Monday, June 10, 2013

SISKA Sooke River Campout

The annual SISKA Campout was held at the Sooke River Campground this past weekend and the focus was on a relaxed social gathering with clinics designed for the attendees. Most of the campers arrived on Friday afternoon and our RV sort of became the SISKA hospitality site for the weekend.

Lucky us that our truck driver side window was down when the power motor failed. It figures huh?  ...... wait my sister lives in Sooke! After a 5 minute drive to her house my brother in law (Dean) let me borrow some tools so that I could remove the regulator assembly and duct tape the window into the up position for the weekend. No paddling on Friday afternoon but man did the Dark Matter taste great!

After the coffee urn was turned on at 06:00 on Saturday morning for the paddlers,  I headed to work.

On Saturday morning, Sheila Porteous (President) and Gary Allen (Past President) made opening remarks to the 25 participants before the clinics started up for the day. Wayne Horodowich of USK (University of Sea Kayaking) returned as the special guest coach and he conducted bracing and paddle strokes clinics on Saturday. Wayne's unique sense of humour especially combined with his affection of being 6.6 feet tall kept the paddlers entertained throughout the weekend.

The Saturday morning briefing by Sheila and Gary 

The SISKA Instructor team also conducted a number of clinics throughout the day based upon what skills the members wanted to try or learn. There was a little bit of almost everything for the offering which made the day super laid back.

Robyn and I took Wayne's morning class to tune up some of our basic paddling skills and it's amazing that no matter what you think you know, there is always an opportunity for improvement or refinement of those skills.

Wayne describing a skill with the Sooke River bridge in the background

Once again I was pushing my personal envelope a bit just doing a simple stopping maneuver and ..... had another Sense of Humour Failure. LOL  I seem to be having a number of these lately in the Delphin but that's OK as gives me a great opportunity to self rescue myself either with a roll attempt or in this case a cowboy rescue. Somebody has to keep the group entertained right? LOL

In the afternoon while Robyn started the preparations for the BBQ, I practiced some of my rolls and paddled around to see what the various groups were working on. Sheila was conducting an introduction to rolling clinic as I played around with my new tow system and found a kayak (Sheila's) to haul around.

Trying my new tow system. Hummm... Sheila's kayak will work as a test. LOL

Mike Jackson lead a kayak sailing clinic with Peter, Wynne and Mike (Miles). Boy a kayak under sail really moves! 

Back at camp the dinner preparations were well under way as Robyn guided her volunteer crew to get everything ready while Alan Campbell and myself prepared the BBQ's for the burgers (beef, salmon and veggie). Right on schedule, dinner started getting dished up at 6:00pm and by how fast the food went it looked like everyone enjoyed themselves.

After dinner a number of off water clinics got underway including charts  lead by Sheila, a couple of knots and tarps clinics lead by Mike Miles and anyone who wanted to assist. Dorothea did her magic with refurbishing the club Greenland Paddle while teaching how to lay out a new one on a fresh cedar plank. For me, all I wanted to do was figure out how to take my 50 feet of tow line and daisy chain it into a more manageable length. Gary Allen gave me some pointers and before I knew it my 50 feet of line was now only about 6 feet long. Sweet!!

The propane gas fire was also a topic for discussion amongst the paddling group but it was a welcome addition to the evening as the sun went down.

On Sunday morning a few clinics got underway after the yoga session. Robyn headed onto the water with Sheila's Introduction to Rolling Clinic and I tagged along as an assistant. As it turned out we had a couple of new members who needed work on their self rescue skills and I was only happy to assist Sheila in this role. It wasn't long before both of them were doing paddle float rescues and their confidence started to increase. For me it was a really rewarding experience that only confirms my desire to become an instructor next year.

Robyn and Kari Challenger were getting some assistance from Sheila with their rolls. It was Robyn's first time in the Delphin trying a roll and she did quite well. So much that I think I might have a hard time getting to use the Delphin in the future. LOL

Here is Robyn setting up for a roll with Sheila giving last minute instructions.
Paddle in a good position with her body crunched forward.

Starting the process of rotating her core while keeping the paddle flat on top of the water.

A little bit of the head sneaking a peak on the other side but Robyn gets her body on the back deck of the kayak with a little muscle help.
 Up and out of the water! Nice
Yeah baby!!! That's the way to do it!

Just before calling it a day, Sheila, Kari, Robyn and I had a little session of kayak games trying to upend each other. Sometimes it worked but for the most of the time we ended up in the water and it was a good chance to practice our cowboy reentry and even changing kayaks.

Robyn and I exchanging kayaks without getting wet. It didn't take long but we figured it out.

After doing a couple of right side up cowboy reentries in the Delphin and Robyn's Delta I decided to try and "cowboy" the Delphin upside down. If you have never tried to scramble on top of an overturned kayak and paddle it to shore ya just gotta try it. It's way harder than I thought it would be as the bottom of the kayak is really slick and hard to stay on.

A cowboy reentry is supposed to be done with the kayak right side up. I decided to try it while it was upside down.

The whole Campout Committee and volunteer crew did an amazing job on making the weekend so enjoyable for everyone. We are already looking forward to next year!

2013 Paddle #37 - SISKA Sooke River 
Distance:  Who knows - we played around in the river building skills. GPS not required.  LOL 
YTD: 373.29 km (201.56 nm)

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