The Gales Storm Gathering will be held from Oct 8-9-10 at Presque Isle Park in Marquette, Michigan. The event is to be the first intermediate to advanced sea kayaking symposium on Lake Superior. The Gales is co-sponsored by Geneva Kayak Center, Go Kayak Now!, and Downwind Sports. Registration fees are from $120 to $330 & lodging from $20-$60. To register, and for more details visit www.galesstormgathering.com… Continue reading
Times when the day is like a play by Sartre / When it seems a bookburning’s in perfect order
I gave the doctor my description / I’ve tried to stick to my prescription
Someday I’ll have a disappearing hairline /Someday I’ll wear pyjamas in the daytime
Afternoons will be measured out /Measured out, measured with
Coffee-spoons and T.S. Eliot –
I’m sorry I’m old. Really. I didn’t start out this way. I used to be much younger but then the sun came up and went down a bunch of times and I got older. Now I’m 45 for some reason. I’ll be 46 in about a month. I’m sorry for myself too. I’m sorry that there are probably fewer years ahead than behind. I’m also sorry that I’m pretty much on the young side of your average sea kayaker. I didn’t even start in the sport until I was in my late 30s. By then I had a business that was doing OK and the ability to buy the stuff necessary to get into sea kayaking. (Well, barely!!). Come to think of it, I’m sorry we’re all old. What will become of us? Continue reading
Tomarrow we all head out. Jeff Allan returns to the UK in the morning, soon to be followed by me slipping back to the US, then Yosale & team who will begin their long flight to Patagonia. Tel Aviv will just have to get used to dealing with kayakers! I can’t say enough how wonderful this experience has been. The guys at the Optimist Kayak Club have went WAY out of their way to make us all comfortable during our stay. They’ve given us all a gift we will treasure for the rest of our lives.
Above Yosale shows off his new Reed Chillcheater gear. His dad flew out to the UK just a couple days ago and brought back all the gear just in the nick of time. I tossed my lucky noseplugs into his bag as well. It may seem silly, but those things have been around my neck for over a year and it’s time their magic was passed along.
We’ll chat again when I get back to Wisconsin. Burrrrr!!!!! I have hundreds of pictures and lots of stories to share. At the moment I don’t dare spend too long here on the computer. I would’nt want to come off, well. . . bookish. . .
This morning it occurred to me that the only times I’ve left the symposium grounds has been under the cover of darkness. I’ve not seen any other part of Israel under the light of day. Well, we’ll take care of that over the next week. . .
Last night I travel with Hadas over to Tel Aviv to watch Phil Eccles presentation. Phil is one of the funniest guys you could hope to meet. He’s got that whole British BBC character thing down that all of us in the states have always found so endearing. You could not be in a better moment than one spent sitting around a table listening to Phil tell a joke. It’s one of life’s little gifts. Of course karma then requires that he suffers twice the presentation projector hell of the normal presenter. Still 3 hours and 3 laptops later he was able to get on with his presentation.
Before the show started Hadas and I took a drive to seek out some food. On some random street filled with open air storefronts I saw a liquor store out of the corner of my eye. “Look!” I said, “There’s Booze!”. “We need that!”, said Hadas. Just a couple doors down I saw I falafel stand. “Look!” I said, “There’s Food!”. “We need that!” said Hadas, and we pulled in quickly to one lone empty stall. We collected a large quantity of single beer bottles from the liquor store and then went to the stand where we ordered our food.
Finally Hadas acquiesced and let me pay for something! She avoided to much embarrassment while I played tourist and got on my knees to photograph a half empty coke bottle with Hebrew writing, then we sat at a street side table to eat. Soon we were heading off down the road singing “Piano Man” along with Billy Joel on the radio. All the while I gazed out the open car window at passing palm trees and a city lit by signs of every size and color, all of course in Hebrew.
We made it back to the presentation just in time to find a crowd of techies hovering over the 3rd laptop still unable to make the presentation display correctly. Luckily the finally got it all working and Phil did a bang up job with his story.
After the presentation we went out to explore the local nightlife. We found a bar on a diminutive street lost under the cover of imposing skyscrapers. We entered through thick black curtains into a haze of cigarette smoke and the hammer base of funk. There we drank a little, talked a little, and ended up dancing all pressed together in the crowed bar to the boom, bob, boom of “Brick House”. I of course for the most part just stood back and watched which I must tell you, in Israel I’ve found, is not such a bad thing. Not a bad thing at all.
(photo by Hadas Feldman)
It’s just past noon on Sunday here in Israel and I’m done teaching for the symposium. I have to admit I’m chilled to the bone. 4 days of 2 half day classes each is a long time to stand in the water. But the experience is probably the richest I’ve had since I started paddling, which is much better than the disaster I had so feared.Honestly I came to this symposium feeling like a bit of a hack. I am not Turner Wilson, or Greg Stamer. I doubt I’ll ever have their talents. Having my name in a line with Jeff Allen & Phil Eccles was enough to produce hives. I have no legitimacy to share the bill. Sitting on the plane flying into Tel Aviv, I was so concerned that I’d be worthless I was almost hyperventilating. I doubted I could live up to the expectations. What was I doing filling a place that should have been taken by a real “top” coach!?? You take these things seriously when a shop invests in bringing you in. There were pangs of guilt. I felt the weight of taking on the first “traditional” rolling classes in a place where the spark was not yet a fire. It seemed there were some big cliffs I could easily fall off. I knew my weird mix-n-match ways are not the standard and I’m not sure how or if my methods fit into the traditional world. Heck I get some raised eyebrow reactions to my “standard” teaching methods!!
I entered into this symposium with tepid steps. Like a blind man finding my way. Still something seemed to be working. Students were learning to roll. What’s more, many were advancing much faster that I could have ever imagined. Going from Pawlata to spine rolls in one session, or Angel Roll to hand roll in minutes. All anyone really ever needed from me were those little tips that I had only gained from my many mentors. My confidence grew and with each class I came closer to finding my own skin. I felt bit better. A “bit”, tempered because I know that with so many talented people in these classes there was very little I had to do other than open a few windows and let them fly with their own wings. Still my daft methods seemed to be working. Thankfully!!
As I’ve seen so many times before in traditional rolling classes some of the women moved very fast through that first set of layback rolls. I think a time will come everywhere where women will be dominant in traditional rolling. I love seeing this happen after so many experiences working with women whose confidence had been slammed in standard rolling classes. Traditional rolling tips the balance from strength to control. I’d like to say it levels the field, but it seems to actually have unbalanced it in the other direction.
In the end I can only hope I earned my keep. I always remember my BCU training in Wales last year when I was told that my only job was to inspire paddlers to get on the water. If I did that, then they would seek out higher level coaches and move up the ladder. That one idea really took a weight of my shoulders. My goal then has been just to make it fun so that paddlers want to practice and want to learn more. If they go away chomping at the bit to get back out there, then I can feel good. My hope is that this was the one thing I may have accomplished.
Here are some of the notes I’ve been taking when I get a chance to sit down. . More later. . . .
Thursday was spent rolling. Rolling, rolling and more rolling. Friday was filled with rolling. Saturday was filled with rolling. Yet while with all this rolling going on I didn’t roll in the ocean at all until Friday afternoon. But I didn’t need to roll either. With 9 students in each class there was a lot to do. The students here are so excited about the class and eager to get stuck in. With that of course comes the pressure to do their expectations justice.
I got in a rolling boat today for the first time in quite I while. I stunk with lace curtains! I blame the boat, but in truth I’ve just not practiced enough in the last few weeks to be jiggy.
In the Kibbutz there is a dining hall where everyone who lives there is welcome to eat. Free of course. This is where we take our lunches. We grab a tray and slide down the line choosing from cucumbers, lettuce, humus, noodles, and chicken or fish.
The restaurant we went to the first night was “Dairy”. There was sushi. Fish, but no meat. Others have no dairy. Vegetarians would have an easy life here.
The food served at Steve’s home is the best on the planet!
Don’t Say It
Last evening we went out for a few hours, a few drinks, and a few rude stories. We laughed for hours. The inside joke of the day is that it’s ok for an American to say the word “Customer” in Israel. However, most Brits should avoid the word complexly. It’s got something to do with how their “u” sounds like “oo”.
So I finally met Karel Saturday (Weatherman to the Stars). Karel brought along his mum who also happened to be visiting from the states. He says that’s why he’s not been out paddling, but you have to wonder. . . . I think his mother would be rolling a kayak in no time.
Do It Anyway
A student came up to me in the office and asked, “Pardon me, but what should I have to take the BCU 2* when I have at least 3* skills? Funny, my internal response was, “Because of the way you just asked that question.” But instead I sympathized with his plight and said I’d been there myself.
As I walked past the big square school building, loud traditional Hebrew music was wafting out the open windows. Behind me I could year Hadas yelling, “Yalla, Yalla!” to someone who was obviously taking too long. I looked out as the sun set over the Mediterranean and the last lights of sun filtered through the open palms and thought about how far from home things seemed at right that moment.
So the first day I was walking through the Kibbutz as I mentioned an older (than me) woman escorted me to the little shop. Along the way of course I was quizzed and immediately feeling like a son who was hiding a secret from his mother. I do swear she was fighting back the command that I should be washing behind my ears. Of course now I see her at least once a day and she asks how I’m doing and what I’m thinking of Israel. She’s genuinely warm and friendly, and in some places caring people just tell you what their thinking without all the bull. It’s refreshing, but each time I know I’m going over to the Kibbutz I’m tempted to wash thoroughly behind my ears. . . just in case.
Friday morning the sun was shining. It was warm and aromatic. I was in the back office of the shop learning that the internet connection was not working. Two men came into the club. They asked me questions I of course couldn’t understand. The older man pointed to his watch. “8 am” I said. They walked out. Later I learned that they were Arab workers here to do construction that could not get through the gate. “Oh.”, I said. Sometimes what you see on the news is closer than you think. How you feel about it is something you can’t quite put into words.
Halloween came and went. Sitting here writing as a warm evening breeze lifts the curtains of my room and the sound of the surf hisses below it was easy to forget.
At Steve’s we noted Halloween with a raising of the glasses, Shalom, Salute, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodnight. . .
Hadas is looking Ed Zacklie. . . “Has anyone seen Ed Zacklie” (reliving that bit in the movie, “Brazil”.) See the thing is, it’s got to do with differences and similarities. Oh, and walking across the floor on your hands and knees . . . sans attire. .backwards. . . (Not Hadas of course, so don’t you go there sister!)
Last night I thought I’d turn on the television to listen to some quiet chatter that I wouldn’t be able to understand. The problem was the instructions . . . another thing I couldn’t understand. Boy does it make you feel small. I’m still tempted to fiddle with the controls just to see what happens. Then I ask myself, “Are you really desperate for television?”. No, not really. But sometimes when we’re alone we seek the comfort of a soft voice.
I found myself with $250 Shekels and nowhere to spend it. On the other hand, I’ve got some dollars and Euros and no place to go with them either.
Phil Eccles, Dog Slinger
“When locating your coach tomorrow please look for the man swinging a Labrador retriever by its tail over his head. He is after all, Phil Eccles, Dog Slinger.”
So Yosale is going to Patagonia on the 9th. We’ll be talking more with him later this week and hopefully post a video just about the time they start their expedition.