25 years WOW! A realization of how none of this would have been possible today without all of you. You’ve all become part of my/our “Adventure High Family” and not just a guide that spent time here. Each of you is special to us and will always be a part of any success that we have now and in the future.
This year the usuals will be working again – myself, Linda, Ryan, Carly, Susan and Elliot. So what has everyone been up to? Well, I’ll try to update you as best I can.
Know about’s of what folks are doing’ (the good gossip):
This past summer I was surprised by a visit from a dear friend, who I hadn’t seen in over 20 years. David Gray, his wife Ellen and two boys came to the island on a tour of the East coast. It was great to have them visit and spend an evening catching up. My first year getting the company set up, Dave spent the summer helping me out, so we had lots to talk about. His two sons, along with my son are about the same age, so they got to meet and hang out. Both of our boys also have the same name, which is pretty cool.
Once again, I had the opportunity to spend part of the winter in Antarctica, kayaking in one of the most beautiful spots on earth. I’ve had the privilege of meeting so many great people, all with unique stories and backgrounds. After spending the last 10 years travelling to the polar regions (Arctic & Antarctica) you would think it would start to get “old”, but it never does. There is always the awe of being in a place that so few people ever get to visit. I am very fortunate to have this opportunity in my life. Dream team lives on!
Linda spent the winter on the island with our kids. She got to enjoy the longest winter Grand Manan has seen in many years! With the acquisition of the Compass Rose Heritage Inn, she has been very busy getting things ready for the summer. Linda will be running things at the Compass Rose and excited to start this new venture. Our son, Brady is going to be working there with her and he is excited about the pay cheque!! He does have experience, as he worked there last summer helping out in the kitchen and doing yard work. I can brag him up, as he was always ready to work and would stay late in the evenings to make sure everything was done, realizing as a teenager on summer vacation, I’m sure he would much rather be hanging out with his friends.
Last summer we had Ryan Munro, Sarah Hrdlicka and for the last part of the season, Scott McCormack working with us as kayak guides (and so much more). As it turns out, they were such a dream team, they along with myself went to Antarctica to guide in the southern ocean. They all have their own stories to share about their time in Antarctica.
Scott and Sarah spent their winter in Antarctica, went down the end of October and returned home (Montreal) late March. Since they spent the entire season working, they were able to take a couple of weeks in the middle of the season to travel. Uruguay was their destination of choice. This summer they will be off doing their own thing – spending time in Montreal, BC, NS and all points in between. Hopefully, with a visit here on Grand Manan. Scott is also busy promoting his new album. The band is “More Please” so go and check it out.
Ryan also spent October – March in Antarctica. During his down time he spent time in Argentina brushing up on his Spanish and I’m sure so much more!! Rumor has it he is a “karaoke master”…NOT, but that apparently didn’t deter him. Don’t give up your day job Ryan, because you are great at that…lol He will be back with us this summer, putting his talents to work for us. Always a favorite with guests, he will once again be your guide on the water.
Carly Fleet – a true Grand Mananer, she has been a great asset to us! She is willing to help in any aspect of the business, kayak guide, waitress at the Compass Rose, carpenter, painter, etc., if there is a job to be done she is “your man”. While she spends the summers on Grand Manan, the rest of the year is spent travelling the world and we always look forward to her return so we can catch up on her many adventures. She is currently enjoying the tropical weather in Cuba, unlike the rest of here! The last continent for her to discover is Antarctica….who knows, maybe she’ll end up working there as well. It appears to be the trend that if you work at Adventure High, you can work there as well.
Beth Johnston has been helping us out for the past few years – mostly with multi-day trips and the larger groups. She lives in Fredericton most of the time, but always seems to be heading out to guide trips all over. This past summer she and her partner Paul headed to Nahanni River, NWT for some paddling and be all accounts it was a great time that was had by all. Look forward to catching up with you this spring.
Elliot Shepherd, an Adventure High institution. He has been with me and the company since the very beginning. While he is still around and willing to help out, he spends most of his time at his other job with Coastal Transport and spare time you can find him either on Wood Island or with his girlfriend.
Susan Ballantyne is back in Ottawa living in the “real world”, but we’re pretty sure that she is daydreaming about the time she can be back on Grand Manan and paddling again.
Fred Tustin, who was with us for many years, is back at his home in Ontario. This winter had to be a dream come true for him. A true lover of the snow, I’m sure he has spent MANY hours, days and weeks on the slopes. I think he may love skiing more than kayaking!! Would love to hear from you Fred and let us know how you and the family are doing.
Michelle Reid another guide that was with us for a number of years is finally back in New Brunswick. She and her partner, Kyle Agnew (who also worked here) spent a few years in the Northwest Territories teaching. They were some very lucky students, as both Kyle & Michelle have such terrific personalities that they touch the lives of all those around them. They even spent a few months in St. Kitts this past fall working. This year Michelle is working with Outward Bound, so she will be once again working on Grand Manan and we are looking forward to catching up!
Brian (Kyle’s dad) also spent a season guiding with us. We like to keep it in the family. He is currently in Moncton – as far as we know. However, he never stays in one place for too long. Whether it be travelling up north or weekends at his camp, he loves being in the outdoors, enjoying nature and making friends. He, along with Kyle and Michelle, came down this past summer for a visit Hope to see you again this summer to catch up.
Our life long friend, Mark Mykytyn is back in New York. Not sure how he survived the winter, as anyone who knows Mark, he is not made for cold. August on Grand Manan is cold to Mark! He generally makes it to the island for at least a visit and is always willing to help out when needed.
Soni Gatta is now living on Campobello Island with his wife Jana. After intensive training in Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan, he is now working as a fisheries officer, with the plan to return to Grand Manan.
Tammy Taylor is now living out west, but still hear from her on occasion. She has spent some time travelling and generally enjoying life.
Darryn Stevenson is living and working in Ontario as a teacher and coaching as many sports teams as possible. Married life seems to suit him and is the proud dad of 2 beautiful children.
Chad Cote is living in the Yukon and I’m sure living an adventure. We enjoyed the time he spent with us and would love to see him again.
Rob Landa, the last we heard has headed out on his dream adventure of sailing but the biggest news is that he is NOW married. Best of luck to you both and maybe you’ll be making Grand Manan one of your port of calls?
Sarah McDonald is still living and working on Grand Manan. She is the captain for the whale watching company – Whales & Sails. Next time you are on Grand Manan, make sure to book a trip with her.
Jen Hutchison came for one summer to guide many years ago. She ended up moving here, bought a house and is a manager for one of the salmon sites.
To any former guides, if you are reading this and I didn’t mention you by name, please get in touch and let me know what you are up to. Would love to hear from all of you.
Over the years we’ve had lots of great staff working with us and the following are some of you that we’ve not been in touch with for awhile: Sheila, Joe, David P., Jeff, Patrick, Sara Rydl, Ben Gammi, Kurt Adams, Celidh, Heather, Annie, Terri, Bruce, Sam and Drea Latford. However, Sam we do keep tabs on you through your mom (Susan Ballantyne). Would love to hear how you are all doing, so let us know what’s going on in your lives! Hope everyone is well and enjoying life to the fullest and keeping safe in your adventures.
AGAIN there are so many great people that have worked here and all their time and talents have helped to create Adventure High into the business it is today. For that I thank you, couldn’t have done it without all of you!!!