Tribute to Andy Smith

We are currently preparing a plaque in memoriam to Andy Smith to be installed on a solid rock base next to Gridiron Falls on the Tusket River. At a recent gathering at the site, Ginney Smith shared a few readings from Andy’s book.

The official dedication was held on August 7th with canoe folk from across the Province represented.

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April NEWS

1. Shout out to Christopher Lockyer who has set up a FREE  Zoom workshop for SWPA members on Tuesday April 21st from 7-8:30 p.m. Christopher says the outcomes for the program are  to: bring the paddling community together in these challenging times; look at a framework for planning paddling trips; gain confidence looking at route planning; and become a safer paddler. 


  • This session is for SWPA members only
  • Registration is required as the session is limited to 20 people. Register here:  If there is a waiting list, he will run another program on April 27th
  • If you are not signed up with Zoom, it’s simple (and free). Go here:  

 2. Andrew “Andy” Smith is now paddling in the next world.  As most of you know, Andy passed away March 20th. He was a co-founder of Southwest Paddlers Association back in 1999, and the author of Paddling In The Tobeatic which remains a classic (Nimbus). Ginny tells us that a memorial will be held for Andy in 2021 when family members and friends are able to travel. SWPA and TREPA will be arranging for a plaque to be installed in Andy’s memory, on one of the many river systems he especially loved, per the family’s recommendation. 

3. Paddling during COVID-19. As recorded in the minutes from Executive meeting held April 7, 2019:

It was moved by Dan, seconded by Barrie and carried unanimously that the South West Paddlers Association supports the province’s guidelines and encourages all members to do so. 

4. Ods & Sods

  • AGM is on hold. 
  • Wet Exit kayaking course at the YMCA on hold
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Wet exit pool session offered

Kayaking wet exits and rescues pool session 

In preparation of the coming paddling season, the Southwest Paddlers Association is sponsoring a Wet Exit and Rescue Session for people who have never wet exited their kayak or those who have, and are still anxious about the experience. 

The pool session is at the Yarmouth YMCA Sunday, March 29th, 9 AM – 11 AM. Fee: $40 Register by sending e-transfer to Dan Earle [email protected] or by calling 902 742-6382 

Though there will be a short demonstration of the techniques involved beforehand participants should note that these sessions are essentially of a peer-to-peer, paddler-to-paddler and friend-to-friend nature. Those with more experience will be encouraged to work with those who have less.  

Sea kayaks and paddles will be provided. Participants need their own PFD’s (personal flotation devices). Session leaders are SWPA volunteer: Vernon Doucette, Verna Wirth and Ken Pothier.

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March Meeting – pot luck

NEXT DINNER GATHERING! Pot luck at the Wedgeport Tuna Museum, Tuesday March 3, at 6 pm. PROGRAM: Anna Mallin will present a slide show about her trip to Greenland and paddling to the Equip Glacier.

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All the latest news…

Hello everyone ~

1. We now have 40 paid up members for 2020. WHOOP! If you still want to get notices of meetings, events etc. and haven’t paid up for 2020, please send $15 to Dan Earle, via e-transfer to him at <[email protected]>   or mail a cheque made out to Southwest Paddler Association and mail to Dan 97 Chebogue Point Road, Rockville NS, B5A 5E8

2. We continue our monthly off-season dinner meetings, first Tuesday of the month. Upcoming one is Feb. 4th at 6 pm at The Argyler Lodge. PROGRAM this month is a double feature:

  • Member’s “Show & Tell”. Chose 1-5 photos (best trip, worst trip, funniest trip, etc.) and send your photos in the order you want to show them to Sue Hutchins.<[email protected]> You’ll have 5 min. to yak about your pictures. Photos can be from same excursion or not. Excursion[s] could be short day trip or several days. Easy or grueling. Get the picture? 
  • Will Poole will be showing his trip on the Bonaventure River, PQ. (Slide show won’t crash this time!) 😉
    • Please let Sandra know if you plan to attend so Jonathan has enough seats (and food!) for everyone.

3. Planning a beach clean up at Comeau’s Hill (May 2) and cleanup of a mess in Second Carrying Lake, Birchdale (TBA). Details will follow. 

4. Interested in learning how to paddle a Voyageur Canoe a.k.a big boat? We may be able to set up a training session at The Argyler Lodge (in partnership with Canoe/Kayak NS). Then we’d tack on a day trip in the region or even a 2-night camping trip around islands from the lodge this summer. 

This is all possible but we need to assess the interest. Contact Sandra if you are interested in either training or tripping in a big boat.  

5. Items that members can borrow: 

    a) Garmin InReach … for use on wilderness trips. It’s a huge safety feature knowing you can reach family via email and/or get a helicopter to rescue you in case of emergency. 

     b) We also have a “bothy bag” that comes in handy when there’s a downpour or snow squall and you want to pull ashore but not set up tents etc. Available to members to take on outings.

6. Mark your calendars: UPCOMING PROGRAMS:

Tues. March 3 … POT LUCK dinner at the Wedgeport Tuna Museum. 6 pm.   PROGRAM: Anna Mallin will present a slide show about her trip to Greenland and paddling to the Equip Glacier.

Tues. April 7 … our AGM … Dessert party and guest speaker at the Yarmouth Co. Museum at 7:30 pm. Guest speaker TBA.

PROGRAM SUGGESTIONS for next year? Send along any ideas you have! 

Cheers, Sandra <[email protected]>

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Scenes from January meeting

Over 35 people attended our monthly get together at the Olde Argyler lodge. Johnathan cooked up a variety of excellent dishes and the service was great. The meal was followed by socializing and slide shows.

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January meeting set

Next SWPA gathering Tues. Jan 7th at The Argyler Lodge at 6 pm. Please let Sandra know if you plan to attend ([email protected] or 902 648-0462) so she can make reservations.  (Guests welcome!) PROGRAM: Will Poole will be doing a slide show about his trip down the mighty Bonaventure River PQ. Hope to see you there.  

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SWPA Potluck

SWPA monthly dinner meeting will be a POT LUCK on Tuesday, Dec. 3rd at Beacon Church in the parlour at 6 pm. PROGRAM: Nancy Lacusta and Karlyn d’Entremont will be sharing slides and thoughts about their SUP trip into the Tobeatic last spring. Please let Sandra know if you plan to attend so we have enough plates & forks! [email protected]

At Cofan

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SWPA November get together

Paddle or sail in, or however, and join us.

SWPA monthly dinner meeting at Argyler Lodge 6 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 12th Note: 1) change of date for this month. 2) Our meetings are open. Bring guests! PROGRAM: Vernon Doucette will be giving a slide show/talk titled Modern paddling-ancient roots. He says, “My talk has two threads. One follows the history of recreational kayaking from its beginnings in mid-nineteenth century England while also looking at the subsequent moments of popularity in Germany between the wars, the UK in the late 1950’s and early 60’s and in North America subsequently. Parallel to that theme I’ll talk about how at certain moments in that evolution Native kayaks and techniques would significantly influence how the sport developed. I’ll also touch on aspects of Greenland kayaking, paddles and techniques and endeavor to answer any questions in that regard.” *** Let Sandra know if you plan to attend so she can make reservations. [email protected]

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Minutes Exec Meeting 10/29/19

South West Paddlers

Executive Meeting

October 29th, 2019

Sip Coffee Shop

Present: Sandra Phinney, Dan Earle, Sue Hutchins, Elaine Howatt, Karlyn d’Entremont, Vernon Doucette, Verna Wirth, Ken Pothier, Kerri Pothier and Barrie MacGregor

  1. Welcome to new directors: Karlyn d’Entremont, Kerrie Pothier, Vernon Doucette, Verna Wirth, Ken Pothier.
  1. Minutes of the last meeting: Barrie read the minutes from April 15, 2019. It was moved by Sue, seconded by Elaine and carried that the minutes be approved as read. 
  1. Treasurer’s report: Dan reported that the association has $1,200 in the bank $220 of which is allocated for ongoing charges for the InReach. 
  1. Call for new Membership: New members will be sought and current members will be asked to renew in Jan/Feb of 2020. 
  1. Garmin Finances: This was covered in the treasurer’s report. 
  1. Meeting programs

Nov: Vernon Doucette, History and making of Greenland kayaks

Dec: Nancy Lacusta: Tobeatic trip with Karlyn on SUP

Jan: Will Poole: PQ trip + tips for packing for kayak and canoe trips

Feb or March: Anna Mallin – Greenland or NL

Feb or March: Members send Sue 3 – 5 photographs of their favourite best/worst paddling moments and share stories

April: TBD

Suggestions for future programs: 

  • Mel Doucette: polling or Nahanni trip
  • Chris Bolger: review of Roy MacGregor’s “Canoe Country: the Making of Canada” 
  • Nicola Roberts-Fenton  … Adler Wilderness Experiences
  1. December General Meeting: It was agreed to schedule the December meeting (Dec. 3) for the Tuna Museum in Wedgeport pending availability. Verna and Ken to confirm. 
  1. Fund raising: Sandra agreed to contact RBC re their 3, 3, and 3 program where Paddlers and bank employees join forces in a 3 hour community project. Shoreline clean up was suggested. 

Vernon will head a committee to come up with a proposal re: shore line clean ups. Inland waterways will also be considered. He also suggested we look into what the Main Island Trail Association is doing, for ideas.

  1. Events SWPA can support: It was generally agreed that the Shelburne Kayak Festival could use some support. Pending funds SWPA will consider sponsorship possibly for youth. We will also encourage members to attend their next meeting Nov. 12th in Shelburne.
  1. Big Boat Experience: It was agreed that further exploration on the availability and conditions related to big boat use and training. Sue will get further information from her contact and Sandra will follow up with Canoe/Kayak NS. 
  1. Other: We’ll suggest to members that they come half hour early to mix “n” mingle at member meetings before settling down to dinner. Will also try and have program in a different part of location so folks can socialize.
  1. Next Executive Meeting: Tuesday January 21st, 2020 – 12 noon at SIP. 
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