I have been overwhelmed by the response to my first post announcing a quasi web site being live; I am ready to begin planning, promoting and filling the boat several times – I hope.

#1. SILVA BAY RESORT & MARINA – Yolanda welcomed the big yellow boat with open arms. She and the owner of the Marina were and still are so thrilled that the Gabriola Dragon Boat Club wants to call the Marina home…They eagerly gave permission for the boat to have a permanent mooring, at no charge at the Marina. PLUS it looks like we will be able to store our paddles and PFD’s in the little blue shed there. This is a huge bonus.
#2 JIM HUGHES – a bit of nepotism I suppose, but he is worth it. Until I met Jim, I was having a heck of a time figuring out HOW to get the Boat from Chilliwack to Gabriola. I was even almost serious about inviting some National Team members to paddle it from Vanier Park in Vancouver to Silva Bay – this tells you a little bit about how my creative brain works. Throw out an idea. Silly, bizarre, realistic or not. And see what sticks. NOTHING was sticking. The expense of the boat crossing the Strait was simply too prohibitive for me. Truck with a special Dragon Boat hauling system on it and then the Ferry costs. YIKE… I met Jim. We fell madly in love. TMI I suppose.Upshot is. He has a boat he wanted to moor at Silva Bay all of a sudden. We went to the Marina and Yolanda was more interested in the Dragon Boat than the opportunity for a paying full time boat moorage. She did tell him “yeah, yeah. You can bring your boat. BUT I want to talk with Jo about the Dragon Boat”. Never being a person who shied away from a problem, Jim devised a method, which involved a large white plastic barrel and a harness. In May we had the boat trucked to Vanier Park and amidst many boaters, 2 Vancouver Police boats, 1 Coast Guard boat and a Coast Guard Hovercraft that happened to be there, Gabriola’s Dragon Boat was launched. Bemused by the activity of Jim and his daughter Tina, all watched as the boat was launched into the water. Then attached to the back of Jim’s boat. The Vancouver Police were helpful in making way for the two boats in leaving. HMMMM 35′ of Jim’s boat + 48+ of Dragon Boat. 4pm they left. Just on dusk, 4 1/2 hours later Diane Hepper, Wendy Crost and a young fellow from the Log Cabin Building School all welcomed Jim and Tina to Silva Bay. Oh. I was there too. So many thanks to Jim for ensuring the boat made it here, without any glitches. He did have some Coast Guard vessels come by to have a look and make sure he was OK. Thanks to Tina for being Jim’s mate on the voyage. Gabriola Island finally has its own Dragon Boat.

Well Diane is my very dear friend, so she really had no option, but to become a Dragon Boater. An active person all of her life she is very keen on doing this new sport. Wendy we met at the Picnic in the Park? Not sure of the name right now, at the Golf Course that same year in 2016. She has remained steadfastly interested and helped in any way she could to keep encouragement high. ALSO, when Jim and I were away for 2 months they ensured that the boat was pumped out after too many rains.Thank you to both of you…

I have probably misspelled their surname. Sorry. AS it goes on Gabriola, own a dog, go for a walk and it is impossible to not meet people and chat. Diane met them on one such walk. They were very keen to be integral members of the club. Both with massive Dragon Boat experience, Paddling, Coaching and Steering. Jean met with Diane and I several times to begin the planning process. Alas, life moves meant they left Gabriola. I know that having found such a wonderful resource once on Gabriola, that there would be others to jump in. Their input back then was pivotal for me to keep my heart in it.

Now, these two I have not met officially. I believe I may have met them at the Silva Bay Restaurant (well prior to the big burn) in the summer of 2017. Chatting as I do, to Nate, I believe, he expressed interest in giving Dragon Boating a go. He told me that there were many of the young workers who were intrigued by the notion of adding another paddling sport to their repertoire. Yes. I continued to receive such positive vibes from every person who allowed me to tell them about the boat. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that when the Boat was looking rather water logged, after Jim and I had returned, they would often take it upon themselves to bail her out. And manually too. It takes a good 1/2 hour to 3/4 hour to do it with an electric pump. So, BIG shout out to Alex and Nate for jumping in as it were. Gabriola spirit is alive and well always.

The Sounder did spend some time with me for photos and a story. So I thank them for that. My health had already taken a bit of a nose dive. This meant that I had to focus on rehab etc and so, the Dragon Boat Club was put on hold.I’m still not sure if I will be able to Dragon Boat. I hope so, ‘cos I love the energy, feeling and sense of calm as the boat skims the water – assuming good technique by all. Synchronicity. I may have to be a Beginner Coach to feel all of that again. That will be OK.

So, keep your eyes peeled for Web Postings of Blogs and emails and become informed about our first meet & greet get together. ‘Cos soon, we will be “taking her away”…..

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