Biography of Chris Cooper
Some of the messages we've received since
May 2008 supporting the Spirit Dancer Journey and Team
August 26, 2011
Dear Chris and Barbara
I just want to say thank you so much for giving my wife Winnie and myself the opportunity to paddle from Aith with you and the other crew members.
When we decided to holiday in Shetland this year we never dreamed that our activities would include canoeing , especially in such a unique canoe and with such friendly crew members.
For some time now I have been saying that when I retire I am going to build a canoe; well I've retired, and meeting you guys has inspired me to start building.
Winnie and I are looking forward to seeing you next year.
Good Paddling and Best Wishes
David & Winnie Millington
June 29, 2011
Dear Chris,good to hear you the other day.After spending most of my life working in doors my pleasure time has included canoeing along the East Devon coastline.Seeing your canoe in Sidmouth was a great thrill and then to be invited to paddle was very special.All the people on board were very friendly and instructive showing me how to use the paddle.Although I found it physically difficult it was a wonderful experience and I was made to feel very welcome.Hopefully we will all meet up again in Devon next year. Nobby
Spirit Dancer 2010 Orkney Islands from Bob Needham's brief perspective.
A once in a lifetime experience. This 2010 trip was another wonderful opportunity for youth and adults to experience and contribute to cross a cultural exchange between Canada and the Orkneys' in Scotland. We visited Main, Hoy, Eday and Westray this year with Chris's Montreal style canoe, restricted by sea conditions from visiting more places. Yet we had more than enough to see and do on these wonderful islands.
Islander hospitality was exceptional with many new friendships formed. I hope we Canadians can also host some of our Orkadian friends in the not too distant future. The canoe is stored in Kirkwall waiting for 2011 canoeing in Orkney and Shetland. Thanks to Johnny and Barbara Johnston for putting up with me and being so helpful with many of the details needed for a successful canoe journey. Please see the Spirit Dancer web site for other names and pictures of the wonderful people who made our trip a success : http://www.spiritdancercanoejourneys.ca/ .
We were treated to an enthusiastic welcome by Fiona MacNab and her class at Glaitness Primary School in Kirkwall (http://glaitnessprimary3and4class.blogspot.com/). A class contest to design an emblem for the spray cover of the Spirit Dancer was won by Molly who designed a killer whale with a puffin head tail. The whole class created many excellent designs. Molly painted her design on the spray deck of the canoe for all future paddlers to see. We were also treated to music by James, a young piper playing for us while he was standing in the stern of the canoe. Many of the class, their parents, friends and crew helped refurbish the First Nations art on the spray cover under the direction of artist Brandon Gabriel (also a canoe puller) of the Kwantlen First Nations. Thanks to Barbara Johnson for sacrificing her watercolour brushes! Thanks also to Suzie Rendall, Claire, Ellen, Rosie and Molly, patient artists all. Interestingly, artist Brandan's home is near Fort Langley, formerly an important HBC trading post near present day Vancouver.
The Glaitness Primary School has also partnered with their canoe family, the Outma Squilx Cultural School in Penticton B.C. These First Nations students from Canada and shared their culture during their visit to Orkney last summer.
Folks on Eday with a population of 150 people were very hospitable. Ranger Gillian Skuse and her husband John, among others, were vital for our accommodation and success on Eday. Many sights and people to see here. John was instrumental in launching Spirit Dancer for the journey to Westray from Eday. We had the privilege of hosting approximately 1/3 of the population for short trips in the canoe. Thanks also to John Burr who took us on a tour and visit to Ernie Miller's old time store and restored tractor collection and John and Jane Booth for their bus and shetland ponys.
A surprise welcome awaited us at Rapness on Westray, with chocolate bars and oranges offered by Suzie and Raymond Rendall. A welcome refuelling for the crew. Amazing accommodation was offered at the Lanskaill West Manse by Sandy and William McEwan and also the local Church of Scotland Kirk courtesy of Minister Ioin McDonald and congregation, which was gratefully accepted . These folks added to our crew, paddling hard later that evening from Rapness to Pierowall. Sam Harcus and the local Westray Sailing Club crew monitored our safe progress in some windy weather. This island is one of the most amazing places for seabird photography. The beach west of Pierowall has an amazing ancient Viking dig and spectacular sunsets.
People and music are a big part of Orkney. The Kirkwall Pipe Band is an excellent introduction to the islands. Groups such as “The Chair” and “Saltfish 40” are among many good bands playing and recording at present. (Saltfish 40 CD has just been released at the end of July) Weekly concerts put on by the Kirkwall Pipe band exposed us to many talents from a harpist, pipers, fiddlers, singers, poets and mixed bands, very entertaining.
The scenery and wildlife were amazing, seascapes, cliffs and rolling farmland. Loved the Atlantic puffins, one of many nesting birds on the islands. Fascinating architecture abounds, from St. Magnus Cathedral, city buildings, castles, houses and crofts both occupied and abandoned to keep the observer and photographer busy.
For those wondering about the weather, it is ideal for outdoor and indoor activities as it is neither too hot nor too cold.
For history buffs, we Canadians have strong ties to the Orkneys and Shetlands where many of the Hudson’s Bay Company staff were hired to work in Canada during the fur trade. Farther back the Orkneys were a part of Norway. Earlier, Pict and Viking farmers colonized the islands in the past long after eras of stone, bronze and iron age settlers. Many settlements are remarkably preserved and interesting to explore. Sights such as the Ring of Brodgar were amazing at sunset.
Thanks also to our pre-trip hosts, John Johnstone of Glasgow and Alan Beaton and Roz of Alford for their generosity, tours of the beautiful countryside including Alan's drive to our start in Thurso. Thanks also to May in Dundee.
Contributed by Bob Needham Spirit Dancer crew member.
A note of Support to the Spirit Dancer Crew
I am very much indebted to the baffling Lady Ann and the Honourable Prof. Kirk Wipper, my good elder brother and forever friend for this awesome website. By the way, Kirk is the founder and director of the Kanawa International Museum (later the Canadian Canoe Museum), now the largest in the world.
My name is Sam Burton, an instructor and an old canoeists.
The moment I saw your Home Page, the journey to the British Isles attracted my full attention, simply because I am very well acquainted with the Isles and shores. The idea of circumnavigating the British Isles is absolutely gorgeous since its shoes, lagoons and sea sides are amazingly stunning. Canoeists will definitely enjoy gazing at the navy blue clear skies, basking under the sun and admiring the crash of the waves on those charming beaches.
If the first leg of the expedition was a complete success, well, the second, third and fourth will be breathtaking and unforgettable.
Thanking you very much for granting me the honour to write these few lines and looking forward to seeing you all in the future. In the meantime, I do wish you all those favourable tides to send you in the right direction where you will find beauty, friendship and peace of mind.
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Dear Chris and Barbara
We have just had a quick look at part of your web site to check on your plans for this year. We hope you are both well and that your explorations will go well for you, particular your expedition over here later in the year. Your undiminished thirst for adventure obviously has not diminished and we hope to keep your exploits in view, and in the meantime send you and your team our best wishes.
Julie & Peter Gwillim
Comments: Thank you all for the inspiration that you are! To Bev Dagg, your crew is with you in spirit. We miss you and are VERY PROUD of what you are doing. We send our love, strength and best wishes to you all on this amazing journey. Have fun, be safe. Paddles up! Fortitude Crew
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
To the Spirit Dancer Team
I didnt know what to expect, Ive never paddled in such a huge canoe, I didnt know the other crew members, I didnt know where to sleep the next night - so it was a big adventure for me to join the crazy Canadians. And now I wouldnt want to miss one second of that experience!!!
I fell in love with the canoe and this mode of traveling. I had a great time on the water, saw seals out of a zoo for the first time of my life, enjoyed both lovely weather and rough sea and felt safe in the canoe in all weather conditions - firstly because Spirit Dancer was very stable and secondly because the other crew members seemed to know what they do ;-)
It was also an amazing experience to see the friendliness of all the Scottish people. And last but not least it was absolutely fanatastic to be a member of this crew with these wonderful and open-hearted people! I had a lot of fun and I really hope one day I can be back on Spirit Dancer!
Comments: This Is a once in a lifetime adventure for you all . Take the good with the bad and you will grow from it . Enduring memories are not always from the easy times.Good Luck to Chris and to you all . I shall be watching your progress round the Inner Hebrides
An Old Scot who knews the coast Aye ,John Hume
Location: Maple Ridge BC
My daughter Jillian was lucky to be a participant on the first leg of the journey last year. I have followed your incredible journey since then. What a wonderful experience for all those involved. I would certainly want a copy of your book on this trip when published!!!! Keep up the good work!!!!
Location: Delta, BC
While reading through the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary forcewide messages. One message headed "Can you Canoe?" linked me to the Spirit Dancer Canoe Journey web site.
After making contact with Chris, I was able to join Spirit Dancer for part of the journey from Paignton to Dartmouth, Dartmouth to Salcombe and later at Fowey.
Our crew were a mixed group of people, from Gig Rowers,Canoeist and members of the Police Force. We were fortunate with the weather on this leg of the journey, with sunshine and calm seas.
Chris has given people a fantastic opportunity to take part in this adventure, regardless of experience. Bringing people together both from Canada and the U.K.
I hope Chris manages to obtain the sponsorship he requires, to complete the rest of the journey, giving others the opportunity to take part.
Best wishes to Chris and Barbara.
Andrew and Sylvia Chart.
Newton Abbot, Devon
I was one of four Vancouver Police Department members who participated in the second leg of Chris Coopers epic effort to circumnavigate the British Isles. We were small in number but were looking forward to meeting the British canoeists who would be augmenting our ranks. Chris had been liaising with the Cornwall Police, as well as the Royal Marines, so the wheels had been put in motion for the formation of a strong and diverse team.
The weather in Hythe was great for a tourist, but not for an ocean-going open canoeist. The blustery wind that kept the skies clear and sunny made for big seas and powerful, crashing waves on any of the beaches that we might want to, or have to, come ashore at. A side-trip to Dungeness confirmed the wisdom of Chriss decision to delay our departure. Breaking waves meant an almost certain broach upon reaching the shallower waters and that would mean almost certain loss of equipment and risk to life and limb.
The scenery was absolutely fantastic. My preconceived ideas of the English coastline were shattered in short order. In our travels we encountered everything from verdant, pastoral farmlands, to enticing beaches to utterly imposing rock formations. The few layovers we did encounter were fully consumed with exploration of the local sites. The rich history coupled with the friendly locals made these layovers as valuable a part of the journey as the actual canoeing.
We did have the opportunity to paddle with the Cornwall police and the Royal Marines, as well as interested locals, as we made our way to Torquay, our final port of call for our leg of the journey. With time and resources temporarily consumed, the VPD crew bade adieu to the English Channel and scattered to various points in Britain before ultimately returning to duty in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Just a note to say what a great adventure our students had on the first leg of the British Isles circumnavigation expedition. From the launch of the Spirit Dancer on the Thames to the experience of paddling by the White Cliffs of Dover, it was an amazing experience that our students will never forget. Not only was the trip a great adventure, it was a wonderful learning experience and a great opportunity to meet locals and spend time in small coastal communities. I also greatly appreciated your emphasis on safety. To circumnavigate the British Isles in this way is a great accomplishment. I'm glad that the BCIT Fish, Wildlife, Recreation Program was part of such a successful first season - and we look forward to participating again on a future leg. All the best to you and Barb and safe travels!
Cheers, Mark Angelo
Fish, Wildlife, Recreation dept.
British Columbia Institute of Technology
I recently had the pleasure of paddling Spirit Dancer a large Open Canoe maximum capacity 18. The group of Scouts helping to crew the craft enjoyed their adventure as much as I did. This striking vessel drew attention from many sailors as we ventured on the Carrick Roads, Falmouth, Cornwall UK. When working in unison we could achieve a good turn of speed although the swell was such that it was difficult at time to keep it on track. The Spirit lives up to its name, bringing people together, encouraging team work and promoting friendship for all who are lucky enough to share this unique experience.
Geoff Ryder - Cornwall Scouts and Canoe Coach.
Chris Cooper and his Spirit Dancer crew called into Looe, Cornwall, and we were most pleased to welcome them and provide accommodation for them. The weather was, and for that matter still is, foul, very un-seasonal storms which has not made their progress very easy. I understand from reports on our local radio station this morning that they are still in Fowey, (pronounced Foy) a short distance down the coast from us
Chris passed on your greetings and coin, the paddle and various other bits and pieces, which we have had framed and will place in the Guildhall. I thank you very much for your fraternal greetings and have great pleasure in returning those greetings to you and the people of Pitt Meadows.
Dear Mr. Mclean and the Town Council of the Town of Pitt Meadows,
My name is Jane Vincent, and I am a Town Councillor in Fowey, Cornwall, Great Britain. As my Mother is Canadian and born in Salmon Arm, B.C. I was interested to hear the imminent visit of the Spirit Dancer Canoe and its crew. The young people led by Chris were the most delightful ambassadors for Canada, and it was a real privilege to meet them.
Chris also gave my husband Tony (also a Town Councillor) and myself a memento of your town, as well as mementos of the 150th anniversary of B.C. and a wonderful canoe paddle made by the young people of the school district. I should like to thank you all for your kindness and generosity. These gifts will be treasured and valued.
Tomorrow or the next day, Chris will paddle further down the coast to the little village of Mevagissey with a crew from Fowey which will include a young fifteen year old student from our local high school who is also Canadian. She will report on her trip to the local newspaper, and to her school. This trip is giving her a wonderful opportunity to experience an adventure in a unique craft with a master skipper and not only that, but a golden opportunity to celebrate her Canadian nationality.
Again, Mr. McLean, thank you for sending us such unique mementoes of Spirit Dancer's epic voyage. May I wish you, your town council and the town many thanks and thanks for supporting your great ambassador Chris.
With every good wish
I am the sister of Nobby who joined you at Sidmouth last week.I thought that you might liketo know how much he enjoed the trip despite being inawful pain. He has two broken discs in his back and is on morphine. He has always been a fighter and ut for adventure and the last couple of years have been very difficult for him/ I believe next year you will be back and let us hope that he can join you again. Good luck with the trip Margaret Clark.
Having known Chris for over 35 years, I went into the Cornwall leg with total confidence and respect for both his vision and onwater leadership skills. I came away from this adventure with an even greater appreciation for him as a person and for what he will accomplish. The reaction of the public here has been remarkable and the spontaniety and goodwill of so many individuals has been heartwarming. Paddling with Chris, Barb, Joan, and Charlie has been a fantastic experience but the joy and excitement of our English volunteers was really amazing as well. I believe the first year of this venture has given Chris an enormous array of committed supporters as well as an expert understanding of what he is up against and I sincerely hope that this will lead to even greater sponsorship support and the mothership that will even further increase the ratio of success. His concern for the welfare of his team and strong genuine belief in the traditional aboriginal values mak!
es this a superb educational experience which mixed with the challenge of day to day legs a totally committing experience. My enduring memory though, besides the people, was sailing from St. Martins back to St. Marys Harbour in the Spirit Dancer- that was a perfect way to end my two weeks on The Spirit!
Doug Beard, Zurich, Switzerland
I was making one of my rare visits to Polperro earlier this year during one of their Festivals. All of sudden a huge canoe came through the harbour mouth that novel I thought. A second look and I realised that this was the real deal a sea going Canadian Canoe. I was able to team up with Chris and the Gang at Fowey and spent a lot of time with them while they were stormbound in one of the UK's best rivers. Eventually they made it down to Falmouth where I was able to make use of it by filling it with Explorer Scouts aged 14 - 18 years allowing another 40 youngsters to have a unique experiance. I look forward to learning of Chris's adventures next year when Spirit Dancer continues it travels around the UK coast. Brian Sheen Canoe Africa.
We just completed another journey in our canoe the KwuSukwna?qinx (We are Okanagan) and our thoughts and prayers were with you and the Spirit Dancer our Mother Canoe, as it is the Spirit Dancer that our youth to getting our own canoe. On our last Journey we had a young man from Ireland join us and paddled with our crew, Our Elder Judy was so impressed with him she gave him an Okanagan name and Whitney gave him her paddle along with a team shirt. We are hoping he looks you up on your Journey.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you,
Matthew and crew of the KwuSukwna?qinx of the Penticton Indian Band
hi chris i hope you like the photo`s .have phoned a few times .seems your doing great .i`m staying in devon for a while `may catch up L8r.regards, andyphoto 1st leg crew
...What a lot of energy and commitment you put into the first summer! You are living up to the name of your canoe by keeping a positive outlook after many frustrations and some disappointments. Just the same, it must have been quite a thrilling journey! A few treks in the hills should put the spring back into your steps.
See Ya, Al
Having known Chris for over 35 years, I went into the Cornwall leg with total confidence and respect for both his vision and onwater leadership skills. I came away from this adventure with an even greater appreciation for him as a person and for what he will accomplish. The reaction of the public here has been remarkable and the spontaniety and goodwill of so many individuals has been heartwarming. Paddling with Chris, Barb, Joan, and Charlie has been a fantastic experience but the joy and excitement of our English volunteers was really amazing as well. I believe the first year of this venture has given Chris an enormous array of committed supporters as well as an expert understanding of what he is up against and I sincerely hope that this will lead to even greater sponsorship support and the mothership that will even further increase the ratio of success. His concern for the welfare of his team and strong genuine belief in the traditional aboriginal values makes this a superb educational experience which mixed with the challenge of day to day legs a totally committing experience. My enduring memory though, besides the people, was sailing from St. Martins back to St. Marys Harbour in the Spirit Dancer- that was a perfect way to end my two weeks on The Spirit!
Doug Beard, Zurich, Switzerland
Chris, I have been following your journey with great interest. I know you will be dissapointed with not meeting your 2008 goal for mileage, but, I know you will come back to Britain stronger than ever next year. Good luck to you, your crew, and to all your supporters. I look forward to seeing you and hearing some of your stories. Best wishes
Keith, Abbotsford, Canada
How nice to meet Chris Cooper (fellow Rotarian) and his fellow paddlers and a thank you for the opportunity of joining the Spirit Dancer on the visit to the sailing vessel 'Mathew' in St Mary's Harbour on 23rd July 08.
Christopher Earley, St Mary's Isles of Scilly. UK
Hello Chris, Sounds like there was a bit of a slow start over there - but you know the English - some think anyone on the water is a bit of 'nutter'! But, it now seems the good word is spreading. I've told all my sea-faring nutter friends to look out for you and consider joining you on a trip. If you see a schooner, name of ADIX, currently along the western shores, the Captain is my son Sean. He is looking out for you too. Also if you have the opportunity to visit Loch Nevis, just past Mallaig, you will find two amazing characters. Tom (Moby) MacLean who has rowed the Atlantic single-handed and other 'nutter' adventures. At the head of the Loch lives Donald MacDonald, an Elder of the Loch, former postmaster of Tarbet, speaks fluent Gaelic. Has only been to London once. I think he has recovered from the shock! He may enjoy a paddle with you - I hear he is still as fit as a fiddle in his 90's. Missed you at this years Pulling Together. Saw Barb very briefly. I was in Soul Entry again this year, and Fred put me in the bow. I now have a great appreciation of how well Barbara does. It's not easy! I was officially the "medic' this year. Thanks to you for initiating that last year. Well, sending good energies to Sprit Dancer and looking forward to your news.
Your PT relation Marilyn Watson, Sechelt, B.C. Canada
Hi there Chris and crew. Have been monitoring your progress, with keen interest, to date. Not quite what was planned Chris! However your Spirit FOR Adventure and new challenges will keep you going. I still plan to join you as you paddle around the NE of Scotland, and look forward to my part of your adventure.
I'm sure Barb has kept you updated on this year's Pulling Together canoe journey. You were missed my friend, however Eric G. and the support crews kept us safe. Overall a good trip, however I look forward to looking after the Abbotsford canoe and crew in the years to come. Much more relaxed than running the event.
Take care and we will hook up after you return to this side of the pond!
Cheers John, Abbotsford, Canada
So happy to hear Spirit Dancer & crew have arrived in St Marys. Have just heard the interview on my computer. What a time you have had - we have been following your progress on the website. Scilly is our favourite holiday destination - we always stay at Rose Cottage on the Strand so we can picture you all there. When we visited in March I gave Jeremy & Karen Phillips one of your Adventure stickers so they could look out for you. Jeremy is the pilot for the Isles of Scilly Hope you enjoy your stay in these beautiful islands.
Best of luck with the rest of the journey. Pat & Alan Woodland, Maple Ridge BC Canada
Hi just a short message to wish you all well & good luck. I hope you find the scillys all that we said.
all the best see you all next year, Keith, Fowey
Chris and the gang,
It was a wonderful life changing experience to be a part of a wonderful conversation with you and some of your lovely crew members at the maritime museum on the 15th of july.Your spirit and determination has left a lasting effect on my life.Hope I can be a part of the experience next time you are around.
Keep paddling, Sanjay, Falmouth,Cornwal
Hello Chris, I have just finished reading your latest posts on the website (your website has been a regular companion for some months now). I just wanted to say how impressed I have been with how you led this British Isles expedition this year with all the setbacks and challenges that you encountered. Especially, I want to commend you on how you kept crew safety paramount throughout, as you assured me by phone that you would, even when I'm sure it must have been heartbreaking to head back into shore for another bout of waiting out the seas. I am glad to have met you by phone and thank you for leading an exceptional journey that my daughter, Lauren, had an opportunity to participate in. I wish you the best of luck with all your future endeavors.
PS I have yet to see Lauren since her return to Canada as she headed straight out to her job as counselor at the Rocky Mountain YMCA Camp Chief Hector.
Hi Chris and co. I am so sad to hear that you have had to cancel the rest of the trip but really Well Done!! I will be looking out for joining up as a paddler next time......until then! Karen x, Glasgow, Scotland
Hi Chris. Sorry to hear that your 2008 UK trip is coming to an end. But it sounds as though you and your crew have had a good time. So glad you already have your plans for next year in hand. The support boat idea seems most sensible - good luck with that. I am sure you'll both be pleased to get back to your homeland for a while. I'll keep my eye on your website for news of your retirn to the UK.
All the best, John, Herne Bay, Kent
Great, keep the journals coming... know the coastline well, did lots of sailing......Enjoy Mevagissy, always loved that village.... paddle along............. John b. maple Ridge, B.C. Canada
Hi Chris, Have just finished the 2008 pulling together journey. I missed seeing Barbara, the day she paddled, as i was road crew. Miss you, and my spot on dancer. Hope things improve on your journey. Best wishes to you and crew, I'll be thinking of you. regards, keith
Good to see you all in Salcombe. This is Jean from the Harbour Office. Never seen a canoe that big. It was a pleasure to meet you all! Jean, Salcombe
Great to meet you all whilst I was on holiday in Looe, Cornwall. Thank you for the great pleasure you gave my grandson, son-in-law and myself when we had the pleasure of a chance to paddle up the harbour in this amazing vessel. best regards and bon voyage to you all. Derek Green, Dorking, Surrey. England
Great effort Chris! You must have bitter sweet memories. We have been looking at the weather forecast with horror! Hope you make the Scillies for a final spin!
Respect!! (as they say)!! Mark
it is very quiet here in the guildhall missing you all very much hope you are all ok
your looe dad wally. looe guildhall
Having seen you at POlperro and Fowey would like to explore ways of supporting yuor mission around my county.
Brian Sheen - St Austell Canoe Club. Par, Cornwall. UK
We are following your adventure online. What an inspiring trip. It's a shame the weather has't been kinder although it doesn't seem to dampen your spirit of adventure. We can't wait to see you in Scotland. If you need any help please contact us.
Best wishes Jane Dan and Daisy (14)yrs Falkland. Fife. Scotland.
It was a pleasure and truly lovely to meet such genuine people. Wonderful youngsters and Chris was only too happy to tell us of their adventure! May I wish you good luck as your journey porgresses, the Cornish Coast is beautiful, so enjoy. As a dance member of Saffron Maids Ladies 'Clog' Morris team I had the pleasure of meeting the crew when we attended Polperro Festival on 28th June. Wishing them every success and will follow their progress via the web.
Eunice, Bodmin Cornwall
To Chris and the Uni BC team
It was great to paddle with you for the day last week, a memorable day and a fantastic way to travel along the coast. I see from the website the summer weather is keeping you on your toes!
Have you decided where to go at the end...Bath, Cardiff or St Ives? Wherever, have a good finish to your trip and safe journey home.
Best wishes, David Totnes, Devon, England
I would like to wish the team every sucess in their efforts around our coast, it has been a pleasure having the crew stay with me in the Guildhall I feel like I have a new adopted family, the crew are a credit to thier Country I thank them for their politeness and the courtesy warmest regards to Chriss and the Crew.
Wally Scarah. Looe
Chris. Don't be dismayed by the weather etc .You have brought attention to Canada ,B.C and Maple Ridge that is a great accomplishment in its own . The weather and seas there can be ferocious ,you are right to go cautiously . We are with you .and support you Are proud of what you are doing . It is a wonderful experience for you . So remember relax be proud, keep happy.
Kindest Regards John Hume
Hi Chris. I've been keeping an eye on your progress since I saw you
off from Herne Bay. So glad you're all OK and enjoying yourselves. That's what
it's all about. Despite your delays, sounds as though the West Country folk are
looking after you.
Good luck. John, Herne Bay Kent
To Chris & crew - best wishes for the rest of your voyage. It was a pleasure to meet you when you called in at the Coastguard Ops Room in Weymouth, and again on your arrival at West Bay.
Steve. Bridport, Dorset
Wow Chris - seems that you're having a very interesting and testing time! Hope this weather sorts itself out for you all. Will keep reading your www site.
Best of luck! Mark Laycock, Yorkshire!
I am very interested to follow the progress of your great British pioneering journey. I wish you all well and look forward to reading of your progress around our shores.
Ashley Potter, West Sussex, U.K.
I hope you are enjoying your water journey around the British Isles and that all is going well with you and the rest of the crew. I'm trying to keep up via your website. What a wonderful and exciting adventure it must be. We are so proud of you and your friends. Can't wait to hear your stories.
Love, Larry, Lesley & Ashley, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Hi Chris, It was great to meet you and your crew over this last weekend and know the town would love to have been more hospitable. If we had a little more advance notice of your arrival we could probably have found accommodation for you all. I realize this is difficult as planning your stop off points is not likely to be easy.
Anyway it was suggested that in the West Country, most of the Gig Rowing Clubs, as well as Rotary, would probably be pretty helpful to you ... We will follow your progress with great interest and hope you all have a fantastic time. Best wishes, Brian and Jayne Lavender, Salcombe, Devon, U.K.
Hi Chris, ... Give my blessing to the new crew from UBC and great paddling ...
John b. Maple Ridge, BC, Canada
Well, imagine our surprise when, out on a Local Field Studies trip to Torcross at Slapton Ley, who should we see but Spirit Dancer moving swiftly across Start Bay en route to Salcombe! We were even more surprised when you saw us and decided to come ashore. We all enjoyed helping you and your crew haul Spirit Dancer up onto the steep shingle bank of the beach and meeting you and the crew again. You certainly had the most beautiful weather for this leg of your journey and we were so excited to see you in action again. In fact, Liz & I would have loved to have joined you for the last 6 or 7 miles to Salcombe - but sadly we had to leave you enjoying a well earned drink on the beach.
The pupils thank you for the stickers Chris, and we all hope that you may come back to our part of the world again one day. We will continue following you from school.
Fair winds and kind waves for the rest of the journey around the Devon and Cornish coasts from us all.
Tuesday Club, White Rock School, Paignton, England
Just read about your amazing journey in June's addition of Canoe Focus! It
sounds fantastic!! I hope you're all enjoying the adventure and having
a lot of fun - the scenery must be breathtaking and that sense of freedom, I'm
guessing, feels great! Reading about it has inspired me to apply as it sounds
like a brilliant experience. Good Luck for the rest of your leg.
All the best, Alex, Middlesex, UK
Hi, Enjoy the fews days you have whilst waiting for the crew....Especially
the Pubs.. and the beautiful coast. maybe if you had an issue like a tot
of rum a day would help muster a crew..... I know the Rotary club is very supportive
of the ventureand send thier goodwill.... and from experience...be positive AND
God speed and good paddling, John b. Maple Ridge, BC, Canada
Have been reading your diary with interest. Sounds like you are having lots of challenges.
I read that you were near Dartmouth. As you leave, you will pass a place called Blackpool Sands where I lived in a little thatched cottage for a few years, right by the beach. Hope to join you next year with Ian and Brenda etc.
etc. Good luck with the rest of the journey and hope to see you when you are back in B.C. for August.
Lynnette, Gibsons, B.C
Hello Chris and Barbara,
Hope you are both well and that the journey is going well as soon as Jason and I can get time off we will come and meet you and help paddle hopefully before the 22nd of July.
Kind regards, Adama, Hythe
Hi Chris. The Tuesday Club children and staff at White Rock Primary School
in Paignton would like to say a great big 'thank you' for spending a whole afternoon
of your precious time in Paignton at our school. We found your talk and
presentations very exciting and we really enjoyed hearing your answers to all
those questions! An even bigger THANK YOU from Hannah, Jordan, Bethany, Liam,
Becky - plus
Sharon, Liz and Jane - for the privilege of actually paddling Spirit Dancer round
Paignton Harbour ...... and out to sea! It was magic.
Pete, Chris, Graham, Ben, and the two mothers of the girls who came down to the harbour in the evening, enjoyed seeing the canoe being put through her paces. Enjoy the leg round to Dartmouth and Kingswear, and fair tides for the Cornish and North Devon coasts!
Tuesday Club, White Rock Primary School, Paignton. South Devon
Good luck with the trip
Alan, Holyhead, North Wales
Met the crew on the Chesil, very friendly and hospitable to our two
grand-daughters, who will remember it for a long time. The last 'longship'
here was in the C8th !! on a much less friendly quest!
Power to your elbows!!
regards JRA, Chiswell, Chesil cove, Portland, Dorset
Hi chris and all have just popped home for a day and checked out website
.hope all is going well
Love and good luck, Doug (swanage beach), Corsham/Swanage
Well done. Every cloud has a silver lining.
Diana is eagerly awaiting Ken Frail's visit. Wish I could be able to support
Diana's sister Pam, Steenwijk. Holland
this is so fantastic
katz, lyme regis, jurassic coast
chris, what a fantastic surprise to
see spirit dancer being paddled in to the cobb at lyme today,and good to speak
to you and other crew too,im very much looking forward to joining you all on
thursday for the stretch down to exmouth.
pete england, lyme regis
a lovely little cafe this morning (Tuesday 27th) in Lyme Regis and had a great
giggle with members of the team who told us all about the canoe adventure in
fine style and humour! We can't believe the 'interpreter'
is from Milford which is close to where we live in Derby. Small world. Have
a fantastic time to all of you. Thanks for entertaining us and
wishing you lifetimes of joy and happiness
Daphne and Jenny, Holidaying in Weymouth
The children and I watched you launch across Lyme Bay from Portland
today- looked like hard work, hope you made it safely and without too many blisters!
I was wondering when the canoe first arrived in England, and how you got it there? [Note from the web designer: There is a bit about how Spirit Dancer travelled to England in the News Section. Belleville Rodair, who is a sponsor of the adventure, tranpsorted the canoe.]
Branch of thr International Police Association wish you luck and good weather
Saltash Cornwall (Nr. Plymouth) UK
Hi, sorry to hear about delays. Enjoy your stay in Poole...and
will say a couple of Nautical Prayers for the rest of your journey...Every blessing
to you and the crew......Haney Rotary send regards and thoughts.....
Good paddling.....John b. Canada
Hey crew, sounds like our 'typical british summer' is proving tough
but no worries you'll soon be in Cornwall and fuelled by pasties! Hope
it's not spoiling the journey. Can't wait to help paddle and am busy promoting
you amongst my fellow waterbabies! If nothing else you can be sure of a
warm welcome, and a blooming big harbour in Falmouth with plenty of people used
to hauling gigs in and out of the water.
Lucy, Falmouth, UK
Well done to you all. I have been watching your progress as you reach
ever nearer Cornwall and hopefully calmer waters. You will also find more havens
and anchoages here, as the small fishing ports and bays are spaced more frequently,
certainly on the south coast. You will also find that the south coast of Cornwall
will be better protected from the winds. I will be coming out to see you both
north and south coasts of cornwall as you pass.
All the very best Ian Wells, Cornwall
We are following your journey. Thanks for the frequent updates. Wishing
you all strength and good conditions ahead.
Barb, Maple Ridge
Hi. We watched you come ashore in Hythe on Wednesday evening and talked
to a number of you. Hope the weather is better for you tomorrow. I have passed
on details of your trip to our friend Emily Shirely who is Canadian and lives
near Canterbury. She may contact you about her son Finbar possibly joining you
sometime in the school holidays. Good luck with your journey. We greatly admire
what you are doing. Hope the couple we told about the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch
Railway managed to find it and go for a trip down to Dungeness in the Restaurant
Sam & Sheila Webb, Kent UK
Hi Barbara and Chris, Enjoy Ryde, and as you make your way to Swanage please wave as you pass Hengisbury Head, Christchurch, Bornemouth, (Where I lived) and Poole, great paddling regards to the crew,
Every Blessing ... and Good weather.
John b., Canada
I'm very pleased that you had a good reception from our sailing club
and that a local paper is giving you some coverage. Might see you in the
Dungeness area at the weekend.
Chris Lock, Hythe
Watching each day,keep up the good work, Canada's proud of you.
to meet up with you in sept...Port Carlise.
John b. Maple Ridge, BC Canada
Hi Chris and Barbara,
I hope that all is well and that the journey is improving for you. Still working on things here in Cornwall, gathering more contacts and offers of help for you. Could you email a list of 'suggested' items of clothing and equipment for those who might join you for some of the legs of the journey. Would this list stay the same for any young persons when they also join? Also, do you have a list of your projected 'stops' after Penzance i.e. the St Ives to Cardiff leg. I can start arranging persons and groups for the North Cornwall and Devon coastline. I have a contact in the Avon & Somerset Police force and I will informing him now of Spirit Dancer and ask him to start 'raising the profile'. I will try to telephone you tomorrow for an update and chat. I hope that the weather and seas are being kind to you. Take care and stay safe.
best regards, Barry
Barry Hunter Cornwall Police Department
Chris and crew,
Reading your journal daily Chris. Thanks for doing that. As you know I'm a journal writer and as such I know what discipline and time that takes. Thanks for the effort. Good luck to all of you. What you are doing is good for all of us who paddle big canoes. As you travel and you are noticed more and more, your adventure can only help draw attention to the wonderful world of exploring from the seat of a canoe. Enough reading - back to work. Shut Up and Paddle!
Ed Hill, Gibsons, BC
Have emailed someone organising british crews to see if I can come out with you
for a while, but if not we'll keep an eye out in Falmouth and offer advice on
the best pubs/food stops and maybe even row you in with our gigs!
Lucy, Falmouth, UK
I have been following you for a while , through your website and the news
from the British Canoe Union. It seems that you are soon going to pass our bit
of the coast ... If I can't manage to paddle with
you , then I'm sure that some club members would be able to.
Allen, Poole, Dorset
Following your trip with interest. Understand it has not been easy but
hopefully the wind will be at your back from now on ... Keep up the good paddling.
Looking forward to reading more.
Love Simon and Mia, Coquitlam
WOW! It's so AMAZING you're ACTUALLY doing it Chris and Barb! The
scenery is spectacular and I wish I were there ... Keep it up! Beautiful. thanks
Bobbie Smith, Sechelt, BC
We are Hastings Canoe Club and would love to help, meet, support you
in any way we can. If you wish to overnight in Hastings please let me know. Let
us know when you are due here and we will try to paddle out and meet you. All
Diana Fisher, Chairperson, Hastings
bon voyage chris. let me know how your video cam works..travel
safe, and best of luck to all!
limo john, anacortes, washington usa
Hi you lot, hope you had a better day today (Friday) and
very sorry that I didn't get to say goodbye - you were off before I got out of
bed! Where did you get to? Margate or Ramsgate?
Dick Holness, Herne Bay UK
We met you on Margate beach at lunchtime! What a great thing you are
all doing. Have a serene trip.
bob & cherry, Margate
To Chris and Crew, Been reading your updates with interest. Hope
the weather co-operates and allows a great journey. Best of luck to you
all. P.S. The Pulling Together team wishes you the best.
randi and wally, maple ridge, bc canada
Chris and crew....well done laddie's. I hope you are having
the time of your life...even if the seas are rough this can't be anything but
and enormous event. My guess is that you have woken up all of the explorers
from the last 5 hundred years and all watching over you and keeping all of you
safe. Don't take chances and be safe....even if it takes more time to complete.
Rick Howard, Abbotsford, BC
Strong paddling Spirit Dancer Canoe. Enjoy this amazing adventure, will
be thinking of you during the Pulling Together Journey 2008 here in Vancouver.
Linda Blake, Vancouver BC
Hi hope you all arrived safely at Whitsable, we will keep a eye on
your progress. Good luck.
Sheppey Coastguards, Sheerness Kent
We're up to date to 4th May!
Wishing you all favourable tides to send you in the right direction. Hoping to meet up with you in the S.West.
Frank and Pat, Addingham
Its jamie (royal marine) would just
like to thank you once again for letting me experience part of your trip around
the british isles.
Ived lived in london for 23 years and that was the first time ive seen london
from the water!!! really enjoyed myself!!!! good luck with the rest of your