by Cheryl Middleton ~
The teams and members of the TriPort Dragon Boat Society have been going strong throughout the summer.Â July 21 was the 3rd annual TriPort Dragon Boat Festival. This year we decided to hold the festival on the same weekend as FILOMI Days. We had a great turnout, with three local TriPort teams: Warriors, NaMaxSala and Dragon Slayers. Five teams from down island also came up: River Spirit, Bravehearts, Flying Dragons, Prevailing Wins and Dragon Flies. Paddlers from all teams were jumping onto different teams and into boats to help fill them up to race, so it was a collective unit of paddlers from eight different teams. This is the spirit of the sportâ€”we love to win, but we love to paddle more!
Halfway through the races, we all stopped to participate in the FILOMI Days parade. All of the dragon boat teams participated, throwing candy and singing chants and songs. The races were fabulous, and the final results were just as they should be, with differences of mere seconds, or tenths of a second, between first and second place finishes. A huge thank you to everyone who organized, helped, participated, watched, cheered!
After the races were done, and after the â€śblingâ€ť and the homemade trophies were given out to the teams, it was time for the paddle auction. This is a fundraiser that the TriPort Dragon Boat Society started last year, with great success. The Society purchases wooden dragon boat paddles and asks local North Island artists to each take a paddle and give it their own artistic flair. This year we auctioned off eight paddles, raising more than $1000 for the womenâ€™s shelter and to support youth in sports in our local communities. Two Sointula artists, Loa Youmans and Kathleen Blohm, graciously donated their time and created two of the most beautiful paddles in the auction. On her paddle Loa had painted the image of an orca in the kelp, with touches of first nations design to represent the background. Kathleenâ€™s paddle was double-sided and featured images of salmon. Both paddles caused quite the bidding wars, and both ultimately went to the same bidder! Each one of the eight paddles in the auction was unique in design, leading to some very serious, but friendly, bidding.
Dragons can do the 360Â° too!
Tri-Port Dragon Boat Meet in Alert Bay 2012
On Sunday, August 5th,twenty-one women paddlers and one dedicated helmsman made their way by fishing boat and ferry to Alert Bay for the annual Alert Bay 360Â°. The paddlers were three of the four local TriPort Dragon Boat Society competitive teams, along with members of the Sointula recreational paddling group. We had two local fishing boats alongside for support and, of course, for transportation from Sointula to Alert Bay and back.
Sointula dragon boat team homeward bound from Alert Bay meet 2012
There were cheers, oohs and ahs as we loaded our boat and headed out to the start line to wait for the race to begin. I heard one person say, as we were lining up, â€śWow! That boat is all women paddlers.â€ť We donâ€™t know where we finished, but we do know that we finished the race in one hour and sixteen minutes (according to my watch!), which we think is a pretty good time. Next year weâ€™ll better our time!
Port Hardy will be offering a stewardship program for anyone who wants to try out dragon boating, Sointula is still paddling on Tuesday nights for fun and recreation, and on Saturday mornings with the seniors.