14 January 2014

QSKC The darkest hour

Please be advised, this entry has a local focus and is a departure from the usual posts on this blog.
*Updates have been added at the end of this post*

I apologise to those who have already read this posting but due to lies STILL being posted on forums and told to my sea kayaking friends here and overseas, I am reposting it.

The ongoing character slurs by members of the QSKC & some of their NSW & Tasmanian counterparts must have good people wondering what is up here in Australia. So, while I have moved on from this rubbish and enjoy a much deeper connection with the sport and other kayakers around the world, this is reposted for the benefit of the locals who are asking questions because of recent postings on forums & conversations.

I am not sure what psychological high these people get from telling lies and gossiping about others. I actually dont really care, these people are not the ones I choose to spend energy on. They say they are warning people about me in the interest of sea kayaking - well, imagine if they focused  on the sport of kayaking and talked about the pleasure that gives them instead of talking rubbish about people behind their backs.

Unfortunately, in the last couple of years I have heard from other women in the SK community who have had similar incidents with the same offender.

Women seeking instruction should check out the instructors history, ask other women who have been instructed by them. Take a friend. Trust your instincts. And, most important, at the FIRST sign of inappropriate speech or behaviour REPORT him not just to the club, but to the Police.

QSKC The Darkest Hour
In my opinion, the current committee of QSKC is formed by a majority of deceitful hypocrites.

There, I said it!
Now I finally can.

I am no longer associated with the Qld Sea Kayak Club.
Now that I no longer belong to the Club, I don't have to fear censorship, unrelenting judgement and intimidation.

Members of the Committee have waged a "witch hunt" against me since the day that I wanted to expose that I was a victim of sexual harassment during Club trips from a QSKC member, who also happens to be friends with a majority of current Committee members and influential members of the kayaking community in NSW.

I believe the QSKC Committee and Queensland Canoeing have successfully managed to brush under the carpet a very serious incident.
I was not given a fair chance to present my sexual harassment/bullying complaint (1) and have been ill advised by the Qld Canoeing Member Protection Officer on procedures, seemingly so the complaint could be dismissed on technicalities.

As far back as the 2008 QSKC Xmas weekend held at Cotton Tree, I was warned by the then Vice President/Webmaster not to ‘upset’ the current QSKC Secretary and Events Coordinator, or I would be sorry; that they were influential in the sea kayaking community and that I should be very careful.

When I asked exactly what he meant, why I should be careful, he replied because they were close friends of the Club member who had been named by me as a bully and sexual harassment offender.

Since the inception of the 2009/2010 Committee, I believe the QSKC has seen the worst management in its history (2).
The Committee has now terminated my QSKC membership under a self interpreted technicality of the Model Rules, despite my actually having not done anything wrong. Instead of issuing a formal warning or reprimand and disregarding my reply to their Show Cause demand and my substantial contributions to the QSKC and the sport of sea kayaking, they chose to terminate my membership.
But the Committee won't stop at that.
Now they are after the person that brought the sexual harassment matter to their attention: Damiano Visocnik.

Damiano appears to have been a thorn in their backside for a while.
In the best interests of QSKC members, Damiano has exposed several problems within the Club concerning safety and ethical management which were apparently not well received.
Now the Committee wants to terminate his membership on grounds that he was aware that potential profit was to be made from one of the ‘Special Events’
that I organized. They accuse Damiano of breaking alleged Club rules that actually don't exist in the Model Rules.Dilbert.com

So, it seems that while it was OK that Damiano and other Committee members are aware that other Club and Committee members (present and past) make a profit from Club events, suddenly Damiano is breaching Club rules for knowing, after the fact, that Tess Dodd made a potential profit from a Special Event that she organized.

It is OK that past and current Club and Committee members provide a service to members for a profit, but when I organized an event for the Club and, to avoid being out of pocket, quoted a fee to encompass unknown costs, suddenly I am breaking Club rules...

I attended the Committee meeting held on 5th May 2010 where the Qld Canoeing Member Protection Officer advised the Committee that any profits made from Club events were between the Committee and the provider.

The Events Coordinator and one of the recently appointed General Committee Members both argued that it is OK for Club members (one works for Qld Canoeing Inc and the other advertises on the QSKC website) to make a profit from the Club, as they are ‘commercial operators’ who pay tax.

For the record, I have an ABN and declare any profits made from such ventures to the Taxation Department, as I hope do other Club and Committee members who make a profit. But for some reason I’m the only one who has been singled out as breaking an alleged rule somewhere and Damiano is being blamed for that rule breaking (3).

For the ‘Special Event’ in question, held more than 12 months ago, I made all arrangements myself in my own time using my personal phone, email and banking details (as I have previously done for several years with many other groups interested in participating in outdoor pursuits eg: Honestly Woman Magazine, BCE Social Club).
The participants in the Special Event (Club and Non Club members) were advised of the cost of the event and asked to deposit the monies into my personal bank account, NOT the QSKC bank account or through the Events Coordinator. Invoices and expenses were paid from my personal bank account.

My accountant and the Aust Dept of Taxation are the only ones who are aware of any profits made from any ventures I am involved in. While Damiano (and others) is aware of some of my activities, he does not have full disclosure of my financial matters.

The Committee refuses to acknowledge this and has deemed Damiano to have breached club rules and are now asking him to ‘show cause’ why his QSKC membership shouldn't be terminated.

In light of the Committee's decision to pursue Damiano, I believe it's fair that all Club and Committee members making a profit from events (that the Events Coordinator promotes for Club members), or who know of this, should also be asked to show cause.

If I want to remain a member of the QSKC I need to lodge an appeal to be heard by interested Club members during a general meeting.
During the past 12 months I have been informed by Club members that they have been told slanderous tales about me by serving Committee members.
Present and past members had already been told that I would be kicked out at the next meeting, before the verdict.
As it appears the termination of my membership was premeditated to further personal agendas, I do not believe at this time I would be afforded an unbiased audience for a fair appeal.

(1) - 3rd Feb 2007 QSKC Mudcrab Madness trip - exposing genitals to me, then urinating. Making sexually suggestive remarks to a female visitor at camp.
Feb 2007 - Aug 2007 – Hearing my name called and looking over to see him expose his genitals to me, which on one occasion he was fondling.
Aug 2007 – QSKC Fraser Island Whale Watch trip - while heavily intoxicated, exposing genitals to me during the trip and sharing graphic details of sex life. Asking if I knew the meaning of certain sexual terms. When I asked him to stop he continued and as I walked away, he followed me insisting I HAD to hear it.
Oct 2008 - While serving as Club President, I received abusive and threatening phone calls which I ended and reported to the Committee and the Qld Canoeing Member Protection Officer.
The member resigned soon after but has since rejoined the Club and is now in a position of power as a Committee Member.

(2) -The elected President resigned after a very public outburst slandering me on the Club member email group.
The elected Webmaster resigned with a pending grievance against him for discrimination and bullying.

(3) - As Events Coordinator at the time of the ‘Special Event’, Damiano was responsible for taking registrations from Club and Non Club Members interested in the ‘Special Event’ advertised on the QSKC website, just as the previous and current Events Coordinator is.

Additional supporting substantiating material available on request to interested parties by private email.
" I never did give them hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell."
Harry S Truman, Apr. 3, 1956

UPDATE 11th June 2010 -
I have been notified by a QSKC member that financial members have been provided with information regarding my ‘show cause’ and have been advised of an appeal date.

This came as a surprise to me as I received no communication from the Committee regarding the appeal prior to this.
I believe this to be yet another example of the steamroller (bullying) tactics employed by this Committee.
Would it not be wise to advise the parties involved BEFORE advising club members?
Would it not be wise to confirm with the parties involved IF they are available on a specific date?

Perhaps scheduling a meeting (at short notice) at a time and place that is unsuitable to most members is to the Committee’s advantage?
I reiterate my earlier statement – given the demonstrated questionable behaviour of the so called ‘Management’ Committee (who are charged with representing the best interest of the club and its members, NOT their own agenda’s) in regard to this matter and others, I find it difficult to believe I would be given a fair hearing.
QSKC smear campaign policy

- create a chat group that is distributed to all members private email addresses without prior permission from the members (breach of privacy)

- accuse and defame individuals publicly

- if the accused tries to present their side of the story, ban them from the chat group

- when other members step in to question the Committee or defend the accused, ban and delete all evidence of conversations relevant to the matter

- since that was not enough, terminate the accused membership

It appears that the QSKC has adopted an autocratic style of management, peddling propaganda and censorship.

The authority (QSKC Committee) creates unethical means for communicating the agenda they want to pursue, while eliminating any possible democratic conversation. Members wishing to ask questions or make comment are invited to email Committee members, who do not reply.
As a former Web Master (who resigned before he could be terminated) would answer to controversial/and any other issues put to him: "End of discussion..."
The QSKC Committee creates ‘policies’ to further their own agenda. This is done without consulting members or advising them of their introduction. Records and files have been deleted and meeting minutes contain omissions and bias.
No wonder the Committee so adamantly opposed the voice recording of those meetings.

09 May 2013

Sunset Kayaking

Sunset paddle_Bribie_cimage Damiano Visocnik_used with permission
I've been out of action for several months and I was eager to return to kayaking. I had some concerns about my paddle fitness and skills. Afer a solid day paddling, testing my rolling and messing around in small waves, I felt strong and happy. Heading out in the evening with Gnarlydog to enjoy the sunset, was the perfect way to end the day.

26 March 2012

Drought Over

"The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears or the sea". Isak Dinesen

My studies have finished so I am packing the kayak and heading out for a month of "curing" in the salty wet stuff. I will update the blog on my return.

28 June 2011

Under the Sea - Sculling Brace Practice

Under the sea
Under the sea
Darling it's better
Down where it's wetter
Take it from me
Up on the shore they work all day
Out in the sun they slave away
While we devotin'
Full time to floatin'
Under the sea
Alan Menken & Howard Ashman
Upside down_1_c
I totally agree with Menken and Ashman - 'Darling its better, down where its wetter'.
Sculling brace; submerged meditation; devotin' time to floatin', no matter what you call it, planned time spent underwater in my kayak is rewarding. Following Warren Williamson's advice, I fall into the water, let myself sink and come up on the other side and slowly repeat it from side to side.
hitting the water_c
To improve I practice in all conditions.Of course the objective is to gain skills to use in challenging situations but I also find this activity very relaxing.

24 May 2011

Special Dolphin Sighting

surfing wind waves_4
Playing in rough water off Bribie Island in Moreton Bay, I noticed a strange looking dolphin jump out of the water and flip onto its back not far from me. I quickly paddled over to have a closer look, but it had disappeared. There are at least 8 dolphin species recorded in Moreton Bay so it is not uncommon to see them when paddling in the area. However since the Brisbane floods, visible marine activity has been minimal so I was quite excited by the close sighting.

used with permission_Ken Douglas
A short time later, as we continued to play, the same thing happened again. This time Gnarlydog also saw the dolphin and pointed out that it wasn't a dolphin, but a shark approx 4 - 5 ft long. It was quite dark on top with a white belly. The obvious difference was the blunt or stubby head.

Bull shark in 1m water_Alkok_used with permission
I did not feel overly concerned as the shark showed very little interest in us and while some rolling was going on, we were mostly above water in our kayaks. We continued playing for another hour or more, the shark splashing occasionally before disappearing altogether. I was keen to find out what type of shark it was as I had never seen one jump out of the water like that, especially so close to us. I contacted shark expert Valerie Taylor to ask her opinion:

Shark Conservationist and Underwater Film Maker Valerie Taylor AM
You have just described an average shark. Nearly all have white or pale stomachs and are darker on top. The blunt head sounds like a bull shark and they will jump out of the water. I have seen it several times. Do not ever get in the water when the vis is down. Predatory sharks hunt by sight and vibration. Lacking hands, if they cant see something splashing around in the water they can and often do investigate the unusual by biting. You were quite safe in your kayak specially if staying still like a log. Female Bull sharks at this time of the year are swimming into the harbours and rivers to pup. They do this so the males don't eat the new born sharks. The baby sharks will stay in the inland waters until they are big enough to hold their own in the ocean.
Regards Valerie Taylor ***

Bull Shark_Delusion Productions_used with permission
***Interview with Valerie and Ron Taylor

04 April 2011

Getting close to GnarlyDog

Wind forecasts above 15kn are a great time to head into the tidal flow where opposing forces create nice rough water to play in. tail surfing_1_c
Getting close to GDog, very close...

19 March 2011

Rainy Weekend Fun

"In my opinion, you can never practice the sculling brace enough. What I like to do is to get into a sculling brace position, looking up, hands under the paddle, let yourself sink and come up on the other side, to the sculling brace. Doing this back and forth very slowly is a good workout. It's good for learning orientation when you’re under water, teaches you to relax and be ok with being in the water". Warren Williamson
Tesie skull
Taking advantage of another rainy weekend when no one else was on the water, I played and had fun, rolling one day and surfing the next. As Warren says, the sculling brace is helpful in learning underwater orientation and relaxing underwater, both important for the kind of sea kayaking I enjoy.
tesie surf_3
Paddling out through the clear green water the sky was ominous and the falling rain stung my eyes. This small discomfort was quickly forgotten as each wave lifted the stern of my kayak for another ride.