Well another South Bass Island (OH) Kayak Rendezvous has come and gone and again I tip my hat to the attendees who make this gathering special. Nine years ago we created this event to showcase the Erie Islands and to meet other like-minded kayakers and I think we’ve succeeded. Mark your calendars next year for our 10th anniversary June 6-8, 2014. I’m working on some special plans for next year’s event and I’d like to break our all-time attendance record of 150!
This year we had a special visitor in Will Hembree. Will is 800 miles into a 2400 mile paddle journey from NY to Oklahoma. Will was excited about making the event because part of his goal is to interact with people along the way so he could share his mission of creating awareness for Veteran and Military MWR programs. Until the Rendezvous he’d seen 12 people total, amongst snow, lots of empty shoreline and this endlessly cool spring. A special thanks goes out to Mark Pecot at 41 North in Cleveland for helping shuttle Will.
At our Friday night potluck we raffled off a “signed” copy of the June Erie Island issue of SK magazine, a SBIKR t-shirt and a gift card. In the June issue we had 4 or 5 of the paddlers pictured in attendance and we all signed it for the raffle! We raised $270 to help Will along the way and towards his goal of sourcing outdoor equipment, volunteers and awareness for Military MWR programs. Will addressed our 100+ dinner group symposium style and talked about his life, the trip, his cause, etc. and took a ton of questions. I will stay in touch to see to see if I can twist his arm to make it back next year for our 10th anniversary to complete the story. Find him on Facebook and follow as he completes his journey.
I do have a Will update:
We traded calls on Monday and a massive thunder/lightning storm pushed him to shore near Port Clinton, OH. He beached his boat and then went looking for a dry place to make a phone call. When he came back his gear was gone and all that was left were drag marks in the sand! Turns out in the matter of 25 minutes all of “this” happened. A good Samaritan called the police thinking a boat had washed ashore in the rain. The police did crack investigative Barney Fife Level work and completely missed the cockpit cover and his paddle with the boat. The police picked up the boat and sent it to their impound lot with everything Will owns inside. The coast guard was called and had begun a search. Of course it’s close to 5 p.m. and they wanted to keep his kayak overnight because it was “quittin time.” In the end and with some unnecessary arm twisting he got his gear back minus some very stressful moments of “my gear was stolen – WTF?” and with the help of another SBIKR paddler he’s back on track.
I also spoke with the SBI Park manager and he had nothing but good things to say about our group. His crew of rangers take a big sigh of relief every time they see our banner go up and they wished we were there 12 weekends per year. When we show up we’re the quietest, most clean, respectful and civil group of campers they’ll get all summer. Those are high marks from the guys in green.
I also have info on North Bass Island camping. This year they just took six fire rings and picnic tables out to their rustic campsites. If you go to the boat dock on the south shore, the campsites are to the left of the dock near the old migrant worker lodging area. Call the SBI park office to reserve sites. There are no facilities, water, etc. at camp, but I think there is an outhouse to the right of the dock. I walked around the far eastern shore of the island for the first time on Saturday and the old school, church, cemetery and abandoned cottages are pretty cool. The island is bigger than you think but very much worth exploring.
See you next year!
p.s. Facebook me and I’ll be posting photos later this week. Or PM me and provide your email address and I'll add you to our Database.
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