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ObX 1 is off to a great start. The group is adjusting to their new norm living as a community. The past few days have been filled with basic paddling skills, group cooking, swimming, grand slam exploring, rain, heat, and many group games. They weathered their first storm yesterday and managed to get good and soaked! After everyone and everything dried out, they practiced rescue skills and some basic paddling strokes. Overall, everyone is having a blast and enjoying their new coastal experiences. Here are some reflections from leader Alex.

Day 1 Sean, Sarah and I are super stoked that our campers got here today, and already, time seems to be flying by. After every one arrived, we got our basecamp situated, tents all set up, gear organized, and groups rules and norms established.

After we got all that ready to go, we had some time to enjoy the water. We started with a swim test (all passed!!), and progressed into lounging on the dock while swimming leisurely.

As I write this, Sean is helping Gray, Nathaniel, Caroline, and Sarah cook stir fry. With all the fresh veggies and spices that going in, the meal is starting to smell sooo good!! Our plan is to enjoy this meal in silence, as we watch the sun set over the White Oak River, which is no more than a stones throw from where the campers lay their heads at night. Life can seem so busy, and full of noise, that sometimes we forget to just listen. Here, next the river we are graced with the sounds of wind blowing through grass, crickets chirping, birds singing, and waves gently lapping the shore.

It is truly amazing to just take a step back, and enjoy the sounds of nature.

We will finish up our night with a special activity called the Talking Shell Ceremony, and be in tents early, so we are ready to go in the morning for our first day of paddling! Spirits are high and on the rise!

Day 2 & 3 On Monday morning we got hit by a strong thunderstorm in the middle of the night. Sean got all the campers inside around 2 AM, and while everyone was soaked to the bone, the rain taught some valuable lessons regarding setting up a proper tent. The next morning campers redid their tents, and they now look totally bomb-proof.

Once all that was situated, we got in some boats! Campers began the day by learning how to Wet Exit, T-Rescue, and Self Rescue (by way of the Rodeo), and I am glad to say that every person was able to complete each of those techniques! If you are unsure of what those things are, be sure to ask the expeditioners when you see them!! After those skills were fine tuned, we did a short paddle down the White Oak River. On this paddle campers learned basic paddle strokes.

We were lucky enough to have amazing weather all day, followed by a stunning sunset from the dock. It’s a good day when everyone is exhausted, but still excited to get up in the morning for more paddling!

This morning (Tuesday), some campers rose extra early to go on a run with Sean. After their run they were greeted by avocado toast, bacon, and fruit salad. As the morning went on the temperatures continued to rise, and by the time we got on the water it was at least 90 degrees outside with a slight breeze! With ample sunscreen and drinking water it makes for absolutely pristine paddling weather.

We caught the tail-end of the tide going out, so the majority of our paddle was aided by the flow of the river. Kyle was our leader of the day, and he did a great job of creating ample break time and checking in on each of his fellow expeditioners. As we paddled around a small marshy island, we were dwarfed by sawgrass 9 feet high, and saw birds of unique colors and species. With the sounds of nature all around us, it became a very serene paddle, only punctuated by one or two motor boats. Our paddle lasted about 2 and a half hours, so we are definitely getting into kayaking shape for some longer day paddles.

After lunch, we enjoyed a rest hour and it seems that just about every person on this trip loves reading! Afternoon naps and reading were made all the better as we basked underneath the shade of the trees in our backyard. Once the rest time was over, we headed right back to the river and began some paddling practice. A couple new strokes were introduced by Sarah, and we honed them by enjoying a few games of follow the leader, and slalom kayaking.

We were all rewarded by a large dinner and perfect burgers (made by Claire and Sam), with a salad and some veggies prepped by Savanah and Olivia. The expeditioners are now planning out their meals for our big 3-day, 2-night trip out in the Back Sound of the Outer Banks, and it is sounding quite promising!

With more adventures to be had tomorrow, everyone will be getting a solid night of sleep, and wake up energized to paddle Great Lake in Croatan National Forest!

Stay tuned for more news from Expeditions to come.

Notes from the Field: OBX 1