Thursday, July 31, 2008

Once More, Once

One last Grand Marais piece: The symposium up there takes place in a bay. Just outside, along Lake Superior's south shore, you are allowed a view of one end of Picture Rocks National Sea Shore. The flat land in the foreground, it turns out, is a major nesting area for the piping plover.An interesting entry on the sign asks that kites not be flown in the area as the chicks may think them a predator and stop feeding.

I discovered the area when I climbed the dune behind out motel. I also discovered what had to have been one of the earliest attempts at using wind power to generate electricity.

Finally a two part quiz:

1. Who are these men and how are they related?

2. From where did I steal the title of today's blog?

Paddle safe...


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What Every Movie Star Knows

An axiom of the theater as well as the big screen is never work with kids or animals, they will steal the show. So, kids aside, what is about animals that wrenches at our hearts and makes us smile?

Well, puppies, like the one above, are just plain cute. Seemingly innocent and anxious to please, they bring out the care taker in each of us. By the way, put a pup together with a pretty girl and you have a picture for an ad that will sell anything...but I digress (see, Gary, no parentheses).

Perhaps it is their playfulness that brings out the child in us. All I know is that when Lady Linda sees a cute pup (or a cute baby) I get nervous. I believe we have enough of each just now, thank you.

Because once you invite either into your life, they take over.

Paddle safe...


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sights From
Grand Marais
In yet another effort to milk yet another blog out of the recent symposium trip, I am posting some images taken during those ten days. The first was taken during a trip to one of the bays of Grand Island. There we saw some mini sea caves, waterfalls and a constantly changing display of rock formations. Even a simple sunrise at the teaching beach was worthy of a second look.

So, too, the fog.
Paddle safe...


Monday, July 28, 2008

How Much
Too Much
of a
Good Thing?
To go camping used to be referred to as getting away from it all. It meant finding a quiet place where you saw few, if any, other people and pretty much had the place to yourself. There are still such places, many within a day's drive from where I now sit. Still, they seem to be getting further and further away. Paddlers and folks just wanting to set up a tent and relax now have to queue up to get a reservation for a campsite at our state parks. Once there, you will be encamped in a housing project with both sides of the roads lined with tents, trailers and houses on wheels. Last year, we sat at our humble camp site and watched the NFL football game on the huge TV at the site across the narrow road.

When there is the attraction of water, the congestion gets all the worse. I went to meet a friend in Chicago yesterday. We wanted to launch from one of the beaches and do a paddle on Lake Michigan. We did, but only after risking a parking ticket by illegally leaving our cars in the only spaces we could find. It was 7 a.m., and there were already thousands of folks on the beach.

It won't get better as more and more pleasure boaters, paddlers and fishermen compete for a piece of the water. It means, as well, that we will all have to be more mindful of what we are doing and find ways to coexist with one another. Or, we could drive north for 8 hours.

Paddle safe...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Camping, A Part of the Symposium Experience...for some
Waking to the sound of a gentle surf on a sandy beach can be heaven. On the other hand, waking up to a torrential storm that seems to want to move the tent to a new location is also part of the camping experience. Sometimes it's finding a place to read and be alone. Sometimes it's the pits. But always it is an example of man taking a step back on the evolutionary scale and, like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, a man wakes to new possibilities. It is, after all, a time for man to revisit his roots, to become the hunter gatherer, and to honor the traditions of all men from time in memoriam. (Used with permission of the Neanderthal)
This summer, take your son camping and teach him the ways.
Paddle safe...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Attend a symposium around here and you're likely to come upon a scene like the one above. Surfers? No, those are kayaks upon which they sit. On a break? Well, kind of...and what are they looking at? They are looking at Kelly Blades, also a fixture around our get togethers.
(please no crude comments here)

A strong paddler with a dynamic presence, this guy is a clown. No, seriously, he once attended clown school, and he knows how to have fun with a boat and how to get others into it. His getting to know your boat sessions are always filled with laughing paddlers who seem to never find their way into their cockpits. So, if you come upon a sight like this...
look to see if Kelly isn't in the group before you call the coast guard.

Paddle safe...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Making Choices at
The Candy Store
When I was a ham radio operator, we referred to the store that sold all the neat radio stuff as the candy store. For kayakers, one of our candy stores is the weekend symposium, and one of the "problems" with kayak symposiums is the overwhelming array of choices they offer for the new paddler to sort out. When we don't know what we don't know and don't know what we need to know next, it can be hard to make a schedule from the menu of classes and trips. Unfortunately, not all get all that can be gotten from the weekend. (Derrick Mayoleth
famous blogger and paddler)
Take this young man, for example. He cannot decide if he needs lessons from a traditional paddler or a wardrobe consultant.
(Derrick's son, Gryphon)
Other, more competent and sophisticated paddlers, have to choose between advanced rescue and rolling classes. The important thing is to use the weekend and do all you can and be all you can be. You'll know you've done this when you feel the pleasant feeling of exhaustion that comes with having used the weekend to the fullest.
Paddle safe...

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

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Rats Are Back...
The Race is On
We worked and traveled hard, and experienced many fine moments of relaxation with and with out adult libations. 10 days, including 2 weekend symposiums with camping in between was a sweet way to spend the time. No newspapers and virtually no radio or TV to aggravate the day.

Vicky and Doug, from Milwaukee are seen here with Sherri (on your right) where we all met up at the Door County Symposium in Wisconsin. Sherri, JB and I then went on to camp on the southern shore of Lake Superior before heading up to teach at the Grand Marais Symposium.
I will write about it all over the next few days but, for now, I need to reorient to being back home, in the city and being bombarded with chores and responsibilities.
Paddle safe...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

On the Road
Grand MaraisSherri has studied the charts and the maps andJB is rested up. I will post as soon as I can after getting settled.

Paddle Safe...


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Last Camp DayWe''ve met lots of nice folks here, many of them paddlers like Linda and Pete.
Everyone is happy, even JB.Paddle Safe...

Monday, July 14, 2008


The Door Co. Symp. was great and personally satisfying. I will eventually have some pics of our trip. We are presently in Upper Peninsula of Michigan and camping on the south shore of Lake Superior. I will be back soon with more info and pics.

Paddle safe...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Time To Take Off
Next to me in my over-cluttered room are a bunch of boxes and duffel bags filled with camping gear, paddling gear and stuff one needs for every day use. There are also the posters I've made for a lecture on weather and some food. JB and I leave early tomorrow for the Door County Sea Kayak Symposium, and I am looking forward to it.As the schedule stands now, I will be teaching rolling and rescues, lead one trip and assist with another. I guess I am giving a noon weather lecture again, as well. Then we head up to the UP where we will camp and paddle for 4 days on the shore of Lake Superior before heading to Grand Marais (MI) for the following weekend. Somewhere in there will be a visit to a laundromat.

Thing is that cell phones often don't work up there and the internet is often hard to find. I don't know when I will post again, but will make every effort to share pictures when I am able.

Paddle safe...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Behold, The Lowly Dying Adverb
Some would look at this picture and say it is lovely, and that would be correct artistically and grammatically. If, on the other hand, you said it was love, you would be least grammatically. Love, as you know, is a noun while lovely is a descriptive this case, an adjective.

To continue, I end each of my posts with the words paddle safe. This is on purpose, and it is grammatically incorrect. I write it knowing it is wrong and in hopes of rankling the readers senses. Paddle is a verb, and something that modifies a verb is an adverb. Most adverbs, in turn, end in -ly. It would be proper to say paddle safely. Then, all would be well with the world.

I am not a grammatical snob, but I do get rankled over and over as I repeatedly hear folks say, "I feel bad," when we all know it should be, "I feel badly."
So, tell me that your roll is coming along slowly and not that it is coming along slow. Meanwhile...

Paddle safe...

Sunday, July 06, 2008



During my lifetime, I have seen miraculous inventions and discoveries become commonplace. I have seen technology that I could once not have imagined become part of my everyday life. I've seen previously fatal diseases cured and others controlled. I have, indeed, seen some wonderful changes.

On the other hand, I've seen some lousy ones, as well. Sometimes, because of their adverse effects, it seems that there are more bad changes than there are good changes. Thankfully, one thing hasn't changed much since I was a child.

The one blessed constant is our 4TH OF JULY celebrations. You don't have to live here to know that we consider this the birth date of our country, the beginning of our still free way of life. We all also know how many wars have been fought since then to maintain that freedom and how for many years the men, and more recently the men and women, of this country have stepped forward to defend our precious rights (don't worry, this isn't going to be a political piece on good and bad wars...but I digress).So, setting aside technology, every year at this time people across the country put out the flag and decorate their homes in red, white and blue.All over the country; towns, cities and little villages hold a parade consisting of bands, horses and anyone else who just wants to walk down main street and wave at their neighbors.
And, there are always our local servant/heroes that we honor for keeping us safe and well.
Thankfully, and best of all, is the simplest act that has not changed during all of that time. Best of all: men and women and children, rich and poor, black white yellow and red skinned folks all honor the sacred ritual of standing and removing their hats when the flag passes by.
Well, almost everyone.

Paddle safe...

Friday, July 04, 2008

Birds Of A Feather
Like birds of a feather, like chicks following their mother, the little pram sail boats at the local yacht club begin to gather each spring as the juniors get on the water. This program gets young folks into sailboats early in life. They develop sailing skills and learn all about racing (something I never did as a sailor, but I digress). There is always adult supervision with at least one motorized boat on site for safety.

I know there is a similar program at Rutabaga in Madison with their canoe program. They also have a young people's program at their annual Door County Sea Kayak Symposium which is coming up in a week. I once participated in one of the Symposium's lessons for kids and came away from it with admiration for the young paddlers and even more for the staff that had taught them.

I have played with the idea of looking for a grant and support to have such a program in Milwaukee, however I am not sure that the big lake is the best venue for this. In addition to the boat traffic and wave action, there is the occasional problem with pollution. I need to discuss this with others in the area.

Meanwhile, look for the little guys and the little boats out there and always remember: some of the birds flocking out there are big ones.Paddle safe...