Naturally, my future plans mostly revolve around Venice Kayak, which is after all a ‘strategic’ choice I have made.
Currently I work closely with a camp site on the Lido di Venezia, where I have all gear and equipment, and I have to follow their season. They open on April 24 and close at the end of September, so these points in time are fixed for me.
I much prefer having people in Venice for several paddling days, so we can explore more of the city and the lagoon, but I also do single day paddles ‘on-demand’ for people who are already there.
Venice Kayak is at www.venicekayak.com.
When I return to Venice in April I want to become a member of a local rowing club there, the Circolo Canottieri Diadora, where I had a few Venetian rowing lessons last autumn.
Venetian rowing, or Voga alla veneta, as it is called locally, is the art of rowing standing up in the boat, facing forward, pushing the oar with the arms and body weight. The rowing style has become famous because gondolas are rowed like that, but the Venetians have a plethora of boats rowed Venetian style, from small racing boats to huge cargo freight boats weighing several tons.
Somehow a Venetian paddling experience is not complete without at least having tried to row in the local way, and I want to learn that and be good at it.
During Easter the Catalan paddling association Pagaia organised the third international sea kayak symposium in Llança/Port de la Selva, on April 4-6 with the possibility of remaining until April 12 for further paddles and talks.
We participated in 2007 and it was a great experience. The setting was fantastic. A rocky coastline with lots of Mediterranean ‘macchia’ as its called in Italy, provided for good varied paddling waters. The symposium was held on a very good camp site with its own beach, and add to that a well organised gathering and great food too 🙂 It was very nice, and I want to go back.
I hope to be able to make a presentation on paddling in Venice during the week after the symposium weekend.
The Pagaia symposium web site is at www.pagaia.cat/sympo09.
The 35th Vogalonga is a must when one work in Venice. The Vogalonga is an annual rowing celebration. It is a 30km non-competitive ‘race’ through Venice and the lagoon, open for all kinds of paddled or rowed boats. In 2008 for the 34th Vogalonga, there were over 1600 boats registered, and an unknown number of unregistered boats.
It is quite a sight with that many human powered boats in one place, and I wouldn’t miss it for anything.
This year the Vogalonga is on May 31.
The Vogalonga is held on the Sunday following Ascension, which is an important religious holiday in Venice, called the Sensa.
The celebrations of the Sensa includes a magnificent procession at sea, with parade boats from all the rowing associations in Venice, and a ceremony where Venice, represented by the mayor and the patriarch, throws a golden ring into the sea to celebrate a symbolic marriage between the city and the sea.
The Vogalonga web site is at www.vogalonga.com.
Symposium in Bibione in Italy
Bibione Kayak organises a kayak symposium in Bibione Pineda, circa 70km north of Venice, in the week following the Vogalonga.
This is the second Bibione Kayak symposium. The first was last year, with participation of Nigel Foster, Kristin Nelson, Jen Kleck and many others, and they will be back this year, where they will teach and instruct.
There’s no registration fee for Bibione Kayak, in fact there’s no requirement to register at all. There will be a lot of activities during the symposium week. It will be possible to participate in the Vogalonga, take classes with the international guests present, and probably also daytrips for paddling in Venice.
Its a fun event and a great way of getting to know Italian seakayakers.
The Bibione Kayaks web site is at www.bibionekayak.com.
It is my hope that it will be possible to organise kayaking trips to other parts of Italy, to places I know and where I have contacts, such as Sardinia, Elba, Sicily and maybe elsewhere. This is very much at a preliminary stage, but something I’m thinking about. I love Italy and I love kayaking, so I want to kayak as much in Italy as I can get away with.
Circumnavigation of Sicily
The paddling journey that went pear shaped in Sardinia in 2007 was supposed to include the circumnavigation of Sicily as well. That never happened, which still bothers me because the circumnavigation of Sicily was what I originally wanted to do.
I have travelled in Sicily since 1992, my wife is from Palermo, I wrote my MA thesis in History about Sicily, and I never get tired of the jewel of the Mediterranean, which has nature, history, culture, food and wonderful people in such abundance.
I’m not sure that this will be possible at all, as the project would take at least one month. The journey is about 1000km and I’m not a racer. I usually want to see things and meet people along the way, which also takes some time.