posted by Ann Verrall co-producer

(video at bottom of post)

It has been a couple of weeks since Dianne completed canoeing the Bras d’Or Lake in Cape Breton. A sigh of relief rippled from coast to coast.

Since joining the 500 Days in the Wild project, much of my life feels like I am looking for the dot that is Dee. Is it moving? How far? How much time has passed between dots? Then searching the satellite map, the graphic map, the Trans Canada Trail Map. Sometime the dot goes the wrong way. Sometimes I get texts like these “Where am I?” “Am I going the right direction?” “Can you see where I can camp?” “Phone almost dead.”

When Dianne was on the lake I was also checking wind direction and speed, sending updates through text. It was all consuming. On September 16, I was on the bus to the Halifax airport about to fly to Regina, SK. Once I got settled I checked the map again to see if she had moved yet. The winds were high so thought she would wait. Bot the dot appeared and it was on the move and it was not where it was supposed to be – hugging the shore – instead it had made a sharp right turn heading into the open water. I tried to rationalize it – maybe someone is taking her for a boat ride. I call Rob Smith, the multi-media teacher at the We’koqma’q Mi’kmaw School in Waycobah who is also following her. It makes no sense. Then Ed calls from NL. “Dee is in trouble. Coast Guard have been called. She is still in the canoe but may not be for long.” A sickening feeling surges through me. What to do? I call Rob back. He gets Joanne Alex, Student Services & Curriculum Coordinator, who calls her husband Rodney who is on the lake already. Later Rob tells me that one if his students – Tristan Bernard – filmed what was happening in the classroom that morning.

I am glued to the dot that is Dee still moving, still sending out a new dot every 10 minutes. By the time I get through security at the airport, the dot has connected with a sliver of land – a sand bar. She has made it. A short while later we are talking on the phone and I hear her story and I just can’t believe what she did and that she made it to the other side.

IMG_9094The final destination on the Bras d’Or Lake for Dianne was in Waycobah. The students, including Tristan, Vice Principle Duce Sylliboy and Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy were among those that greeted her.

The first body of water has been completed – 300 km. Relief is short lived. Soon my mind goes to Lake Superior – 2000 km. – the MacKenzie River – 1,800 km. Might be time for me to take up meditation!