Over Action Week, I had the incredible opportunity to spend 6 days paddling in the Gulf Islands with my dearest CAS mates in Expedition Kayaking! We camped at three different islands (Portland, Prevost, and Salt Spring), two of which are national parks, each offering their own gorgeous landscapes and hiking trails. While the second-year kayakers participated in the SKGABC (Sea Kayaking Guide Alliance of British Columbia) Level 1 Course, us first-years (who will be taking the course at the end of the year) were each able to take on leadership roles and practice guiding throughout the week!
Update: Since writing this reflection, 7 of us first-years completed our guide certifications. Say hello to your new second-year kayak leaders!!! 😁😁😁
Everyday, two first-years were designated as leaders who were responsible for charting the day's course and itinerary (after listening to the radio for weather updates), monitoring the currents/tides, ensuring all needed food, equipment, and supplies were packed in the kayaks, guiding the group (keeping everyone together at busy channels, shipping lanes, and ferry crossings, and staying on schedule (or adapting the schedule if needed!).
It was an amazing trip full of the spectacular adventures. We sang sea shanties, explored the intertidal zones of many, many different islands (my favourite by far is Galiano!), and saw tons of sea stars (blue, coral, purple, hot pink), sea anemones, iridescent seaweed, HUMUNGOUS crabs, fishies, prawns, jelly fish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and orcas!!!
RATIONS & BONDING
The biggest highlight of the trip was both the funniest and saddest- we did NOT have enough food!!! 😆
Even after having one less kayaker than planned, spending 2 and half hours formulating our meal plan, and then a further hour verifying everything with the caf, we still ended up with an enormous food shortage. So much so that we had to cut our trip a bit short to redistribute the last lunch to the other lunches and wake up at 6am to paddle back to our launch point on the last day.
This realization came on Tuesday at our first breakfast when it become clear that two Ziploc bags of oatmeal were not going to be enough to sustain 15 hungry teenagers for a week. If that wasn't obvious enough, we were expected to have curry for dinner for two nights (30 servings), but were only given one jar of curry paste, which was affectionately advertised to serve 9. What was especially funny was that as we were passing Salt spring Island where other Pearsonites where ruckle camping, they jokingly threw us a bag of four bagels. Little did they know that those four bagels were used to get us through another day of lunch 😂. That night, three of us spent over two hours unpacking all the food and rationing it is separate bags by meal. Thank goodness Travis, our waterfront coordinator, bought us extra protein otherwise we might not have made it.
Overall, I couldn't have asked for a better action week. We had some challenges, but I couldn't have asked for a better group to help overcome them. It's such a privilege to be able to be able to spend this time in the outdoors without the IB, our daily responsibilities, or even a clock. I loved the experience of fully immersing in what nature has to offer and I'm motivated to continue to find these moments throughout the rest of my life!
Thanks for reading! Until next time,