Building kayaks at Delmarva

This year I was invited to teach a kayak building workshop to correspond with the 20th anniversary of the Delmarva paddlers retreat at camp arrowhead in Lewes, Delaware. 

Owing to the stunning incompetence of UPS who lost a crucial box, and then lost the overnight box I shipped to replace it, we had a bit of a bumpy ride, but for the most part things went well.

The students made some very pretty boats, and as always it was a pleasure to watch the wooden sculptures take form.

Laura built a perfect 90% scale replica of the Fram .176 to fit her smaller frame.   The ease of modification is one reason I love building skin-on-frame.

Jerry added an extra beam to increase his foot rest options.

Rick added a drain plug to his breast hook, a neat idea.

Pat lowered the back deck of her F1 to make it a little easier to roll.

Oddly, the only Masik stock I could obtain locally was sapele, it cost me a fortune but sure looked pretty.

Everyone built a paddle while we waited for the UPS box to arrive.

On friday night the finished kayaks glowed in the chapel where we built them.

On Saturday morning it was time to launch.

Six eager paddler head down to a very windy bay.

Pat christens our new kayaks.

I've never seen anyone so happy as Laura, ready to slide into the first boat that's ever fit her properly.

This is Eric's first time in a kayak!

Pat and Jerry get him started out in the 15 mph winds and 2 foot chop.  Not the best learning conditions but he was a good sport.

Diane coaching Laura in the pool.

The event was so much fun this year, great to just hang out with old friends, and make some new ones.

Dan and Judy Segal, always adorable.

Apparrantly Dan is a real kayak celebrity!

...unlike Vernon Doucette, whom no one has ever heard of.

Pete Strand skinned two kayaks at the event.

For the first time this year I participated in the ropes competition, which was also the first time I had ever tried the ropes.  I actually did OK but even two days later I look and feel like someone has beaten me with a stick.  (Mckinley in photo)

Maligiaq judged the competition while Dave and Dubside coached.

Mckinley shows us how it's done.

One of the welcome changes from years past is the proliferation of replica hunting kayaks.  I was impressed by this frame crafted by Fred Randall.

Dan trys on Maligiaqs' seal skin tuilik.

The tuilik instantly captivated me.  I was drawn to it's organic feel, warm colors, and rich smell.


I liked it so much that I asked Pat to help me make an exact pattern of the Tuilik so I could return home and try to make one from animal hides.  Thank you Pat.

So many things to do and see, and over so quickly.  Greg and Harvey both gave presentations, and John Pedersen (from Greenland) taught our first ever seal stalking technique class.  Interacting with John and Maligiaq made a huge impact on me.  Before this Delmarva I had been entirely content to appreciate the culture from afar.  I saw no compelling reason to go to Greenland and I even questioned the appropriateness of white people going to Greenland at all.  Talking to the Greenlanders and seeing the Tuilik lifted a weight from my heart and led me to believe that going to Greenland could be valuable independant of a cognitively determined reason to do so.  I am hoping to visit Greenland next year to directly study kayak hunting, which is my primary interest.   I feel that learning to stalk marine wildlife effectively will make me a more sensitive and skilled paddler, a better photographer, and a better land animal hunter.  Thank you to John and Maligiaq for coming to this event.

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