Monday, August 3, 2009

Coastal TEAM Challenge- Sunday, Aug 2, 2009 report

By Jeff Messner

The quick summary of Sunday was after 4 hours of tough upwind paddling against a strong tidal flow, no one was questioning why this is called the Coastal TEAM Challenge. We were greeted with a beautiful day and spent great beach time preparing our kayaks, practicing, and water reviewing water safety. We then headed out on what was supposed to be a 2 hour paddle across the channel to our camp on James Island. We paddled up current near the shore line and then began our crossing of the shipping lane. By the way, our special thanks to the Coast Guard for broadcasting our trip every 15 minutes to alert other boats and help with safety.

Once in the channel, things changed. The wind dramatically freshened and that in combination with current had us paddling diagonally and away from our destination. The ultimate result was a planned 2 hours and 4 miles turned into 4 hours and 8 miles.

References were made to "paddling uphill" and like "paddling on a treadmill"! The good news is everyone successfully paddled into camp and we were treated to a terrific pasta & salad dinner accompanied with huge plates of fresh harvested Dungeness crab. Dinner definitely took the edge off a very difficult first crossing.

We awoke Monday morning to see a bald eagle cruising the immediate shore line, Ryan was out early and made the first Rockfish catch, and the raccoons & beer crabs were unsuccessful in stealing our food & beverage. All good things!

Everyone is in great spirits and looking forward to a ‘short’ down current 8 miles; we hope!

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Coastal TEAM Challenge – Anacortes to Vancouver, August 1–9, 2009

About World T.E.A.M. Sports and the Coastal Team Challenge

World T.E.A.M Sports (The Exceptional Athlete Matters) uses the universal power of sports to create soul-stirring experiences by teaming disabled athletes with able-bodied athletes, forming a true TEAM. Our Principal aspirations and objectives are to increase and promote inclusive sports opportunities for all people, especially reaching out to disabled people. To organize and host innovative and challenging sporting events that encourage, all individuals, especially those with disabilities, to participate in lifetime sports. Promote diversity and increase awareness, acceptance and integration of those with disabilities.

The idea for the “Coastal Team Challenge” is a high profile, group expedition, consisting of a mix of Canadian and American disabled troops, active or otherwise. Launching at Washington Park in Anacortes, the team will kayak north through Puget Sound, entering the Strait of Georgia in British Columbian waters and arriving, finally, in downtown Vancouver. The event should generate international camaraderie among the athletes, hopefully act as a kind of lead in to the Winter Olympics held in Vancouver a few months later, and provide a challenging personal experience for each participant.

Kayaking north from Anacortes, the seascape will evolve from urban waterfront to outlying urban, passing through increasingly isolated areas that reflect a signature northwest marine environment—forested and rocky seashores, green and white ferries shuttling cars and passengers between islands, seals, bald eagles, whales perhaps—until approaching the BC border and ultimately the striking skyline of Vancouver with white capped mountains towering behind. The journey is roughly 82 nautical miles. The trip is scheduled for Saturday August 1st to Sunday August 9th, 2009.

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