Sunday, April 30

Canoe Tripping Course Level I - ORCA


For anyone who is planning on canoeing the waters of Ontario this summer in a canoe, safety should be your utmost priority. And if you are planning an interrior canoe trip, such as one into Algonquin's interrior, give some thought to training.

The following are pictures of an ORCA Canoe Tripping Level I course I had the opportunity to attend this past winter in London, Ontario. The course included 4 separate training sessions, a pool session, and the canoe trip:

Classroom Sessions:
  1. Introduction - Canoe Resources - Navigation (including maps and compass) - Knots and Lashings.
  2. Canoeing First Aid - Including First Aid Kit - Hypothermia - Prevention & Treatment - Trip Planning - Portaging Techniques.
  3. Food & Menu Planning - Weather Interpretation - Environmental Concerns - Canoe Heritage.
  4. Canoe Construction & Design - Canoe Tripping Gear - Clothing & Personal Items - Tools and Repair Kits - Packing - Fires & Stoves.
Pool Session:
- Swimmin
g and Treading
- Retrieving a Swamped Canoe Canoe
- Over Rescue
- Self Rescue

- Line Toss.

Trip Content:
- Canoeing Skills Review & Testing

- Communications
- Portaging Skills

- Camping Skills
- Leadership

Testing Location: Algonquin Park Interrior - Magnetawan Lake entrance #4.

Lugging canoes into a downtown London High School on Front St. This pool is used regularly for canoe training so not many passerbys gave us a second look.

The canoe barely made it down the hallway and the sharp left turn into the pool area. One more inch of canoe and we would have been practicing in this hallway.

A quick pose for the camera before getting into the swim gear and tackling the long awaited tests in the pool. The swim test was four lengths with a life jacket adorned. It sounds easy enough...try it some time...I would have rather done it without the jacket...much easier.

Here ORCA Instructors, Al and Scott demonstrate a canoe rescue. Later, everyone had to do this technique.

It is easier than it looks. But then again this was nice, calm, warm, waters with nobody screaming for their lives and rapids hurling around, smashing both human and canoe against jagged rocks.

Here is the infamous Canoe Over Rescue that you probably have heard about, or even had the opportunity to tackle. Every canoeist should know this technique.

Getting the victim back inside the canoe is easy here in this calm pool, however it can be quite dangerous in rough waters. Every person must work as a team in order to achieve a successful rescue.

It's that last hurtle that is the tough one...getting back inside the canoe, safe and sound is the goal.

The Algonquin Interior Trip



Monday, April 10

Work - a 4-letter word.

Four months ago I quit work.

I do not fancy the term "retired",
as that is not what I did.
The fact is that I actually quit working.
This decision came from five years of planning,
a choice I do not regret for one moment.

Statistics show that many people today will work after retirement. In fact, "
Merrill Lynch reports that THE NEW RETIREMENT SURVEY builds on the conventional wisdom that many baby boomers are not interested in pursuing a traditional retirement of leisure."

The survey reveals 76% of the baby boomers retiring "intend to keep working and earning in retirement" and the scary part is that they will keep working until age 64 "and then launch into an entirely new job or career."
WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO "FREEDOM 55"? "Only 17% of the baby boomers in the survey reported that they hope to never work again for pay."

What is going on here?

Not to harp on this amazing report, but I must point out one more fact of this account: "IT'S NOT ABOUT THE MONEY."
So, this begs the question: Why would anyone want to continue working when they can do the things in life they only once dreamed of doing? One last statistic, a sad one at that: "While 37% of the baby boomers in the survey indicate that continued earnings is a very important reason they intend to keep working, 67% assert that continued mental stimulation and challenge is what will motivate them to stay in the game."

Ah, old
George Orwell, my hero, is rolling over in his grave, cursing at this euphemism: "game". Work is not a game; work is work, and after 1/3 of a century at the game, one must believe the "game" over.

Professor and writer,
Nancy Schlossberg, has written extensively about baby boomers and retirement. Her observations are interesting. In fact, she points out that many boomers will "not be willing to give up the money, the power, and the prestige." Schlossberg goes on to point out that "they [boomers] don't take stock of their psychological resources" and that " they didn't realize what was at stake when they left their jobs...They didn't think about things like how to structure their lives, their time, and how they might matter to others."

Today, I am involved, probably a little too much, but that will soon change and there is no room for WORK. One day a week I volunteer at the
Imperial Theatre for the performing Arts. I meet new people every day and get to talk about the various plays, something I enjoy. Computers take up a large part of my life these days, as I am the Editor of the Sarnia Computer Users' Group and earning my Linux+ Certification at Lambton College. I also write a regular column, for Business Trends magazine, entitled: TECH TRENDS, that covers various computer-related issues. I am also working on an English degree from Athabasca University, a challenge I took up five years back.

I suppose the word got out that I used to do Webpage design and now I am the webmaster for
Hospitable Toastmasters, Central United Church, and assistant webmaster for Sarnia Scouting (where I am also an active member in all three).

But my real interest today, especially with the warmer weather upon us, is the outdoors.

As a child, I almost grew up in campgrounds. We would camp most of the summers in the various
Ontario Provincial Parks. My father would drive us up on a Friday and return to work for Monday. Each week he would make the trek, leaving my mother, my sister, and me camping throughout the week. I never gave this much thought as over the years it became the norm for us in the summer months. Camping is ingrained in my blood today.

In one of my
English courses we had a reading called: Once More To The Lake, a short story by E.B. White about a young boy's remembrance of his childhood camping experiences, now looking back as an adult. Today, I am living my "once more to the lake" trip.

This past winter I have been taking courses in London, Ontario to earn my
ORCA certification for Canoe Tripping level I. Next month we head off into Algonquin's interior to complete the final stage and testing for this certification. Later next month I am enrolled to earn my Wilderness Advanced First Aid certification from Wildmed Associates. This is a four day course, a very extensive one that will help me in my future goal: ORCA Flatwater Instructor. But before that goal is realized, I will be taking my Flatwater ABCD certification in July at the Saugeen River, and then in August I head off to Haliburton for a one-week course: Flatwater Instructor Certification.


The reason is two-fold. The first one is my love for the outdoors and canoeing. In fact, two days ago my wife bought me my second canoe for my birthday, a 16' Prospector by Nova Craft...My dream canoe is now realized. And now I will canoe alongside of my two grandkids, instructing them to become the best they can be and more so to teach them how to really enjoy the true and important issues in life: nature.

The second reason for getting my Flatwater Instructor's Certification is to offer a low-cost training and certification to the Scouts in Sarnia. There is no such training available now, and one has to travel outside of the area for the courses...Not to mention the expensive costs associated with this training. My hope is to be able to offer this training a certification to the Scouts at cost. The cost being the registration through ORCA.

It is my giving something back that backs my reasoning, something that I am able to do that others may not.

As for that 4-letter word creeping into my life...Well, I planned well to be