Friday, July 17, 2009

Day 3 - Buh bye Lake Simcoe

Long winded post because I have time to kill.

Another very long and sometimes nervous day, but well worth it, at bolsover at the bottom of canal lake which is about 10k short of kirkfield lock and the point where I start going downstream instead of up, no more against the current.

Paddled 10 hours today and not sure how far but has to be close to yesterday seeing as I was only able to get out of kayak once and only after 6 hours. Can you say sore butt.

In hindsight pushing hard the last two days turned out to be a wise decision. Just talked to my brother and he said sky is black over barrie area and pouring rain. Marine forecast not calling for great weather in simcoe tomorrow either. So glad I'm not there now and the big scary unpredictable lake (ocean) is behind me, I'm well ahead of schedule.

here is how today went. Woke up at 5:30ish and dragged my tired butt out of bed around 6am, took some motivation to get moving so early with not much sleep and having just paddled 45k+ the day before. . Had breakfast and a coffee, filled up water, slapped on sunscreen then packed up and headed out around 7. Screwed up my packing and will get to that in a minute. Marine forecast called for light wind with possibility of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Sky was clear and blue and lake calm, go for it. This time I put on the ipod as I know I'm in for a long paddle.

Turn the point and see the next point couple km in the distance, get to that point and see the next one a couple of kms away, wind is starting to pick up and coming from the south which is pretty much to the side. I think no worries I just have to bounce from point to point. As I get closer to the next point the water gets shallow with offshore shoals and the waves start building to over 2 feet as they roll over the shallow water. Uh oh, now know why the boat channel goes out so far.

Head back out into the waves so I can ride them into the point instead of having the waves over the side. Get to the point and literally say f--k! I know there is an island I have to stay to the left of but the other side is so far away it looks like a 2" line on the horizon and everything blends in. Overwhelmed at how far away it is. I can see the channel markers so figure as long as I keep parallel I'm good. Waves are getting bigger and for the first time I'm very nervous.

Gather up my skirt so to speak and with a literal mighty heave, I head out. No idea how big these waves are but all I can say is they look like cars coming at me from the side. I finally settle in and relax a bit. Really have to pay attention though as they come from nowhere and if they get the back it kind of twirls you sideways. Found you can pick a line and ride through the swells sideways easy, was kind of fun after awhile, lots of bracing with the paddle and learned that if you plant the paddle flat opposite side of the wave it will balance you over the crest then paddle into the next wave and repeat, for three more hours! I prob wouldn't recommend doing simcoe alone. Kayak held up perfectly and still amazed how stable.

Surprisingly, half way there the wind just stopped and the water was like glass the rest of the way, I can't see the markers anymore and I remember I have my blackberry gps. Which I should have turned off google maps with gps from the night before cause battery now dead. Damn. Mistakenly packed my water filter and sunscreen in the back hatch and now out of water and protection, hot and thirsty so have to drink right from the lake.

Still haven't seen a boat so not sure where to go and at this point I'm 2-3 hours from any shore. I see a point in the distance so start heading there in the hope I hit the markers at some point. I finally get close enough to see that the point is the far end of the island I have to stay left of, damn paddled way way offline, now I know where I'm going and paddle in. Cross in just under 6 hours and take a well deserved rest and bio break.

Head up the channel at beaverton and was hoping to stop a little early, unlike the previous locks these had no step in and I can't get me and gear up 4 feet of cement, have to do 5 locks before I can find a spot to land and even then had to lift kayak up 3 foot bank. The lock guy helped, was very nice.

Setup camp, made big dinner, drank last of my beer and now relaxing. Was raining a bit earlier when I was doing dishes but stopped now.

Going to hopefully sleep in and get a later start tomorrow. Still hope to make it to fenlon falls, Andrew from my office c is doing the Trent by boat (wimp) from the other end and he might be in fenlon falls tomorrow as well. Would be great to see a friendly face and he better have a cold beer (hint hint) if he's reading this.

Having a blast but did drop my $250 dollar headphones in the water. Wish I bought the waterproof ones. That will teach me. They still somewhat work just really low volume.

1 comment:

  1. I have to say, this makes for compelling reading, no joke. Make sure that Hillier's floating beer oasis doesn't divert you off course (or compel you to stop), the ocean is behind you now, keep going!