Loading up for the Long Island Paddlesports Safety Symposium. It's blowing. There's a gale warning. It's early & YES, we're all asking ourselves & each other why we're even bothering to schlep boats & gear when it's SO INCREDIBLY OBVIOUS that the demo we're supposed to do - OUTSIDE - is going to be cancelled.
We compromised & took 2 instead of 3.
And here we are at the very impressive Dowling College Oakdale campus - aka the former Vanderbilt estate. Oh, did I mention it's COLD!
This must be the place! The displays are being set up inside the conservatory.
Closer view of the conservatory - nice, huh?
Minh thinks those sponsons are a little off-kilter. Quite the rig! The sea kayakers may make fun of them, but more & more fishermen are finding that a kayak is the perfect craft - and the manufacturers are endlessly creative when it comes to catering to them. They'll never come up with gadgets that'll obviate the need for some basic skills & knowledge - well, that's what events like this one are for.
Setting up the booth
Oh, da CUTE! It's the Safe Boating Bear! He was hanging out at the New York State Parks booth.
This was a really, really nice space for this.
Scotty Greifenberger working the American Canoe Association booth
Exhibition hall open for business. Welcome, all!
Kirtons on the grass. Alas!
hmmm...that's pretty cold...
Fortunately that's NOT the water we're supposed to roll in (and it is slooooowly warming up...may be a go!). No, it's the classic ice-water test. You take a bucket of water, drop in some ice to chill it down. Have people hold their hands in the water for 30 seconds, then...
try to pick up coins from the bottom. Now, the idea is that you aren't supposed to be able to - but -
Adele failed! Maybe all the gardening gives her tough hands - but later we were talking about it & thought maybe the ice had only cooled the uppermost layer, Adele & I were the first 2 to try.
Or maybe we're just tough chicks. But I bet more ice & a good stir to make sure there wasn't a layer of cold on top & warmer below & thing would've changed!
Meanwhile, back at the Sebago booth - Marcus Demuth is getting a big kick out of a picture of Stevie fishing on a sitatop. That was actually how Stevie started, but then one day he found himself out in changing weather & found that sitatops CAN get knocked over. Repeatedly. He didn't end up in Deep Trouble but he did realize that there was more to kayaking than just a stable boat. That started him into learning a few more skills, and now he's a pool session/greenland style junky & has taught half the club to roll! Oh...for the non-paddlers, "Deep Trouble" is a column written by the Broze brothers at Mariner Kayaks, published in Sea Kayaker Magazine & eventually collected in a book. they collect & analyze true stories of kayak disasters or near disasters, looking at what went wrong & how the situations could have been avoided. Spooky, but very informative & a VERY good read for beginners, really gives a good view of how things can go wrong, half of 'em start out "It was a beautiful day in ____",
And speaking of skills...well, well, well, there's SKSA's own Gordon going out in a canoe! Yes, the wind was dying down - it was still a little gusty, but no longer gale-force. The first demo got postponed, but Gordon was the second & he went. I wish I could have stayed to watch because it was still challenging & even the talk he was giving before he launched was interesting, talking about what specific things he would do to deal with the conditions we were faced with. But if Gordon was on the water, that meant we were next...so time to trot off to change.
Yep. We're doing it. Are we crazy?
We had a great crowd! Actually once we got going, it wasn't so bad - we're dressed right, we'd all had some lunch, we were in our boats & moving - I think these folks who stood on shore & watched us were pretty tough, too!
The water was cold enough (high 30's) to warrant a more cautious approach than our usual flopping over into side-sculls - instead, we took turns dipping ourselves holding onto each other's bow. None of us got it, but water in the 30's going in your ears can induce vertigo. Personally, I chose to wear my "headache hood" - it's thick neoprene, covers your whole head & neck, really doesn't let water into your ears at all. The problem is that it's so tight that it gives me a headache in half an hour, but that's as long as the demo is supposed to be & I know that this hood will give me a longer time being comfortable - not to mention that wearing it, I can be pretty sure that all the falling-over I do will be voluntary.
hangin' out...Jerry's happy. Poor Stevie got stuck on the dock - he's a little sorry that we made the 2-boat call in the morning, 'cause look how pretty the Connetquot River is.
Coming up from my first roll.
a little balance bracing - I hung out until the wind had me about at the dock.
There's Jerry, he just finished a roll. He's our Greenland Guy today - I'm in the Romany with the drysuit & started with the euro - Minh's in a skin on frame with drysuit, and Jerry's got the whole G-thing goin' on, tuiliq & all.
Butterfly roll time. That's the Coast Guard back there - nice to have them there! Actually there was an officer on the dock, too, and he saved me...I rolled with my bow too close to the dock preparing for the eskimo roll, got a little hung up, and was just starting to think "hm now what" (we'd been very specifically asked by SKSA and the coast guard not to come out of our boats, so I really didn't want to wet-exit) but then I felt my boat get a helpful little shove! Fortunately, that was all the help the Coast Guard had to give us.
Minh sets up for a roll
Minh rolls & blows into Jerry rolling. We were fine, but we did get a good bit of boat control practice in along with our rolling fun! there was a certain amount of bumper boats going on. All fun, though.
Minh sets up for "armpit roll" (aka shotgun roll) - I'm just doing another butterfly. Still lovin' the headache hood at this point. Lighter hood, I might have been pretty close to done by now.
spine roll -
spine roll II, finishing -
ta da and all that.
End of the show - we've been in for a full half hour. OK, I'm not going to say I was "cold" - but I will say that I had packed up a thermos of cider, and a thermos of clam chowder - only it was really early and the cinnamon stick ended up in the wrong thermos. Well, after half an hour of steady rolling in cold water - chowder with a cinnamon stick tastes JUST FINE! :D
Roses for Elizabeth O'Connor, who puts this on every year. Nice work as always!
End of a perfect day.