A dragon boat has been launched on Lake Learmonth for possibly the first time in history. Dragons Abreast Ballarat members paddled on the lake on March 27 after a number of setbacks, including the lake's low water level. The group's president and Learmonth resident, Anne Stowe, said she had always wanted to paddle on her home lake since she joined Dragons Abreast 15 years ago. "We finally did get to launch the boat on the lake and it was lovely," Ms Stowe said. She said group members would probably paddle on the lake again, hopefully to see one of the lake's beautiful sunsets. Ballarat Golden Dragon members helped paddle the Dragons Abreast boat. The Lake Learmonth boat launch occurred weeks before six Dragons Abreast members travelled to Lake Karapiro, on New Zealand's north island, for the International Breast Cancer Paddlers' Commission participatory Dragon Boat Festival. Breast cancer survivors from all over the world are currently participating in the festival from April 10 to 16. "It will be a one week party for several thousand women in pink," Ms Stowe said. "We will race against each other, but the aim is about celebrating being there rather than winning our races." Ms Stowe joined Dragons Abreast in 2007 after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2003. The group consists of breast cancer survivors and their supporters. "I just wanted to be active after a breast cancer diagnosis. The best thing, personally, I think about our group is it's not formally a support group where people go and talk about their treatment all the time. "Everyone knows you have had treatment and if you want to talk about it someone will listen but it's not about that, it's about moving on and embracing life. "It's literally opened up my world. I have travelled to some amazing places and met lots of wonderful people and I just love it." Dragons Abreast Ballarat started in February 2005, before they had a boat and when there was very little water in Lake Wendouree. "One of the foundation members, Jacqueline, had a son who was an amateur boat builder. He and a friend built us a beautiful boat, 'Intrepid', in a shed in Docklands, Melbourne," Ms Stowe said. "'Intrepid' was painted by a then member Pam Farey, who is a well recognised foot and mouth artist. Her decorative mane was created by other members." The dragon boat was blessed in 2009, but at that time there was no water at all in Lake Wendouree. In 2010, she was driven to the Barwon River in Geelong to be launched for the first time. Following the big rains in 2011, the Ballarat group was finally able to paddle on Lake Wendouree. Ms Stowe said Dragons Abreast ceremonies were held to honour people who sadly died of breast cancer. "When one of our members passes away, which unfortunately does happen, we have a ceremonial boat which was a handmade timber boat and no longer able to be used competitively," she said. "It's stored at private museum at Bungaree and we have a plaque on that boat for every one of our angels who have passed away. We had a service just recently for a lady who lived in Beaufort. That's called our plaque ceremony." At dragon boat regattas there is quite often a 'flowers on the water service' which involves a minute of silence and throwing flower petals on the water for all the people who have died from breast cancer. Dragons Abreast Ballarat train every Saturday at 9.30am at Lake Wendouree. Ms Stowe said the group welcomed people who were not breast cancer survivors. Have you tried The Courier's app? It can be downloaded here.