Here are the scenery photos from the Desolation Sound trip. Lots of variety in weather and conditions, landscape and flora: dry little islands with lichen, rainforest, deep coves and (felt like) open ocean.
Erica has some awesome photos too, and I think hers are more likely to have me in them. I’ll post some if I get a hold of them.
Erica and I talked for a long time about going on a paddling trip in Haida Gwaii. Our preliminary research showed really high costs, kind of sketchy water conditions that require some chart reading skills, and guiding options that require advance booking. So, we decided for our first kayak camping trip we should try something a bit less tricky: desolation sound on the sunshine coast.
It had been such a lovely warm summer in BC that we felt assured of a week of swimming, suntans, and busy boat traffic up the inlets. We ended up getting the most precipitation of the summer, but it meant we had our own private islands for some of the time (and we still got to go swimming).
Even for a shorter, less-involved trip, there was quite a lot of preparation that went into it. We divided to conquer: I took care of food and Erica took care of maps and wayfinding (and driving). I was so happy to see ocean and mountains that I didn’t care specifically where we went, and Erica is so easygoing that she was willing to eat whatever I made.
I needed some new equipment (bigger drybag, compass, egg holder, condiment bottles, water treatment), but Erica had quite a lot already: a stove, pots, awesome tent, and a ton of tarps. We rented kayaks for the week from MEC (so reasonable!) and that included boats, paddles, paddle floats, lifejackets, sprayskirts, pump bailers and throw ropes. We also brought water and water treatment (and TP!) with us, since we were doing the kind of wilderness camping where there are no electrical plugins or showers or taps. Each of us carried more than 15 L since we were prepared for hot weather – freakin’ heavy! We ended up not needing it all, and fortunately we also did not need the bear spray that Erica bought (no carnivores bigger than seals on this trip). However, our first night spent on the mainland was a bit less restful than the ones on small islands, since I was listening.
Meals went pretty well, and certainly conserved on fuel since most was the home-dehydrated add-boiling-water-and-wait kind. Although vegetarian it was certainly flavourful and spicy, and I think maybe just as well we were on small bear-free islands. Here are some menu items:
Falafel and Moroccan Couscous with chick peas and apricots
Black bean chili
Curried lentils with roti
Thai coconut curry
Bipimbap: Korean spicy cabbage and egg with rice
Just-add-water walnut and cherry museli (it has powdered milk mixed in)
I think most of these things would work well as traveling-athlete meals too since most hotels have a kettle, but you’d want to make sure your body was used to eating them. T&T superstore was a surprise venue for a lot of ingredients: coconut milk powder, miso soup powder, and kim chi (which doesn’t really need refrigeration in the short term like they say).
There were a few lessons learned I think we can apply to the next trip (Haida? Broken Islands?), including our updated packing list. Thing we brought that was unexpectedly useful: bailing sponge. Thing I most wish I bought: thermos (everything cools down quick in the coastal winds). For next time:
Tin Foil wind block
Map bag (ziplock)
Metal Whisking Fork/flipper
Scenery shots and wildlife report are coming soon!
Today I made a Shackleton-expedition-worthy trek to the U of S dairy barn on campus for a field trip with the Environmental Public Health class. Simultaneously, the U of S media relations office made a public announcement and press release about my Canada Research Chair in Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Health. It’s official! The gang in Ottawa made their own set of announcements here and here.
By the time I got back to my office, there were 3 phone messages and 4 emails worth of media requests. I never expected farm ergonomics would seem so interesting to folks, but in Saskatchewan interest in agriculture is VERY high. I did a Friday afternoon radio interview that will be aired on the Agri-program on Wednesday, and scheduled two television interviews on Monday morning: one in studio downtown (I guess the Saskatoon equivalent of Kathie-Lee and Hoda will be there?), and one on campus in the dairy barn (the cows all know me now). I have responded to email requests form the print media folks but have not spoken to them yet. Hopefully I can get a hold of the end results and link them here.
There is always a mortifying aspect to seeing oneself quoted saying something not QUITE right or looking goofy on TV, but overall it is a small price to pay. Canadian taxpayers have invested quite a lot of money in this research, so they deserve to hear about it, goofiness and all. Also, I’m sure the attention will be pretty short-lived so I won’t have a chance for the novelty to wear off and get blase about it. 😉
I left Saskatoon on August 13 for a long conference-filled ‘work’ tour. I say ‘work’ because it was all pretty fun, visintg people I lik eand seeing new places (a respite from Saskatoon is a real plus). The first stop was a visit to Halifax for the Association of Canadian Ergonomists (ACE) conference, where I presented on some preliminary development work for an occupational knee sensor. I wanted to present something new even though I have not been at U of S a whole year yet, and this fit the bill. The conference was alright, and it was nice to see everyone and do a social evening at a brewery tour.
Halifax was hot and humid, culminating in a massive hot-lantic downpour that added 2 kilos to my suitcase just in time to go to the airport and check in for a transatlantic flight. I have been to Halifax lots of times for racing, and I am used to 15 degrees and drizzle in august. The only rain was in the hours before I left, so I can’t complain.
The real highlight of the trip was going to the pier 21 museum. Pier 21 was the major immigration port in Eastern Canada for more than 100 years, and is the same one at which mom and nana came through during WWII to escape the bombs in London. They made this trip before the official war brides program started in 1946, so it was very hard to get any information or copies of their documents. The museum was fantastic, with guided tours from immigrants who came through; my guide was George B. who came from the Nederlands in 1952. What a gem! He had great stories and a good sense of humour. There was also a historic reenactment-type movie with neat holographic images projected onto a real set with chairs and gang planks made to look like the imigration room.
Canada Day started out with a kayak paddle around Granville Island (sorry, no waterproof cameras means no pictures!), a visit to a local cafe, and some craft shopping for the ‘space monster’ theme party at Celebrities.
We made our alien costumes and had butter chicken dinner with David, his girlfriend Kinoi, and our cousin Anita.
Then we headed out for a night of dancing. Pretty fun!