Likely a final posting, since we are off to Molokai in the morning, I’ll try to recap the last couple days, and guess at what’s in store for us in the days ahead.
We’re going to have a favourable tide, and the wind is blowing mostly our way, but if it holds like this, many teams will likely bee-line towards Diamond head….still a little early to tell. The locals are thinking this may well be a record breaking year. If you have a look at the new links on ocpaddler.com, you will see there’s a lot of stiff competition showing up this year.
Yesterday we had a bit of an easier practice as we entered the final taper (of the year!)….and it looks like Steve has come into his own quite nicely as a helmsman over the last 5 days. Today he caught a monster wave and surfed right past our crew…he has definitely earned the trust of his crew, and everyone is feeding off of this pleasant result. Being a down day yesterday, we essentially stayed out of the sun and relaxed all day (minus a very competitive cannonball competition in the pool). We had an early dinner: spaghetti with a meat sauce, which had 7.5lbs of meat, and 6 jars of classico….ridiculous. We gave Scott the night off.
Paddling in Vancouver, it is easy to really relax the grip on your paddle. Out here, in big water and heavy winds, you really have to hang on, as it can quickly get whipped out of your hands. The good thing is that the exceptionally salty water seems to improve the grip on the paddle, but the downside is the extra salty water seems to do a trick to your skin. Guys are applying remedies to places they aren’t used to….
Another thing that is very obvious here is how big outrigger as a
sport is. There are clubs everywhere, and you even see big brands
endorsing the sport. Yesterday, looking at the beer selection in our
local “Foodland”, at least two brands had outriggers depicted in some
fashion…the bottles of bud have a picture of the islands with little
outriggers. You hear that the Molokai crossing is the ‘superbowl’ of
outrigging. Actually, this being the 53rd crossing, the Superbowl is
kind of the Molokai Crossing of
Ok, back to reality: today we had our final training runs, and we ran different combinations up and down the channel to finalize crews. The boats are running quite well, and you can start to feel the race around the corner. Speaking of crews, we ended up losing an escort boat and a paddler, so we’ve have some last minute scrambling to deal with….but it doesn’t seem to be a major problem at this point. To celebrate this final practice of the year, we headed directly after practice to Makapu, for some team body surfing. Very odd, as I distinctly remembered that we had all agreed not to, as you run a fairly good chance of injuring at least one person…but anyways….everyone is feeling pretty good right now…
Tomorrow, we head out to one of the local airstrips, and we’ve chartered a small plane, who will transport us and our gear to Molokai in two shifts. Should be an amazing flight….with a good arial view of the course. Once on Molokai, we are staying at the Molokai Ranch, where our only responsibilities will be to remain hydrated, loaded with food, and to rig and float the boats.
newsflash: we just at this instant secured a second escort boat…so now we just need a paddler…no sweat…
Ok, this is going to be fun, and everyone is getting pumped…see you all next week….and we’ll look forward to hearing stories from all the other clubs.
Thanks for reading….! Briac, FCRCC