Pre departure gender role groups– boys moved trailer with the boats on while the girls sorted out bags in the van.
We started this trip canoeing down to Evja. The conditions were not ideal for Novice canoers because due to the wind the waves were so high. Kathrin and I initially went in a canoe together and we did not have control over steering the boat. We then split up and I went with George and Kathrin went with Connor. I think Connor was avoiding going with me due to a weird place in our friendship together the weekend before. This influenced the group dynamics of the trip because I constantly felt like Connor didn’t like me and didn’t want to be around me. He clearly did want to be around George because the two of them are best friends. After a couple of false starts the waves finally calmed down a bit and stopped crashing over the side of our boat. In hindsight with the strong wind at the start maybe we should have put the tarp sail up then? But then again, the chances of one of the canoes capsizing were much higher so maybe it wasn’t the safest idea. George took to navigational lead for the first bit for the group. His style of leadership is pretty autocratic in nature. We got into a rhythm and the group began to go quite well. He put Eva and Berit in the front as they were the least experienced paddlers. I had over estimated my ability because canoe is not the same as kayaking. I have a lot of experience kayaking but not that much canoeing. The team work partnership with George worked well when he was at the back and I was at the front. We stayed in this formation during the rough weather.
We set up camp on the first night tucked around a corner out of the wind. The only downside to our spot was that the highway was very close and we could hear many trucks and cars going by. We set up our shelter with three tarps and much skill. We didn’t do it very quickly but it was luxury home for the girls. We then went to find the boys tarps and they were pretty basic shelters. We were happy that ours was a lot more wind and waterproof.
The group dynamics of this afternoon were quite relaxed. Len took a step back and distanced himself from the group. George took on the role of tending to the fire whilst others checked themselves for ticks and wrote in their diaries.
Simon and Max were leading when we stopped to have our first break as a group. The place we arrived was a small beach jutting out from the river bank. We pulled our canoes over the beach to the other side to get out of the wind. Here was another reminder that is one’s own responsibility not to get cold! I jogged up and down to pebbly beach to get my legs moving again and not get cold. It was here the boys had the idea that we should create a sail to catch the wind and float the rest of the way down the fjord. Conner and kathrin tied their boat onto mine and georges. Both connor and George paddled at the back whist kathrin and I help up the corner of the sail. Two people steering at the back at the same time acted as a brake and slowed us down. Only one person needed to steer. Only tie simple easy to release knots between the two canoes. Bringing the top of the sail down catches more wind.
For lunch, we stopped and because Kathrin and I were cold we decided t make a hot soup. Len followed suit. As we agreed we would stop for 20 minutes. By the end of the lunch some group members got cold from just sitting around. They ran around to warm up. Before we set off Kathrin ran a little game to get us all warm. Halfway to the dam George and I swapped so that I was at the back steering. It was so much harder. Lack of communication between me and George meant that we both started steering at the same time – braking. I told him that I didn’t know how to do a J stroke. He Explained how to do it again but didn’t demonstrate it. I wish I had asked him to show me how to do it. Eventually I think I got it right but because no one gave me any feedback on if I was doing it correctly I think it really effected how quickly I learnt the skill. When passing the dam and exiting the water Len gave us clear instructions to wait by the bank/rocks so we didn’t drift away. Lens leadership here was appropriately Autocratic. Each boat went one at a time after he gave the signal of paddle straight up in the air.
Don’t drag the canoues because they will get a hole in the bottom
Rafting – Tourists go down the chicken shoot (safest way possible with the most water = blue) avoid walls of white because you will stop if you hit one. A White water kayaker always stays close to the raft for extra safety.
Debrief – I tried to initiate a debrief in a similar way to how I did in Alta. It Alta it worked really well. George however hates debriefs or ‘therapy’ as he called it. In not surprised. Group didn’t really share much about group functioning or the things they wanted to improve on. This debrief didn’t really facilitate group bonding like it had when I had done similar things previously with other groups so I was a little disappointed. I really feel that George held the group back in this situation and if had been more open others (Connor) would have been too.
Bike & climb
I liked setting the pace because I was one of the slowest in the group and being at the front put no pressure on me to keep up with the others. I will remember this when I lead groups in the future. The group dynamics here were interesting. All four girls rode together at the front. Len floated between the middle and the front.
Connor feel going around a corner and made a noise that stopped the whole group. Len then gathered the group all together and then set us off single file for the S bend.