Wet & Wild 2001

----WHAT A HOOT----

Wanting to experience a new adventure, Dipper, Sean Gaultois, the Sungod, IMAX, Viking, and Goat travelled to the Northumberland Staright town of Pugwash to compete in the Wet and Wild Ocean and Island Orienteering Race. It was a ball and definitely an event to put on our 2002 schedule. After the 2 hour drive and necessary Timmies stops we arrived, greeted by growing winds and showers. Registered, we holed up in our car to study the map for the best route(s) to most quickly find the check points.

There were basically three divisions, 1--paddle only 200 meters to Victoria Islands, find seven check points on the 2 sq. km, and return to home base, or 2--paddle the perimeter of the Pugwash Bay, 2 km in either direction from start, finding the 16 checkpoints in various coves and inlets, or 3-- DO IT ALL. Actually there were six divisions as each division was for canoe or kayak. There was a total of about 16 craft, the GONZO Adventure Team deciding to enter the whole thing.

The gun was fired and we had three hours to complete as many check points as possible. IMAX and Sungod in their Recreational style Penobscot 16, turned left and headed inland up the bay, with the tide, hoping when they turned around the tide would have peaked and we would not be fighting going back. We immediately had a lead on the other craft going in our direction "knowing" only one craft (Viking and Goat in their 'Stealth') going the other way, that is faster than us. We proceded to knock off the check points, pulling futher ahead of all the craft, except for a tough kayak, turned around and headed against the tide for the Island. We passed Dipper and Sean in their Camper having trouble in the tide and cross winds. It is fair to note that IMAX, Sungod Viking, and Goat have a fair amount of experience in both canoes and waves while they were rookies. What we recognized as pretty serious conditions later on must have been double that to them. Our strategic decision #1, to start with the tide, turned out to be a bad one. The tide was still coming in and going through the narrows at the bridges, it was like paddling up river-starting to hurt.

After getting into the open bay we were not only fighting the tide but were going into 3 foot swells, with white caps. It was now more important to keep as direct into the wind as the fastest course to the island.-hurting more. Half way across the bay we passed Viking and Goat going the other way, having completed the far end of the bay and the island. At this time second place didn't seem like a bad goal.

We landed on the island, crashed through the brush and proceded to run? around the trail knocking off the checkpoints. We ran? so fast we went right past one and had to go back. Error #2. Once back in the boat we proceded to keep heading up the bay on the windy side of the island because it was shortest route, Error #3. After ploughing into the waves for 3 minutes we decided, assuming we can paddle faster than swim, to turn around and backtrack to the lee of the island and up the other shore.

Requireing six more checkpoints up the bay, we past the finish line at 2:10pm. 50 minutes to go get em. We knew we could get 4, the other 2 we would assess at turn around time. The first two we would get on the way back. Head down and paddle-1, head down and paddle-2, it is now 2:25pm, let's go for it, we would have the wind coming back. We proceded to go get'em, turned with the wind and AWAY we go. Slowing only to knock off the last of the check points, we FLEW back to the finish with 15 minutes to spare.

Before we got to the finish we noticed Viking and Goat had already raised the victory flag. In full view was the 'Stealth' firmly tied on top of the trailor. We were thinking second was a posibility, not knowing that other teams had also decided to go in a different direction that we didn't know about. In these craft were a girl who happened to be a one time national level orienteering competitor and today a coach of the same, some guy who is on the executive of NS Orienteering whatever. Oh well, 4th place is pretty good.

For the record, of the teams that did the 'FULL' course, the Stealth was numero uno, the Penobscot was 4th and the Camper 6th.



The Sun god