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Lopez Island Resident Completes 21-Day Sea Kayaking Course

Elsa Lawrence, 19, of Lopez Island,  recently completed a wilderness expedition traveling in Baja with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Lawrence’s Baja Sea Kayaking course took place over 21 days alongside 11 coursemates and three instructors.

The start of Lawrence’s expedition began in Bahia Coyote and ended in San Basilio after traveling 170 km. During this time, the group developed fundamental sea kayak skills, built leadership skills, and engaged with the environment.

The sea kayaking exposed the students to a wide range of paddling conditions. These conditions consisted of exposed areas of coastline, rock gardens, and a minor surf landing on a sandy beach giving them a depth of experience.

Each student was given the opportunity to lead the expedition being the head kayaker and by directing for extended periods of time. When arriving at camp, the group took advantage of the warm weather and explored the Sea of Cortez through snorkeling with hundreds of reef and pelagic fish.

One of the biggest highlights with the marine life was seeing a pod of pilot whales and spotting two whale sharks while kayaking. Besides being on the sea, students were also exposed to environmental and cultural studies.

Lawrence and her course-mates learned about the environment they adapted to through writing exercises and self-lead classes. Individually, each student gave a 10- minute class on a specific area they were surrounded by.

The expedition also brought the students to the door of NOLS friend and local Don Chico and his family in San Nicholas. There, they practiced their Spanish language skills, swapped stories and experiences, and enjoyed fish tacos. Overall the group accomplished many goals through teamwork and became efficient sea kayakers.

About NOLS - The National Outdoor Leadership School:

Since legendary mountaineer Paul Petzoldt founded the school in 1965, more than 254,000 students have graduated from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), the leader in wilderness education. Whether through field-based courses offered in some of the most awe-inspiring locations in the world or classroom-based courses, the school provides transformative educational experiences to students of all ages.

Graduates emerge as active leaders with lifelong environmental ethics and outdoor skills. To discover the NOLS experience or to bring a course to your business or organization, call (800) 710-NOLS (6657) or visit www.nols.edu.


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