Monday, October 16, 2017

Building Kayaks on the Oregon Coast

I hear the sad strings of fall all around. In the Pacific Northwest, once the rains come, there seems no end for months. Folks despair. But I love the fall months, the soft edges, brilliant colors, chilly mornings, diffused light. Even the sometimes violent weather makes me feel alive.

There is no better place for a weather-watcher like myself than the coast of Oregon. Every minute brings a new drama. Call me strange, but I'm never happier than in the teeth of a gale.

Last week was pure heaven for me, as we spent our fall "vacation" building kayaks in the historic US Coast Guard Lifeboat Station, in Garibaldi, Oregon, US. There was weather aplenty, as nature unfolded in all her seasonal glory. Around here, this season brings the salmon back from their ocean journey to spawn in home waters, which of course brings out the fishermen. Talk about a hearty breed.

I'm no fisherman. Don't get me wrong, I love seafood. But I'm a single-handing sailor and there is plenty to do on a sailboat, so very little time for fishing. And when I'm not sailing, I build boats, something my fishing friends are grateful for, to the point I really don't need to fish for myself. But, I digress........

Those who know me and my passion for building boats may be surprised to hear it is not my favorite activity. Sailing is.
Thus, I found myself in a quandary last week, while we built five Pygmy Kayaks at Pier's End, in Garibaldi. The old Coast Guard Lifeguard Station is 750 feet out from shore, in deep water, so the view from every window is like that from a ship. I can hear you now -"poor old Doryman, he's stuck inside an amazing historical building, surrounded by immeasurable beauty, forced to build boats". There was some whining and wishing to be out sailing, for which I am not proud.
My crew were sympathetic, but unconcerned because they were having the time of their lives. All participants were volunteers, and only one of a dozen had ever built a boat before. We paired off to build five kayaks from kits. Kit building is not what I do, and while kits provide shortcuts, they also present their own challenges. Perhaps we'll explore that topic one day.
Pygmy kayak kits are not simple, and my condolences to those of you who have had to labor through their instruction manual. Fortunately our team had someone versed in Greek. I see my job, in mentoring a group of builders new to the trade, to play to individual strengths. The end goal for me is to build community, so the Garibaldi Cultural Heritage Initiative is a perfect fit. Building boats as a group is a metaphor for life. The true beauty of such an exercise is how people from all walks of life and philosophies find common cause and become fast friends.
The week was exhausting - I'm no spring chicken. So, glad to be home and resting, with memories of an experience I'll never forget. Special thanks and lots of love to all who participated. Garibaldi rocks!




Doryman burning the midnight oil. It's the instructor's responsibility that there are no loose ends.


Photos courtesy of my awesome friend, Heather Hicks.







Special thanks to Kristen Penner, organizer supreme.







More images from Kristen:


















And, still yet more photos on Doryman's photo site...

4 comments:

robert.ditterich said...

I was looking forward to this one. Awesome job Doryman, and a lot more work than many would realise in seeing so many people through the process. (You look rude with health, by the way- maybe a bit of spring chicken there still!)

Galen Piehl said...

Looks like a fine time you had.

Bursledon Blogger said...

What a great project and a lovely place to build boats
Max

doryman said...

Thank you, friends. Wish you all could have been there.