I’ve Given In

As I write this I find myself chuckling. A year ago if someone would have told me that I’d be writing a blog, I wouldn’t have believed it. I figured that if I started one then I would have to maintain it. But I’ve given in. I write in a journal regularly anyway, so I’ve decided to share some of my kayaking adventures with anyone that wants to read about them.

I am not planning on going back in time and writing about the past, although I will say that each place that I have kayaked holds its own unique magic. Two weeks ago I returned home from The Vulcanoa Marathon Sea Kayak Symposium in Italy, where I taught rolling, performed a rolling demonstration, presented on my experiences at the 2008 Greenland National Kayaking Championship and did a kayaking tour of the Aeolian Islands, a group of volcanic islands off the coast of Sicily, Italy. In the next day I’ll be writing about my experiences there. On Monday I got back from San Simeon, California, where I instructed at TAKS (Traditional Arctic Kayak Symposium), which I also intend to write about.

After that the “kayaking season” is pretty much over for the year, which means that “my season” begins. This is the time of year when the Pacific Ocean transforms into its winter state, often with strong winds, swells exceeding fifteen feet and wind waves to dance and play in. Unlike most of the west coast, I live in a place where there is usually enough protection from the incoming swell to be able to launch “relatively easily,” even if the ocean is in one of her winter moods. Humboldt County, California is my home, and there are a group of friends that I meet every Sunday morning; rain or shine, flat or ferocious, and we go out and play in the magical waters of Trinidad and surrounding areas.

Whenever I kayak in a new place I collect a small amount of the water that I kayak in. More often than not, it’s collected in a plastic water bottle that I find lying on the beach and I quickly scribble the place and the date on the bottle, trying to get a pen to work on the damp plastic. When I get home, I pour the water into a more attractive container and label it clearly, placing it on a shelf behind glass. This water collection has grown significantly over the past year, and I expect it to grow even more in the coming months.


One Response to “I’ve Given In”

  • Marc Daniels says:

    Helen. your blog is fascinating and really well written. You and I have met a time or two, but I don’t expect that you should remember. I’m a skin boat builder who has spent many years, on and off, building iqyan (baidarkas) with Aleut communities in Alaska. It’s fun to read your tales of adventure and travel, which have me longing to see my friends up north again and to build more iqyan and qajaqs.
    My wife, Leah and I have just bought an old Victorian building on Main Street in Ferndale with the intention of opening a school of multi-media creating and traditional craft. We’re calling it Mind’s Eye Manufactory. Within this school setting, I will be continuing my work as True North Arctic Skin Boats, and hope to make my shop into a Mecca for my Aleut friends and others to come and work on projects. Our website totally needs a major re-do and updating, as our direction has shifted. In fact the building in the site is not even the one we ended up buying. However, feel free to check it out.
    It would be neat to talk with you again sometime, and maybe even work together in some capacity. Just planting a seed. I would also be interested in helping sponsor you at some level when I get things going. Meanwhile…Go, Go, Go! Great stuff! Good work! –Marc Daniels

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