Archive for January, 2013

BCU 4 Star Sea Training and Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning: March 30 to April 3, Anglesey, Wales

Date: March 30 to April 3

Location: Anglesey, Wales

Description: This four-day course includes both the BCU 4 Star Sea Training and BCU Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning. The BCU 4 Star Sea Training segment covers the necessary elements of leadership, group safety and seamanship skills, as well as developing personal performance as set out in the BCU 4 Star Sea syllabus. Completion of the training course will lead to a personalized action plan in preparation for assessment. The course will cover:

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


• 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

The Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning segment is a classroom based program that gives participants the necessary tools to plan and navigate effectively on coastal journeys in moderate ocean conditions. Upon completion, each student should have planned at least two coastal journeys that they can take home as reference for further personal trip planning. This course is designed to compliment areas covered in the BCU 4 Star Sea Award and is a prerequisite for training. The course will cover:

  • Interpreting sources of information required to plan trips
  • Understanding tides and currents
  • Obtaining a weather forecast
  • Identifying conditions and their effects on a journey
  • Learning simple pilotage techniques
  • Planning tasks and practical exercizes

Prerequisites: BCU 3 Star Award or the ‘old’ 4 Star Sea Award. An understanding of charts and practical navigation.

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

Contact: For more information, course fees or to register, e-mail

Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium

One of the great things about the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium is that it’s in the middle of winter, and therefore the weather and ocean conditions are completely unpredictable. Past years have seen rain, wind, hail, sun and even a tsunami. This year the sun was shining, and there wasn’t a cloud in sight. Under the clear and still blue sky large and beefy swells set up an exciting and challenging learning environment, with the majestic Golden Gate Bridge serving as a scenic backdrop.

A gorgeous day on the water.

I arrived Thursday evening, and spent some time catching up with coaches and organizers before settling into the hostel. Throughout the weekend I instructed Greenland Skills and two sessions of Fun – Balance – Games – And Rolling. Kelly Blades co-instructed on Saturday, and the two of us had an absolute blast working together.




And Rolling!

On Friday evening Justine Curvengen showed a lively and fun slideshow and video presentation of some of her travels. Saturday evening Out of Sight – Out of Mind presented on environmental issues, followed by keynote speaker Ken Campbell, who presented ‘Ikkatsu – Roadless Coast.’

Experimenting with rescues.


One of many ways to carry a kayak.

The event was an absolute blast. Thanks to Sean Morley and Matt Palmariello for having me there. Hope to see you all next year!

ENC Member Night: January 14, Eureka, California

Date: January 14

Location: Eureka, California

Description: In August 2012, Helen Wilson and Mark Tozer guided a 12 day sea kayaking expedition in the Ammassalik region of East Greenland. Along the way they had many adventures, including paddling through massive iceberg fields, exploring abandoned settlements, visiting working villages, marveling at an abandoned U.S. Air Force Base and camping next to a very active glacier. Member Night begins at 6 p.m. and is held at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center at 921 Waterfront Drive in Eureka.


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