British Isles Spirit Dancer Canoe Journey
A journey of friendship and adventure in the 42 foot Spirit Dancer ocean canoe.
  British Isles Spirit Dancer Canoe Journey

Spirit Dancer Canoe, British Isles Canoe Journey 2008-2010, Chris Cooper

2008 January-May Spirit Dancer News


May 2008

May 31
The second crew which composed of 4 Vancouver Policeman, 1 Royal navy and volunteers from the local community had there wind up sendoff at the Rowing Club at Paignton.
A great sendoff by the community, We are now Crewless and have no further plans of moving on unless we are lucky enough to have locals ( Rowing Clubs ) help paddle Spirit Dancer along the coast so having said that our mileages will suffer and we will not be able to stay to the original itinerary.
Today was spent cleaning the canoe and relocating it to a mooring buoy in the Paignton Harbour, I have made arrangements to visit Yorkshire and family for a few days June 4 to 7th.
Hopefully by then we will be able to come up with different crews to help move the canoe onwards down the coast, if this is not possible, the UBC team from Canada will need to meet me here and paddle to St. Ives on the North coast of Cornwall we shall see. The entire coast has been incredible with of course many great challenges, to be expected.
May 30
A great day on the water from Exmouth to Paignton in Torbay, a 15 N Mile day with a crew of 10 including new recruits Barry Hunter from the Cornwall Police dept, Lt Col Steve Richards of the Royal Marines and David, Linda, Ryan Whiston a family that joined us a week ago to paddle and help us move equipment along the coast.
Our group was hosted for breakfast at the  Dockside Cafe in Exmouth, many thanks to Vive for looking after our crew, we stayed at the Royal Marine base thanks to Lt Col Steve Richards.
Also I had an interview with Terry Mills from Bay FM Radio about the events of our journey  Thanks Terry.
Our day was 4.5 hrs with no going ashore in order to make Paignton for 6:00 pm, we were greeted by good weather until the last hour when we had a huge amount of rain for the grand entry into the harbour, thanks to Ray , Jan and Sharon for coming out in their boat to welcome us and escort us in.
We were greeted also by a rowing Gig for the last mile and we came ashore completely sodden!!
Showers and food for the evening was hosted by the Rowing Club and speeches were shared and gifts were exchanged by John Turner and self who presented a Stanley Park Red Cedar paddle.
Another fine day on the water. Best to all and Paddles Up!!
May 29
Lyme Regis to Exmouth
A great sendoff and many thanks to the community of Lyme Regis and our host Giles and Hanna Frampton who put our group up for 3 days. Giles is a Eco Developer
Had a great visit to the BBA  Boat Building Academy thanks to our host there Tim Gedge Director. The North West Chapter Canoe Club would be very interested in seeing the work that is produced from this very interesting organization.
Another very spectacular section of coast with many beaches and cliffs along the way, after 12 N Miles we went ashore for 40 minutes while the group went for tea. The canoe was anchored out and many locals were very interested in what we were up to.
One fellow Nobbie in his late sixties asked about the canoe which was his mistake as it was'nt more than a few minutes that he was asked to join us, Noddie was seconded to the experience and did very well, sometimes we just take strangers right off the beach!! And we get away with it!!
We were welcomed by the Town Crier, Paddlers that came out on surf boards and the Exmouth town Mayor, Fantastic, the word is now traveling with us, BBC Radio has now done several interviews.
May 28
A day off for the crew as poor weather all day plagued us unfortunately so the crew spent the day in Lyme Regis which is a sweet Village with lots to do. The forecast was a little better for the 29th so not a lot to report this day.

May 27
West Bay to Lyme Regis
On the eve of the 26th May the waters of this particular section of coast were quite challenging and overnight while Spirit Dancer was secured to the moorings in West Bay broke the stern line attachment and left some bruising and paint removal off the hull of the canoe hence a patch will need to be done when we can aquire some paint of the right color!!
The weather for May 27th was forcasted in our favour and therefore allowed us to depart for Lyme Regis for another amazing day although very short we were expected here for a special welcoming our Youngest crew member was Ryan Whiston whom was interviewed by the local media, good going Ryan, this is my hope for all who joins me to have the locals interviewed as often as possible especially if they are my crew.To share there experience of paddling the great canoes of Canada.
We have been greeted by the Mayor and Harbour Master and many others to a fine reception when we arrived on the shores of Lyme Regis, what a wonderful village this is, everyone is very helpful and very very excited for us traveling in the old ways of Canadian History.
I admire the Brits, they are very out going and extremely encouraging of our acheivements, we have a very long way to go yet but with the help of the people of this coastline it will become one of the finest ways of meeting the people of this magnificent land.
We hope to depart from Lyme Regis for Exmouth tomorrow about 18 miles or so, many people wanting to join me so the pressure is on to try accommodate some of these requests.
Well I'm now off to another reception, at the boat building school where we had a super tour of the locals building many beautiful hand built dories, kayaks, dingies and one super 32ft Rowing Gig.
Best to all, and again please be patient with us that are waiting our arrival further along the coast we will get there!!
Chris and Barbara and Crew.

Chesil Beach near Weymouth on a very calm day. There is no going ashore once committed to leaving for West Bay 18 miles in the distance. Chesil is a shingle surf beach and very steep with no opportunity to go ashore.

May 26
Portland Bill to West Bay Dorset
A Very difficult day, tried to depart along Chesil Beach and had to return as winds were far too high blowing in from NEast, went back ashore and had tea with Julie and Peter who invited us in while waiting for a change for the winds to subside.
The forecast was for deminishing winds by 1:00pm and down to 10 Miles per hour Easterly, did not happen.
We departed for West Bay with the hope for winds to die down but unfortunately only  asmall reduction to wind speed of about 15 to 20 with gusts to 25 on occasion. We were challenged all the way down Chesil of 15 miles and no way to go ashore!! This was expected so a rather big commitment, the canoe works well and performs easily in these conditions but crew tires easily, we are not a strong crew but of intermedaite capability,I have chosen not to be on the water above a Beaufort 3 as it is awkward with cross winds and we have to have two stern rudders in order to keep the canoe somewhat strait!!
We arrive West bay in 3 hrs and 30 minutes, An exciting day ( Watching your back is imperative here )with an interesting arrival to the harbour. There were very few again to welcome us, very discouraging when we have no one there to greet us after a hard day on the water, My arms felt this workout today!!
Susan a paddler and gig rower had left a message for me during the afternoon to find out whether we would arrive in West Bay today and carry onto Lyme Regis, called her up and said we are stuck for a place to stay this is now 7:00pm in the evening. She got on the phone immediately and arranged to have us looked after. We arrive by van at 8:30pm and met Jiles and Hanna who put us up in Lyme Regis.
We hope to paddle Spirit Dancer today to Lyme Regis but will be doing the usual checks with weather and coastguard.
Just another reminder to all who are expecting us on the coastline, we are having great difficullty keeping to schedules so please be patient and hopefully we will arrive whenthe weather allows us to. It is best to check our website under News and Updates.

The Vancouver Police and Royal Navy crew about to round Portland Bill - a nortorious penninsula to get around on a calm day.

May 25
Weymouth to Portland Bill and around to Chesil Cove
A short but intense journey around the Portland Bill to find calm seas and very good conditions to round the HORN as some would say!!
Portland Bill is a headland that requires very accurate planning with the tides here so timing is extremely important today was perfect as the races were far off the headland, many people were photographing us as we rounded the tricky headland.
A spectacular part of coast with many people in shock to sea an ocean going canoe travelling around this piece of coast, took 2 hrs and 40 minutes to get this done so very short 8 mile day, We anchored Spirit Dancer in the Cove, and Wally and Ken helping with security and camped with the canoe, we made presentations in the evening to the Harbour Masters office and to staff there also to MCA Coastguard Weymouth. Another fine day today on the water which we do get on occasion!
Paddles Up!

Our host Doug at Swanage receives a Stanley Park Paddle on behalf of our crew

May 23 & 24
Left Swanage for Weymouth to paddle the 20 NMiles of some of the most beautiful and panoramic sea cliffs of the Jurassic coast here a very committing piece of coast but we had good conditions overall and managed to do this section in 6hrs and 20 minutes, we did not go ashore for this period of time and continued with a following sea and some light wind where we were assisted by the sail a 12 x 8 ft Canadian Flag which provided lots of interest across this coast.
We arrived in Weymouth and greeted by many including some great help from the Harbour Masters office, Remmie who is staff with the harbours office really helped us out to make us comfortable, they put us up in a small warehouse and stored our canoe on a separate finger to keep her safe. A very beautiful place Weymouth is, and we have had the chance to meet so many in just a very short time. It would be nice to spend more time in these places but time is not allowing us.
Geoff, who has a glass bottom boat that takes tours out, took us out and we saw some eels and many species of fish in the harbour. We met with Sarah from coastguard last night and she took us out to Portland Bill to check on our next move to the inside of Chesil Beach which is about 10 NMiles. This is a very tricky headland and requires much input from locals and coastguard.
Presently the seas are 5 /6 with gusts to 7 so we will make another check tomorrow with coastguard to get round this headland.
Thanks to all who are following with great interest, BBC Radio Dorset will do an interview with me tomorrow morning prior to our departure if weather allows us, As I have mentioned it is a day by day planning for each move and we are doing our very best to ensure our crews safety and delays must be expected so again please bare with us. My very best regards, Chris, Barbara & Crew.

May 22

Departed Poole today and accomplished 8 N Miles to Swanage for another big day tomorrow, 20 miles to Weymouth.

Passed by Old Harry a sea stack of beautifull shapes on a very smooth sea for a change!! Great photo opps.

We are 7 in the crew and canoe feeling slow, With crew and gear plus the weight of the canoe we are 3500 lbs gross a great workout in deed!! We need more crew and unfortunately cannot drag people off the beaches as most are in shock when we come into the communities!!! Met Doug with a beach hut and stayed with him tonight tenting on the beach, canoe anchored, Presented Doug with a beautiful Red Cedar Paddle, he was speachless when presented.

The Brits are truly very interested in what we are trying to do, what a wonderful time we are having. LUV to ALL.  Chris and Barbara.

May 21

Barry the Lorry Driver moved Spirit Dancer to Poole from Hythe, Flew Belleville Rodair flag down the motorway  Many shocked people seeing 60 foot flat deck low rider through the narrow streets of Poole. What an amazing sight it must be.

Many thanks to all who are dealing with some of the very complicated logistics and so sorry to the ones we left behind and not able to visit you. please encourage us through these very challenging times.

Best regards to all, Chris and Barbara

New Update to May 20 news!

An amazing story of generousity, a week ago we hauled 'Spirit Dancer' canoe up the shingle beach and prepared to bring her up on the promanade for safety, the anchor and chain was also brought up and placed by the canoe, the next day our anchor went missing and the chain was left behind, now we have no anchor.
Darren went to Dover to pickup a new anchor and we mentioned this to Rose Hewitt this evening who is the Kitchen Manager at the Stade Court Hotel, hence our new anchor is named Rose. Rose was in the guest house business for years in Folkstone and became a manager here after selling her business. We are very greatful to her generousity. We will remember her each time we lower the anchor.
The staff at the Stade Court hotel have been incredible and have supported Barbara and I while delayed by weather, they are truly fine fine hosts, we have provided many gifts to the staff here.
In addition to this report we are now being met by a lorry driver tomorrow with a flat bed to move the canoe to Poole, it is a real dissapointment that we are to move the canoe as we really wanted to paddle each section, the main reason is that we have no good anchorage for our canoe so therefore we hope we are able have better luck from Poole onwards.
Our apologies to all that were expecting us along this section of coast. A very difficult decision indeed.
hopefully we will try again at a later date, we shall see.
Again, best to all, Chris and Barbara

May 20

We are having some very difficult times now with extra costs  (1000 ) to move Spirit Dancer to Poole from Hythe, to catch up for lost time, we are challenged all the way unfortunately.
The BC Coast is simple compared to what I'm trying to do. My only hope is to have deeper water and safer anchorages for early departures west of Poole.

I hope to be back on the water for 22nd May, we have been off the water since May 15th and have lost a weeks travel because of the Shingle beaches, Wind and Gale force 6 to 7. Can't even think of anchoring out in these windy beaches.
Paddles Up To All!!

May 16th to 19th.
The Vancouver Police team has now arrived late on the 17th May we are now a team of 7.
We are challenged by so much..... Short on Crew, No anchorages for a quick departure in most cases, so Spirit Dancer awaits its next move, the Shingle Beaches are many and some steep so difficult to get ashore and depart, we cannot risk anchoring her off shore because of wind.
For the past two days Coastguard has been advising of force 6&7 with up to Gale Force off Dungeness, went down yesterday to investigate and sure enough was mostly whitewater and breaking seas a fair bit off shore, to be expected and now we cannot delay any longer so will have our trailer brought in to move Spirit Dancer to Portsmouth to continue the journey.
A special thanks to all who have helped in this process, Rotary ( Brian and Shirley Walkling ) of Hythe, The Shade Court Hotel in Hythe for accommodation and Breakfasts, to Peter and Liz Brooker of the Sail Club in Hythe for helping with storage, Dinner,and scouting missions to check the Royal Marine Canal that we were hoping could be an option to make a move. Too many barriers here.
We are very thankful to so many that are indeed helping in so many ways, the main enemy is Wind and no Anchorages for quick get aways, if we had that we could continue early mornings prior to the winds getting up, hopefully when we move the canoe west bound we will have better opportunities to anchor out.
FYI   Spirit Dancer weighs 1400 lbs Dry and 7 crew cannot budge her, it takes 20 strong crew to move her to the water hence, we need deep water with protective anchorage.
Please stay tuned to our next move, we apologize to the communities that were expecting us between Rye and Portsmouth, we are very much indeed behind schedule and many are expecting us along the way, so please bare with us.
Best regards, Chris and Barbara and crew.

May 15

To all that are continuing to follow our progress around the UK coastline, the British are incredibly supportive of what we are trying to do and welcome us every stage of the way, yesterday we received word from Best Western Hotel that they would like to sponsor Barbara and I at The Stade Court Hotel in Hythe until we depart on Sunday May 18 for Rye Harbour.
Every day is very challenging for me working with coastguard, rifle ranges, media, press, local interest, departing teams (BCIT) looking after returning car rentals, updating the website, wondering where my next team is etc., but all in all it is the most fasinating project I have ever taken on. Barbara and I have a little time today together for lunch while she is doing washing!!
The Rotary here in Hythe have passed the word now to Rye Harbour which is our next port of call  Sunday about 16 N Miles around Dungeness Point. I will try with another update Monday if time allows, thank goodness for libraries for our updates. Best regards to all, Chris and Barbara

May 14: Mileage to date NM  120   or  220KMs  (10 Days Paddling)
Folkstone to Hythe (Google map link)
Force 7 off shore!! Inshore force 2/3!  No problems today Tide and Wind were with us, the group paddled well and we made 5 miles. We now finish here with BCIT students, they did well and managed 120 NMiles based over 10 days. They were challenged in every way and did super. Bless Them !!
No crew for the 15th and 16th May, will be in Hythe til our next departure.
We wait for our next team, Vancouver Police and Royal Navy to commence 17 May from Hythe.
Hythe is a lovely town lots of local interest, will be hosted by the local sail club, store the canoe so she's safe. A newspaper in Folkstone is to do a story for today's paper and I will advise everyone when it's out and will be posted on our website.
We've been advised that the weather is to change later in the day. is a very good website for 24 hours a day coverage and will give up to 7 days forecast. Check it out!
Best wishes to all who are supporting us and cheering us on!! 
What a great story and challenge it is. 
Chris and Barbara

May 13
A note from the Spirit Dancer Canoe Journey web designer
Chris is not only organizing the trip, watching weather patterns and planning the day's logistics, he's in the canoe paddling alongside the other team members, meeting with officials and media people and visiting with all the kind people along the way learning about the wonderful places the trip is traveling through. On top of that Chris is somehow finding time to find a computer at each stop to send in these updates by email. The man is amazing - and so is everyone who is on the journey with him! Thank you to all who are following the challenges of Chris and the crew. I am in awe of the undertaking and of all the support the adventure has received. Thank you everyone.

BCIT students viewing the Cliffs of Dover on route to Folkstone.
We had calm waters this day in the Strait of Dover

May 12
Kingsdown to Folkstone (Google Map link)
Our group departed from Kingsdown at 7:30 am after calling Dover Coastguard to confirm our departure. Everyone is in good spirits and the Ebb tide again now in our favour, winds light and seas calm until 1:00pm, we were off the water by then.
Our journey around the Cliffs of Dover was superb (Google map link) steeped with history and many people now encouraging us to paddle hard!! Lots of photos were taken. We arrived on the east end of the Port of Dover and asked for an escort. The Dover Port Authority came and met us and provided an escort past the busiest Port in the world. It is an intimidating place with much traffic.
We went ashore after paddling at breakneck speed following the support vessel, we went ashore for a short break then continued to Folkstone, we arrive at the bottom of the Ebb to find mud and sand in the Harbour so we tossed the anchor out and tied a land line ashore and left Spirit Dancer for the rest of the day, she is a marvellous canoe with a great history.
MCA coastguard called me and asked our crew if we would like to visit Dover Coastguard and have a tour around the facility, Derek and Mervin came and picked us up and took us to their headquarters, what a great reception we had. Absolutely incredible, fine fine hosts, Frank the Watch manager provided Barbara and I with a gift from HM Service a plaque of honour. What a treasure.
We gave them a gift of a beautiful Red Cedar paddle that Stewart Nahanee made from the Stanley Park wood and also a small paddle for all staff, in addition to this I personally provided a number of pictures from the BC Coast and Canada's High Arctic. A super day all round we hope to be in Folkstone tomorrow to have a look at Spirit Dancer and to ensure she's fine.
Just a message to all that we hope to make it to Hythe tomorrow May 14th where BCIT will depart back to Canada, our new crew comes in May 17th so hopefully I will have a British Crew help me for the next few days. we shall see. Regards Chris.

May 11
Ramsgate to Kingsdown (Google map link)
 Another good weather day and set off for Deal about 9:00 am with a volunteer Andy who wanted to join our crew, a television camera person met us at the harbour and did an interview with me Mike Pett with TV Meridian news. Hopefully something came up on the Tele in the last day or so to keep people aware of our journey.
It took us an hour to do the 6 NMiles with a following sea and  favourable tide, we went ashore with many people very interested in our journey around the coastline, Jeff another person who expressed interest immediately excepted my invitation to join us for a short 2 mile sprint to Kingsdown he loved the opportunity to be a small part of the experience. It is great that the locals come with us, this is what it is really about, sharing the experience.
The group went out for dinner to the local pub and we are camping here at Kingsdown for 3 nights.
Alls well and another fine day, we are very lucky with weather this past week.
Best wishes to all who have been part of this amazing journey. It leaves me breathless sometimes!!!

May 9
The BC Coast is easy to plan and logistics certainly easier, here we are challenged in every way.
The coast here between London and Whitstable has been challenging for us as we have had to deal with shallow water and tides not working in our favour IE: Ebb Tides have started in the very early mornings and then Flood by early afternoon.
Yesterday we were up to position Spirit Dancer for the top end of the Flood tide and then depart by 7:00 am, therefore I was up at 3:00 am to ensure of an early departure, we made very good time on the Ebb to Minnis Bay about 6 NMiles in 1hr 30 minutes. We met a great fellow Dougal running his Beach side cafe, so we had an hour break with him, he dedicated lots of cookies home made by one of the locals to our group and soft drinks. Great fellow and recognised the  great undertaking we have taken upon ourselves.
We arrived in Margate by Noon then off again to Ramsgate by 1:00 pm , we are now on the flood tide and will take 3 hrs to make 6 NMiles, we tackled the headlands around this very intimidating coastline where one must be very focused on safety as few areas allow safe approach to beaches and surf. Our crew is doing marvellously well and we are continually challenged each day.
We are close to the 100 mile mark now and are behind, but to be expected.
Today which is the 10th of May is a day of updates and planning our next move tomorrow, we are now having the Ebb tide in our favour for 3 to 4 hours and will hopefully make Deal (Google map link)in the early afternoon, we constantly check with Coastguard , and for up to date forecasts and wind direction, yesterday we had no wind to speak of but we some very interesting rip tides of the headlands, 3 in particular.
I will try send photos to the site when I can, also message to Ron Currie, your paddle you made for me is superb and is performing very well, good job Ron.
Important news for next crew. Lastly to my next crew coming in, it is certain we will not make Portsmouth by the 14th May so please get in touch with me on 07503 444 856 for directions to the start of your leg.
Regards to all of you that are following our progress. Chris and Barbara.

May 8
Delayed by Force 4 in Herne Bay (Google map link) will depart May 9 early and try catch the ebb tide at 7 am which should get us to Margate (Google Map link) early afternoon, crew in good spirits, we are looking forward to getting in our first 100 miles in, for a beginner group of young adults they are doing very well.

May 7 

Unfortunate delays
based on logistics and getting gear moved and also accommodation, unfortunately the word is still not out so no real welcomings yet on the water, the locals are very interested in what we are trying to do, so I'm certain that things should start to role when the media advises the communities we are on our way. Day off for crew and planning our next move.

May 6
Very good day force 4 15 to 20 knot winds crew did 4 N Miles in two hours against strong winds and some tide, we are trying to arrive at the top of the flood tides as we want no issues with managing Spirit dancer on the low end of the tide, we are dealing with very shallow water as there is very low angle to the terrain we travel ie Mud and Sand for 100's of meters out to sea.
Spirit Dancer, Hernew Bay, UK
We have been welcomed by the Herne Bay Sailing Club Mr David Hogben president of the club, we are right on the sea and overlook the North Sea (Google map link), will depart on May 8th for Margate which will provide us with close to 100 N Miles for the first week. We will most likely make Portsmouth by May 14th but we shall see once we have turned the corner.

Many very interested folk in regards to the canoe and some very interested a stunned looks like star ship enterprise on another planet.
Best wishes to all who are following our progress and the supporters helping us with the most challenging logistics I have ever taken on.

May 5
Spirit Dancer in Whitstable HarbourBCIT crew paddled Spirit Dancer 15 NMiles to Whitstable in 4 hrs, tides were helpful here but wind a constant problem but to be expected, it will be interesting once we head West around the heal of UK, we have been on a day on and day off most of the time and dealing with constant logistics each day.
We have been hosted by the Sea Scouts of Whitstable My Neil Austin and they must be commended for there efforts and wonderful hospitality, they have also helped with moving our gear and equipment as there is far too much.
A very good day all round  and very good team spirits, we are making about 10 to 12 miles per day based on conditions and fitness of the group, a beginner group doing very well.

May 4  
Day off for crew, will reduce mileages to 15NMiles per day if possible, we are somewhat on schedule but that can change very quickly based on the seas and weather, the past three days have been very good but when on water, Canoe based in Queenborough overnight and will be paddled into Whitstable (Whitstable Google map) tomorrow with the Ebb tide South of Sheppy Island.

May 3
Very tough day today from Greenhithe (Google map link) to Queenborough (Google map link) 25 miles with headwind all day long stretches of mud bays and no getting ashore, large seas with unusual tide conditions, one of the locals in Whitstable said a horrible area to consider paddling, 12 miles of mud flats and very distant to any community 3 to 4 miles in some cases. not the place to get into trouble as it is very exposed to the open sea. Crew very tired and a struggle to make head way but in 8 hrs we made 25 miles without much influence from the tide this day. Spirit Dancer canoe is marvellous, is now moored at Oueensbourgh.

May 2
Barbara's birthday and day off for crew at Greenhithe, crew spent the day shopping and preparing for the big day's paddle to Whitstable.

BCIT students depart the River Thames on May 1st 2008 with the M25 Bridge and the North Sea in the distance.

May 1
Sendoff from Putney at 12:00 am  To St Katherene's dock for press and media very good coverage and great gathering, Royal Marines Lt Col Steve Richards organised marines and Royal Navy, CBC and Global National there, very interesting paddling the Thames River with a few challenges for the crew running with the Ebb tide. Made it to Greenhithe with another great reception, Sea Scouts welcomed us.
30 mile paddle this day under good weather most of the day.


UK Itinerary

Please come out and encourage us on this very creative challenge
Here is the list of stops along our route, some of these places we have selected, our hope will be to have a welcoming committee for our Canadian and British crews.

Please note that weather will be the main factor. I have listed 30 village / town overnight stops we hope to be welcomed at and have the opportunity to meet the people of the UK, this will be an honour. Please row out to meet us or any marine vessel that would like to greet us on the water.

May 1 - May 31: List of overnight stops

View Google Map of all overnight locations for this leg of the Spirit Dancer Journey

Greenhithe, Gravesend, Queenborough, Whitstable, Ramsgate, Folkestone, Dungeness, Rye Harbour, Hastings, St. Anthonys Hill, Newhaven, Shoreham by Sea, Little Hampton, Emsworth, Portsmouth, Yarmouth, Swanage, Weymouth, West Bay, Lyme Regis, Exmouth, Torquay, Paignton, Salcombe, Plymouth, Fowey, Mevagissy, Falmouth, Mullion, Penzance.

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April 2008

April 30
Met with the High Commissioner in London for our sendoff Mr Jim Wright  Very nice send off with a number of sponsors including Belleville Rodair Fantastic reception.


March 2008

My dear friends and colleagues, I would to thank you all for being so very supportive of the upcoming canoe journey about to unfold, this will be my last update here in BC and all other updates will come from the UK. Hopefully more frequent updates.

The month of March was very wearing on me as everyone wanted a piece of me and alas I survived, there were numerous interviews with the following: CBC Radio Vancouver and Victoria, CTV Television with filming Spirit Dancer on the water, Global television twice once in the studio with Stewart Nahanee and self, and with BCIT students and Mark Angelo on the water on Indian Arm.

Also I met with media relations from the Canadian High Commission based in UK. For a special sendoff in London April 30th. Arrangements are being made so I'm told.

On March 4th The City of Pitt Meadows staff prepared a great sendoff for us and was very well attended, thanks to all who managed to come and thanks to the staff who helped organize this event.

Spirit Dancer canoe was delivered to Cratex March 12th for packaging and crating and departed by rail to Montreal March 25th so I understand, I am assured that she will arrive on the shores of UK sometime mid April, thanks to our sponsor Belleville Rodair.

In addition to this report there will be a number of paddles presented to some of our sponsors here prior to my departure the rest will be presented in the Fall of this year based on the availability of more paddles being made.

Message to all who plan on joining me

A message to all who plan on joining me around the coastline this year, we are thinking of everyone's safety and therefore it will be a day by day event in regards to weather conditions and advise from MCA Coastguard and local information.

It maybe very difficult for us to arrive on an expected day based on weather and sea state conditions, safety is paramount for all and I'm sure this would be expected.

*** Also keep in mind that it maybe very difficult to answer all emails quickly so please be patient with us, we are expecting 100s of messages from people  trying to get in touch so any messages to us should be directed to:

Very best regards, Chris G. Cooper Operations and Project Manager

  February 2008

As we get closer to the date of departure for Spirit Dancer canoe the busier things have become, all in all it is quite the process of preparing for the March 12th departure of the canoe, we will be crating and shipping most items for the journey around UK on this day.

On the 12&13 th of February Spirit Dancer was transported to Chief Joe Mathiass house in North Vancouver for some additional painting which was provided by Coast Salish artist Rick Harry (xwa-lack-tun) from the Squamish Nation a beautiful eagle was painted on the front of the cover, in addition to this artist Una-Ann of the Tahltan Nation painted a canoe on the center of the canoe, artist Wes Nahanee  from the Squamish Nation painted a pair of Orca whales near the stern of the cover of the canoe.

In addition to these paintings, Rick Harry (xwa-lack-tun) also designed two salmon near the stern of the canoe, these were painted by wife Barbara and Una-Ann.

The City of Pitt Meadows has donated funds to the making of the spray skirts for the canoe 18 in all and look great, they came from Brooks Wetsuits in North Vancouver.

On February 18th the first of the Western Red Cedar paddles was presented to the Vancouver Parks and Recreation board members and was well received, Stewart and Wes Nahanee on behalf of the Squamish Nation shared a special song prior to the presentation

Cheryl Rossi of the Vancouver Courier newspaper did a great article about the donated Stanley Park wood, this came out  February 22 2008, all the paddles being created for the canoe journey will be shared as gifts to the communities of the UK coastline. Photograph was taken by Dan Toulgoet of the Vancouver Courier.

Stephen Hume of the Vancouver Sun newspaper did a splendid story of the upcoming canoe journey which came out February 23 2008 section C4  Issues and Ideas.

On the 25th February CBC radio hosted me for a talk about the project.

February 28th, Global TV and BCIT students along with Mark Angelo department head for the Fish Wildlife and recreation program came out for an hour of filming and interviews with students and staff.

February 29th Meeting with Minister Stan Hagen of Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts and Chris Gudgeon in regards to having sponsorship for aboriginal youth for one of the legs of the UK Journey.
  January 2008

Happy New Year to all, We are 121 days away from launching Spirit  Dancer canoe on the river Thames London, May 1st so as I update this information for end of January we are 30 days away from shipping the canoe to UK.

Spirit Dancer will be in four different venues or special occasions, next week February 12 & 13 2008 she goes to Chief Joe Mathiass house for painting, the  spray cover will have various types of traditional coast salish art transformed to the cover. The artists will be listed in a story next month on this very special occasion.

Spirit of Wood festival has asked us to have the canoe on display for this event in Maple Ridge BC another great event here locally.

Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival will have Spirit Dancer on display for February 22 & 23: an event not to be missed.

On March 4th 2008  there will be a special sendoff hosted by Pitt Meadows Municipal hall, this event is for the community and an opportunity to see the canoe before its departure March 10 2008.

Special thanks go out to the following organizations that have generously contributed to the Canoe journey, Haney Rotary donated funds for Stewart Nahanee for carving paddles for gifts around the UK coastline, Marks Work Wearhouse for T shirts, CTC for Team Jackets, School District #42 Maple Ridge/ Pitt Meadows for building Yellow Cedar paddles for the paddlers, City of Pitt Meadows for funding towards Spray Skirts, MEC Mountain Equipment Coop for providing Tents, Barrett Marketing Group for donating Jacks for the canoe, Brooks for helping towards the cost of Spray Skirts, ECO Marine for helping with out door gear and to all people that have contributed there time and efforts to make this a very special event on both sides of the pond.

Barry Penner of the Abbotsford School District has made up 24 custom built voyageur paddles to be used for entering communities and departing from them, they are built from Yellow Cedar from the upper Stave River in the Maple Ridge/ Mission district. This wood is clear Cypress wood and maybe over 300 years old.

BCIT are also helping with setting up Google Earth and the link to our event so people from around the world can follow us and our proposed route.

I have been in touch with most Harbour Masters of the Southeast and South coasts of UK in regards to our dates of arrival for the first month of our journey, this will be posted very soon, we have been assured of a very warm welcome!

On January 29th I met with the UBC team of 10 that are paddling the Leg 3 section from St. Ives to Cardiff, Wales, after a three hour meeting the students gifted a beautiful framed image to me of First Contact by Peter Leath and the Squamish Indian band.
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The Beginning of the Spirit Dancer Adventure
The hard work, the volunteers, the supporters and all the interviews, planning and travelling by Chris to get ready to launch the Spirit Dancer Canoe!

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British Isles Spirit Dancer Canoe Journey
A journey of friendship and adventure in the 42 foot Spirit Dancer ocean canoe 2008/2010

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