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

June 2008 Spirit Dancer News
from Chris Cooper


June 2008

June 29 Fowey

Rest day and recruiting for a team from the local area to paddle to Mevagissi Tuesday July 1st Happy Canada Day.

I am presently in Newquay for the day recruiting paddles fro rowing clubs to help me get the canoe further along the coast to Falmouth, Cadgwith, Lizard, Mullion and Penzance.

The plan is to move Spirit Dancer to the Isles of Scilly to host the community with our canoe and also to have some special time away in the most amazing place, I'm told that the Scillys are a super group of 100's of small islands with onlt 4 or 5 that are lived on so I hope we will have a great time. I hope we are able to be there for 7 to 10 days.

We will keep you posted on our results of recruiting, many thanks to RNLI for keeping tabs on us and to Brixom Coastguard that are tracking our progress.

In addition to this report, we would like to mention that next year we will require much more support financially to have a support Vessel available to us and for the following reasons firstly, to document the journey, safety and for carrying our gear and equipment and to support the Canadians that I will choose for the Scottish coastline from Luing to Orkney from May to end July 2009. This is the ONLY way that the journey will continue next year.
June 28 Looe to Fowey

Another wild day on the water, Our crew from UBC were off at 11:00 am from Fowey harbour for another interesting day on the water, in an hour and half we managed 4 N Miles to Porperro a very small village tucked away on the edge of many cliffs, within an 1.5 hr journey we had light wind, no wind and a squal of 25 knots just before we reached Porperro, what a tough 20 minutes we had just trying to get the canoe into the harbour.

There was a very big celebration in the community and we were welcomed to music of all sorts, we stayed for three hours til 6:20 pm and made a break for Fowey harbour, relentless seas awaited us and we must have had 2+ meter seas.

Just prior to our departure for Fowey I called Steve who has a Rib ( support Vessel )for support so he came out to meet us and escorted us for the last 6 miles, the seas continued to be large but very little wind, thank goodness. We made Fowey within 2hrs 10 minutes, with a team of 10, we were challenged all the way, this coastline in this area has only one place for us to go ashore in Atlantic Bay so you are committed.

We arrive Fowey Harbour to a great reception, Gallent Sail club and Mayor Anne Boosey.

Gifts were exchanged and dinner provided at 10:00pm

We packed up and the group went home for the evening, gear stowed in many areas!

June 27
Ashore once again with a forecast of increasing winds to 23 knots and moving our way so we are off the water again, the streets of Looe are fasinating with local music and such friendly people many asking of the canoe and where is she.
BBC Radio cornwall called me today and confirmed with me that they would like to take our offer through our canoe journey to help with a fundraising opportunity for sick and terminally ill children ' Precious Lives' and cheques to be mailed to BBC Radio Cornwall, I am very happy that someone has come forward to ask us to help with a Charity such as this one.
Our group will enjoy another day here and wait for news of a weather change and hopefully be off to Fowey ( Foy ) tomorrow.
I wish all who following our progress the very best, spirits are very high with our UBC students, they have had a marvelous time such variety and so welcomed, they have experienced great hospitality, Royal marines, locals, Mayor and Council, Harbour Masters, calm seas, sailing Spirit Dancer, very rough seas and very hard work, team spirit like none I have ever seen before, they are great hosts and ambassadors for our country Canada, they have played an integral role and very much a part of Canadian history for future Canadians to get involved in the most outstanding and challenging canoe journey that have not seen since Don Starkell and his son Dana traveled to the Amazon River in the early 1980's.

Best wishes to all readers, Chris G. Cooper Explorer, Adventurer and Photographer.

Our UBC  team in Looe Cornwall being welcomed by the Mayor and harbourmaster in the Guildhall (Town Hall).

June 26 Looe

Spirit of Adventure

It was defined yesterday in seas of force 5/6 with south westerlies and breaking seas of 2.5 meters with wash over the deck on many occasions, it was the most humbling of sea conditions yet and only made 2 N Miles and went ashore at the only beach available to us. At this point we were 2 N Miles west of Looe.

On the ebb tide we left Spirit Dancer ashore and 5 of the crew went to scout ahead on the coast trail to Polperro about 3 miles to a very quaint village perched on the edge of a cliff which reminded me of Macho Pichu, Peru , South America.

The seas were very intimidating and there was no way we could continue so once we arrived back at the canoe we discussed retreating back to Looe where Wally from the local council asked us to come back and stay with the community until safe to leave again.

Once back on the water the seas were still breaking and we also had a beam sea which is not at all friendly, we were tossed around like a cork and I can say we have not had a sea like this while traveling the BC, Alaska coast.

We are blessed on the BC Coast with 1000's of islands to run for protection when the weather becomes unmanageable on the outside coast.We do not have this anywhere on the southcoast or the upcoming northcoast of Cornwall and Devon.

We are completely weather dependant and cannot afford any incident whatsoever.

The hospitality of the Cornish people is truly remarkable, case in point, when we left the beach where we were kept hostage a local person saw the canoe traveling back to Looe, called the Harbour Master Geoff in turn called lifeboat RNLI to come out and escort us to the safety of the harbour. We thank them for coming out,we arrived back in Looe and were put up in the Town Hall once again, as Wally said I think we would like to adopt all of us. What friendlyness we have had. It leaves me speechless.

June 24 Plymouth to Looe

We are back on the water after 6 days of not being able to travel, I put my back out and it has been a real problem for me to travel until today, we have been treated by the community of Fowey while I have not been able to travel.

The Royal Marines have also been extremely helpful as well in regards to taking care of the team while having this inconvenience, today the back is much better and able for the first time to travel to Looe.

We travelled under good sea conditions and took 5 hrs to make 15 N Miles. We arrived in Looe to a fine reception and were asked to stay in the Town Hall,the Canoe is moored outside the RNLI station.

This morning the 25th of June we had a very nice meeting in Looe with the Mayor, Council, Harbour Master and exchanged gifts including a very nice Cornish Flag, we have been treated like ambassadors for Canada.

We are being hopeful that we will be able to canoe to Fowey which is about 10 miles but the wind is blowing and will have a meeting with the Harbour Master in regards to sea conditions for the local area.

I am taking up the time on this computer which is in the Mayors office so I will say cheerio for now and wishing all the best to my followers, our best regards, Chris Paddles Up !!

June 20 Bantham to Newton Ferres/ Plymouth
An early departure to make Plymouth was foiled as winds again came up soon after we departed from this very tiny village on the Avon River. We are now into westerlies and to be expected.
The afternoon blew up and we were pressed to make Newton ferries with no where to stay so the Royal marines came to our aide and moved us by land to the barracks in Plymouth. Turn Chapel.
The next day it blew to force 7/8 and seas were violent enough to not paddle again, we moved the canoe in tow by ridged hull Royal marines, two vessles were used and it was a ride like no other we have had since we departed London, I won't share any more info on that day as we nearly lost Spirit Dancer in tow ( 4 Miles ) to Plymouth. A very stressful situation.
We are now in Plymouth for the next day, we got Spirit Dancer to Plymouth and paddled her to the reception area to meet with Mayor and media. We had 6 Royal marines in the canoe for a short paddle over to Mayflower Steps then returned to the Barracks.
June 19th we departed for Fowey by land as we were asked to move onto this village while waiting for the weather to change, we are now hosted in Fowey for the weekend and will move Paddle Spirit Dancer early next week to Looe and onto Fowey early next week.
Our progress is painfully slow we will be lucky to make Penzance by end June which is a month behind so there we are, it has been very successful from many points of view, very very complicated and logistically very intense with our begginner crews, they are very happy with what has taken place and are having a great time being looked after by the Brits.
A special thanks to all and to Barry Hunter Inspector Cornwall Police department, to Lt Col Steve Richards of the Royal Marines  Exmouth.
I will try another update early next week and inform all. Best wishes to all, Chris  Paddles Up !!

June 16 Salcombe to Bantham

After a great stay in Salcombe we were sent off with the Harbour Master and the Mayor ( Paul ) fine hosts they were and really went all out to help our crew for their first day with me. Bantham is about 10 NM and we had two local ladies along to experience Spirit Dancer. Ruth and Sue both Gig Rowers.

We departed for Hope cove after a fine sendoff and made our way to Hope Cove, a lovely small community with much interest by the locals, we gave stickers away and some small paddles, we departed for Bantham under sail and paddle. The entrance to the harbour is very tricky with surf all about. we snuck through without too much trouble and arrived safely. Marsh the harbour master greeted us along with Peter and we unloaded all gear for our camp which was just up the road.

Later on Marsh came down to suggest to me that I sleep on his boat which was an all wooden vessel with two bunks, so I'm off to sleep as it is 10:00pm and I'm tired, I treated the group for dinner at the Sloop Inn where I am at present. Best wishes to all and again tomorrow will be another most marvelous welcome in Plymouth. 

The group presented two beautiful paddles and pictures of the canoe to our super hosts. Marsh, Wendy and Peter.

Fellow Rotarians in Salcombe, Devon meet our UBC team in preparation for traveling the south coast of the UK.

June 15 Salcombe

Today we had the most interesting day with this community as there was a Rowing Gig race and so we witnessed some very competative teams, our canoe was well received and we carried out tours in it all day and presented a great paddle to the rowing club. The entire community were trilled by our presence and cheered us each time we went by. Our UBC team were there all day to help out with our canoe.

June 13
To all that are following the progress of the Spirit of Adventure Canoe journey, For the past two weeks the canoe Spirit Dancer has made 25 N Miles with novice paddlers from Paignton to Salcombe a spectacular part of the coast, Start Point would have been one of the highlights of this section.
There were no teams planned for this two weeks and I was hoping locals would get involved which they have and it was great, The Brits have been great hosts and thanks to Ray and Jan and Andrew and Sylvia for accomodating me while I was otherwise homeless!!
Iker Gomez has now arrived with the UBC team ( University of British Columbia ) and will meet me in Salcombe tomorrow Saturday June 14th, we will be meeting Rotary for Lunch at the Sailing club and then onto the Harbour Masters office to meet with them about our departure to Burgh Island and Plymouth.
I had an interview with BBC Radio Cornwall ( Donna Birrell ) yesterday at 4:15 pm and discussed our Canoe journey with the listeners, our UBC team hopefully will reach Penzance by June 28th as I want to have the canoe shipped to the Isles of Scilly for 7 to 10 days.
Our next team arrives July 6th and hope they will also have the chance to visit this paradise by Canoe. I'm sure we will have many locals involved in traveling in the canoe there.
We don't have astrong crew and we are being very caucious every step of the way, the Canoe will be shipped by ferry both ways. Please be advised that this will be the last update til I get my hands on another computer, you never know where thats going to be!!
Best wishes to all, Regards Chris.  Paddles Up !!

June 10 Dartmouth to Salcombe
We are again lucky to find a crew to travel the coast from Dartmouth to Salcombe, a beautiful section of coast and quite dramatic in places, we were on the water 6.5 hrs and covered 16 NMiles, rounding Start Point was one of the highlights, plenty of beaches one could camp on.
We arrive at Salcombe in the early evening and the Harbour Masters office took care of Spirit Dancer and moored it up river til the UBC team arrives Friday.
We hired a taxi to get us back to Newton Abbot where I am staying at the moment. Planning our next move will most likely happen for Monday for Plymouth and beyond.
It is approximately 95 NMiles to Penzance and with our UBC students should make this destination.
I will update where I can and hopefully have an opportunity to find a computer somewhere on route, best to all and best wishes to all who are following our progress. Chris.

A group greets the Spirit Dancer crew on the shingle beach at Torcross,  Devon UK.

June 8 Paignton to Dartmouth
Finally we are on the move again and had a crew from Paignton Rowing club and police officers join me for a 10NM day which was an amazing piece of coast with rocky islands and headwalls, we paddled up the Dart river to the Brittania Navy Base ( College ) and moored Spirit Dancer there for security and piece of mind.
I am looking forward to our UBC team joining us on Friday hopefully, Salcombe is where they need to come to so if you are reviewing the News and Updates please make sure you can meet me there on Friday the 13th June. We can then depart from there for Penzance. Please contact me on 07503 444 856 or with Barry Hunter on his mobile at 07890 015 458. I do have another mobile that you can contact me on at 07503 448 750. You can leave message with Barry if unable to get me.
Just to update everyone following, we will be departing for Canada July 25th and will return for Scotland September 1st. Spirit Dancer will be trailered by Lindsay Williams who is managing Spirit Dancer while I'm back home.
Please note:
On Friday May 31st From Exmouth to Paignton Lt Col Steve Richards and Police officer from Cornwall Inspector Barry Hunter and daughter Izzie travelled in Spirit Dancer canoe this day, a first time for Izzie.
We are still looking for corporate sponsorship to help me with crews for next year 2009 and hope someone will support this project, I need to have the best paddlers from Canada to paddle the West and Northcoast of Scotland. Best wishes for now and we continue to update when and where I can. Best wishes Cheers Chris.

June 1-4
Paignton, Devon  Crewless!!
As of June 1st until June 14th Spirit Dancer will be made up of local crews to continue along the Devon coast. Our first group is June 8th and will paddle to Dartmouth, it is a crew from the Paignton area made up of Police, Gig Rowers and private individuals. Lets hope that some stay on for a few extra days!
It is with regret that I will be making changes to the overall itinerary due to difficulties with no crews for August from Canada so therefore Legs 5&6 have been postponed to a future date or year.
As of June 15th to July 22nd we hope to get the canoe around Landsend and up the North coasts of Cornwall and Devon.
Spirit Dancer will be moved to Scotland for September 1st in preparation for meeting with the Scottish paddlers from SCA and will continue along the coast from Port Carlisle to Ireland and back to Scotland hopefully finishing on the Isle of Luing in early October.
Part of our main problem is that we don't have the large corporate sponsor to help finance the top Canadian paddlers to come over which would be what I want in order to do the larger mileages and deal with the challenges of this coastline.
I do hope that someone will come forward and help with this most marvelous journey and inspire all that are following us over here.
I will keep all posted as to what is happening til my return to Canada July 25th. I will then return in early September to join the Scottish paddlers.
Very best wishes to all, Chris G. Cooper

  <<<<< View 2008 July Spirit Dancer Adventures News
View 2008 June Spirit Dancer Adventures News >>>>>>

View 2008 January-May Spirit Dancer Adventures News >>>>>>>>
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!

View 2005-2007 Spirit Dancer Adventure News >>>>>>>>

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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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