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shady shores of the island’s rugged coast, much of it unreachable by foot. Others tossed a ball between boats, and another group paddled farther out, basking in the warmth of a cloudless sky. “Kayaking gives you the opportunity to completely


control a craft on the water,” said Van, who accom- panied the crew that weekend. “You’re in control of your own boat, and you learn what your strengths and weaknesses are. For some Scouts who come here, they’ve never seen the ocean. Giving them the tools to explore this area gives them the opportunity to explore a whole new world.” Van loves few things more than watching Scouts


discover this place, just as he did as an 11-year-old Scout. Even as an adult he falls under its spell. “One of the great things about kayaking,” he said as


he watched the Venturers glide across the sea, “is that it is an activity that grows with you. You can start kayak- ing with easy, age-appropriate outings. Then, as you grow and learn, you can take on more and more chal- lenging trips. This ability to keep learning and growing helps keep kids enthused and involved in Scouting.”


THOUGH CATALINA’S WEST SIDE holds a fearsome reputation, it was lamblike on that October afternoon. The crew rounded the tip of the island to find an even more dramatic landscape of cliffs plummeting into the ocean. They paused to marvel at the sight of the ocean stretching clear over to Asia before turning around to set up camp on Parsons, a sandy beach where they grilled cheeseburgers over a fire and fell asleep scat-


After a full day on the ocean, the kayakers spent the night on a secluded Catalina beach—a terrific place to watch the sunset and enjoy a campfire (opposite).


tered about on the sand under a spray of stars. The next morning, the kids woke just as sunrise brightened the sky. The eastern horizon glowed with violet light, and fog draped the surface of the sea. Quietly, the crew packed up their bags and slid the boats into the water, tottering through the small surf. Crew 420 paddled in silence into the rising sun,


which lit the fog layers haloing the bluffs and head- lands. Below, the kelp forests teemed with mackerel and bright-orange garibaldi. Not even the hum of a single boat on its way to Hawaii or China or Japan broke the stillness of the sea. Their reverent silence suggested an unsaid agreement that this moment was worth getting up for. “It’s kind of nice out here, actually,” Jake said in contemplation. Nick hesitated, appreciating the breathless silence


between paddle strokes. The moment seemed to defy words. “It’s gorgeous,” was all he said. ¿


KATE SIBER is a correspondent for Outside magazine. Her work also has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and National Geographic Traveler.


SEE MORE PHOTOS from Crew 420’s trip around Catalina Island at scoutingmagazine.org/catalina. Plus, find more specifics on the programs offered by Camp Emerald Bay at campemeraldbay.org.


 2012 ¿ SCOUTING 41


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