The closest dragon boat team to our community was over an hour’s drive away, and the practice times were not conducive to those who worked “9 to 5” jobs. We heard of four retired women from the Comox Valley who had tried years earlier to start a team in the Valley, but were unable to raise enough interest so were travelling down to paddle with this team. Well, we had enough interest in our support group alone to fill almost half a boat!
We were in touch with one of the four women and within a couple of weeks, a room full of women from the communities of Comox, Courtenay, Black Creek, Merville, Campbell River, Royston, Union Bay and Fanny Bay huddled together to watch some video footage and hear what it would take to get started.
The rest is history! Within five short months, the founding members of “Hope Afloat Canada” had raised enough money, through the generous support of Comox Valley businesses, service clubs, individual donations and team fundraising events to purchase a dragon boat (complete with drum and drummer’s seat), paddles and life jackets. We were off to the races!
Oh, the excitement on the day of delivery! Some team members had never even seen a dragon boat, never mind sit in one. Much to the amusement of our wonderful and very experienced coach, we managed to paddle the new dragon boat from the launch to its permanent residence at the Comox Marina. We immediately gifted the boat to the Comox Valley Recreation Commission who agreed to make it available to other groups and individuals interested in learning this wonderful sport of dragon boating. There are now a number of teams (women and mixed) in the beautiful Comox Valley, as well as another breast cancer survivor team in Campbell River.