From Scientists to Dragons

By Cristyn Fung, CBR Admin Team

Friday, July 26th, a fine summer day at 29 degrees Celsius, we saw more than 40 of our CBR & SBME members travel to Granville Island for a fun afternoon that would set the tone for their weekend. They weren’t headed to a fancy restaurant, art show or extravagant mall though. So, what would tear these dedicated scientists away from the lab?

The participants had a blast! Photo Credit: Nico Werschler

It was the annual Dragon Boating event, organized by the Health & Wellness Committee, based at False Creek Community Centre. This event, designed to de-stress and gain experience of a new sport, allowed everyone to take in the fresh air, admire the scenery…and paddle until they could do no more! And so begins the story of a fierce and fiery competition.

The afternoon began with a thorough tutorial on how to paddle properly and safely. Although it was a beginner’s course, the participants demonstrated expert form and grip. They paired up and amazingly, completely filled three large dragon boats (compared to last year’s half-filled boat)! Each boat had a good mix of summer students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who were ready to learn and determined to win.

Teams dragon boating with all their might

In our respective teams, we boated around False Creek and in the first 30 minutes learnt paddling techniques from the instructors and rowed vigorously with small breaks to recover. During these breaks, we got to take in the beautiful view of yachts, Science World and Granville Island. The synchronized rowing required enormous team work so it provided a great bonding opportunity. Just like in the lab, we worked amazingly well together!

Participants posing for a team photo. Photo Credit: Meredith Clark

Finally, all three boats met up and the competitors had a stare down, scanning for any signs of weakness. The desire to win welled up in everyone’s eyes as the race started. Our first race lasted for an intense minute. Mild mannered scientists became dragons, yelling from the top of their lungs, chanting “one, two” to keep track of the rowing. Water splashed from the oars, soaking people in the row behind. The clattering of paddles could be heard from miles away. After much chaos, a winning boat prevailed (you know who you are). The other two boats felt disappointed so, after much pondering, we decided to race again! In the second race, we had a different winner. To the third boat that didn’t win: don’t worry, you’re a winner in our hearts.

It was an unforgettable afternoon for everyone full of laughter, exercise, joy, oh and sore muscles the next day. Thank you to the Health & Wellness team for organizing this wonderful activity and special thanks to the instructors at False Creek Community Centre for their informative lessons. Join in on the fun next year!