Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Symposium Ambience

If you've never been to a kayak symposium you are missing something special. There is, of course, the opportunity to learn new skills...often from famous paddlers about whom you've read. There are trips that allow you to see new sights, paddle new waters and meet paddlers from other areas; and it all happens within the safety of a group led by experienced paddlers.
There are, as well, lectures on topics such as navigation, weather and the like. In addition, evening lectures by well known individuals are held, often covering their circumnavigations and expeditions. All in all, there is lots going on and lots to learn. Yet, there is more. There is the Gestaldt, the happening, the ambience of a place populated with a bunch of diverse people who share the joy of kayaking. The atmosphere is friendly. Everyone is helping everyone else. Need something? Someone will loan it to you. Want to learn something? Someone will teach you. Not on the water? Then we hang out together and talk. We take over the place, and formality be damned. Neoprene hangs from roof racks and side view mirrors, and anything wet hangs from any place you can find to hang it. The sweet smell of wet clothes and damp wet suits is carried by the wind.

In a funk? Bored with your paddling routine? Skills stagnant? Well, get thee to a symposium and, as the English say, keep your pecker up.

(p.s. Wendy Killoran tells me that she has a new webb

domain and will soon be back blogging.

Watch for it).

Paddle safe... DS


Sharon said...

This is a lovely post about why symposia are so special. We caught the kayak bug five years ago at the West Michigan Coastal Kayakers Symposium (wmcka.org) and still organize our summers around midwestern kayak gatherings.
Thanks for writing about Grand Marais & Door County. It's great to spread the word.

Silbs said...

Thanks, Sharon. I, too, plan my July around these symposiums.

JohnB said...

and the other 11 months???

canoelover said...

Hey! That's my drysuit!

Second floor, left balcony with the Kokatat PFD.

You're right. The paddling is great but it was almost secondary to the Freundschaftgestalt.

Silbs said...

Other 11 months, JB? What other 11 months :)

Silbs said...

Ah, the laundry scene. Nothing like the sight of a drying dry suit or the odor of wet neoprene in the late evening light.