2008 Georgian Bay Storm Gathering Wrap-up

Saturday, 25 October 2008
Piano Keys Gone Wrong!Things have been really quiet around here over the past week and a half and I apologize to my 10 fans out there.

The past week and a half was absolutely crazy. I left town last Thursday to the Georgian Bay Storm Gathering which I organized followed immediately by a Paddle Canada Level 3 course that I co-taught. I got back home really late on Wednesday night and had to prep for a job interview on Thursday afternoon. After that, I took a couple evenings off and sat down for the first time in 2 weeks.

How was the Gathering you might ask? It was fantastic. For those who are not in the know, I partnered with White Squall Paddling Centre and the big event took place at Snug Haven Resort which had cabins right on the water.

Me and Jack Elliott

Split Seam

Greg Mason working the radio.

Dock Jumping
On Friday and Saturday we had on-water clinics running all day ranging from open water rescue practice, rock extractions and paddling in wind.

The sad part is that Friday and Saturday, there was no wind to be seen, barely a ripple on the water. That was ok as it gave us a chance to fool around with the boats in a very low risk environment.

On Saturday afternoon we paddled over to Snug Haven dock for the annual afternoon of boat mischief (don't worry, it's a copyrighted name). You haven't lived until you have slid off a 6 foot dock into the water. After a quick game of kayak piano keys, we discovered one boat had some gel coat cracks on the front deck. Oh yeah, we also broke a paddle there. Mischief indeed!

In the evenings, we had a couple guest speakers. Rick Wise from Horizons Adventures did a great talk on gear for first aid kits and Erik Ogaard did a talk on gear for boat repair. On Saturday night local historian, Eric McIntyre did a talk on shipwrecks of Georgian Bay which was fantastic. I had no idea that so many had crashed right up on the rocks that we were playing around that day.

Things changed quite a bit for Sunday, the winds finally arrived bringing us the waves that we were looking for. We woke up to 15 knot winds out of the East which was perfect. We took off first thing in the morning and paddled 5km off shore to the Snake Islands. Out there is a massive set of shoals which were absolutely fantastic. More damaged paddles and boats out there by days end for sure.

In total, we had 4 broken paddles, several large gel coat chunks missing from hulls due to rocks, a front deck cracked from piano keys, and a hull and deck seam split when one boat surfed into another. Oh yeah, several pinched fingers but all turned out fine. Good weekend indeed!

We more photos up on the photo gallery over at the Gathering website. If you were there, we are looking for your photos, email them in and we can post!

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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