An epic Canadian rowing experience: Alert Bay 360
Photos and reporting from Marla Weston and Annette O’Shea, 2018 WRCC organizing committee
Some of our 2018 WRCC organizing committee took time off from getting ready for the championships to be part of the annual Alert Bay 360.
Here’s how organizers describe Alert Bay 360: an eco-tourism based event which encourages a healthy lifestyle, and helps our local businesses. This is an event which showcases not only Cormorant Island and those who live here, but also the culture and the many wonders found on Northern Vancouver Island.
The ‘Namgis First Nation (pronounced numb geese) have been in this area for thousands of years. There is a warm welcome from the ‘Namgis First Nation when Chief Bill Cranmer and his son, Eli, sing the “welcome song” during the awards ceremony. Following the awards ceremony, there is the “Big House Celebration,” which includes a seafood feast and cultural songs and dances. An invitation into the Big House is considered a once in a lifetime opportunity.
This year’s event featured 148 boats, including 200 paddlers and rowers.
There were surf skis, kayaks, canoes, 1 Euro diffusion 2x, one Liteboat 2x, one Liteboat 1x, one homemade 1x, two First Nations canoes and one banana!
Coastal rowers from Salish Sea Coastal Rowing and Victoria City Rowing Club took part. Both coastal doubles crews finished in the top ten.
Competitors travel 11 kilometres around Cormorant Island. The first boat finished in 52 minutes, the last boat in 140 minutes.
Step 1 of getting ready for the Alert Bay 360. Put the Euro double on the car and hope the car doesn’t collapse. Or take off if a big wind hits!
We did race against a banana in a kayak. He was a slippery fellow who peeled out at the start but was left bruised at the end of the race.
This video as taken by a drone of the start of the Alert Bay 360.
Alaska Cruise ship parked at the start line so we raced across her bow. We made the front page of newspaper. Our double is in the top right corner, wearing Salish Sea orange.
Kelp forests are a race hazard. They dragged a few boats to a dead stop.
Heading home on the ferry!