The 2016 Va’a World Sprints were held May 5-15 at Lake Kawana – about an hour outside Brisbane. Thirty-five countries and over 2,000 participants were involved in this international outrigger canoe event; I got to be there.
Take a look:
Participating countries included many island nations as well as bigger countries such as Canada, the U.S., Argentina . . .
We had fun – and the crew I’m on for Kihei Canoe Club on Maui earned a silver medal! Highlights include:
The races at Lake Kawana and experiences near there –
Before sunrise, Sookie, Linda L., Teresa R., and Linda K. do stretching exercises before heading to the race course.
Sunrises – and sunsets were spectacular from our Buderim house
Our morning warmups were often to this sanctuary in Buderim
In Mooloolaba – with me, Audrey, Joy, Diane, and Gail.
On Mother’s Day – at a delicious tapa bar – a random guy, Diane, Audrey, Gail, and Joy – yummy and fun.
We ate well wherever we were – here in Montville
At the Farmer’s Market: a flat of fresh strawberries – $5.00 (the best bargain in all of Australia!); fermented beets, organic peanut butter, greens, ginger, . . . wonderful! Audrey and Gail.
Kihei Canoe Club mates – at a fish market dinner.
Audrey and me with the haka chanting New Zealand paddlers – Lake Kawana
Skydivers with flags of all the countries participating in the World Sprints cultural event
Kihei Canoe Club members: Sookie, Linda K., Teresa R., Audrey, Denise (who got me started paddling – yeah!!), Ryn, Linda L., Gail, and Theresa T.
Ryn & Kimokea 🙂
Kihei Canoe Club winners: Susan, Flora, Cate, Cheryl, Ryn, & Ingrid
New paddles – John, Deanna, & Deb
Our Maxine, from the Big Island, and Diane, our terrific steerswoman
Kihei & Hawaiian canoe clubs combine crews for the 12-person outrigger race.
Our winning crew – with Audrey, Joy, Diane, and Maxine. Where’s Bebe?
Silver medal – I’m very happy. Photo from Katie
Celebrating after our silver medal win
The camaraderie was fantastic. On the last day of the World Sprints, we did t-shirt exchanges with other clubs. I got a club shirt from an Australian paddler, of course, one from a canoe club near Cairns, and another from Papa New Guinea (where I hope to go one day).
Denise running through the celebratory tunnel
Katie and Gracia – happy winners
Some races weren’t so close
Sometimes it was easy to tell other participants.
Hawaiian paddles presented to the Va’a officials on “Cultural Night” – World Sprints 2016.
Kihei Canoe Club paddlers and chanters
Our adventures continued near Lake Kawana and the Sunshine Coast:
This warning at Lake Kawana is a reminder that Australia has creatures that will do you harm. This race site lake was posted for deadly sharks, rays, jelly fish, and poisonous fish!! Yikes! We did no swimming here.
Our fabulous Airbnb house in Buderim, about a 15-minute drive from Lake Kawana – if you don’t get lost – has six bedrooms, a theatre room, a billiard table, pool, sauna, and a fantastic view.
Could this be a Chihuly in our fabulous Airbnb in Buderim?
In the billiard room
On our pool deck: Gail, Joy, Audrey, Linda K., and Diane
Pool with our view toward Mooloolaba
View from our Moololaba – harbor tour
This paddle boarder is within the shark netting that is set up along the Australian coast. However, we learned the net is mainly for psychological comfort. The nets do catch sea life 😦 – but don’t really stop sharks!
Birds diving for fish on the coast near Mooloolaba
Whale One – our tour boat
“The Crocodile Hunter” – Steve Irwin
We took several hikes to see the flora and fauna
A kookaburra really was in the old gum tree
Diane, Linda, Gail, Sookie
Audrey in the tree truck; we all actually fit inside.
Me at a waterfall in my new paddler – platypus shirt.
One of the challenges – besides racing – was driving in Australia – on the “wrong” side of the road. Audrey and I shared the driving and taking our housemates and crewmates around during the 10 days we were at the World Sprints. We often got lost – but we found the Australians very kind. I wanted us to have a big sign on the roof that said “American woman – stay away from me.” However, we made it 🙂 without any accident or damage.
Our Economy Car Rental – comfortable and reasonably priced – returned in Brisbane at night after one final adventure of getting lost – after we dropped Gail with her terrific navigational skills and Linda K. off at the airport. 🙂
The next morning in Brisbane, we saw Roger, a Servas friend. Barry, John and I had stayed with him during a trip to Australia 13 years ago.
On our final day in Brisbane, Roger picked Audrey and me up, gave us a tour, took us to a scenic spot above the city, and then drove us to the airport for the next part of our Australian adventure. Roger is a great example of Servas hospitality.
- KCC paddlers Denise, Mike, and Tara at the airport.
You may wonder why Denise is wearing a long coat in the 80 degree weather. The economy airlines in Australia such as Tiger Air and Jet Star charge for each bit of luggage over about 15 pounds that you haven’t paid for before you get to the airport. Your luggage, some found, can easily cost $500. Denise has prudently used the many pockets of her paddler coat, stuffing in heavy, useful necessities such as her computer. 🙂
After the World Sprints and our wonderful time there, some paddlers rushed off to return to Maui to work, but many of us left to discover more of Australia. Some went on cruises, some took bike trips, and some of us were on our way to Cairns.
See you mate, Renée