Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

Axel Schoevers (Photo: A. de Krook) Name:
Axel Schoevers
Rijswijk, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Monday, January 29, 2018

Penguins ?

When I asked around for pictures of yesterday I would never ever have thought Ray would be 'tricked' into this one. A select few Dutch sea kayakers know about Ray's Penguin warm-up one time at the annual Dutch Sea Kayak week; for many years organized by Elko (left) and Onno (right). And where do Penguins live?

Peddelpraat Ray Union

Yesterday was the annual Peddelpraat winter meeting.

For the past 20 (!) years Ray Goodwin guided the Scotland sea kayaking trips for Peddelpraat. Sea Kayaking? Isn't Ray that world renowned open canoe coach and guide? Yes he sure is. Ray, Lina and Maya were invited over to celebrate 20 years of Peddelpraat sea kayaking trips in Scotland.

What was his lecture about? Open Canoeing for sure. Anecdotes of his sea kayaking trips would fill the rest of the day with all the paddlers that so much enjoyed his guiding. I was impressed with his film about his Algonquin open canoe trip with two families with children. So Open Canoeing abroad with Ray is next? We have a signed copy of Ray Goodwin Open Canoeing so we better start practicing with one blade. Cunning plans... Another one of Ray's specialties.

Exactly a year ago I headed out to Ushuaia for my month long sea kayaking trip to Antarctica with a group guided by Justine Curgenven. Family health issues and other priorities had literally shelved the 7.000+ pictures and still unknown many hours of film footage of this expedition.

Yesterday was also the premiere of my Antarctica lecture. Condensing a 'life-time' experience into 45 minutes. Where I could probably talk an hour on every one of the 30 days there! Or just share one picture that says it all. Even all the trips with Ray. It is all in there (apart from the camp fires).

A little personal emotional moment at the start of my lecture when I realised that ALL of the paddlers that I learned sea kayaking from, my mentors, my coaches were present. Even the retired ones and paddling buddies that I have not seen for 10 years or more!

While Peddelpraat is 'just' one of the national kayak clubs, they invited every other national sea kayaking organisation. And ALL were there; the busiest winter meeting ever. The clubs' motto, since it's founding in 1975, has been [paddling] with each other not against each other. A national (sea) kayaking gathering it was.

P.S. I do not have pictures of yesterday, so hoping to share some of those later.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Weather Bound

Because of a high wind warning and flash floods in New York my flight to JFK got canceled. The flight already had an hour delayed arrival. After boarding the plane and waiting in it for more than an hour we had to leave the aircraft; deplane.

Lots of flights got canceled and lots of people are stranded. I am now booked on an extra flight early tomorrow morning. At least my connecting flight to Amsterdam is still valid. The only thing is that I now cannot spend a day in New York city, something that I was looking forward to.

I never before had the luxury to be offered a 'bed' right at the airport. Logistically probably the most conveniant solution. That and the rocking chair and the power outlet.

Earlier today...
I am not sure if I understand Starbucks anymore, if ever I understood them. The only coffee joint that was open. Apart from a 'Latte' there is no recognizable other coffees on the menu. I asked for a Cappucino and got the question: "What flavor?". Huhhh? I replied: "Regular". Not really sure if the cashier understood me I added: "Medium size". A minute later I got a 'Frappucino', not what I ordered. But they still do Cappucino, but I probably have to 'SPELL IT OUT: A HOT CAPPUCINO". I got my Cappucino instead and it actually tasted like Cappucino. A regular hot coffee might be even harder to get.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Happy Hands

Today I saw a remarkable example and result of using a metaphore. Dubside is running rolling classes at the Ocean Gathering Symposium.

I first met Dubside in 2004 at the Delmarva Retreat, a Greenland symposium where I first got truly immersed in Greenland kayaking skills. That was a humbling experience then. I met Dubside again on a few other occasions but never had the opportunity since then to see him coach.

One of the students wanted some tips to improve her off-side roll. After some observation Dubside asked her if she knew about Micky Mouses' Happy Hands. She came-up on her off-side with the same open hand position as she went over; with the paddle between her thumbs and index fingers; perfect. Even better than on her 'on-side'. Impressive observation and use of metaphores; Happy Hands!

Just before lunch, Dubside had the group race to the beach. I think I could keep up with him with my euro paddle: faster, faster, faster; for a short while... And only with most extreme exertion. Humbling experience again... I consolidated on all my Greenland rolls I ever could do before.