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Twenty Sixth Annual Conference & Workshops Keynote Information
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Thursday October 27, 2016 Keynote

Carrie Sowden, Archaeological Director for the Peachman Lake Erie Shipwreck Research Center at the Great Lakes Historical Society

Carrie Sowden graduated from Emory University with a BS in Chemistry; after deciding against medical school, she entered Texas A&M University. She graduated from the Nautical Archaeology Program there with a Master of Arts in Anthropology. Her areas of specialty are historical archaeology and waterlogged artifact conservation. During her career as a nautical archaeologist, she has worked on shipwreck projects in Maine, Florida, Alabama, Virginia, Portugal, the Azores, Turkey, and Ohio. She is currently the Archaeological Director for the Peachman Lake Erie Shipwreck Research Center at the Great Lakes Historical Society. She has worked on many archaeological projects in Lake Erie, including co-directing the excavation of the Anthony Wayne, and PI for the Survey of the Battle of Lake Erie and Vessel Anchorage Project. 

Friday October 28, 2016 Keynote

Dana Starkell - Paddle to the Amazon

Dana Starkell grew up in Winnipeg, Canada, a city known for warm summers and long bitter cold winters. From the time Dana was a young boy, his life was filled with adventure. Dana's father, Don Starkell, who had an extensive background in canoe racing, made plans to involve his two sons in some form of challenging event each year. Summer holidays included canoe trips, hiking, sand-dune treks, rock climbing, and swimming. Learning how to be self-sufficient in the wilderness was a common thread to these experiences.

At age 11 and 10, Dana and his brother Jeff climbed to the top of Mount Rundle with their dad - the highest mountain in Banff, Alberta. During their decent along a narrow ridge, Dana lost his footing in the shale and began to catapult head over heels. Fortunately Dana’s dad had foreseen this risk and had advised Dana to extend his arms and legs to prevent rolling. It worked — and saved Dana's life. Dana slid to a stop less than 10 feet from the ledge of a ravine that dropped a few thousand feet to the rocks below. The next summer, Dana's dad used the lure of milk shakes to get Dana to the top of the mountain facing Mount Rushmore. By the time Dana returned to the top with the third set of chocolate shakes his recently acquired fear of climbing was history.

Nearly every summer the trio would take long canoe trips - primarily around the lakes of southern Ontario, and a few times in the remote lakes of northern Manitoba. The longest of these trips lasted a month and was planned specifically to prepare for their voyage from Canada to Brazil. Specifically, they wanted to test the food carrying capacity of their canoe, physical endurance and their ability to be self-sufficient for at least one month at a time.

A year after completing high school, Dana undertook the now famous two-year canoe trip his father had been planing since Dana was 9 years old. Altogether, they paddled through 13 countries from Winnipeg to Belem, Brazil and were awarded the Guinness world record for the longest canoe trip in history. In the course of the journey Dana cured his asthma and honed his skills as a classical guitarist.

More recently Dana completed two separate canoe adventures with his dad. The first was along the Mississippi and Gulf Coast from Princeton, Iowa, to Key West, Florida. The second, in 2003, followed the intracoastal waterway and open Atlantic coast from New York city harbor to Key Largo, Florida. The later trip was a significant challenge due to constant inspections by coastal officials following the 911 attacks.

Dana now lives in the Quad Cities, Iowa with his wife Stacey and son Davey. Dana’s next adventure will be a reunion with Gabriel Delgado and others for a two-month canoe trip down the Mississippi River to New Orleans in 2017.


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