Sunday, June 25, 2017

ACA SUP ICW @ Portland, Maine

beautiful days in Maine
Seven candidates and another awesome course.  My favorite thing about offering these courses is getting to meet so many cool people and making new paddling partners.  

This group was no different and I've already spent time paddling with some of them.  We had a pretty intense session over three full days with some very skilled and knowledgeable personalities.  Group learning at its best!  Portland Paddle hosted us at their location at East End Beach, which turned out to be a fantastic venue for the course.  When you're in Portland Maine, visit them and take a trip on Casco Bay, home of some incredible paddling opportunities and rich with history.

Last season I did a Jewell Island Trip on Casco Bay that you can read about here.  Definitely recommended!

Shane talks about boards

Casco Bay

ACA SUP ICW @ Bar Harbor, Maine

Matt, Cosmos, Allison, Curtis, Jessica & Wendy

Congrats to the newest ACA Certified SUP Instructors in Maine!

This is the 2nd year I've travelled up to Acadia SUP in beautiful Bar Harbor, Maine to run an ACA SUP ICW with Chris Strout, owner of Acadia SUP.  He runs a great operation on the edge of Acadia National Park and is focused on quality instruction and safety.  Next time you're up there, stop in to take a class, do some sup yoga, rent a board or visit his shop.  He's the only dedicated SUP retailer in Maine and introduces thousands of people to SUP each season.  

Great Long Pond, Bar Harbor, ME

Wendy flips Cosmos back onto the board

Learning knots

Thursday, June 22, 2017

May Black Canyon SUP Adventure

This post originally appeared at Maine Standup Paddling.
Happy Hour!
Erin & Matt making coffee
Hot Springs & Happy Hour is how we described the trip, but really it should’ve been called strong winds and stronger paddlers. Our team of 8 met up early on Friday, made our way to the river and were paddling off by 10:15am. Impressive start for an impressive crew.
The rest of the trip blended together seamlessly with an assortment of fun, food, celebration, soaking, exploring & relaxing. Huge THANKS to Erin of Sunset Stand Up Paddle in Laguna Beach, California for co-organizing with me. She’s awesome to work with and paddle with and whenever you’re in Southern California she’ll show you a good time. Our next Black Canyon SUP Adventure is October 27-30, 2017.
What made it so fun? First, we had a group of skilled paddlers who were all about having fun. Second, the Black Canyon is a magical place with great energy. Hot air, cold clear water, beaches, cliffs, wildlife, caves, hot springs, currents, fun eddies, waterfalls, no electricity, no cell phone service! It’s a playground for those that like to adventure. It’s a dream for those wanting to develop board control, water reading skills & basic river skills. It’s a paradise for those that want to relax, forget about work, unplug, unwind, dream, breathe, contemplate and smile.
Enough said – here are a few pictures..

Exploring Black Canyon on our way upriver - day one.

Fun scramble to this hot spring - my first visit to this one.  day two.

our camp, viewed from above

Kristen leads the pack upriver - day one

paddling the Red Paddle Co. Dragon.  34" wide x 22' long

Monday, December 12, 2016

Baja Sea Kayaking Vacation

At the end of October, Trish & I took some time off to paddle with Sea Kayak Baja Mexico on a 6-day relaxing tour of the Loreto Islands & Coast.  Ramon & Daniel guided our group of 8 from Loreto out to Danzante then down the coast a bit.  If you ever get a chance to paddle the Sea of Cortez, connect with SKBM for guide services or equipment rental.  You won't find better trained, more professional guides with any other company and you definitely won't find better equipment.  We toured with top of the line P&H & Sea Kayaking UK sea kayaks, Werner carbon paddles, Kokatat pfd's and MSR camping equipment.

For me, this was just a chance to relax with Trish, spend some time in the desert and reset myself after a long summer.

working on our relaxation techniques

early morning on the Loreto waterfront

Loreto harbor before sunrise

Trish makes a friend

first night camp on Danzante Island


1st tarantula of the trip

awesome group of people from Baja, Canada, Washington, Wisconsin, Maine

Baja is so beautiful

hiking to see cave paintings

Ramon, our guide

Just the ladies.. Polly, Leanne, Sydney, Kathy, Margaret, Trish

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Jewell Island SUP Camping Trip

Jewell Island is a 221 acre island named for George Jewell and sits on the outer edge of Casco Bay, an eight mile paddle from Portland, ME.  According to history, he traded a bottle of rum to the local indians for it in 1636 and used it a fishing base.  After George Jewell drown in Boston Harbor the island became home to many settlers who continued to fish and farm on it and by the early 1700's settlers even tried to mine gold, silver and salt on this rugged coastal island.

During WWII, 400 troops were stationed on Jewell Island to watch for the enemy and protect Portland Harbor, the closest US Harbor to Europe.  Island infrastructure included watchtowers, searchlights and anti-aircraft guns.  Casco Bay was never threatened but a German U-boat was spotted off the shore in 1942.

The state of Maine acquired the southern end of the island in 1972, the northern end four years later and has administered it as an undeveloped recreational use island since.  In 1988 Jewell Island became one of the first islands on the Maine Island Trail.  Last week it became our base for a 3-day paddling vacation.

Since an injury in April and surgery in May, I've done very little paddling.  In the past couple weeks I've tested the arm on a few short and moderate trips and felt stronger each time.  This paddle was another test for me since it would be the longest paddle since surgery with the most difficult conditions.  A loaded board, an unsettled weather forecast and an unprotected route had me a little concerned.  But, I was traveling with some strong sea kayakers and felt ready.

In the end, conditions turned out better than anticipated with some fun wind on the third day.  The highlight of the trip for me was spending a day exploring the island on foot.  It's a really cool destination with beautiful forest and walking trails.  Nine large campsites dot the island along with bits of history in every direction, from fallen down buildings to old foundations to underground bunkers to chimneys standing tall and straight.  The pictures below begin to tell the tale.

Goodbye Summer.  Hello Autumn.  Thank you Drew, Sara, Emily, Ashley, Zack & Mitch from the Portland Paddle crew for a relaxing yet challenging sup camping trip back in time.