Everyone there is focused on becoming better paddlers. I spent 19 hours on the water paddling in 6 days (dragon boat plus outrigger canoe), which is like two months of practices condensed into one week for a normally twice-a-week paddling team.
We paddled with many dolphins and manatees up close every day in the canal and out in the river. There were also "Squirrels" on the water (as in Squirrel! from the movie Up!, which was said whenever an elite canoe/kayak paddler (male or female) zipped by the dragon boats. In past years, we saw Adam van Koeverden and Tom Hall on the water, and other Olympic and national paddlers from several countries.
My typical Monday to Friday schedule consisted of the following...
> 6:15-7:30am - outrigger canoe (OC-1) paddling with Derek and Dave.
> 9:00-10:15am - dragon boat practice #1.
> 10:15-10:45pm - individual dragon boat practice for those interested.
> 11:00-11:30am - stretch class.
> 12:00-12:30pm - daily talk on various topics by coaches.
> 1:00-3:00pm - coaching course with Albert McDonald.
> 3:15-4:30pm - dragon boat practice #2.
> 4:30-5:00pm - individual dragon boat practice for those interested.
Other scheduled camp or team items...
> Sun. - met as a team for the first time to discuss the week.
> Mon. - camp social and also picked up our camp jerseys.
> Mon. - video #1 review in card room.
> Wed. - video $2 review in card room.
> Wed. - team dinner at Bonefish Willies (Rusty Dragons tradition).
> Thur. - afternoon off >> went to Cocoa Beach / Ron Jon's.
> Fri. - anyone interested on our team got to try outrigger canoe.
> Sat. - short warm-up practice then a 2km (2x1km) race.
> Sat. - camp BBQ and roasting/skits for coaches.
> Sat. - Lou's Blues for 4 hours of live music and dancing til close!
Old and New Friends...
In addition to the paddling, the icing on the cake is spending a week with the team with no worries (hopefully) of work, rush hour traffic, or other distractions. It was great to see so many familiar faces from many teams, as well as make new friends. Plans are already being made for next year.
The Rusty Dragons will likely be going both weeks of the camp in 2014 (full teams of 20 likely through our new club affiliations in the USA and Canada). Pre-registration will open this summer to start building those teams. Whether you are a beginner, novice, or experienced paddler, this camp is a great opportunity to take a break from the routine and take it up a notch. Anyone can do the camp, and anyone is welcome to register. The camp does not advertise, but relies on word-of-mouth. This year, the camp filled to capacity in record time (weeks). If you have any questions about the camp, just ask!
Can't wait for next year...