OLDS Recap – Sea Kayaking Edition

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An update from Erin Fleming!

There’s no better escape from the hazy North Carolina mountains than a trip spent on the salt water! The crew of 20, including all three semester proctors and our two amazing section leaders, spent a day in the classroom learning about techniques before rolling out at the crack of dawn to make our way a little further south. After two days of driving, we spent an afternoon practicing paddling and navigating, then headed out┬áthe next morning. We spent the next six days paddling from islands to chickees (raised wooden platforms in the middle of the rivers, one of the more unique campsites we’ve experienced this semester) to ground campsites hidden in the mangroves. We saw every kind of wildlife you could imagine: sharks and dolphins, alligators and manatees, and more than our fair share of mosquitoes. The students really embraced the island lifestyle–they spent their mornings collecting shells, afternoons exploring islands (and making references to everyone’s favorite book about a group on an island, Lord of the Flies), and evenings watching the sun set over the open ocean.

The spiritual focus for this section was the ending of Ephesians 6, the armor of God. We got detailed teaching on every piece of the armor, which really seemed to encourage the students, especially as we prepared them to go home for Thanksgiving, urging them to use their time well. The students also got a two hour mini solo on the biggest island during which they were able to reflect on the semester as a whole and enjoy Creation.

The last morning of kayaking, we started our paddle at about 4am, which gave us a cool opportunity for a night paddle, with the sun eventually rising up behind us. The bus ride back was spent admiring each other’s tans, watching old home videos and reflecting on the previous six days. As an instructor, it was encouraging to see the students excel at kayaking and immerse themselves in the teaching. In our book, sea kayaking is an amazing section.

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