Saturday, October 24, 2009

Leon and Shawna Rock!

What a great kayaking event! Friday night Oct 23 saw a lecture theatre at UVic crowded with what looked like over 200 paddlers, for an event sponsored by SISKA. This was an evening discussing the circumnavigation of Haida Gwaii by Shawna Franklin, Leon Sommé, and Justine Curgenven in 2007. Front and centre onstage was a kayak that had circumnavigated Iceland, and was loaned to Curgenven for this expedition.
Anyone who has seen any of Curgenven's videos such as This Is The Sea would be glad to see this discussion of the trip that was shown on her fourth This Is The Sea dvd. It was great to hear about this trip from the viewpoint of the other participants. Last year, my partner Bernie and I got to hear Shawna and Leon talking about their circumnavigation of Iceland. There was no way I was going to miss this story!
And they didn't disappoint. Shawna and Leon seem to have multiple talents -- they are kayakers who go out for practice into stormy weather that keeps me off the water, they run a kayaking business on Orcas Island, WA, called Body Boat Blade, and they do public lectures with grace and enthusiasm.
The evening opened with an introduction by Maureen Weddell, who ran the Queen Charlotte Islands Visitor Centre for two years. She had a lot of useful advice for people who want to visit the islands, whether kayaking or vacationing. After her talk and slideshow, SISKA drew door prizes including ball caps, t-shirts, and PFDs donated by local businesses. Then, a detailed talk and slideshow by Leon and Shawna, followed by a parade across Ring Road to the Faculty Club's Fireside Lounge.
They carried the kayak, in the dark at a dimly-lit portion of Ring Road. It's not enough for drivers on that road to acknowledge that pedestrians really must have the right of way, or that students all seem to major in Wearing Black Clothes with a minor in Jaywalking At Night. Now there are black kayaks to look out for, as well!

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