One of the things I believe in is that sea kayaking is more than just a personal adventure. For me sea kayaking is also a vast social network from which we can all learn from and be part of. Examples of that network include when folk gather at symposiums and share common experiences. With another being when strangers become friends after attending the same skills development programme.
I, for one, feel very fortunate to be able to make a living from sea kayaking and it has provided me with some great opportunities to travel the globe on expeditions, as well as teaching far and wide. So as payback for those rewards or perhaps just simply because I like to share the experience, I tend to make the offer that if someone finds themselves in my neck of the woods, be that North Wales or my adopted waters of Trinidad in Northern California where my partner Helen lives, then they should get in touch and go paddling for the day. I made such an offer at the 3rd Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium in February, and one such person who took me up on that offer was John 'Jack' Du Bois.
Jack is a professor of linguistics at Berkley, as well as an enthusiastic sea kayaker form Southern California who is fortunate enough to call the waters of Israel his paddling home too. Jack got in touch because he was attending a conference in Manchester and had some time between that and another meeting in the south of England. It was great to hear from Jack who was in one of my classes at GGSK '11, and it was even more fortunate that I was free when he was.
So we arranged to meet up in Holyhead, after Jack had finished his conference. The weather and sea state lent itself to one of the classic Anglesey trips I have written about previously, that being Trearrdur Bay to Borthwen via Rhoscolyn Beacon. We took our time to explore the coastline as well chat about common elements of our lives that went beyond sea kayaking. As much as I offered Jack insights into paddling opportunities in Wales, he gave me some interesting perspectives on splitting a life between two countries (the US and Israel in Jack's case). I'm sure we wouldn't have shared so much had this been a course.
It was fun, it was relaxed, it was a great day to be social and to network. Jack was wonderful company and we even finished the day with an ice cream, superb! So the offer stands. Wherever I am, if I am free, and you want to paddle, get in touch. Let's help the network grow :o)
Pictures of the day can be found here