Sunday, December 28, 2008

call for photos

This picture's just in case any of us forgets what sunlight feels like, or tires of peeling ice from the canoe. Pull out your camera next time we're shivering in the wind under 5pm moonlight because when summer comes back around, we'll want to remember just how special that is.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thanksgiving is a time to think about what's important:
Our family and friends, our homes, our Island
... and PADDLING!!!
We are thankful for our Mother Club in Everett,
our beautiful boats
and for ALL of the Happy Paddlers!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
Mahalo for your strength, courage, and perseverance.
Mahalo for your teamwork, traditions, and community.
Mahalo for your language, stories, and prayers.
Mahalo for your culture, healing, and wisdom.
Mahalo for your balance, understanding, and hope.
Mahalo for your hunger.It fills us.
-Amy Harold

Spend the day with people you care about.
Over-eat and plan to burn off the extra helpings
on Sunday.
- David

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Photos by David Halpern

A glorious Autumn afternoon bid farewell to our final Kid's Paddle for the 2008 season! We had a princess, our favorite Star Wars characters, a dainty (yet strong!) Fraulein and a rock star! David brought tricks (his famous flip books) and treats (caramel corn)!

Clone Trooper-Commander Cody (Connor Dederich), Heidi (Amy Harold), Anakin Skywalker (Arlo Harold), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Orion Seaton), Corrections/Work Crew Supervisor (Dan Seaton), Jango Fett (Ian Volk), Clone Trooper-Lieutenant (Tyler Davis), Darth Vader (Geoffrey Volk) and Guitar Hero, Slash (Jordan Davis). Protected by Anakin, is Princess Inga!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Hui Wa'a O Puget Sound-North Samish '08--photos by Denyse Davis

Denyse Davis, Becky Volk, Bonnie Stanger, Steve Bennett, Martha Isbister, Dan Seaton, Amy Harold

big debuts: Martha's first "behemoth" steer and Becky's first distance race

The boat yet to be: we still need one more female!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Salmon Row and Paddle V-12 (photos by Peter Dederich)

"Uh oh! Uncle Butch, we're short one paddler!"
"Trevor, do you want in?"
"Okay...Connor, you want in?" Connor is standing under his father Peter who is snapping this picture at the very moment we all turn to see whether he'll say yes.
"Who, ME?????"

Ok, folks. Let's get in. We're outa' time. This is Sound Rowers, by God, and we know how to start a race on time!!! (Guess who said that...yes, it was Steve Bennett.)

Martha: "What do you want me to do?"
Whole team in unison: "STEER!"
(Notice her brave child Connor Dederich seizing the opportunity to be the youngest San Juan Islander to paddle a distance race.)

Around Lake Samish and here we come! Finish!
L to R: Dan Seaton, Christine Davis, Denyse Davis, Sandy Kuala, Amy Harold, Bonnie Stanger, Steve Bennett, Becky Volk, Connor Dederich, Butch Calivo, Martha Isbister, and Hal Lavinsky, all ready to eat the delicious Salmon BBQ!! If you could only see Becky's face--she was SOOO happy!! We all were.

PS. Budd Inlet pictures are here. Congratulations to David Halpern and Dan Seaton for finishing 1st and 2nd!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hatless Confidence

My favorite paddling experience, bar none, is when canoes fight neck and neck, in the thick of deciding who will dominate. How I love bumping and near-misses, pitching against the rhythm of competitors' breath. I cherish their call and response as if it were coming from my own canoe. Their blood pulses with determination that matches ours every time we bring it up another notch. Thrill drives collective effort, effort drives individual abandon, and then comes the Universe: splashing cold salt water lit in silver speed high enough to taste.

Or is it the triumph in the eyes of someone who finished what they were never before brave enough to start? Facing the morbid dread on race morning together, hauling canoes to the shore, rubbing the sunscreen in hard to reach places, finding that last piece of advice, we prepare one another somehow for a physical experience that will demand more than we have. The green flag lifts, we labor, we cross the finish freshly born. Stronger.

Or is it the dreams? People from all walks of life (even the venues where I am weakest) standing on the starting line, cheering. So many people I know rooting for me. I sleep while they applaud. I wake up with their excitement new in my mind.

Here's three cheers to Martha Isbister who paddled 12 miles at breakneck speed for the first time ever. Here's to Bonnie Stanger who brought her 20 year-old paddle down out of the attic for yet another marvelous chance.
Here's to Dan Seaton whose every faithful stroke I tried my best to echo! Here's to Jose Domenech who didn't make it and was sorely missed. Here's to Dave Halpern who said he would have to quit coaching if we beat him. Ooops. Here's to Butch and Mary Calivo for being the Mother and Father. Here's to Stanley and Teresa Otsubo who take care of the canoes 24/7. Here's to Uncle Ray for the chili, and Joyce for the sushi. And here's to EVERYBODY for the work and the love.

PS. Wouldn't it be nice to have photos of sunny Mukilteo?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Hat Race

This is the crew from last year. Have you ever seen a happier bunch? There was a bulldog that ran under the boat just as this picture was taken. Remember that? We all laughed while the owner apologized. Tell Marty Robinson, Katie and Kenny Askew, and John Pachuta that it won't be the same without them! In fact, we might just have to go hatless Saturday.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Popcorn & a Movie

Scroll down and turn off the blog music in the red box before you watch this Youtube video...unless your brain is like my husband's. (just kidding)

When you get to minute 1:05, you'll see mighty PNW Autumn Rose racing by in their white and turquoise jerseys. These girls are all under 16 years old! Then, at about 1:24, you'll see the PNW Senior Masters walking by with Sabine Jessel in front, leading them to the staging area for their next race. At 3:10, you'll get a glimpse of some v-12s.

Quite a few of you have asked, "When are we going to watch the video from Worlds?" Friday Sept 5th at 7pm right after the FHES Principal's Ice Cream Social. Drop in. Drink cammomile tea or coffee, whichever works for you.

For nice Tahitian music and photos, click here.

Ask me, "What is haka?" (I'd love to tell the story...)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Great Huli Drill

Hi Paddlers,
That was a great huli (capsize) drill for a bunch of mostly first timers(myself included) I'm real proud of us all for braving that cold water and getting us all back in the boat lickedy split. Next time I know we'll get the boat upright without scooping so much water! (we'll be very motivated to keep the ama down until we're really ready)

Thanks for the great instruction, David, and kudos to Amy for her awesome steering and leadership. I'm sure both factors were why we could do it so easily and quickly. I wanted to recap for everyone what we did. Please correct anything if I made a mistake.

Although David reminds us it's not likely we'll capsize, that boat was surprisingly easy to flip when we were all leaning away from the ama. Something to always remember. I noticed that one of the clubs in Vancouver B.C (Kitsalano) has even modified their boats with a strap running between the iakos. They call it their ama brace strap and they all put their paddles on it and lean on it if needed. Interesting (and must be interesting conditions that bring that on)

The water was surprisingly cold, even in the lagoon... and it was COLD even though we had prepared for capsize with extra layers (fleece, paddling jackets, wetsuits, PFDs) It does take a moment or two to calm down and not distress....that's why it was essential to know exactly what we were supposed to do. It felt like we needed to get out of there right away (at least that was my first reaction! ) and I say this as a swimmer and someone who loves the water. It is definitely better to dress in non-cotton layers as we head into autumn, you never know when you're going to get spashed or even drenched. Although different people have different cold tolerances, this water will get all of us sooner rather than later and very quickly will make it hard to think straight or even physically function.

At the bottom, I've attached the websites that I sent out before with terminology, pictures of capsize recovery, etc. They are also on the blog. In case you don't go to those websites, here is the huli that we did in a nutsell including basic terminology.

The Pogue water sports huli drill site is really worth looking at ... the other site with diagrams is great, too.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!

Huli = capsize
Ama = the outrigger float
Iako = the wooden bar that connects the ama to the canoe, there are two iakos
muku = piece of the iako that extends out past the gunnel on the non-ama side

The steerer of the boat is calling the shots.

1. Capsize (hang on to your paddle!)

2. Pop up and count off by seat (1 is the bow, 6 is the steerer. MAKE SURE EVERYONE IS UP AND WE'RE ALL OKAY. Hang on to your paddle)

3. Get into position for recovery. Seats 2 and 5 are responsible for getting onto the mukus. Getting to that position from between the canoe and ama is best, using the iako for leverage. These seats will use their weight and arms to pull the iako up and over when the steerer calls it. Seats 3 and 4 will get to the outside of the ama to prepare for flipping back over. Seats 1 and 6 help with ama flip or collect paddles. Wait until the steerer calls the flip before you lift the ama or try to pull on the iakos.

4. The steerer calls the flip. Amy said "On 3: 1, 2, 3" and on 3 we give a big push up on the ama and seats 2 and 5 stand on the mukus and pull on the iakos at the same time. (Our mistake last night was we had the ama in the air before 3 and that caused the boat to scoop a lot of water. It took a long time to bail out.)

5. Bail like mad. Find your paddle, get back to shore and warm up. Make sure everyone is doing okay.

Here are the links:

Huli drill from Poguewatersports in Vancouver, B.C. Great pictures.

Ocean River Paddling Club (Victoria, B.C.) Safety Policies and Procedures including Huli drill

great diagrams on all the pieces and parts of outriggers plus A DIAGRAM OF HULI RECOVERY

Happy trails, on the water and off....

P.S. Click here to see pictures of Kikaha flipping.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Weekend at Shaw photos by Denyse Davis

We need pictures to go with the update about Shaw! Anyone with pictures to share (Liz!) are invited to email them to Amy or Becky. We'll post them on the blog. Blackmail photos are always welcome.
"Wow, despite the rain, the Round Shaw Race Weekend was terrific. Those who missed it should INK it into their schedules for next year. We had a beautiful downwind paddle over to Shaw on Friday, much thanks owed to those not racing who helped us paddle over and back (of course, it was a pretty fun run with a few "surf's up!" opportunities.) The race itself was brilliantly done by Denyse, Jose, Dan, Steve (from the mainland club), Kenny, all taking me along for a smooth, determined ride with steady power all the way . . . and setting a course record for OC-6! Some may note with cynicism that this was the only OC-6 ever to run the course, and while that is true, the time was nonetheless impressive: 1 hour and 57 minutes.
While we were warming up, one of the faster kayakers shouted out that it would sure be impressive if we could keep that "warmup" pace up for the whole race. And so we did. Great GREAT job, everyone. Ongoing potlucks, campfire laughter and a weekend where Ivan didn't bite anyone made the event a perfect one. Thanks all - David"

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Canoe Journey - Friday's Visit

Amy had a great idea of making leis to give to our Canoe Visitors. Amy Wynn and Denyse Davis answered the call out to our club for spare blossoms! Thank you!!! (although Becky mitigated minor disappointment when she thought Denyse invited her over for "Chocolate Cosmos" - small misunderstanding!) Amy and Becky had a 2-woman lei party on Friday morning. Dan was sorry he missed out until they explained what actually took place!

We arrived back to Roche Harbor Friday evening with hot spaghetti and sauce, ready to feed a pack of, well, hungry paddlers, of course! We all took turns stirring pasta, keeping things warm while Dan and Craig watched. We worked well with our fellow Islanders from The Friends of the San Juans and really kept the dinner line moving. After dinner, we had our time to present our gifts and thanks to the steersmen of each of the 12 canoes. This was an experience our young club will embrace and carry forward: to look in the eyes of others who paddle. They paddle not for any other reason than because they were born to it. It is in them. It was an honor to have them accept our gifts and almost magical to share common ground with their traditions.

Our club thanks The Friends of the San Juans and especially Stephanie Buffum-Field for coordinating this event and inviting us to take part!

"Wait, is it boat or canoe?"

"...boatsImeanCANOES!!!" (Man, Seaton got schooled!)

The kids give the leis
Ooops, a flower fell off

Tyler Davis gives out a lei

Jordan Davis gives out a lei, too

Margie Patrick "leis one on" to Stephanie Buffum-Field of Friends

Ian Volk, Orion Seaton and Tyler Davis share the 'aloha' spirit
A pineapple for good luck

Puget Sound North gets to paddle!
(Abe Lincoln snagged us our 'invite'!)

"You guys are PULLERS! We'd already be there by now!"

Canoe Journey - Thursday's Visit

Following Thursday's practice, we went out to Roche Harbor to the Community Potluck, welcoming the Native American Canoes. It was a substantial gathering with a smorgasbord of tasty dishes, complete with traditional BBQ dogs and burgers. We began the meal with the Tribal Elders leading the group in prayer. After our bellies were full, they launched a canoe and those paddling were included by special invitation. Here's David, Seat 4, "Ama side". How Cool!

"OK everyone, act like you like each other!"

(only one good actor in the bunch)

*Ah, nuts! I'm sure I'll get the hang of this at some point, Amy!*

Monday, July 28, 2008


This is the back of my jersey. I hope everybody gets a good long look at it on the lake.
Do I look scared? The hardest part is leaving the kids' sunscreen out next to their sandals, hoping that it actually gets on them even though I'll be gone for 10 days. Or is it maybe knowing of course it will, and I'm not so indispensable after all. That must be why I found myself re-caulking the tub and sorting through doll stockings today.

If you can stand my fuzzy pictures, and if I can figure out how to load them from Stepbrother Jack's computer, I'll try chronicling. Feel free to say "Hi," "You can do it," or "Holy crap, whaddya do that for?" Just click on the comments button. The only reason I'm getting on that ferry tomorrow morning is because I told you I would. Otherwise, I'd chicken out. Oh, I guess there's another reason: paddling is fun.

Roseburg, OR
5:45am Atwell blessed my paddle
charms upon calm wood
Ben and I took turns holding it
How was practice?

Folsom, CA
flu shoots pains through arms, legs, back, neck
headache, stomachache
crashed in brother's guest bed..ahhhhhhh
(paddle under my pillow)
read Becky's entries, saw Stephanie's pictures
sweated happiness--THANK YOU!!!!!
Good luck on Huli Nite!!!
(don't forget your cameras)

Make New Friends but Keep the Old day

Ben with Denver friends Ken Lorig and Daniel Geisler

first practice on beautiful Natoma Lake
lanes perfectly straight, markers every few feet
like a lane line
water perfect; actually had to dodge swimmers
they tried me in stroke and seat 2, then seriously schooled me--I'll probably never be at the front of a boat again and am relieved about it
an inter-club canoe has six different cues for paddles up ("let her run" just never makes me want to stop...)


falling in love with these rudderless canoes
lane lines rock--wish life had those
folks are really starting to show up now
had a VERY short conversation in Italian
shook hands with a Tahitian...tried to get a picture but flustered (blush)

met up with teammates from Tricities
paddled HARD at practice (they are fast--I don't think I trained hard enough to keep up with them, but it's too late now)

out for pizza after the parade
they gave me a unity necklace

let's not go on and on about Tahiti
but they were so COOL during the parade with their chants and songs, must've been about 200--strong force, even on pavement
gives us all chills in Sacramento heat

a few more parade shots


PNW-ORCA Miss Lummi Stommish Shirley Johnson

watched New Zealand practice
was so spellbound, couldn't run for my camera
would be a waste to try and capture how they move
pop, pop, pop, pop, pop at the start for about 100m (at least six switches)
then BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! for the rest until the turns, which are like rollercoasters, then back to pop, pop, pop at the end

conversed in French with paddlers at the outlet mall
who suggested a trade for my jersey avec le beau desin
they want to give me one of theirs
you'll never guess where they're from...
I suppose you'll know when I walk up
(it's not France)

my race schedule tomorrow is:
(put an "ish" on all these times)
11am 1500m Open Women V-6
1pm 1000m Master Women V-6
4pm 500m Open Women V-1


Here's Autumn Rose 16 & Under, our first race of the day
spoke French, dreamt French
(the loudspeaker is constant French all day long)
had one German conversation

paddling???!!! Oh you want to know about paddling...
1000m Master Women V-6 (Tricities +me) earned a repechage (means "speed up again" or do-over)
first single race went well--did not come in last but
dropped out of the pack in the last 200m.
let's call that good, because no one
checked their watches

keep sending the love; it works!!

PNW's new cheer: "Don't come in last!"
no other way to describe how fast these
Tahitians, Kiwis, and New Caledonians are
you gotta see it

broke my own singles record with a 2:56
did a happy hoot dance in front of the
results postings, crowd thought
they were watching The Price is Right

(photo by Gary Bertram)
had to change my flight because
two of my races have advanced
I'll be missing you so much at Shaw
darn it (but hooray)

spoke more German today than I have since 1993,
feels like shaking a third of my brain out

Happy Birthday Darling Husband!!!
the girls tell me you're the best
and how lucky I am
you bend the curve

focussed on video today and will continue to
get as much of that as I can because it'll be
good to have a medley of champion strokes to watch
when I get back home
let me know if you want to come over; I'll make popcorn

passed on the Devil's Club necklace
to a veteran paddler with Peruvian ancestors
also descended from Tahiti's king, he said
for once the French came out like a dream
and the love circled in four kapunas' kisses

(photo by Gary Bertram)
paddled in a v-12 with all the Autumn Rose women
who chanted Lummi and we went by the call
(hupdelelele) ONE! TWO! And somewhere out in the
middle something magic happened
and we dozen were one heart
fierce with war, paddles chugging like a
freight train crossed with
a herd of wild stallions charging, water
thumping under our hooves
mightiest corporeal fusion I've ever felt
and we advanced to the finals
we'll be racing for medals on Saturday


raced 500m MW v-6 repechage
raced 1000m MW v-6 repechage
advanced to semi-finals
came in 8th place
we're gr8
fell asleep three times during dinner

one last race
my favorite
v-12 OW 500m FINAL
then I'm coming home
if you see my Mother-in-law Vonnie
give her a clap on the back
for making gluten-dairy-soy-free dinners
and holding babies every time I was at sea
she's the champion