Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Maine Canoe Symposium

Earlier this summer we were invited to present at the Maine Canoe Symposium. When asked if we were interested, we both took a mere second to think about it - beautiful Maine, a fun water gathering, and a chance to share our story with some of the East Coast? We were in! 
A few days after returning from a whirlwind trip to the Netherlands, we repacked our bags for Maine. We flew into Portland a day early so that we would have some time to explore around. First things first. Let's get some lobsta.

Mmm mmm mmm.

Lobster traps and abandoned sailboats.

Foggy, rainy, dreamy Portland.

Lilacs and umbrellas. This is perfect.
After getting thoroughly soaked, we ventured inland about an hour to the town of Bridgton where the symposium was being held. We met up with our new friends in the tiny town and they led us down a long dirt road to Camp Winona. Camp Winona is the camp that Mary and I wish we attended when we were younger...if we were boys, since it's an all boys camp. It really is a gorgeous location on Moose Pond and the activities offered at camp include sailing, canoeing, horseback riding, archery, swimming, and hiking. Sounds like a great place to spend a summer!

We arrived around sunset so we caught the last light over Moose Pond before tucking into our cabin for the evening. We would have to explore the rest of the site in the morning.
Check out this fantastic old theatre chair in our cabin. This place had style.
Let's check things out in the morning light!

The beginning of the symposium weekend featured an opening ceremony displaying a variety of different canoe styles that would be taught throughout the weekend in the on-water workshops.
Jim and Lisa Lisius, showing off their expertly honed paddling style. In 1993, they took a 15 month/5100 mile river trip across America. Talk about trained and efficient paddlers.

"The Canadians"
The legendary Harry Rock, a spirited guy who has written a few books and holds more than a few records in canoe poling!

Solo canoe paddling. It's all about balance.
Canoe sailing! One of our favorite ways to canoe.

Racing canoes are ridiculous. Look at that sleek shape!
After the opening ceremony, the numerous on-water and on-land workshops began. Mary and I ran 3 workshops for attendees throughout the weekend. The first workshop we hosted was "Whittle Boats for  Kids." 
Here is the workshop description: Come whittle a boat with us! In this workshop we will help you design and create your very own dugout sailing canoe to take home. After carving the hull shape and adding a sail, we will see how your boat holds up in the lake. The tiny dugouts will be constructed with blocks of foam, safe plastic carving tools, and wooden rasps. Workshop appropriate for kids of all ages!
Would you have attended? You could have made your very own Makeba!

At the end of the workshop we had the kids test race their boats.
They were actually floating! Phew, lucky.
Our second workshop of the weekend was "Whittle Boats for Big Kids."
Here is the workshop description: Think you're too big for a little boat? Au contraire. Come carve your own dugout canoe model! We will go over the basics of dugout canoe construction while helping you design your very own dugout sailing canoe to take home. Materials used will include basswood, wood carving tools, and rasps. This will be a hands on session - we will have basic carving tools to share, but bring your own if you have them. Ages 13 and up. Adults, aka big kids, are encouraged to attend.

We had a smaller crowd for this time slot, but still enjoyed doing some wood carving with the attendees.

We were even able to craft a "Mini Makeba!"
Our third workshop was "Introduction to Adze Work: Dugout 101." Here is the workshop description: This workshop will include a demonstration of adze work and an overview of the construction of our dugout sailing canoe, the Makeba. Photographs and videos will be be shown and discussions will be had. After Mary demonstrates her adze skills on a log, challengers will be welcomed to the floor. Come try your hand at using this traditional woodworking tool!
Mary, showing off her amazing adze skills. "Your turn!"

Saturday evening we were the featured speakers. We gave our usual presentation to a great crowd. We had the chance to meet most of the attendees throughout the day at our workshops, so it was as if we were giving our presentation to a group of old friends. Which is our preferred way to give a presentation. Everyone was engaged in the stories we were telling and we were enthusiastic in our telling of them. I think the evening was really enjoyed by all! The night concluded with a bonfire, complete with songs and stories of old.
Our new friend Jeff even read a French Voyageur poem, in full garb and indeed in full character.
On Sunday morning we had some time to attend workshops that others were offering. One of our favorites was a presentation by adventurer Reinhard Zollitsch.

Reinhard's Verlen Kruger canoe, covered in the expedtions he has completed. Extremely impressive.
Watching some of the kiddos try their hand at rock climbing.
As is tradition, the Maine Canoe Symposium weekend comes to a close with a voyageur canoe race. Hurry Amy, you're going to be late for the race!
Beautiful day for a race on the water.

Let's see how many people we can fit in each of these giant canoes...

Lining up...On your mark...get set...GO!
The blue canoe inched out a win.

Mary was in the blue canoe, Amy was in the red canoe. Luckily, we can still be friends after a rough match up.

Bye Maine Canoe Symposium! We had a great time with the quirky regulars and hope to be back again sooner rather than later! Now time to do some more Maine exploring. We stopped by the DeLorme Map Store and found Lake Michigan on Eartha, the world'd largest revolving globe.
And of course we made our way up to L. L. Bean in Freeport. It's the largest store I've ever seen. Someone could live in there. Heck, someone could live in this boot alone.
Now to do some camping. Just like the good old days. Tucked in our sleeping bags for the chilly coastal evenings.

Mmm breakfast on the pocket rocket stove. Better than making last night's dinner over a fire with the killer mosquitoes.
Time to see some gorgeous sights!

Under the sea, under the sea, darling it's better.

There was an osprey nest on this island!
Poking at the sea life.

Giant Stairs Trail!

Hey Mar, try to blend in.
You're doing great.
Can't even see you.

Okay, get me out of the rocks and onto the water!
Mail boat ride time.

Last stop, the Portland Head Light.
Time to head home. We had a fabulous time in Maine and hope to return someday soon to explore more of what this lovely state has to offer!
Amy and Mini Makeba, waiting to board the plane home to Lake Michigan.

Over the sea of clouds.
Amy's stop! Well, this is where we part ways. See you soon for the next adventure.

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