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  1. Rob, Clearly you enjoy giving back to NSPN and the club benefits from your generosity. I do see the potential for NSPN paddlers to give back a small token of their appreciation for the work and effort you put into planning and executing each trip. Maybe each and every paddler who joins in could simply ask you the question, “Rob, how may I help YOU?” Rob, now that the idea is out there, prepare yourself for how to respond. If I read your post correctly, I now understand no one has ever offer to tow you. When a speedy paddler on your team asks you, “Rob how may I help YOU?” Ask them to tow you! That should tire them out! Hey, while you are being towed, could you scan the sky to find me a bald eagle? Kayaking is so much fun! J Warren
  2. Hi Katherine. I define “Open Enrollment” as an approach used by an NSPN trip planner such as Rob to assemble a team for a trip they plan to lead. The trip is posted on the NSPN Trip/NSPN Event section of the website. The trip initiator encourages all potential participants to post their interest on the thread. The process is very transparent to the potential participants. Unless the paddler lacks proper skills/gear, all are accepted. A “Closed Enrollment” is also an approach used by an NSPN trip planner. The trip is posted on the NSPN Trip/NSPN Event section of the website. In this case, the potential participant is required to post their interest via PM message function only. This approach allows the trip initiator to filter the participants to achieve their desired result. Both approaches are used within NSPN. Warren
  3. Rob, I was glad to read how you had an opportunity to discover the beauty of the Boston Harbor islands. Several of the islands can accommodate camping and some have spectacular views of the Boston skyline. Although their beauty can rival islands off the coast of Maine, I have never been able to spot a bald eagle in Boston Harbor. On the issue of tow versus no-tow and the leadership decisions involved, I can’t really help sort that out for you. I know it is your nature to focus on continuous quality improvement regarding your leadership skills and based on the posting above there are many great ideas. I would like to share an observation. Rob, I have noticed how you, more than most NSPN paddlers, lead “open enrollment” trips. Anyone who meets the club requirements regarding skills/gear is welcome to participate. That is a wonderful service you graciously offer. Knowing how difficult it can be to lead a group of paddlers who do not always understand the unique skills of their team mates, adds to the complexity of what you offer. Although I have seen the open enrollment model used by other leaders, those trips are most often L2 trips. I know there is a needs within NSPN for the special trips you offer and your superb leadership skills make them safe for all who participate. I say, “Job Well Done” and keep up the good work. Hey, next time you paddle in Boston Harbor, keep an eye open for any bald eagles! Warren
  4. Josko, I suspect many leaders are trained to take an action when a mishap occurs. They instinctively believe inaction shows lack of skill or incompetence. They hope the right words are chosen, the actions taken are supportive. They tend to deliver what is hoped to be a corrective measure. All good! Sometimes what is needed is the ability to listen. As a case in point, I was seeking an opportunity to practice rescuing a buddy in rapidly moving water. My feeble attempt resulted in my going for a swim. The leader was very supportive in communicating my mistakes and shared them as soon as I was back in my boat. At the time my ears were so full of water, I could not understand the message. It was somewhat funny upon reflection that night. Warren
  5. Pru, I enjoyed reading how you discovered the feeling of paddling in a wilderness location. It is unlike what we feel paddling off the coast of Maine. An illness/injury in a wilderness environment can be a really big deal. Last year our PWS team discovered the common occurrence of a team member becoming ill. At the time, I looked within at my training and my first aid supplies and felt the need for improvement. Back in January we both enrolled in a nine day Wilderness First Responder training class at UML. That effort was connected to three goals. 1. Determine the most common types of illnesses/injuries we might encounter on PWS. 2. Prepare a fully stocked First Aid Kit which could address each identified illness/injury and would serve as a back-up to the one carried by Ryan. 3. Develop a core knowledge on how to assess an illness/injury and provide a remedy. Based on your recent experience, was the WFR training helpful? Were the team supplies adequate? What might you do differently? Warren
  6. Pru, Thank you so much for an amazing trip report! Reading it transported me back to the experience David and I shared. Prince William Sound is a land of extremes. Extreme weather, landscape and wildlife. It is truly a paradise for kayakers. I look forward to reading your insights regarding gear, etc. As you and Beth discovered, PWS is a place where your gear and processes are fully tested. Warren
  7. Pru, Wow! It is good to have you and Beth safely back in New England. I am reminded of a passage in the book by Eva Saulitis entitled, “Into Great Silence” where she writes the following. “Storms define Prince William Sound, not its rare sunny days. Salmon streams, plankton blooms, muskegs – all depend on rain, lots of it, two hundred or more inches a year. Storms sweep the Sound clean, drive back fair-weather boaters, discourage tourists, drench kayakers.” Warren
  8. Dan, thank you for another excellent trip report. Rene, thank you for suggesting a great location to camp and explore. With a great location, excellent weather and wonderful company, it does not get much better then that! Hey Dan, that was kayak camping trip number three this season for you and I detect you are getting hooked. If Mother Nature cooperates I see many more camping trips ahead for the three of us! Now, back to reading my favorite book, “Maine Island Trail – 2015 Guide”. Warren
  9. Please join me in congratulating Julie Casson (JulieC) on passing the Registered Maine Guide exam. She will be an outstanding addition to the Maine Guide community. Julie worked long and hard in preparing for the exam and we are all proud of her accomplishment. Well done! Warren
  10. Gary, Thank you for initiating this wonderful thread! I suspect this issue is not uncommon among kayak campers and can be a source of stress for some. As you know, I love kayak camping and I believe all aspects of camping, including preparation for launch, can be very enjoyable. To help make the process enjoyable I believe the team needs to agree on two important decisions the night before. The team needs to agree on the time to bring the boat down for loading and the time for butts-in-boats. I know some paddlers take longer to pack their boats and so a time when the boats are taken down is very important to them. It is not uncommon to encounter a 60 minute span of time between when boats are taken down and when BIB occurs. As long as the team has agreed to the times I am fine with the process. If, for example, the team agreed on 7:00AM for boats brought down and 8:00AM for BIB, I am fine with having my butt in my boat at 8:00AM even if I am the last. (I must add there are times when Mother Nature forces an early or late departure due to wind/waves/fog. We all understand those situations. This discussion is not about weather related emergency evacuations.) Gary, you are one of the most organized campers I have ever encountered. I suspect you are not as concerned with becoming even more organized as much as feeling the last off the beach might be in some way disrespectful to those who were waiting. Please keep in mind, there are some paddlers who always seek to be ready 30, 40, 50 minutes ahead of schedule and see nothing wrong in that approach. You will never be able to improve your efficiency to be the first ready to launch in those situations. As I mentioned, camping needs to be fun. Each camper will have a different approach to how they prepare themselves. You already have an approach that feels right for you, that is good. I do not believe there is one best approach for all. I recommend you come at the issue from a different angle. I believe it is all about actions that create and strengthen teamwork. The team agrees on the two times mentioned above. Paddlers who seek to change those times for their convenience because they happen to be ready early are disrespectful to the team. Food for thought? Warren
  11. Pru, Another really beautiful trip report! Thank you, Warren
  12. First off, thank you Gary for planning a terrific weekend. It seems to me these Jewell Island camping trips just keep getting better each year. Thank you Dan for beautifully capturing the highlights of the trip in your description and photos. A special thank you goes out to our good buddies from SMSKN: Rene, Cathy, Chip and Bob. I hope to paddle with each of you often over the coming months. Last but not least, a big thank you goes out to Bill for his gracious spirit in accompanying me from and to Winslow Park as we talked over the important aspects of our lives and looked with great anticipation to the future trips offered by our good buddies at NSPN. Warren
  13. Gary, We would know the distance for each crossing and got an idea of our speed so we would check the time when we began the crossing and that gave us an idea as to when we might begin to see the island. Because the distances were significant in relation to the degree of fog, we would spend a good amount of our time seeing nothing but water on all sides. No turning back! Just trust your calculations and push on! Wicked cool stuff when you do not have boat traffic. Warren
  14. Dan, Thank you for a wonderful trip report and for being a great paddling buddy. We were very fortunate that Mother Nature cooked up a few treats for us this past weekend. I know that was your first time navigating in fog and you did a great job. It might be helpful to the gentle readers who are planning to paddle and camp in Casco Bay over the next few weeks to understand some of the aspect of our planning. With our cooler than normal spring we have not seen an abundance of fog in Casco Bay. It was only 48 hours prior to launch that the variables aligned for a nice foggy experience. We could see the wind shifting and coming from the south. That allowed us to track the dew point off the live weather stations as far down as Long Island. (Since cell phone access is excellent in Casco Bay and iPhone apps are readily available, you can have the data at your fingertips 24/7.) Once we added in the water temperature in Casco Bay and the movement of the tides it was easy to predict when the fog would arrive, when it would thicken and when it would begin to lift. Next we assembled the tools in our tool kit for paddling in fog. The nautical chart, compass, watch, VHF radio and fog horn are the key essentials. I like to add in a GPS with embedded nautical charts. Since we knew we needed to complete three crossings during max flood we could experience drift off our established headings. Although we were seeing only an 8 foot tidal range, there was enough water movement and wind to be concerning. An interesting aspect of paddling in early May is the lack of lobster buoys. So we had no fixed points to establish a range and adjust our ferry angle. That is where the GPS was a great benefit. Dan, I suspect your interest in kayak camping will continue to grow and I hope we will have many more camping trips together in our future. I would suggest working on fine tuning the skills of cookware clean-up during a rising tide. Last but not least, I continue to seek paddlers who are new to kayak camping to join future trips of discovery. You will need to PM me with your interest and goals since each trip is carefully crafted to the individual paddler(s). I can promise you I will strive for a safe journey on each and every trip. Warren
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