It’s been a very, very busy couple of weeks and I realized that I never got a chance to write about my must recent adventure teaching onLake Superiora couple of weeks ago. For the second year in a row, I had the pleasure of being invited up to Naturally Superior Adventures to teach a Paddle Canada Level 2/BCU 3* course. My good friend, Erik Ogaard was also teaching a Paddle Canada level 3 course that same week so I hitched a ride with him. The journey north from Toronto to Wawa is no small trip across town. The 12 hour adventure requires CD playlist ground rules and it was quickly established that we would only listen to greatest hits CD’s by artists from the 70’s and 80’s. With that in mind we made the trip rocking to Bruce, The Zeppelin, The U2’s and Mr. Bowie. Needless to say there was a solid amount of both air guitar and drumming to keep the cars passing us entertained. The original plan was for Naturally Superior Adventures to offer the two courses during the same week. The level 2/3* was going to be taught by Bonnie Perry, myself and assisted by Ray Boucher and the level 3 by Erik but due to some last minute participant drop-outs, we decided to combine both levels and teach everything as a level 3/3* course. Combining courses always has potential pitfalls. There is the potential for level 2 students to be overwhelmed by the level 3 material and level 3 students to be underwhelmed by the paddling conditions. Since we had four instructors we decided to work as a group and split up into smaller groups if necessary to deliver the material at the different group’s skill levels. With very careful planning, it was a working model that ended up being quite successful. Anyways, I had an absolutely fantastic time teaching with my fellow partners in crime, Bonnie, Erik and Ray and I pretty much spent the whole time laughing at and with them. They are both awesome people to hang out and teach with. For teaching…
You might remember a couple of weeks ago I wrote about Dave and Matt Turgeon's canoe expedition across Canada to raise finds for the Sick Kids Hospital here in Toronto. Things were going fine until they reached Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario where they got robbed. Thieves made off with about $500 worth of Dave and Matt Turgeon's gear when they left it on shore by the city's waterfront boardwalk early Tuesday afternoon to make a quick supply run to Station Mall. "We were only gone 15 minutes," said an exasperated Dave Turgeon, 42, shortly after talking to police. Taken was about $500 worth of rain gear, knives, tools, and, interestingly, the GPS tracking unit the Turgeons were using to update the progress of their expedition for the Sick Kids Foundation on their website. Dave said the GPS unit provides current location data only, meaning the thief could do little with it but give away his or her own location on the Turgeons' website. "If they're stupid enough to hit the button," noted Dave. I guess this shows that the woods are safer then the city. More info:
I’m going canoe camping with the family this weekend and I’ve decided to camp like this guy and really get away from it all. See you Monday with good memories and new Nintendo Wii high scores. Photo credit: Fail Blog
I just received an email from my friend Conor Mihell to let us know that along with his paddling partner Craig Zimmerman; they finally completed a substantial 8-day paddle on Lake Superior out from Wawa to Michipicoten Island then due south to Caribou Island and home again. Though the total distance of roughly 300 kilometres isn’t that huge; what’s impressive is that approximately 110 km of it was over open water. You see, to get out to Caribou Island you need to make two major crossings (16km and 35km) then do it all over again when going home. Over the course of 8 days you need four at the right time with good enough weather to make the crossings and that’s rare on Lake Superior. If you haven’t heard of Caribou Island that’s perfectly ok. There isn’t a whole lot out there and it can get confusing due to the fact that there are six Caribou Islands in Ontario alone and two of them just happen to be on Lake Superior. View the Caribou Island Expedition Route in a larger map. The one I’m talking about on the eastern end of the lake is about 35km (22 miles) due south of Michipicoten Island and about 65km (40 miles) west of the nearest shore. The island is uninhabited and often described as swampy and buggy by those researchers who have been lucky to get dropped off out there. With that amazing(ish) sales pitch, it’s amazing that only two other groups have kayaked out to the island in the past. From what Conor and Craig can tell; a gentlemen made the crossing solo in the mid 80’s and another team of Americans did it as part of a three-night trip across Lake Superior in the 90’s. I know there isn’t a great public record of these types of things so others might have done it before and didn’t tell anybody. Conditions of the major crossing south were near perfect (flat, cool and little wind) but it wasn’t long before thunderclouds started building to add some stress to an already stressful day. Luckily the…
This has been a big month for large expeditions going on around in North America. Here is a quick update of three that have come across my radar. CanoeacrossCanada Dave Turgeon and his son Matheson are half-way through canoeing across Canada to raise money for the Sick Kids Foundation here in Toronto. According to the update on the Paddle Canada blog they started in Vancouver, BC back in April and have just crossed the border from Manitoba into northern Ontario. Lake Superior CircumnavigationTwo women from Marquette, Michigan are aiming to be the first women to circumnavigate Lake Superior. What makes this expedition interesting is that Lindsay Bean and Jess Laxo, who are also ACA instructors, are paddling a 17-foot canoe. In this day and age most people would have chosen a sea kayak as their mode of travel around the largest of the great lakes so it’s refreshing to see the trip tackled in a canoe again. According to the Daily Press newspaper, the ladies are planning on doing 16 miles a day with the rough plan to be home again by September 1st but I think somebody might need to check their math again. The total trip is 1,400 miles so my trusty calculator says they will need almost 90 days to complete it (not counting wind days) so that would put them home at least at the end of September. Update: Kenneth corrected me today and said they actually started their trip on June 12 so a 2 1/2 month trip around the lake actually makes sense. The Ultimate CrossingBart de Zwart is pretty proud of his recently completed journey. Last Sunday night he completed a 5-day, 300 mile stand-up paddle journey from Hawaii's Big Island to Kauai. The Chicago Tribune reported: [blockquote]Strapped to his 14-foot (4.3-meter) longboard were enough freeze-dried meals and water in watertight containers for seven days. He slept on inflatable water mattresses glued together to form what resembled a kiddie pool, he explained: "At night, I blew it up and strapped it on the board." The choppy waters and windy conditions would occasionally flip…

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