Saturday, March 28, 2009

eye dotting ceremony

The PKSCA dragons are awake, following a rainy eye dotting ceremony on the Portland waterfront. The following pictures are from a teammate, Kathleen Hargis Schuyler, and her husband. I had a difficult time getting myself down there because of work my hours (got home at 2AM and I can't just go directly to bed, despite my best intentions). But I was really glad I went. It felt good to be a part of the celebration and to be there for the blessings of the boats and to see the dragons wake up.

After which I stayed for the tiller practice. My first ride on the actual dragon boats. There was a boat of paddlers (with one tiller, of course) and then I was in the boat full of tillers who were, of course, paddling. We rotated through and practiced taking the boat out into the river, turning around, and heading back in, then docking. Each of us had the chance to be the tiller once. And the rest of the time we paddled; for nearly two hours.

It was exciting to be on the dragon boats and I now know the difference, by feel, of the aluminum six-sixteen/Hong Kong boats we've been practicing with and the 1000 pound wooden dragon boats we will be using for the race. And I now know that the till truly can knock me into the water on the actual boat. I remember feeling that way the first time or two out on the smaller boats, but the fear was more of losing my balance and going in. Today I felt the power of the boat; the additional weight of it on the till; how the wind actually has a stronger impact on the larger boat, maybe partly because of the ears and tail; and I felt that till, which is two to three times the size of the other one, as a very strong force I need to pay attention to. But it was exhilarating, too. I left the nearly two hour practice of paddling, and tilling, and getting very wet and being cold, feeling better than I have for a couple days. Energized. Positive outlook. Ready to take on whatever happens.

And ready for a steaming latte, which I picked up at a place on the dock on the way to my car!

Ah. A good day.

Thank you for sharing your pictures, Kathleen!

eye dotting ceremony pictures
by Kathleen Hargis Schuyler