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A New Maine Guide in Our Midst!


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I am completely thrilled to report that my great and good paddling buddy, and NSPN stalwart, Warren Parlee, just passed his Registered Maine Guide - Sea Kayaking exam today!!

It isn't enough that he goes to Alaska for weeks, posts a most-read trip report, and grows a wicked cool beard... no, he went and became a Registered Maine Guide, too.

What a guy!


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Thank you for your kind words.

I need to pass along a thank you to Nate Hanson and Michael Daugherty of Pinniped Kayak (http://www.pinnipedkayak.com/) for teaching me what I needed to know during their six day training class last May.

I also owe a thank you to Ryan Collins of Paddler’s Realm (http://paddlersrealm.com/) for helping me see that Maine Guide skills are relevant and translatable to Alaska.

Now all I want to do is go on several camping trips off the coast of Maine with our great paddling buddies.


Edited by Warren
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Thank you all for your kind wishes.

Yes Cathy and Rob, it was all about the patch and sticker! Interestingly enough they are now blue in color! See pic below. The description on the Maine Guide Supply web site as listed below addresses the new color.

"The blue Maine Guide Patch is for those specialties that are totally water-based. This means that if you are a Registered Maine Guide for Sea Kayaking, Tidewater Fishing, or Whitewater Rafting you are entitled to wear this new patch or the traditional red/green."



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Dave, thank you for your kind words and I do not plan to initiate a kayak guide service. I now realize my motives in seeking the guide license might need clarification.

I suspect there are many gentle readers who do not know me and may be thinking to themselves, did he really pursue the guide license just for the wicked cool patch and sticker? The answer is NO!

I do hope other NSPN paddlers will consider obtaining their guide license and maybe an explanation of my journey may help them decide.

First off, I really like paddling off the coast of Maine and I have always had great respect for the Maine guides who help paddlers of all skill levels get to enjoy paddling. The guides I have known are knowledgeable, respectful, skillful and customer-oriented. Above all I see them as guides who clearly understand group safety.

Last April I made the decision to seek greater knowledge specifically regarding group safety. I enrolled in a six day Maine Guide training course scheduled in May. During the class I discovered Maine Guide training does focus on group safety. The course clearly exceeded my expectations. I acquired a great deal of new knowledge that would guide me on any group trip, not just group trips off the coast of Maine. That realization was driven home during my recent Alaska trip.

The Alaska trip was the longest paddling trip I have ever completed. It was also very much “off the grid” where safety was our greatest concern. More specifically group safety both on land and on the water was paramount. The training I received in May served me well in Alaska. More importantly the guide training and the Alaska trip showed me a different approach to group trips.

During my paddling trips off the coast of Maine over the last couple year we have always focused on safety. However, they often felt like a collection of individuals who have gathered as a group to paddle and camp together. On the Alaska trip the focus felt very different. It felt like a team that would work together through daily activities to keep each other safe. The well worn phrase, “The Team is the Strength” kept echoing in my mind. My guide training helped me embrace this approach more easily. I now realize the mind-set was strengthened daily via our common shared activities. A process I have not done during my Maine camping trips since the environment does not demand that approach.

I believe if you are driven to seek longer trips, and if those trips take place in a wilderness-like environment, your guide training may help you function more effectively as a team member. Of course if that does not happen, at least you have a wicked cool patch and sticker!


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You will make a wonderful guide. The most detail oriented and analytical person I know.
Well deserved after all your hard work and sacrifice. Maybe the term sacrifice doesn't fit because I'm sure you enjoyed every part of the journey.


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