‘Helen’s Blog’

Greenland or Bust’s September Newsletter

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CIRCUMNAVIGATION OF JAMAICA • ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION

Our Nordic Tour began on May 24, and we’ve had a wonderful summer running classes in Sweden, Norway and Denmark (with a break in the middle to guide an expedition in South Greenland). We’re writing this from our last stop on the Nordic Tour, Sandhamn, Sweden. Throughout the summer we’ve had bright and sunny days and warm water. Now the evenings are darker, the skies are cloudy and both the water and air temperature are dropping each day. It’s still beautiful, but summer is coming to an end. In August we ran classes in Nynashamn, Stockholm, Mora, Karlstad, Malmo, Karlshamn and Sandhamn (Sweden) and Hundested and Svendborg (Denmark). The tour is sponsored by Rebel Kayaks.

On Sunday the tour ends, and Mark heads to the UK while Helen heads to Minnesota for The Traditional Paddlers’ Gathering. In late September and early October we’ll be running classes in Wales and Scotland, then later this year we have classes and symposia scheduled in the U.S., Wales, Scotland, Israel and Mexico.

After all of that we’re going on vacation, so naturally, we’re going paddling. We’ll be meeting up with Wes Moses, and the three of us will attempt to circumnavigate Jamaica, the largest island of the Commonwealth Caribbean. To our knowledge, we will be the first people to attempt this circumnavigation. We plan to finish in late January… just in time for the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium.

Interested in joining us for an expedition? Our Antarctic expedition dates are set for December 31, 2015 to January 27/28, 2016 (these do not include travel days to and from Argentina). Our next Greenland expedition is set for summer 2016. For more information on either of these expeditions, email info@greenlandorbust.org.

As usual, visit 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.

Wherever you’re spending the rest of the summer, we hope that you’re enjoying some good water time. Happy paddling!

- Helen and Mark

Helen’s Mentoring Madness

Practice makes perfect, and that practice is especially important when learning a roll, whether it’s your first roll or your 50th. If you participate in a rolling class, you will hopefully pull off a new roll or two, but after that, it’s up to you to practice to make that roll work for you every time. Once the roll is learned it takes about two times a week of practice for a month to make that roll consistent. When practicing, keep your brain focused. Quality is more important than quantity, and it’s better to do one good roll and take a break than it is to do ten rolls with the hope that a couple of them will work. A good rule to remember is that a roll performed badly three times in a row will reinforce bad habits, so keep your brain focused. As instructors, our goal for our rolling students is for the student to know why the roll works when it works, why it doesn’t work when it doesn’t and how to practice… after that, it’s up to the student.

Program Schedule

Nordic Tour:

•  May 23 to July 4 and July 24 to August 31

• May 24 to 25 – Helsingborg, Sweden

• May 30 to June 1 – Bergen, Norway

• June 7 to 9 – Fitjar, Norway

• June 14 to 15 – Bekkjarvik, Norway

• June 26 – Rungsted, Denmark

• June 27 to 29 – Copenhagen, Denmark

• July 1 to 3 – Oslo, Norway

• July 4 to 5 – Grebbestad, Sweden

• July 24 to August 4 – Nynashamn, Sweden

• August 5 to 7 – Stockholm, Sweden

• August 9 to 10 – Mora, Sweden

• August 12 to 14 – Karlstad, Sweden

• August 16 to 17 – Hundested, Denmark

• August 20 to 21 – Svendborg, Denmark

• August 23 – Malmo, Sweden

• August 24 – Karlshamn, Sweden

• August 29 to 31 – Sandhamn, Sweden

Traditional Paddlers’ Gathering: September 4 to 7, Lake Carlos State Park, Minnesota

BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment: September 13 to 14, Anglesey, Wales

Intermediate / Advanced Leader and Trip Planning Training: September 22 to 26, Anglesey, Wales

Simplifying the Roll: September 27, Anglesey, Wales

Combat Rolling: September 28, Anglesey, Wales

Qajaq Immersion Weekend: October 4 to 5, Bute, Scotland

Lumpy Waters: October 10 to 12, Pacific City, Oregon

…And Finally

Working on your roll and need a little help? Simplifying the Roll with Helen Wilson and Yoga for Outdoor People are available for purchase by clicking HERE.

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Copyright © 2014 Greenland or Bust, All rights reserved.

Helen Wilson and Mark Tozer • (707) 834-5501

info@greenlandorbust.org

Stockholm, Mora and Karlstad Sweden

After leaving Nynashamn, our next three stops were in Stockholm, Mora and Karlstad. All three locations are in Sweden, and in all three we were teaching on lakes. We started at Svima Sport in Stockholm. Throughout our time there I taught five sessions of Simplifying the Roll, and Mark taught four sessions of Simplifying the Stroke. We also helped Daniel, owner of Svima, with a class for beginners, which includes a nine kilometer tour of Stockholm by kayak. Special thanks to Daniel for hosting us.

Daniel covers the basics.

Daniel covers the basics.

Stockholm is a gorgeous city to explore by kayak.

Stockholm is a gorgeous city to explore by kayak.

All of the rolling classes started with Yoga for Paddlers.

All of the rolling classes started with Yoga for Paddlers.

People worked on all kinds of rolls. Lotta is learning her hand roll.

People worked on all kinds of rolls. Lotta is learning a hand roll.

Daniel learned the Spine Roll.

Daniel learned the Spine Roll.

After the classes in Stockholm, we made our way west, heading through Sweden to Mora. Mora is a wonderful place with friendly people, lots to see and a gorgeous lake. Magnus and Anders had organized a two-day event, which was very popular and very successful. I ran three sessions of Simplifying the Roll, while Mark ran three sessions of Simplifying the Stroke. Sunday afternoon was informal instruction, and instructors were available to help people clean up the techniques that they’d been working on throughout the weekend. Special thanks to Magnus and Anders for hosting us.

Both days of the event started with Yoga for Paddlers.

Both days of the event started with Yoga for Paddlers.

Mark talks about posture.

Mark talks about posture while paddling.

Throughout the weekend we enjoyed several tasty barbecues.

Throughout the weekend we enjoyed a couple of tasty barbecues.

Anders seemed happy with how the event turned out.

Anders seemed happy with how the event turned out.

And participants gave the weekend a thumbs up.

Martin gave the weekend a thumbs up.

We had a wonderful time working with everyone. Thanks for coming out!

We had a wonderful time working with everyone. Thanks for coming out!

After the event Magnus taught us all about crawfish, a delicacy that is celebrated during the month of August in Sweden.

After the event Magnus hosted a crayfish dinner. Crayfish is a delicacy that is celebrated during the month of August in Sweden.

And he showed us the correct way to enjoy the tasty freshwater crustaceans.

And he showed us the correct way to enjoy these tasty freshwater crustaceans.

Mora is also the home to the Dala Horse, and we stopped by the factory for a quick visit.

Mora is also the home to the Dala Horse, and we stopped by the factory for a quick visit.

Then we headed to Karlstad to run classes for Vanerkajak on Lake Vanern, the largest lake in Sweden. Although the lake is freshwater, its size gives it many of the same features as the sea. Throughout the three days we ran two sessions of Simplifying the Roll and a two-day BCU 3 Star Training. Thanks to Bjorn for hosting us.

During the rolling classes we worked on everything from the Balance Brace to the Storm Roll.

During the rolling classes we worked on everything from the Balance Brace to the Storm Roll.

Wind provided swell, breaking waves and a great learning environment.

Wind provided swell, breaking waves and a fantastic learning environment for the BCU 3 Star Training.

More wind to play in.

More wind to play in.

During the BCU 3 Star Training we spent some time working on both self and assisted rescues.

During the BCU 3 Star Training we spent some time working on both self and assisted rescues.

Here three swimmers help each other get back into their kayaks.

Here three swimmers help each other get back into their kayaks.

Topics such as repairing kayaks were also covered.

Topics such as repairing kayaks were also covered.

The candidates were tired but happy at the end of the training.

The candidates were tired but happy at the end of the training.

Oktoberfest was taking place in the town center, so we stopped in for a visit and to try on some wigs.

Oktoberfest was taking place in the town center, so we stopped in to join in the celebration.

Nynashamn, Sweden

After our South Greenland Expedition, Mark and I made our way to Nynas Kajak and Upplevelse, located in Nynashamn, Sweden. One of the things that we love about Nynas Kajak is the people. The owners, Pelle and Carina, are wonderful, and over the years have become our good friends.

We instructed there for nine days and had a wonderful time. During the nine days I ran six days of Simplifying the Roll and Traditional Skills, and Mark ran BCU Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning, a two-day BCU 4 Star Training, and he helped Pelle with a EPP Yellow course. I also ran eight sessions of Yoga for Outdoor People, and Pelle, Mark and I ran a three-day BCU 3 Star Training and Assessment combined with an EPP Blue Training and Assessment. Of course, evenings were spent catching up with Pelle and Carina, and we all took a day off to ride the roller coasters at Grona Lund in Stockholm.

Participants work hard during the BCU Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning class.

Participants work hard during the BCU Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning class.

Of course charts are also good when planning a real trip. Here the BCU 3 Star and EPP Blue candidates look at the proposed route for their three day training.

Of course charts are also good when planning a real trip. Here the BCU 3 Star and EPP Blue candidates look at the proposed route for their three day training and assessment.

The seas were mostly calm, but wash rocks created a little chop and a nice obstacle course.

The seas were mostly calm, but wash rocks created a little chop to practice turning strokes in.

Candidates learn the dos and don't of towing.

Candidates learn the dos and don’t of towing.

Towing put to use.

Towing put to use.

Our campsite was a little tricky to get to, and included a rocky landing and a short climb with fully loaded kayaks.

Our campsite was a little tricky to get to, and included a rocky landing and a short climb with fully loaded kayaks.

The campsite was well worth it though.

The campsite was well worth it though.

The following morning we took advantage of the calm sea state and made our way to this lighthouse, which is usually much trickier to get to.

The following morning we took advantage of the calm sea state and made our way to this lighthouse, which is usually much trickier to get to.

On assessment day Mark climbed a rock to watch the candidates demonstrate maneuvering strokes.

On assessment day Mark climbed a rock to watch the candidates demonstrate maneuvering strokes.

Lotta demonstrates directional control of her kayak.

Lotta demonstrates directional control.

Congratulations to the successful candidates.

Congratulations to the successful candidates.

I ran Yoga for Paddlers for the kayakers and guests at the hotel.

I ran Yoga for Paddlers for the kayakers and guests at the hotel.

During the Traditional Skills class we talked about many things, including the features of a Greenland paddle.

During the Traditional Skills class we talked about many things, including the features of a Greenland paddle.

Congrats to the successful EPP Yellow candidates.

A happy group of successful EPP Yellow candidates.

There's no better way to spend a day off than riding a roller coaster or two.

There’s no better way to spend a day off than riding a roller coaster or two.

And of course, spending the day with friends. Thanks Pelle and Carina!

And of course, spending the day with friends. Thanks Pelle and Carina!

Greenland or Bust’s August Newsletter

qajaq SOUTH GREENLAND EXPEDITION • THE NORDIC TOUR • WALES • SCOTLAND

When Mark and I began our Nordic Tour on May 24 the summer seemed very long. Now, with just over three weeks left of the tour, we can’t believe how quickly it has gone. The tour has taken us to numerous places in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. We’ve spent lots of days in the bright sun and warm water. We’ve taught classes on lakes and seas, and our days off have been spent with friends, riding roller coasters or sightseeing. It has been a wonderful summer, and there’s still more of it to come!

The tour is sponsored by Rebel Kayaks, and in July we ran classes in Oslo, Norway and Grebbestad, Sweden. Then we hopped on a plane to South Greenland to guide a 13 day expedition. Our paddling team came from the U.S., Israel and Sweden, and we enjoyed the diversity that each team member brought to the expedition. Greenland is a magical place, and we feel refreshed and renewed now that we’ve gotten our Greenland fix. Our next guided Greenland expedition will take place in the summer of 2016. Would you like to join us?

After Greenland we headed to Nynashamn, Sweden for nine days of instruction, which included a three-day tour with a combined EPP and BCU assessment. It was great to catch up with Pelle and Carina of Nynas Kajak. They are also the Europe distributors of our DVD, Yoga for Outdoor People, so if you need a few copies for your store, get in touch with them, info@nynaskajak.se. After leaving Nynashamn, we headed to Stockholm, which is where we are now. We’ve got one more day of classes here, and then we’ll finish the tour with classes in Mora, Karlstad, Malmo, Karlshamn and Sandhamn (Sweden) and Frederiksvaerk and Svendborg (Denmark). Then Helen is off to Minnesota for the Traditional Paddlers’ Gathering, and Mark heads to the UK to prepare for classes that we’ll be running in Wales and Scotland in late September and October.

Later this year we have classes and symposia scheduled in the U.S., Wales, Scotland, Israel and Mexico. We’ve also got an exciting expedition planned in December, and then we’ll we preparing for the U.S. Storm Gathering Symposium, which takes place in Trinidad, California on March 6, 7 and 8.

As usual, visit 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.

Wherever you’re spending the rest of the summer, we hope that you’re enjoying some good water time. Happy paddling!

- Helen and Mark

Dr. T’s Coaching Corner

Most sea kayakers would agree that some form of towing system, whether participating in a coastal journey or venturing out on the open ocean, is an essential item to have as part of their safety equipment.

Towing systems come in different forms, they can be waist mounted; boat mounted and chest mounted. Make sure to fully test the system you go for and be aware of its limitations. The system that is right for you is the system that works for you, without fuss or fumbling, so practice with it on a regular basis.

When shopping for a towing system, or even making your own, consider asking the following questions: does it come with floating line? is the line long enough? can the length of line be adjusted easily? does it have a quick release mechanism? does it have a large enough bag so the line can be restowed quickly, even with cold hands? is the clip large enough for handling in rough water; and is it made from a corrosion resistant material? Whatever you choose, make sure to adapt it so the system works for you in all situations.

Once you have selected a towing system, it is just as important to know how and when to deploy it. Towing can be a means to assist an incapacitated paddler and get them to a safe location. This might be a short distance or a couple of miles in open water. Doing this quickly and efficiently can make all the difference in preventing a situation from worsening.

You might wish to tow someone on their own for a short distance, but for longer distances it might be preferable to raft them up with another paddler. You may want to share the load of towing by adding more tows in-line with the original towing kayak. For even greater distances, having a effective method of swapping paddlers around who are doing the towing is an important consideration.

Towing systems can also be used to help anchor a paddler performing a deep water rescue on a fellow kayaker to prevent them both from drifting into rocks or being taken away by the current. Other uses can include using them as stirups to help a tired paddler climb into their boat; acting as a sea anchor; a tarp line; and for use as a short, quick release contact tow.

Every system has it merits and disadvantages. Learn to use the one you choose and train with others to test each situation and explore the possibiities so that when you need it for real it all works smoothly.

Nordic Tour:

• May 23 to July 4 and July 24 to August 31

• May 24 to 25 – Helsingborg, Sweden

• May 30 to June 1 – Bergen, Norway

• June 7 to 9 – Fitjar, Norway

• June 14 to 15 – Bekkjarvik, Norway

• June 26 – Rungsted, Denmark

• June 27 to 29 – Copenhagen, Denmark

• July 1 to 3 – Oslo, Norway

• July 4 to 5 – Grebbestad, Sweden

• July 24 to August 4 – Nynashamn, Sweden

• August 5 to 7 – Stockholm, Sweden

• August 9 to 10 – Mora, Sweden

• August 12 to 14 – Karlstad, Sweden

• August 16 to 17 – Frederiksværk, Denmark

• August 20 to 21 – Svendborg, Denmark

• August 23 – Malmo, Sweden

• August 24 – Karlshamn, Sweden

• August 29 to 31 – Sandhamn, Sweden

Program Schedule

Traditional Paddlers’ Gathering: September 4 to 7, Lake Carlos State Park, Minnesota

BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment: September 13 to 14, Anglesey, Wales

Intermediate / Advanced Leader and Trip Planning Training: September 22 to 26, Anglesey, Wales

Simplifying the Roll: September 27, Anglesey, Wales

Combat Rolling: September 28, Anglesey, Wales

Qajaq Immersion Weekend: October 4 to 5, Bute, Scotland

…And Finally

Working on your roll and need a little help? Simplifying the Roll with Helen Wilson and Yoga for Outdoor People are available for purchase by clicking HERE .

============================================================ Copyright © 2014 Greenland or Bust, All rights reserved.

Helen Wilson and Mark Tozer • (707) 834-5501 info@greenlandorbust.org

Greenland!

A wonderful Greenlandic woman named Heidi recently described Greenland as a dose of vitamins. You go to Greenland, and every day your body fills with vitamins. When you leave Greenland, your body starts to use those vitamins, and eventually, they’re all gone, and you have to return. When she told us this, I couldn’t help but smile, because it’s true, and it was time for our Greenland vitamin fix. For both Mark and I this was our fourth trip to Greenland, and the second together. This time the destination was South Greenland, and six clients joined us for Greenland or Bust’s South Greenland Expedition, which included 13 days on the water and 300 kilometers paddled.

The "team" before heading out on day one.

The “team” before heading out on day one.

Wind had driven ice into the harbor, which turned our launch site into an obstacle course.

Wind had driven ice into the harbor, which turned our launch site into an obstacle course.

In fact we had lots of ice to maneuver through on the first day.

In fact we had lots of ice to maneuver through on the first day.

A short crossing to some ruins gave us the opportunity to get to know the kayaks.

A short crossing to Qassiarsuk gave us the opportunity to get to know the kayaks.

Then we headed out into the ice.

Then we headed out into the ice.

Paddling amongst ice is a magical experience.

No two icebergs are alike.

Oded takes in the spectacular scenery., which is paddexperience than where h

Oded takes in the spectacular scenery.

Every iceberg takes on a personality of its own.

Every iceberg takes on a personality of its own.

More ice.

More ice.

And still more.

And still more.

This seal bravely hangs out on a piece of ice.

This seal bravely hangs out on a piece of ice.

Greenland's landscape can feel very vast, and what looks to be a short crossing often isn't.

Greenland’s landscape can feel very vast, and what looks to be a short crossing often isn’t.

At times the ice moved in a solid flow, but we were always able to pass.

At times the ice moved in a solid flow, but we were always able to pass.

Drinking water was easy to find, and filters weren't needed.

Drinking water was easy to find, and filters weren’t needed.

We had three portages throughout the trip. This ramp helped out a lot.

We had three portages throughout the trip. This ramp helped out a lot.

The top of the land bridge.

The top of the land bridge.

The journey down was the best part.

The journey down was the best part.

The second land bridge wasn't quite as much fun… up a rocky beach, a short paddle across a murky pond and down a rocky beach.

The second land bridge wasn’t quite as much fun… up a rocky beach, a short paddle across a murky pond and down a rocky beach.

Our final portage took us, our kayaks and our gear across four kilometers in the back of a flatbed truck.

Our final portage took us, our kayaks and our gear across four kilometers in the back of a flatbed truck.

Many of the best landing beaches had Norse or Inuit ruins. Here the group stands in an old Inuit earth house.

Many of the best landing beaches had Norse or Inuit ruins. Here the group stands in the remains of an Inuit earth house.

This pile of rocks is an Inuit grave. Over time many of these graves have opened up, revealing bones from long ago.

This pile of rocks is an Inuit grave. Over time many of these graves have opened up, revealing bones from long ago.

This day our "camp" was a little tricky to get to.

This day our “camp” was a little tricky to get to.

But getting to the top was well worth the trip. This "space pod," as we named it, was unlocked and ready to provide shelter.

But getting to the top was well worth the hike. This “space pod,” as we named it, was unlocked and ready to provide shelter.

Norse ruins line the hillsides. The "space pod" was likely placed for researchers to study the ruins that are not easily assessable.

Norse ruins line the hillsides. The “space pod” was likely placed for researchers to study the ruins that are not easily assessable.

Many of the ruins were in very good condition.

Many of the ruins were in very good condition.

We visited active villages as well. Here Gennifer buys pastries from an Inuit woman in Narsaq.

We visited active settlements as well. Here Gennifer buys pastries from an Inuit woman in Narsaq.

Our lunch spots and campsites were always scenic.

Our lunch spots and campsites were always scenic.

Sunsets were always spectacular.

Sunsets were always spectacular.

Piles of rocks are a common site in Greenland.

Piles of rocks are a common site in Greenland.

Watching icebergs from shore can be fun, especially when they put on a show by rolling or shedding smaller bergs.

Watching icebergs from shore can be fun, especially when they put on a show by rolling or shedding smaller bergs.

Gennifer shares some whale, which she'd purchased in a town and cooked up as an evening treat.

Gennifer shares some whale, which she’d purchased in a town and cooked up as an evening treat.

I'm not sure there's a prettier place to enjoy a morning cup of coffee.

I don’t think there’s a prettier place to enjoy a morning cup of coffee.

Mark cooks up some tasty falafels.

Mark cooks up some tasty falafels.

Camp always had a very relaxed feel.

Camp often had a very relaxed feel.

Iceberg chair.

Iceberg chair.

We spent a night camping at some hot springs.

We spent a night camping at some hot springs.

Every team member had the opportunity to plan part of the route. Here Jack tells the group the plan.

Every team member had the opportunity to plan part of the route. Here Jack tells the group the plan.

We stayed in Qaqortoq for two nights and a full day to experience some of the Greenland National Kayaking Championship.

We stayed in Qaqortoq for two nights and a full day to experience some of the Greenland National Kayaking Championship.

Kampe and Dubside greeted us upon arrival.

Kampe and Dubside greeted us upon arrival, and it was great to catch up with them.

Heidi teaches Greenlandic during breakfast at the hostel.

Heidi teaches Greenlandic during breakfast at the hostel.

A sealskin akuilisaq is ready for the competition.

A sealskin akuilisaq is ready for the competition.

This avataq is complete with feet.

This avataq is complete with feet.

A father teaches his son how to roll.

A father teaches his son how to roll.

Kampe coaches Heather (a visitor from Canada) on the ropes.

Kampe coaches Heather (a visitor from New York) on the ropes.

This boy competes in Greenland Rope Gymnastics.

This boy competes in Greenland Rope Gymnastics.

The rolling competition is always a great spectator event.

The rolling competition is always a great spectator event.

This boy is ready to roll. The tuilik that he is wearing is made from sealskin.

This boy is ready to roll, and he’s wearing a sealskin tuilik for the occasion.

This boy prepares to do a norsaq roll.

This boy prepares to do a norsaq roll.

This man is ready to do the avataq roll.

This man is ready to do the avataq roll.

These proud fathers embrace after their sons compete in the team rolling event.

These proud fathers embrace after their sons compete in the team rolling event.

Canadians James and James embrace after competing in the team rolling event.

Canadians James and James embrace after competing in the team rolling event.

There are many types of races in the Championship.

There are many types of races in the Championship.

And just about everyone got a medal or two.

And just about everyone got a medal or two.

More winners.

More winners.

Sealskin kayaks are displayed in the museum.

Sealskin kayaks are displayed in the museum.

After the expedition we had a traditional Greenlandic dinner in Narsarsuaq.

After the expedition we had a traditional Greenlandic dinner in Narsarsuaq.

Muktuk, or whale blubber, is a delicacy.

Mattak, or whale blubber, is a delicacy.

Greenlandic Coffee is a special treat… and a very good one.

Greenlandic Coffee is a special treat… and a very good one.

Mark and I are well stocked up on our "Greenland Vitamins." We'll be back though… would you like to join us?

Mark and I are well stocked up on our “Greenland Vitamins.” We’ll be back though… would you like to join us?

 

 

Norway, Denmark and Sweden, the Nordic Tour Continues

We just concluded the sixth week of this year’s Nordic Tour, and things have been very busy. After running classes in Fitjar (for that Blog entry click HERE) we made our way to Bekkjarvik, also on the west coast of Norway. We had two days of classes, with the first day’s participants being primarily teenagers. Teenagers are energetic and great to work with, and we had a wonderful day teaching Fun – Balance – Games and Rolling. The following day we ran the same classes, but with adult participants. Both days had gorgeous weather and warm water. The classes were hosted by the Havstril Padleklubb and partially sponsored by the local bank, Ragnhild H. Bjanesoy. Special thanks to Trond for organizing the classes, and Laila for providing accommodation in her gorgeous summer house.

Balance games can be lots of fun.

Balance games can be lots of fun.

Of course swimming around on a hot day can be fun too.

Of course swimming around on a hot day can be fun too.

Whoever said that kayaks need to be paddled sitting down?

Whoever said that kayaks need to be paddled sitting down?

More balance exercises.

More balance exercises.

Our next stop took us to the Rungsted Kayak Club in Denmark. I taught Simplifying the Roll, while Mark taught Simplifying the Stroke. We were only at this club for an evening, but we had lots of fun teaching and hanging out with this active group of paddlers. Everyone made us feel very welcome, and it was fun to mingle in the Club’s wonderful facility after the classes. Thanks to Lisbet for hosting us.

After Rungsted, our travels took us to the Kajakhotellet, located in Copenhagen, Denmark. This was our second year teaching there, and it was great to be back. The first day we taught Complicating the Roll and Fun – Balance – Games, and the second and third days we taught two sessions of Simplifying the Roll and two sessions of Complicating the Roll. We got to know Club members at a barbecue on Friday night and a party on Saturday night. Thank you everyone for making us feel so welcome! Special thanks to Anders and Jenny for taking such good care of us.

Yoga is a great way to get in touch with the body and mind before a rolling class.

Yoga is a great way to get in touch with the body and mind before a rolling class.

Mark talks technique with an enthusiastic group of participants.

Mark talks technique with an enthusiastic group of participants.

A dancing couple.

Dancing is just one thing that you can do in a kayak.

Yet another way to paddle a kayak.

Yet another way to paddle a kayak.

What did these two guys expect putting one foot on each kayak? Of course someone would paddle through the "bridge."

What did these two guys expect putting one foot on each kayak? Of course someone would paddle through the “bridge.”

We've been working through lots of rolls with lots of participants. Here, a norsaq roll is born.

We’ve been working through lots of rolls with lots of participants. Here, a norsaq roll is born.

Our next stop was Oslo, Norway. We’d had to cancel the four days of classes that we’d previously scheduled there because of a car accident (for that Blog entry click HERE), but it was good to be back for three days. The Oslo Kayaking Club is quite spectacular, and the venue includes kayak storage, a gym and a meeting room, complete with a traditional kayak on the wall. Throughout the three days I ran five sessions of Yoga for Paddlers, and Mark and I ran five Simplifying the Roll classes and one The Art of Teaching Rolling class. We’re really glad that it worked out for the Club to reschedule. Thank you for being so accommodating! Special thanks to Ketil for setting up the classes and Inge and Einar for hosting us.

The Balance Brace is the foundation to most layback rolls.

The Balance Brace is the foundation to most layback rolls.

After the Balance Brace comes the Standard Roll.

After the Balance Brace comes the Standard Roll.

The Art of Teaching Rolling Class discusses rolling before launching.

The Art of Teaching Rolling Class discusses rolling before launching.

Teaching how to teach.

Teaching how to teach.

Our final stop on this part of the tour was in Grebbestad. Grebbestad is a charming town on the west coast of Sweden, and we just love it there. This was the fifth year that the KajakCenter has participated in the Nordic Tour, and over the years many of the staff have become friends. It was great to be back! We ran two full-day Simplifying the Roll classes in crystal clear water amongst Grebbestad’s fantastic archipelago. The participants and staff were wonderful, and it was great to catch up with so many people and to make new friends as well. Thanks to Mats for hosting us.

Now we’re on our way to South Greenland to guide a 12 day expedition and stop in at the Greenland National Kayaking Championship. We’re very excited to be going to Greenland for our fourth time each. The Nordic Tour will resume in Nynashamn, Sweden on July 24 and will continue through August 31.

Greenland or Bust’s July Newsletter

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SOUTH GREENLAND • THE NORDIC TOUR CONTINUES

Every now and then life reminds us that no matter how much we plan and prepare, the unexpected can happen when you least expect it. July’s newsletter is a little late this month because we’ve had one of those unexpected months, and it has taken us a few weeks to pick up the pieces and move forward.

Over the past few weeks our Nordic Tour has taken us to Bergen, Fitjar, Bekkjarvik and Oslo in Norway, Rungsted and Copenhagen in Denmark and Grebbestad in Sweden. It has taken us to many incredible places, such as Naeroyfjord and Preikestolen in Norway. We’ve caught up with old friends and made new ones and have had many wonderful days teaching on gorgeous seas and lakes. For the most part the weather has been hot and sunny, a reminder that summer is in full force, and evenings outside under a summer sun that never truly sets have been magical.

Unfortunately, June also brought about a bad car accident for us, which resulted in minor injuries and the loss of our vehicle and two kayaks. After this incident, the kayaking community helped us out immensely, picking us up and getting us back on our feet. Thank you to everyone for your support, love and kindness. It is wonderful to be part of such a large global family.

Now we’re in the first week of July, and things are looking more positive. Our injuries are mostly healed, and Rebel Kayaks has loaned us a car and two new kayaks. The first part of the tour is over, and we’re now in route to South Greenland where we’ll be guiding a 12 day expedition. The expedition will take us to several villages, some natural hot springs and the Greenland National Kayaking Championship. This will be our fourth trip each to Greenland, and we can’t wait to be back. Greenland is a wonderful place, and in less than a week we’ll be experiencing the serenity and magic of Greenland as we paddle around majestic icebergs and relax on secluded beaches. For those who are interested in joining us for a future trip, our next Greenland expedition is planned for the summer of 2016.

After Greenland the second part of the Nordic Tour begins with classes in Nynashamn, Sweden on July 24. The remainder of the tour takes us to several locations in Sweden and Denmark. The tour continues through August 31. For tour dates and locations, please visit the Events page of our website.

Later this year we have classes and symposia scheduled in the U.S., Wales, Scotland, Israel and Mexico. We’ve also got a rather exciting expedition planned in December, but more on that later…

As usual, visit www.greenlandorbust.org for more information and our current Events calendar, Shop and Blog postings. For questions, comments or to schedule us in your neighborhood, email info@greenlandorbust.org

Happy paddling!
- Helen and Mark

Helen’s Mentoring Madness

In recent weeks we’ve heard a lot of people talking about “rolling kayaks.” Essentially, a “rolling kayak” is a kayak that is designed to be easier to roll than a standard sea kayak. So is a rolling kayak a good thing? The answer is yes and no. With good technique, a roll can be done in any type of kayak, which is why it is best to never take away a student’s kayak. If a student tells you that their kayak doesn’t roll, get in it and show them that it does. This is better than putting them in in a kayak that will roll up when using poor technique. A beginner roller needs the feedback that a standard kayak provides. If they come up, the roll was done right. If they don’t, then technique needs to be adjusted.

So who should use a “rolling kayak?” Those with good technique already. A rolling kayak will be gentler on the body during extended rolling practices, will be more comfortable during some of the more complicated rolling maneuvers and the low profile of these kayaks makes them look very slick. Plus, they’re fun to roll. So remember, if you use a “rolling kayak,” focus on good technique. Enjoy your “rolling kayak,” but make sure you’re doing the rolls correctly.

Program Schedule

• South Greenland Expedition: July 9 to 20, South Greenland

Nordic Tour:

• May 23 to July 4 and July 24 to August 31

• May 24 to 25 – Helsingborg, Sweden

• May 30 to June 1 – Bergen, Norway

• June 7 to 9 – Fitjar, Norway

• June 14 to 15 – Bekkjarvik, Norway

• June 26 – Rungsted, Denmark

• June 27 to 29 – Copenhagen, Denmark

• July 1 to 3 – Oslo, Norway

• July 4 to 5 – Grebbestad, Sweden

• July 24 to August 4 – Nynashamn, Sweden

• August 5 to 7 – Stockholm, Sweden

• August 9 to 10 – Mora, Sweden

• August 12 to 14 – Karlstad, Sweden

• August 16 to 17 – Frederiksværk, Denmark

• August 20 to 21 – Svendborg, Denmark

• August 23 – Malmo, Sweden

• August 24 – Karlshamn, Sweden

• August 29 to 31 – Sandhamn, Sweden

• Traditional Paddlers’ Gathering: September 4 to 7, Lake Carlos State Park, Minnesota

• BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment: September 13 to 14, Anglesey, Wales

• Intermediate / Advanced Leader and Trip Planning Training: September 22 to 26, Anglesey, Wales

• Simplifying the Roll: September 27, Anglesey, Wales

• Combat Rolling: September 28, Anglesey, Wales

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Copyright © 2014 Greenland or Bust, All rights reserved.

Helen Wilson and Mark Tozer • (707) 834-5501
info@greenlandorbust.org

The day we rolled the van

Last Wednesday started out as many other days have during our Nordic Tour. We woke up at a gorgeous campsite in Eidfjordvatent. After enjoying a tasty breakfast of fresh baked bread and Norwegian brown cheese we hopped in the van and made our way to the Voringfossen Waterfall. We were scheduled to be in Oslo that evening, with classes starting the following day and had decided to explore a little on our way there. The sun was shining, our spirits were high and we were feeling relaxed. Perhaps a little too relaxed.

I was sitting in the passenger seat and had been enjoying a combination of looking at the spectacular Norwegian scenery, reading a book and dozing off. I was half awake when I heard Mark yell, and my eyes opened to grass and trees. We were no longer on the road. The van was moving forward, but it was also tipping in my direction, and soon it left the green and was on its side sliding across a dirt road. I could see the ground through the front window and was aware that it was next to the side of my head. While this was going on my reaction surprised me even then. I felt myself completely relax. It was as if my heart rate had slowed and I was watching a movie. I felt no fear. I felt no emotion, and I felt no pain. I remember thinking how strange it was that the capsize felt so smooth. Mark called out to me, but he was a voice in the background. I was unable to respond. In my head I rationalized that the van would stop soon, but instead it picked up speed. I remember thinking “this is bad,” and Mark’s shouts were becoming louder. He was saying, “I love you. I love you.” But I couldn’t respond. I could only watch through the window, the movie screen in front of me.

The van continued to slide, and then the dirt road was replaced by more grass, trees and a steep hill. Through the window I watched the scenery turn upside down, then the right way up and eventually stop. That was when I finally spoke. “We have to get out,” I said. Then I opened the door, climbed out, put my shoes on (which I don’t remember doing) and crawled on my hands and knees up the hill that we’d just come down. I was crawling through a dust cloud that the van had created but could see a woman at the top. She called down, and I assured her that there were two of us and that we were okay.

Once at the top of the hill I sat down. I was struggling to get my breath and clear my lungs of the dust. Mark was next to me asking if I was okay. I noticed that my left arm was cut and bleeding, and was starting to feel the sting from the nettles that we’d crawled through, but I thought I was okay. Mark was having me bend joints, and I watched them bend, just as curious as him to see if the parts would actually move. Over the next few minutes we checked ourselves over, becoming aware of additional, but minor, injuries, while we waited for help to arrive.

The fire department showed up first, followed by the ambulance and eventually the police. I realized that I was yawning and struggling to stay awake. Mark’s reaction was quite different, and he was trying to get back to the van and to the kayak rack (which had come off the vehicle, with the kayaks still attached). He wanted to see the damage and get some of our belongings. It was a hot day, and the paramedics asked me to move into the ambulance to get out of the sun, but when I stood I became very week. I was also aware that my neck felt week, and although it didn’t hurt, I was having a hard time holding my head up. Then I vomited. The paramedics strapped me into the bed in the ambulance and eventually we were on our way to the hospital. Because of the severity of the accident, the paramedics decided to take us to the big hospital, which would be better equipped to deal with any serious injuries that we might have sustained. This hospital was 120 kilometers away, and I stared out of the back window of the ambulance the whole time, watching lakes and trees pass by and trying to both stay awake and remember what happened. Mark was in the front of the vehicle, trying to figure things out in his own head. At the hospital we were checked over and then released, a package of painkillers clutched in my hand. I had a sprained right big toe, bruises up the left side of my body, a bruise across my chest from where the seatbelt had held me back, cuts on my left arm, two bumps on the top of my head, a bump on the side of my head and the beginning signs of whiplash, which emerged the following morning. Mark had bruises on the right side of his body, a bruise on his chest from the seatbelt, a bump and cuts on the top of his head, a cut on his right leg, a bruised right shoulder and bruises on his stomach. But other than that, we were okay.

The van had been towed to a garage, and the following day we went to clean it out. The emotion that came from seeing the van can not easily be put into words. Parts of the front had caved in, and the front window was cracked in numerous places but had held. Mark’s door was jammed shut, so he’d evacuated the vehicle through my door. The sides of the van were indented, and the window behind my head had shattered from a tree that had impaled it. The back of the van had caved in, and the bumper was hanging. The inside of the van was equally, if not more, shocking. The cabinet system on the inside of the van had been ripped from the side and wedged behind the front seats. Everything in the van had ended up in the front, except for the larger objects, which had piled up behind the wedged cabinet. The roof rack had been placed next to the van, and on it were our two kayaks, snapped in half.

In the days that followed, “what if,” popped into my head over and over again. What if Mark hadn’t closed his eyes for that split second which caused us to drift off the road? What if I would’ve taken my turn driving before he got too tired? What if we would’ve stopped for a few minutes so that both of us could have rested? What if I hadn’t been napping and kept Mark alert? These are all things that could have prevented the accident, but that’s what it was, an accident. Accidents happen, and they happen on days when we least expect them to. There is no blame, because an accident is an accident. Some accidents have smaller consequences, some have bigger consequences, but everyone has has accidents (vehicle or other) throughout their lifetimes.

On the other hand, it is a miracle that we walked away. The woman driving behind us who witnessed the accident was shocked that we walked out, so were the firemen, paramedics and police. What if the van hadn’t taken such a clean path down the hill? What if the tree that went through the window behind my head had gone though two inches forward? What if the cabinet hadn’t wedged itself so that we were protected from being crushed by everything in the van? “What if” can be a dangerous two words…

After the accident we received help from many people, all of who we are incredibly grateful for; the woman behind us who stopped and called for help, the firemen, paramedics and police, Marianne and Sabine at the campsite where we stayed, Ronny for helping us transport our things that were in the van and for putting us in touch with others who could help. Liv for getting us and all of our stuff to Oslo. Inge for housing us in Oslo. The Oslo Kayak Club for being so supportive, Johan for picking us from Oslo, taking us to Sweden and for loaning me his personal kayak for the rest of the tour, arranging a kayak for Mark for the rest of the tour and loaning us his personal vehicle. Ann for welcoming us into her house. And to everyone else who has showed us support and love over the past few days.

We are currently in Goteborg, Sweden, recovering and getting ready to start the tour again on Thursday. Life must go on, and we’re very grateful that we still have that life…

The van where it stopped.

The van where it stopped.

The driver's side.

The driver’s side.

Everything in the back of the van was tossed forward.

Everything in the back of the van was tossed forward.

Most of the van's content's ended up in a pile behind the front seats.

Most of the van’s content’s ended up in a pile behind the front seats.

The front of the van.

The front of the van.

The tour continues

After leaving Bergen we made our way to Fitjar, Norway to run classes for the Sunnhordland Padleklubb. We arrived a day early, and it was great to catch up with our wonderful hosts Geir Ingolf and Ingeborg, who we also stayed with last year. They made us feel right at home, and soon we were sitting around a table outside catching up while enjoying the gorgeous weather and scenery. This was our second year in Fitjar, and it was great to see some familiar faces. Throughout the three-day weekend I ran six Simplifying the Roll classes, while Mark ran six Fun – Balance – Games classes.

The Fun - Balance - Games class shows their talent during a sing-along.

The Fun – Balance – Games class shows their talent during a sing-along.

There are many ways to work on balance.

There are many ways to work on balance.

Johanas also works on balance.

Johanas also works on balance.

Geir Ingolf perfects the Shotgun Roll.

Geir Ingolf perfects the Shotgun Roll.

Ingeborg learns a Standard Roll (yep, she got it).

Ingeborg learns a Standard Roll (yep, she got it).

Most days we had great weather during the lunch break.

Most days we had great weather during the lunch break.

But even when temperatures cooled off our Kokatat Storm Cags kept us dry and warm.

But even when temperatures cooled off our Kokatat Storm Cags kept us dry and warm.

After the weekend we stuck around for an extra day (Geir Ingolf and Ingeborg are such wonderful people that we didn’t want to leave), then we headed south to Preikestolen, an incredible cliff with a plateau at the top which is 604 meters above the water. The hike from Preikestolen Mountain Lodge takes about two hours each way and is very steep in places, but the view from the top is incredible and well worth the trip.

The trailhead to Preikestolen.

The trailhead to Preikestolen.

Maps along the trail showed a hiker's progress.

Maps along the trail showed a hiker’s progress.

Me at the top!

Me at the top!

Mark at the top!

Mark at the top!

Looking over the edge felt safer from all fours.

Looking over the edge felt safer from all fours.

Our last night with Geir Ingolf and Ingeborg we cooked up a tasty Mexican meal.

Our last night with Geir Ingolf and Ingeborg we cooked up a tasty Mexican meal.

Now we’re on our way to Austevoll, an archepelago off the west coast of Norway, and just across the water from Fitjar.

Pictures by Helen and Mark.

The start of the Nordic Tour

On May 21 I made my way from Arcata, California to Gothenburg, Sweden, where Mark met me with our van, which he’d brought over on a ferry from the UK. We spent a day resting, relaxing and unwinding before heading to Helsingborg for the beginning our Nordic Tour, which will continue through August 31 (with a break in the middle to go to Greenland).

On the morning of the 24th we met up with Johan Wirsen, owner of Rebel Kayaks. Johan is the designer of the Tahe Greenland, which was renamed the Zegul Greenland, but he’s taken his design to his new company and it is now calling it the Rebel Ilaga, which I’m using during the tour. Mark is using another of Johan’s designs, the Greenland T, a larger version of the Ilaga that is also part of the Rebel line. Both kayaks are made in Poland by Aquarius.

Our new kayaks.

Our beautiful new kayaks.

After getting our kayaks we headed to Kullaberg for a technique class. That evening we enjoyed a tasty barbecue at the local kayaking club, Helsingborgs Kanotisterna, and the following day we stayed more local, and ran rolling classes off the beach right in front of the Club.

Mark hangs out with Club president Ronny.

Mark hangs out with Club president Ronny.

Happy rollers enjoyed the warm water and sunshine.

Happy rollers enjoyed the warm water and sunshine.

Ater the classes we had some time to explore the charming town.

Mark stands at the fountain close to the center of town.

Mark cools off in front of a spectacular fountain, which is located just above the town center.

Thanks to Zsuzsanna and her family for hosting us!

After leaving Helsingborg we began the drive to Bergen, Norway, where we’d be running classes the following weekend. Upon crossing the Norway border, the scenery began to change, and we soon found ourselves in snow covered mountains.

A partially frozen lake provided scenic surroundings for a break from the van.

A partially frozen lake provided scenic surroundings for a break from the van.

It felt strange to be wearing shorts while surrounded by so much snow and ice, but the air temperature was warm and the sun was bright.

It felt strange to be wearing shorts while surrounded by so much snow and ice, but the air temperature was warm and the sun was bright.

We actually turned the van around to get a double take on this house.

We actually turned the van around to get a double take on this charming house.

Along the way we stopped at Nærøyfjord for an afternoon paddle.

Along the way we stopped at Nærøyfjord for an afternoon paddle.

Stunning cliffs, clear water and dramatic waterfalls lined the path along the fjord.

Stunning cliffs, clear water and dramatic waterfalls lined the path along the fjord.

Camping at the bottom of the Tvindefossen Waterfall was very relaxing.

Camping at the bottom of the Tvindefossen Waterfall was very relaxing.

Mark cooks dinner at our riverside / waterfall side campsite.

Mark cooks dinner at our riverside / waterfall side campsite.

Once in Bergen we headed to the kayak club, BSI Padling where we met up with Lillian and Anja, our wonderful hosts for the weekend. Throughout the weekend Mark ran six technique classes while I ran six rolling classes and a morning session of Yoga for Paddlers.

Stretching before paddling is always a good thing.

Stretching before paddling is always a good thing.

The color and clarity of the water was incredible.

The color and clarity of the water was incredible.

Rollers worked on all types of rolls. Here, a Storm Roll is born.

Rollers worked on all types of rolls. Here, a Storm Roll is born.

Correct hand positioning is key.

Correct hand positioning is key.

We had the perfect water, weather and scenery for a wonderful weekend.

We had the perfect water, weather and scenery for a wonderful weekend.

Happy campers.

Happy campers.

Once we arrived in Bergen we visited Ronny Riise at his fantastic kayak store, God-Tur.

After the weekend we visited Ronny Riise at his fantastic kayak store, God-Tur.

We explored Bergin, which has a wonderful fish market.

We spent a couple of afternoons exploring Bergen, which has a wonderful fish market.

We took a train up the mountain to Fløyen and a cable car to Mount Ulriken.

In addition to exploring the town, we took a train up the mountain to Fløyen and a cable car to Mount Ulriken and enjoyed hikes at the top of both mountains.

After leaving Bergen we took a ferry to Fitjar, where we’ll be running classes this weekend.

Pictures Ronny Riise, Mark and myself.

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