Day 12 – Racing in the Voyager


Yesterday was Philadelphia Outrigger Canoe Club’s first ever beach launch open ocean race event in Brigantine, NJ.  Apparently the race and Luau went off without a hitch. I was definitely sad to miss that but consolation here on the river was I got to paddle in a local race in a voyager canoe.


Voyager canoes are about thirty feet long, three feet or more wide in the middle, and can seat about 12-14 people. In our boat we had some very strong paddlers, including the guys Derek and Jeremy were incredible power houses and Janet Moreland, who just completed her third source to sea paddle, this time on the Mississippi, and a paddling demon named Joan, plus Chelsea in the boat keeping us stoked with songs we could all join in on. With Derek and Joan and Big Muddy Mike taking turns at the helm and at stroke seat we inched up on our lighter boated competition. Their boat was a feather weight compared to the “June Bug,” loaded with strong paddlers, and in the end we fought it out in a tight paddle battle, but they prevailed. Big Muddy Mike said we would have won if Dolly, his giant bull mastiff, had picked up a paddle instead of lounging about in the back.

If and when Big Muddy Mike posts a story about this very fun lap race with  its first ever voyager canoe class, I will definitely share. But for me to describe it in the short time I have before heading out the door for a long day would not do it justice.

When it became overwhelmingly apparent we were not gonna get off the race site by 1p, let alone to the house by then to load the boat up and hit the water, I opted to bag yet another day. Definitely outside of my norm, so I’ll chalk it up to what Big Muddy Mike calls “#rivertime.” The river and the happenings on the river dictate your actions. Suffice to say it’s an adventure and a privilege in itself to hang at the Kanu House.

Just can’t thank Big Muddy Mike at Big Muddy Adventures enough for all he’s done for us-sharing the joy of his river with us, my own first personal full moon paddle with others, “Poco” (aka Chelsea) and my first ever race in a voyaging canoe, the food, the beer and wine, the ROPES (aka “line”), the awesome conversation, walk on the hill to see the moon, the music and mostly for being so generous with his time and himself. If truly was an honor to be in that boat with all those amazing folks, and even bad Dolly who refused to paddle.

I do hope to come back with family in tow for another full moon paddle and to run the “Chain of rocks” in a more appropriate vessel. It definitely saddens me that they were not at the kick-off and that they will not be joining me until the end of this crazy paddle for clean water.

SOOO if you’ve made it this far in the blog please don’t forget to sign the Care2 petition and please also keep a heads up for opportunities to donate to the LA flood victims.


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