Friday, October 17, 2008

All signed up: Yukon 1000

All confirmed. Dawn (aka SandyBottom) and I are all signed up for the inaugural 2009 Yukon 1000 Canoe and Kayak Race. July 20, next year, as Team BubbaGirl, we should be sitting in our already-rented Seaward Passat G3, Greenland paddles in hand, rearing to go.

If you've a few minutes to spare, it's worth catching up with discussions on the Yukon 1000 online forum, with interesting discussions on bears and guns and bear spray, etc. As a Kiwi, one has a natural aversion to guns, unless there's a possum breathing down one's neck, so this is all new territory for this US transplant.

BTW, if anyone knows of a good 2nd-hand Passat G3 for sale or longish rent (or sponsorship gift!), please let me know. We need a training boat!

Thanks to Peter Coates, race organizer, for the photo.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I must go down to the sea again...

You may remember a few blog posts back—if you've managed to hang out this long—that our 87-year-old father had sold his 32-foot keeler to my brother Rob, and had bought a 36-foot launch, Rising Star—the arthritis in his fingers made hanging on to the sheets just that wee bit too uncomfortable.

Well, he knew there was some rot in the flying bridge, and a deal was struck with the vendor accordingly. Now that the boat's up in a local boatbuilder's shed for repair, they've found the rot's travelled that wee bit further, down into the structure of the main cabin. Hence the rather well ventilated look the boat's showing at this time.

Knowing dad, he's chomping at the bit to get the dang thing repaired, sans flying bridge—extra windage anyway—and back out on the water for the summer.

I'll keep you posted on progress...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Nepali girls kayak

Here’s a project I love the story behind—something my sister Clio put me on to.

A small team of female raft guides and kayak instructors from around the world, including NZ, Sweden and the US, have come together to undertake a project in Nepal. The rafting and kayaking industry in Nepal is booming, which is great for the nation, however currently there is 0% Nepali women working in the industry as they are not given the same opportunities as the local Nepali men. And so the project is to set up a Nepali Girls Kayaking Club and to teach them how to paddle safely. The will also put these keen Nepali women through a comprehensive raft guide training programme in order to give them a helping hand and equal opportunities into the local rafting industry.

The plan is to take over from NZ, and elsewhere, a bunch of kayaks and equipment to kickstart the Nepali Girls kayaking Club into action. Sophie Hoskins and her NZ team of instructors needs as much support as they can get—and it’s great to see such notable companies as Kokatat and Icebreaker as sponsors. They are currently looking for any donations (and financial aid or second-hand white water kayaks and equipment are all a big help!).

The story resonates—in 1996, when I spent a few weeks tramping in Nepal with one of my idols Doug Scott, and his company, Community Action Treks, a handful of our sherpas were young women—we called them "sherpettes"—around 15 to 18-years-old. We were told that having this opportunity to work was huge for them—many of them had been "given" away as young brides from poor villages, who now found themselves living in squalor in Kathmandu, abused by older husbands. Working as sherpettes gave them new lives. You could tell that they were happy as they snuggled together at night, giggling and chatting away, from carrying loads over long days that were as heavy as the men's.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008


With world unemployment on a bit of a rise due to the current economic crisis, it's always good to see a bit more imagination coming to the fore when looking for new staff. (But I hasten to add that this blog is not becoming a political or economic commentary--particularly after such a hiatus--but I can't resist "commenting" that while I can vote in the upcoming NZ elections--even after not having lived there since 1989--I can't vote in the upcoming US elections, after having lived here for eight or so years, paying a good amount of taxes and being "legal" to boot.)

My brother Rob sent me the wanted ad above, placed in shop windows in Auckland.

Not a lot to do with kayaking I must admit, but a bit of levity in these troubling times, on the water or not, can't be a bad thing.

On a personal note, life's good albeit it extremely busy; the Wee One continues to amaze and delight at just over 17 months; the leaves are slowly turning colour, though the late summer days retain their warmth; and just occasionally I get out to paddle.