Posted by: Silver | August 21, 2010

Fringe Benefits

As you know, the main reason I’m undertaking this journey is to (hopefully!) help other people, by doing voluntary work and by raising awareness of the work of SOS Children’s Villages. But I’m certainly by no means so selfless that I don’t also vigorously grab any opportunity that my travels present to learn and do fantastic fun things purely for my own benefit and enjoyment. And so this is how I came to learn (the very basics of) how to canoe.

Canoes seem to be almost as common as all-wheel drive cars around the Yukon: all my hosts had at least one. A couple of them had even been so kind as to take me for short trips on their particular lake or river, so I already knew I loved being out on the water when my incredibly kind (and experienced canoeist) host in Dawson offered to take time out of his very busy schedule to teach me some basic strokes; fortunately, I managed to restrain myself from biting his hand off in my enthusiasm to accept, as he needed them both to hold the paddle…

We started with perhaps the most fundamental skill: managing to keep going in a straight line (which, for those of you still as ignorant as I was a couple of weeks ago, does not simply involve paddling on one side of the canoe, then the other…). Various steering strokes were also introduced and attempted, but at the end of our intense but enjoyable session, it was clear that what I needed most was time to practise on my own, in order to get the ‘feel’ of the canoeing art.

However, there were so many other fantastic things to do in Dawson, that it wasn’t until I arrived in Mayo, and my hosts there were also kind enough to lend me their canoe, that I was finally able to take my first solo canoe trip. The setting couldn’t have been more perfect: my hosts’ property included an extensive area of calm, beautiful water to practise on, and a busy colony of beavers to laugh at the results. And they were pretty laughable to start with, but eventually, and really quite suddenly, the ‘feel’ did come, just like my host and teacher assured me it would, and as the sun set, I began gliding through the water almost as if I knew what I was doing, and certainly knowing how grateful I was to the people who’d made it possible for me to be there at that moment.

Of course, then I got cocky and tried to go out when there was a bit of a wind blowing, but that’s another story…

The view during my first solo canoe trip

Fortunately, some of the beavers were too busy to laugh...


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: