Field Report: Team Oaracle in Bella Bella

June 28, 2022
By Lynnette Oostmeyer, Field Reporter

Janice Mason and Ian Graeme of Team Oaracle stopped at the docks in Bella Bella, BC, yesterday to fill up their water and figure out where to camp for the night. This year’s race will be Janice’s fourth and Ian’s fifth.

They met during the race in 2016 while Ian was on Team Fly and Janice was brought in as an ace in the hole for Team Sistership; they have been doing the race together ever since.

They joked that this year they may be the last, and the oldest, team to make it to Ketchikan, but they still plan to be there by July 4th to catch their ferry home. Janice said that the ferry ride is one of her favorite parts of the race because she gets to leisurely float by all the places she just worked so hard to paddle through.

Ian said that they are having a hard time eating enough fat each day to keep up with the calories they burn paddling, so the first order of business was finding chips for Janice—preferably Ruffles—cheese for Ian, and refilling their water jug.

They both emphasized the importance of getting out of the kayak and moving around each day. Solar panels need to be charged, water needs to be refilled, and stretching is a must.

Janice labeled her partner “Ian the Contortionist” as he walked around the dock trying to stretch out before getting back in to paddle some more.

This spot in Bella Bella does not offer many easy-to-get-to camping spots, so after some planning they were back in their kayak, doing one more stretch session, and headed off for the last paddle of the night before setting up camp.

Janice says that while they are camping is really the only time during the race that they talk; it is just too hard to hear each other over the wind and the sound of their paddles. They left the dock right as most of the local fishermen were coming in for the night, so it made for an interesting paddle through the wakes—one I’m sure won’t be their last as they continue to make their way to Ketchikan.

Lynnette Oostmeyer, field reporter
Lynnette is a freelance visual journalist based in northwestern Oregon, who focuses on documentary photography and short documentary filmmaking.

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