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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
  15. Cathy, Well done! Congratulations! Warren
  16. The story is both fascinating and very tragic. Understanding the value of a dry suit is only part of the equation. I would be curious to know if our readers routinely use the weather data available from the National Weather Service (NWS) to minimize the risk of this type of tragedy here in New England. Seems to me the NWS offices in Seattle/Tacoma do a great job issuing the marine forecast via their Area Forecast Discussions (AFD). They really help the boating community understand the weather patterns in advance, especially in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Take a look at the discussion issued this morning. You would be at great risk to go paddling in Dungeness Bay at this time. Here in New England, I would guess most of us use the AFDs out of the Boston, Portland and Caribou offices. If not, it might be a useful habit to develop. Warren
  17. Hi Gary, I noticed how Southern Maine Sea Kayaking Network has 13 paddlers signed up for the trip to Jewell. I think they are planning to launch from Cousins Island Sandy Beach. The parking lot there might get crowded! Just an FYI. Warrren
  18. Pru, Thank you for another amazing trip report. Also, thank you Beth and Pru for being amazing camping buddies. This really was a trip to remember. When our East Coast Team meets up with the Alaska team, they will see a finely tuned machine. In many ways I see a similarity with our buddies who seek fast moving water and the venue of Sullivan Falls on max ebb. We all understand the value of planning, skills and gear appropriate to the conditions. All during the trip I watched us controlling those variables to stay within our comfort zones. Those zones allowed us to feel waves of joy cascade over us. To quote one of Kenny Chesney’s songs, it was The Good Stuff, soak it in! Now, back to planning our next great adventure in eight days. Maybe Mother Nature will give us two days of heavy rain and we can “Soak it in”! Warren
  19. Hey Rob, We now have 23 paddlers signed up and growing each day. Warren
  20. I do like my JetBoil for heating water. For cooking I like my MSR Whisperlite Universal. On longer trips in Alaska it is all about backup systems, so we typically carry at least four stoves (Whisperlite, Whisperlite Universal, two JetBoils) and two different kinds of fuel (white gas and canisters). This approach has served us well and we eat well! Warren
  21. Hi Gene, For kayak camping I like the standard model. It does a great job! Warren
  22. Hey Rob, Looks like we have 7 paddlers signed up so far via the other nearby clubs and growing each day! Cool! Warren
  23. To the NSPN Community, Hey Rob, you rascal you, I detect a challenge in your posting above. I believe you are seeking members within our club to reach out in some fashion to post trips, organize workshops or mentor another paddler. There are many different ways to give back to our community. The key is to find what works for you, step to the plate and get it done! That is what I heard when I read your posting and the other postings on this thread. So………in keeping with Josko’s original theme, I will take up the challenge with a mentoring opportunity for a member of our NSPN community. I seek one paddler with intermediate level paddling skills who would like to learn kayak camping. I am currently planning three private kayak camping trips to occur in April and May. You will be included in those plans and will be surrounded by several other knowledgeable kayak campers. Keep in mind, kayaking in the early spring can be hazardous. You will need a dry suit and all appropriate paddling gear for cold water immersion. If you need additional gear, I may be able to loan you what you need. Rob tell me I have more gear than the Kittery Trading Post and I am happy to fully equip you for kayak camping. You will need to be a paid member of NSPN as well as a paid member in the Maine Island Trail Association (MITA). I am an intermediate level paddler, BCU 3 Star, Registered Maine Guide in Sea Kayaking, Wilderness First Responder and a Master’s level trained educator. I love to teach and help sea kayakers discover the joy in kayak camping off the coast of Maine as well as in Prince William Sound, Alaska. If this is an opportunity you seek, PM me and we can discuss your interest. This opportunity will be handled on a first come first served basis. So there you have it………. Who will be the next to step to the plate? Warren
  24. Josko, I share your interest in finding ways to give back to our sport of sea kayaking. It seems to me you are highly skilled in the following three areas; 1. Kayak camping, 2. Kayak expeditions, 3. Off season kayaking. When you look at the trips/events being offered through the seven major sea kayaking clubs in our communities, there seems to be a shortage of trip leaders with your skills. Have you thought about helping our community of paddlers take it to the next level and beyond? From my experience, those paddlers are out there and they tend to already possess good skills and some equipment. They are wicked fun to work with, but it does take time and effort. I sense there are numerous trip leaders who are ready to help the beginners, but not as many like yourself who have invested in acquiring the skills and gear to “get out there and stay out”! Food for thought? Warren
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