Sea Kayaking Articles from P&H Staff, Team Paddlers, and Friends

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Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium 2023. More than a Sea Kayak event

Celebrating a decade of the Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium fills us with overwhelming joy and pride as we declare this year’s instalment to be our most exceptional offering to date. Beyond being a mere paddling event, the symposium has blossomed into a vibrant gathering, uniting community members, local businesses, passionate paddlers, and skilled coaches for an unforgettable weekend filled with extraordinary experiences on and off the water.

P&H Leo MV at the Argyler River

The exponential growth of camaraderie, community dedication, and shared enthusiasm is a source of immense pride, making this milestone anniversary a living testament to the positive impact the Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium has had on fostering connections and creating lasting memories. With a foundation rooted in commitment, integrity, and a focus on the long game, the symposium stands as a beacon for those who cherish not only the thrill of paddling but also the enduring bonds and positive community spirit that enrich our lives. Here’s to a decade filled with joyous paddling, continuous learning, and the ongoing building of a community that celebrates the love of the sea and adventure!

Highlight for this year’s symposium

A surge of enthusiasm and anticipation filled the air as 74 sea kayak students, guided by a dedicated team of 18 coaching staff, embarked on a thrilling three-day paddling adventure. Behind the scenes, the success of this year’s symposium was fuelled by the hard work and countless hours of dedication by numerous volunteers. Their meticulous planning and unwavering commitment ensured flawless session execution, showcasing seamless coordination and teamwork. As the kayaks gracefully navigated the water, not only were skills strengthened, but a profound sense of camaraderie and shared enjoyment blossomed among the participants. This immersive experience was not just a testament to the adventure on the water but also to the dedication and hard work behind the scenes that made this symposium an extraordinary success. Here’s to celebrating the triumph of this remarkable paddling adventure, cherished by all who partook in this aquatic journey!

Staff serving the Lobster dinner.

We are elated to share the fantastic news of yet another triumphant lobster supper at Ye Old Argyler! Our heartfelt gratitude extends to Alexster Fisheries Limited for their generous contribution of the finest lobsters, elevating our delightful evening. Special thanks are also due to Tusket Toyota for their invaluable sponsorship, making this event possible and enhancing the overall experience for all attendees. This lobster dinner’s success is not only attributed too exceptional seafood but also to the hard work and dedication of countless volunteers who played crucial roles behind the scenes. Their efforts, combined with fantastic community support, made this event truly memorable. Here’s to another year of joyous gatherings and delicious moments, a testament to the collaborative spirit that brings our community together!

P&H Team Paddler Adam Harmer with his team Sunday during the symposium.

The community dinner at the West Pubnico Fire Hall was an undeniable success, fostering warmth and camaraderie among neighbours. Our sincere appreciation goes to Committed 2 the Core Sea Kayak Coaching for their support and the delightful complements beer sourced from Tusket Fall Brewing, adding a unique touch to the event. The success of this community dinner was made possible not only by the generosity of contributors but also by the hard work and dedication of the countless volunteers who devoted many hours to ensure its success. The West Pubnico ladies auxiliary plus members of the fire department made the whole meal amazing. Witnessing the positive impact of these collaborations transforms a simple gathering into an extraordinary occasion. A heartfelt thank you to all who contributed to making our community dinner a truly special and thriving event!

Testimonial from Coach Sid Sinfield And P&H team Paddler

“It was great to get across to the Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium. It was a really well-organised and executed event, as always. It is great to see an event that links with the local community to help them understand why we all descend upon their local area to explore its beautiful coastline. I can’t think of another event that does this. Likewise, taking the time to organize an additional ‘coaches day’ for those attending to be able to take the opportunity for some shared learning. Helping to connect the coaching community from across North America and wider. The event allowed those involved to explore the amazing coastline that this part of Nova Scotia has to offer. A great event and one not to be missed.”

P&H Team Paddler Sid Sinfiled calling students’ names at morning briefing.

Testimonial from Donna Hendy Bay of fundy participant.

BOFSS was an excellent all ‘round experience. – The on water sessions met my paddling needs – the variety of coaches and paddling locations gave me an plenty of opportunity to stretch and challenge myself, and take away skills and drills to continue learning after the symposium. – The off water time provided plenty of opportunity to interact with friends, meet new paddlers and coaches. – The final added bonus was connecting with members of the community, at the community dinner, and knowing that they were happy to have the symposium in the area. Everything from car horns blasting as folks paddled at the Argyle River, to waves and shouts of encouragement from folks along the shore near the Forchu Lighthouse, and folks in boats on the water watching sessions, and commenting on and asking questions about the things they saw when they were at the dinner.

West Pubnico Fire Cheif Gordon Amiro and Odette D’eon acceting a cheque from Christopher Lockyer Executive Directory of the Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium.

In the face of the wildfire that swept through the South West Nova Scotia area in the spring of 2023, our community rallied together with resilience and generosity. The devastation left behind by the fires affected vast expanses of forested land and numerous residential areas. Recognizing the crucial role of our local fire departments, particularly the dedicated volunteers of the Vollentee Fire Department, who serve as the backbone of rural communities in Nova Scotia, we felt compelled to support their efforts. As a member of my local fire department, I understand the physical and financial challenges these heroes face daily. This year, during our symposium, we organized a silent auction, receiving generous product contributions from esteemed paddling retailers like Kokatat and P&H Sea Kayak. With the collective efforts of our community, we were thrilled to donate $10,000 to the West Pubnico Fire Department, demonstrating the positive impact we can achieve when we come together in solidarity.

As we wrap up the festivities of our Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium’s decade celebration, we’re pleased to share some practical details for the future. Take note and mark your calendars, as we’ve set the dates for our upcoming symposium! We invite you to join us for another gathering, filled with paddling, learning, and community spirit. Save the dates of October 4-6, 2025, and plan to be a part of the experience. With a decade’s worth of memories behind us and the expectation of more to come, we’re genuinely excited about the prospect of bringing people together once again. As we count down to 2025, let the anticipation grow, and we look forward to seeing you for what promises to be another memorable chapter in our symposium’s journey! Sea you in 2025

Anglesey Stacks trip with P&H dealer Manu Redureau

On Sunday 27 August P&H dealer Manu Redureau, of Bekayak, Brest, France, joined me for a blast around the Stacks.  This trip also gave Manu the opportunity to try out the Delphin MKII Corelite X in rough water conditions.

Our journey took us from Porth Dafarch to North Stack and back – similar to the route shown below from the ‘Welsh Sea Kayaking: Fifty Great Sea Kayak Voyages’ book.  We enjoyed surf and rough water at Penrhyn Mawr, followed by some small surf at South Stack before lunch on the rocks in Gogarth Bay – the seal pupping season from August to November precluded us from using the beaches.  After lunch we returned to Porth Dafarch by closely following the coastline and exploring lots of channels, arches, caves and rock gardens.  The journey was both fun and a great work out.  Thanks for a great day out Manu!

Geth Roberts, www.seakayakingwales.com

Penrhyn Mawr

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South Stack

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Wen Zawn and Cathedral Arch

A smaller Gogarth Bay arch

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Below Elen’s Castle

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Abraham’s Bosom

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Advanced Manoeuvres

There is more to sea kayaking than just forward paddling. You will enjoy paddling even more when you are fully in control of your boat.  You will be able to get closer in and around things when having certain abilities.  It’s a lot more fun too.  This time we have put some of the most important manoeuvring techniques in one video.  It is not a training video, therefor it is to short and it lacks some explanation of the details.  But we will let you see what is possible with a sea kayak and a good paddle in your hands.  As you can see in our others videos, those techniques are working well in the rougher stuff or in the surf zone.  It sure will take some time to master those manoeuvring techniques but it will be worth the while.  The video contains footage of some draw strokes, turning a sea kayak, both low and high brace, bow and stern rudder.  We filmed from different angles to show you how it’s done.  We’ve put a lot of effort and time in this video and we sincerely hope that it may be of use to other paddlers.  Paddle safe and take care of each other!

 

Handa Island – New boat, custom colours and perfect light.

The Cetus MV was, yet again, my boat of choice to meet all my coaching and personal paddling needs for this year.; whether it is introducing aspiring sea kayakers on sheltered waters, running 5 Star courses in the Pentland Firth, away on expeditions around Scotland’s amazing coastline or playing out at the Grey Dogs, for me, it just does it all. It also gives me a real stable platform for on-the-water-photography when doing my books, articles and sponsors’ photos; with an expensive SLR digital camera in my hand, and the opportunity to capture that ‘perfect front cover picture’, that’s pretty important!
So, when my latest Cetus MV arrived the other week, as always I was excited to get it out on the water, but this boat was just that little ‘more’ special; PeakUK have updated the colours on their sea range of kit this year, and knowing this, it seemed rude not to have a boat to match! With some helpful collaboration between PeakUK and P&H, the colours were matched and that allowed P&H to do their ‘magic’ in customising the perfect boat for me! As you would expect, they really went to town on it and not only was the boat colour matched, but all the trimmings (decklines and bungees) as well – brilliant!!
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With the perfect boat from P&H and the awesome kit from PeakUK, a suitably spectacular venue was required for its first outing, along with some great light to get the photos to show it off; the North West Highlands of Scotland were the destination and the amazing Island of Handa was the prime spot to visit. If you’ve not been to Handa yet – go… It offers towering cliffs, caves and arches aplenty, along with the enormous ‘Great Stack’ of Handa. All this is guarded by thousands of sea birds, with the raw force of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the relative shelter and beaches of the Sound of Handa on the other. It’s easily accessible to paddle around, yet once there you will feel on the edge of the world in a very exposed way!
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So, with some careful weather watching, some great evening light was found to paddle around Handa Island and ‘wet the hull’ of my rather unique boat – may she see many more such great trips in the months to come… thanks to all the P&H team for making her so brilliant!!
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Cape Farewell, Greenland

The idea of the trip was to try and paddle around Cape Farewell from Nanortalik and return, attempting some Alpine ascents of any suitable peaks we came across along the way.

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Cape Farewell is at the southern tip of Greenland and exposed to the entire ocean swell, it is also a committing coast with high cliffs and no easy landings; we knew this would be the crux of the trip, and we also knew Cape Farewell is the windiest region in the world, so getting a good weather window would be vitally important.

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We shipped two barrels out to Neil Jepson at the Nanortalik Tourism Service a month before we left, these contained all the food packed into day bags and the climbing equipment; we left on the 12th of August, a little later than I usually go. The later departure was due to having to wait for the kayaks to be available, which were hired through Doug Copper of Glenmore Lodge from their fleet of P&H Capellas stored with Neil. Two days and 4 flights later, including 2 by helicopter, we arrived and were met by Neil; he was very helpful and we picked up the boats and barrels that day, meaning we were able to leave the next day.

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The Capellas had skegs and I was worried we wouldn’t get all the kit in; we had 23 days’ food, all the camping kit, two 50m ropes and climbing gear. It was a tight fit with the cockpit rammed and quite a bit of gear strapped to deck bags, but it all was in and we left around lunchtime on the 14th. The boats were very heavy and, because of the gear on the back, they weather cocked badly even with the skeg down; not ideal as we headed off into a side wind!

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The first headland we encountered was exposed to swell with no easy landings and we realised this could be an awkward on our return in bigger conditions. At our first campsite we stashed 3 food bags for our return as there looked like some possible climbing in the area on our return, this also got rid of some kit from back decks. The next few days we were in the shelter of an island system, then we had another exposed headland to a campsite at Ink Gait, the site of an old Viking settlement over 1000 years ago. We camped in the ruins of an old church and also had our first encounter with a Minke Whale who came very close!

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The following day we had a mountaineering day with a rope and small rack and climbed Ikiagtqaqot to 900m, a lovely ridge scramble with small pitches of scrambling and stunning views in
good weather. We managed to get a mobile signal as we had a view of the settlement of Frederiksdal and the forecast seemed ok. We did work out on the trip that the weather changes very fast and the difference between a report from Nanortalik and out on the coast could be vast.

We did decide to go for the crux of the trip and attempt Cape Christian and Cape Farewell, this would be a big day in distance and we had a lot of fog to deal with at the start. Cape Christian eventually appeared out of the fog, but as we came around the headland the wind suddenly increased and we were faced with the sight of a large area of breaking waves over some low islands in front. The wind was now blowing hard from behind and we struggled to get the heavy boats around into the swell and wind, so we decided we had to land on a very rocky shore. Although it was a difficult landing on a boulder beach, we were glad to be safe as the wind steadily increased; we were storm bound here all day, and although the wind eased by the next day, the swell was still big.

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We crossed the bay and as we came around the Cape, the fog came in and the wind increased, but luckily after struggling around the wind eased. There were no easy landings, so we had to stay in our boats ’til we found a little shelter; eventually we landed at the west tip of Eggers Island and the following day did a new climb of 8 pitches on the scabby side of Quvperitqaqa, a grade HVS 5a called Dance with Seals.

The next few days we had good weather paddling down Ikaq Fjord, but we again got caught out crossing Anordliutssup Ima when the wind and waves picked up to a force 5 and we were committed to cross. We stopped briefly in the village of Augpilagtoq, where the villagers told us they had shot a polar bear a few weeks ago; this was our only stop in 3 weeks. We were storm bound for a day close to here, but the weather improved again and we headed south down Torssukatak Fjord, again we hit bad, windy weather at the end of the fjord and had to turn and run to find shelter. The weather was definitely changing and following a pattern of calm in the morning and windy in the afternoon, so we got early starts and got back into the shelter of Iglu Kasip Tunua Fjord, where we knew there was an old hut where we left some food; we had a day here stormbound, then headed down the fjord and camped.

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We spent 3 days here, one day again sheltering from rain, but the second day, although it was foggy, we went to try and climb a big mountain face we had seen. As we climbed, we came out of the cloud and the face was bigger than we thought, 12 pitches later we reached the top; some good climbing and the usual loose rock on a big mountain face. The climb was graded at E1 5B and we called it Keeping the Faith. We now had a week left to explore another area we had seen closer to Nanortalik; we had to negotiate another headland we had passed when it was windy the day before, but when we woke up from camp it was flat and calm in the bay we were in.

We set off and as soon as we headed onto the open sea we got the swell and wind, the next hour we battled around the tide; the swell and wind created some of the biggest seas I have ever been in and any rescue was out of question. We made it into bay and landed, once again the wind got stronger as the afternoon wore on, so we found a sheltered spot for the tent; it was now bitterly cold with snow on the tops.

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As we were now in sight of Nanortalik, I managed to get a phone signal and got a weather forecast. More bad weather was coming in 2 days, so we decided the following day to head back in rather than be stormbound again. The following day was calm and we headed back in around mid afternoon for showers and beers. We had finished a few days early, but we had succeeded in all our objectives and felt happy that we had survived some very challenging conditions.

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Distance Paddled:

270km over a 21 day period (approx. 15 paddle days, 4 days stormbound and 3 climbing days)

 

Kayaks:

2x Plastic P&H Capella 166s with Skegs

 

 

Paddlers:

2x Werner Paddles and 1 Set of Spare Paddles

 

 

Paddling Kit:

Palm Aleutian Dry Suits

Palm Buoyancy Aids

Palm Nova Wellies

Palm Spray Decks

 

 

 

Tent:

Terra Nova Heavy Duty Hyperspace

 

 

 

Sleeping Bags:

Mountain Equipment Titan 850 Down Bags

 

 

Stove:

MSR Whisperlite Combo

 

 

Climbing Kit:

2x DMM Alpine Harnesses

2x 9.8 m DMM 50M Ropes

12x Quick Draws

5x Slings and Krabs

Double Set of Wires 1-10

9 Assorted Cams

Helmets

Rock Boots

 

 

Other Gear:

30m EPIRB

VHF RADIO

Mobiles (although only a few places had phone coverage)

Various Camera Kit

 

 

The Team Would Like to Thank the Following:

P&H Sea Kayaks

Gino Watkins Funding and Arctic Club

Welsh Sports Association

BMC

Palm

Mountain Equipment

Werner Paddles

DMM

Cotswold Camping

Wild West Beef Jerky

A to Z Expeditions

Bromsgrove School

 

P&H Hammer Vs “The Shubie”

We just had Canadian Thanksgiving last weekend and what better way to burn off the turkey then to head out for a paddle. Not just any paddle but a paddle on “The Shubie” tidal bore.

There as no bore on this day but the tidal range was around 49 feet and it would be the first time I would use the hammer.

“The Shubie” tidal bore is a world class sea kayak play sport. It bore runs on a river called the Shubenacadie River located at the top of the Bay of Fundy. This video was shot on a tidal range of 49.3 feet. The river is a magical place and the hammer has to be in the top 3 boats I have used on the “The Shubie”.

Once the hammer was up to speed I was able to do cutbacks, bottom turns and surf waves for 2 to 3 minutes at a time. My fears were eased after the first small set on the river.  The hammer picked up the waves quickly.

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I was once told the hammer was to slow for “The Shubie” but after paddling it I would have to say it was one of my best days on the river. In this video there was no Bore wave to speak of but depending on the conditions there is a great front leading wave that forms a fun play wave and once it does up the river it leave us with plenty more things to play on. come to Nova Scotia.

You will be glad you did. There is a full writeup about “The Shubie” in ThePaddler online magazine

I hope you like the video

From Cold to Gold (en) Gate that is….

Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium www.ggsks.com

When I  left my home in Hilden it was -5 and we had just gotten a bunch of freezing rain. The heat on high I drive to the airport hoping the weather is warmer in San Francisco. I am also filled with excitement (which provides at least a bit more warmth) as I am heading to California to take part in the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium January 31 – February 2.

The schedule was action packed; three full days of sea kayak skills session including a standard day paddle around the San Francisco Bay, a paddling trip to Alcatraz, and 2 rock garden sessions. Event Organizers Sean Morley and Matthew Palmariello have really done a great job to plan what will assuredly be a great event. This would be the third Golden Gate event I had been to and I was sure there was going to be plenty of excitement.

I was joined by several P&H Paddlers at the event. This event is the official kick off to the season followed by several events that we P&H paddlers travel to all over North America.  We are truly privileged to be ambassadors for one of the leading sea kayak manufacturers.

Several of the team paddlers got out for a little Play the day before the event.

Day 1 – Bay Journey

Sunshine and calm seas.  What a great day on the water. We got to paddle over to Alcatraz with the flood which proved to be a very gentle paddle.  Once around the island we worked out way over to Angel Island where we would have lunch. Student got to work on tidal paddling and work out the angle we would have to take in order for us to cross the tail end of the flood tide. Everyone did well and were happy to get out for a bite and some route planning.  The day took us all around Angel island and through Raccoon strait where the Ebb tide had started which provided us with a little current and a eddy line to cross as well as some nice waves to play on.  All and all a wonderful day on he water. A big thanks to Sean Morley and Ginny for your leadership and great chats along the way.

Day 2 – Rock Garden safety and rescue

Another California sunny day was in store. I was paired with Paul Kuthe, my friend from Eastern Horizons to run a rock garden safety and rescue session along with Jarrod Gunn McQuillan. We had a very enthusiastic group that enjoyed there day in and out of their boats. We agreed to two themes for the day:

  1. Quick rescues instead of dry rescues
  2. Big picture zooming into little picture to deal with situations.

We feel the students got a great deal out of the day.  We worked around the Gate for most of the morning then went outside to enjoy some of the coastline and the swell that was rolling in. All and all it was a great day on the water.

Day 3 – Rock Gardening Advanced Play

We had every intention of launching from the beach at Rodeo beach but when we arrived the conditions had deteriorated from the time we had check in the morning till the time we were ready to paddle. The forecast was for he surf to build which might mean a very dangerous landing situation so we decided to launch from Horseshoe Cove and Paddle out through the Gate and play outside the gate.  The flood was in full flow when we attempted  to get around the corner and under the gate. With a stiff 20 knot wind from the South East it provided a good warm up for the group. Once outside the gate we had some fun on several areas to make the most of the day.

Weather/swell conditions aside, the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium had a little bit of something for every kayaker and every ability;  Tidal streams, waves and rocky coastline, Top notch coaches and wonderful scenery  at every glance, The San Francisco’s famous Anchor Steam Beer did not disappoint either!!! I look forward to going back to this event next year and feel truly fortunate to have been a participant this year.

For more information on this year’s event and to stay current for next year’s event visit http://www.ggsks.com/ or follow them on Facebook. Search golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium

A huge Thanks you for goes out to P&H sea kayak for bringing boats down to the event and for your continued support for team paddlers.

Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium 2013

Photo Credit: Sue Hutchins

Photo Credit: Sue Hutchins

On September 20-23 paddlers converged upon the first annual Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium hosted at the Ye Olde Argyler Lodge in Argyle, Nova Scotia.  The event jumped in with both feet and welcomed over 120 paddlers to the picturesque Bay of Fundy coast.

The diverse locations found in Nova Scotia’s Yarmouth and Argyle counties were utilized to introduce paddlers from as far as Europe and the United States and from all across Canada to dynamic paddling environments created by the largest tides in the world.

Photo Credit: Nate Hanson

Photo Credit: Nate Hanson

The event brought guest coaches offering a variety of skill development sessions including rock hopping, surfing, coastal journeys and introductions to paddling in lumpy waters, however, the highlight was certainly focused on the paddling environment provided by the tides in the area.  Multiple sessions focused on paddling tide races and overfalls as well as finding fun and operating in the tidal currents that flow between the Tusket Islands and the archipelago within Lobster Bay. Team Paddles Paul Kuthe, Matt Nelson and Christopher Lockyer were at the event waving the Flag for P&H. Lots of people got a chnace to try the Hammer.

Photo Credit: Sue Hutchins

Photo Credit: Sue Hutchins

One of the highlights for attendees was the Saturday evening guest presentation from Justine Curgenven.   She provided a riveting and engaging recount of her adventure around Tierra del Fuego.  She finished her presentation with a brief video from only a few days earlier while she paddled amongst humpback whales in the Bay of Fundy with Christopher Lockyer, the Executive Director for the Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium.

Photo Credit: Sue Hutchins

Photo Credit: Sue Hutchins

The event started early for some with sessions on the tidal races and overfalls within the Shubenacadie Tidal Bore.  Guest coaches worked with keen and excited students on one of the most exhilarating 3 hours of paddling in the world, working on paddling in moving waters as well as surfing on big brown glassy waves and crossing strong eddy lines.

Photo Credit Clif Pratt

Photo Credit Clif Pratt

Coaches at Play

Coaches at Play

The coaches all had a go at the Walton Whopper as well Off 2 the Races Vol 1

The event was such a success and has received so much positive feedback that they have already set the dates for the 2014 event for September 12-15.

 

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