The day was all about getting wet.

And positioning.

And getting wetter.

We spent some time working on positioning ourselves in the break zone.

And just enjoying a day on the water.

Kelly patiently waits for the next set of set waves.

Kelly patiently waits for the next set of set waves.

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!

Greenland or Bust’s March Newsletter

G or B Newsletter - March - small

Home, sweet home

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.

Trinidad, California.

Trinidad, California.

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.

Prisoner Rock, our gateway to the ocean.

Prisoner Rock, our gateway to the ocean.

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.

Trying out my new Jeff Allen towline.

Trying out my new Jeff Allen towline.

Experimenting with rescues.

Experimenting with rescues.

And learning what works and what doesn't.

Learning what works and what doesn’t.

Michael's taking this swimmer somewhere...

Michael’s taking this swimmer somewhere…

Larry is magnetically drawn to rocks.

Larry is magnetically drawn to rocks.

Damon spots some whitewater to play in.

Damon enjoys the day.

Marcella hops over some incoming set waves.

Marcella hops over some incoming set waves.

Phil is all smiles.

Phil is all smiles.

 

It's always nice to have coffee at the Beachcomber Cafe after a morning on the water.

It’s always nice to have coffee at the Beachcomber Cafe after a morning on the water.

Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium

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.

The Golden Gate Bridge provides a nice backdrop for the symposium.

The Golden Gate Bridge provides a spectacular backdrop for the symposium.

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 McQuillianDavid 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.

There are many ways to practice balance.

There are many ways to practice balance.

The dock was the perfect place to practice maneuvering.

The dock was a great place to practice maneuvering strokes.

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.

Everyone gathered indoors on Sunday for the morning announcements. Much needed rain, and a little wind, waited outdoors.

Everyone gathered indoors on Sunday for morning announcements. Much needed rain, and a little wind, waited outdoors.

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.

It's always great to catch up with everyone. Here Ben Lawry enjoys dessert after a busy day on the water.

It’s always great to catch up with everyone. Here Ben Lawry enjoys dessert after a busy day on the water.

Greenland or Bust’s February Newsletter

G or B Newsletter - February - small

DGI Sea Kayak Winter Festival – Denmark

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.

Definitely a winter festival.

Definitely a winter festival.

Michael Sorensen organized the event, and guest instructors were Jeff AllenTrenk 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.

Mark and Trenk take their group to the water.

Mark and Trenk take their group to the water.

were prepared. Wind provided a great learning environment.

Wind provided a great learning environment.

Everyone seemed to be having a great time.

Everyone seemed to be having a great time.

Jeff talks about the many ways to tow a kayak.

Jeff talks about the many ways to tow a kayak.

My class stayed indoors and worked on the fundamentals of teaching rolling.

My class stayed indoors and worked on the fundamentals of teaching rolling.

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.

The veggies were not only tasty, but colorful as well.

The veggies were not only tasty, but colorful as well.

Many people enjoyed a steak dinner.

There were lots of choices for both meat and veggie lovers.

Michael did a fantastic job of keeping everyone fed.

Michael did a fantastic job of keeping everyone fed.

I had a chance to play Jeff's Native American flute.

I had a chance to play Jeff’s Native American flute.

For those that were up long enough, a wood burning hot tub awaited.

For those that were up long enough, a wood burning hot tub awaited.

Thanks to Michael for taking such good care of us. We had a wonderful time!

Pictures by Trenk Muller and Mark Tozer.

A Winter Wonderland

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.

A foggy day on the water.

A foggy day on the water.

A very impressive ship called the Vasa, which sank during its maiden voyage in  1628.

A very impressive ship called the Vasa, which sank during its maiden voyage in 1628.

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.

A snowy hike in Nynashamn.

A snowy hike in Nynashamn.

A winter wonderland.

A winter wonderland.

A day in the snow brings out the playful nature in everyone.

A day in the snow brings out the playful nature in everyone.

My very own icicle!

My very own icicle!

Snow and kayaks are a great combination.

Snow and kayaks are a great combination.

Warm clothes were necessary for a day on the water.

Warm clothes are necessary for a day on the water.

Paddling around snow and ice covered rocks was a magical experience.

Paddling around snow and ice covered rocks was a magical experience.

We built a fire on the beach to cook lunch over.

We built a fire on the beach to cook lunch over.

Mark and I enjoying the day.

Mark and I enjoying the day.

Pelle and Carina were awesome hosts!

Pelle and Carina were awesome hosts!

S'mores were a fun after lunch treat.

S’mores were a fun treat.

Icy air and wind chill contributed to frozen kayaks and gear.

Icy air and wind chill contributed to frozen kayaks and gear.

After one paddle, Mark and I headed to a spa to sit in hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms while enjoying the icy view.

After one paddle, Mark and I headed to a spa to sit in hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms while enjoying the icy view.

Another way to warm up was by eating one of Sweden's tasty desserts.

Eating a semla is another way to warm up.

Stockholm has a fantastic Viking restaurant called Aifur.

We enjoyed an evening in Stockholm at a fantastic Viking restaurant called Aifur.

Mark and I spent our last afternoon in Sweden building a snowman, complete with a kayak, a paddle and a norsaq.

Mark and I spent our last afternoon in Sweden building a snowman, complete with a kayak, a paddle and a norsaq.

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.

Greenland or Bust – 2013

Sponsors
Kokata Kayak Clothing Accessories Apparel



Gath Sports Helmets
Sea Kayaker Magazine

P&H Custom Sea Kayaks
Kayak Paddles by OBlenis Paddles
Thule Sweden
Fat Paddler - Live. Laugh. Paddle!