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Rules of the trip

Leadership rules for kayak trips are fraught with complexity. To simplify them and ensure that everyone has fair say, the following rules are recommended. Needless to say, the reader and all crew should be familiar with Lewis Carroll's The hunting of the Snark:

The trip begins when the crew all contrive,
(well before they leave to embark),
their ingenious plan, as vague as can be,
for how they will hunt the Snark.

The members of the party - the "crew" - must agree on the essential aims of the trip - "the Snark" - without over-specifying how those aims will be achieved.

All must rig themselves out for the fight
(having forgotten something or other),
learn the difference between east and west,
and how to tell bowsprit from rudder.

All should have nearly all the necessary equipment (forgetting something useful and bringing something useless) and at least a rudimentary knowledge of navigation and kayakmanship. It goes without saying that each should forget something useful and bring something useless

The crew then choose their first Bellman,
(no commonplace method will do),
whose unique right it is to tingle the bell
to summon and silence the crew.

The captain for the day, or "Bellman", is chosen. His or her sign of office is a bell.

'Tis the job of the Bellman to captain the crew,
(the plan might say to where),
navigating the ocean by tingling the bell,
and landing the crew with care.

The Bellman decides the route and timings for the day, in accord with the vaguely ingenious plan.

'Tis the job of the crew, bewildered or not,
to do as the Bellman doth say,
unless they'd meet with a Boojum,
and suddenly vanish away.

All and any crew have a safety veto should they be uncomfortable with a decision of the Bellman's, but must otherwise do as the Bellman biddeth.

'Tis the Bellman's final and glorious task,
when the daylight is nearly through,
to serve out some grog with a liberal hand,
and pass the bell to one of the crew.

As the day draws close to its end, the Bellman passes on the bell to another of the crew, and the virtuous cycle continues until the Snark has been captured...

Conrad Edwards, December 2003

Page last modified on March 09, 2012, at 05:32 AM