Saturday, March 28, 2009
Every winter, sea ice forms in the Atlantic Ocean off Labrador. Each spring it drifts south towards Newfoundland. It brings with it breeding seals, fog and for those who see it, a reminder of the annual cycle of the ocean. This week the sea ice arrived in Flatrock and Torbay. It is great to see!
If we are lucky, the icebergs will start showing up in a short while.
At the beginning of September 2008, Richard Alexander (the president of Paddle Canada) and I flew to Nain, Labrador to teach a Level 1 sea kayaking course. This course was special because we were going to be teaching Inuit youth. The course was a partnership between us and Heather Angnatok, who is the youth program coordinator for the Nunatsiavut Government in Labrador.
There are many reasons why a sea kayaking program is wonderful for teenagers: it develops physical skills and fitness, presents a mental challenge, promotes self-confidence and teamwork. For Inuit youth, it has added dimensions like connecting them with their cultural heritage and giving them a new way to explore their homeland, wildlife and coastline.
We had a great group of youth, adults and one elder. We covered all the Level 1 paddling skills and added an overnight trip. Three of the participants even learned how to roll their kayaks!
It was a wonderful weekend for everyone. Richard and I had an absolute blast and we look froward to getting back to Nain in 2009.
For more information on the course, check out the article I wrote for the winter/spring 2009 issue of Kanawa magazine called "Full Circle: bringing sea kayaking back to the northern coast of Labrador." www.paddlingcanada.com/kanawa.asp