Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 3 - Jeff

Sunny clear morning clear morning and we take our time with breakfast and packing up, I go and do the dishes just to prove it isn't Julies job and that I in fact do know how. Pick some blackberries on the way back as a treat for Julie, more to give her time to pack all the other stuff up.

Quick swim and off we go, calm lazy down the river and once we got to Couchiching, breeze was blowing so decided to stick along shore, adds a little distance but calling for lightning and rain so want to be as close as possible in case we need shelter. At about the hour point we stopped on a little island for a rest. In hindsight I should have picked the opposite shoreline as it would have been protected from the wind and waves and not much longer in distance.

Continue following the shore, wind starts to pick up but still making good time, waves start increasing but not crazy yet, Julie picks up fast and is bracing over waves like a pro. We try and stay side by side or Julie in front, I don't like not seeing her, it's an eerie feeling.

We start getting to Julie's limit for sitting in a kayak, unfortunately the shoreline is all rock with waves crashing over so no real place to stop, we push on. Julie gets quiet which I have come to learn is her not overly enthusiastic about being in the 'bucket', this being the name of her kayak due to the amount of water she seems to take on board. I blame it on the kayak dude, "here take the neoprene skirt, breathes better on hot days" what they forgot to mention is when waves crashing over, leaks like a funnel, we figure out later that if we pull waist band up high like my grandfather wore his pants then it reduced quite a bit.

Waves weren't bad at this point but needed to stop for a rest, found this summer camp full of kids and they were nice enough to let us land for a break, we took full advantage of it and rested and snacked for about an hour or so after bailing out the 10 gallons of water in the kayaks.

One of the teen cousellors was nice and offered us something to drink another couple of kids offered us some ice cream. Nice to see such polite and helpful children.

Took out my weather station and wind was 28mph and gusting to 35, whitecaps were forming and not looking good, waited for a bit then decided to head back out and continue sticking to the shore, there are a number of camps on this side of couchiching so no shortage of stopping places.

Leaving camp there is a little point to go around before heading crosswind, unfortunately, wind straight in the face, Julie struggled a bit but made it to the point on the second attempt, once around was pretty smooth sailing in side wind, well... If you don't mind 5-6 foot waves and going up and down all day, while I love those conditions I could tell Julie wasn't as excited as I was. The thing with big waves is that you don't have much time to relax, you constantly have to pay attention for that big wave coming and the bracing at the right time so you don't roll over. Kayaks are extremely well adapted for these types of waves so it never really feels out of control or that you are about to tip over. Just have to keep an eye out so it can be mentally draining.

After 10km We now make the decision, we've had enough, about a 1km away near Casino Rama there is a yatch marina, we pull in pretty tired and drained and look for a place to pull out. Find a little patch of grass on the inside and get out, happy to be on dry land. For the moment!

Walked over to the office to make sure was ok to stop there, the owner said yes but had one of those looks that you can tell he was annoyed we were brazen enough to pull in un announced. Walked back to kayaks to weight out options and going back out in Couchiching wasn't one of them for Julie. Conditions got even worse and was getting close to 5pm, walked back to office to see if we could camp somewhere for the night, and this is where things get interesting.

I don't know about everyone else and whether it was the way my parents brought me up but I was taught that if someone needs help you help, especially if it means not helping would put safety at risk. "Is it possible to put our tent up somewhere?" Response: " sorry, it's against our policy, we don't even let boaters put their kids tents up". Us: you mean you are going to send us back out in those conditions and risk our safety?" Response: " really wish I could help but no you can't and I'm not even sure where else you could go". It was clear, no amount of begging was going to change her mind. I am not prone to using nasty four letter words but under the circumstances, FUCK YOU Ojibway Marina Resort!

Plan B - my truck is at my mothers house but she is in Buffalo for the weekend, called my brother but he was at a retirement party for work, he was nice enough to arrange for his best friend Dan to pick up my truck and come rescue us. Mr Pepin, you are the man and can't tell you how much we appreciate the help. Packed everything into the truck, strapped kayaks on and gave the marina the finger on the way out, to nobody in particular, just a general finger for idiots who would give up 10 feet of grass when there are acres of lush grass and gardens all over the property.

Dan was nice enough to stop for coffee and beer on the way through and I felt bad making him drive us around (my brother I don't care and he is family).

Decided with the weather forecast, best to skip Lake Simcoe completely so as to not have a repeat of yesterday. We got to Bolsover lock around 8, waved off Dan and setup camp and had dinner by 9 then just relaxed for a few hours in the tent when mosquitoes came out.

We are relaxing this morning, ok I am, Julie is packing stuff in tent to keep busy while I blog. Will press send then go help and get this day going, Fenelon Falls tonight.

Julie now likes Sparrow Lake and hates Couchiching.

Greg and Dan, thank you!


  1. Fascinating..I look forward to your posts..I followed last year's trip too. Hooray for Julie..she must have read about last year..and is still brave enough to be your sidekick this year..
    I admire her spunk! Jeff your website is so organized..and easy to navigate with lots of info.
    Good on ya!

  2. Hi Jeff,
    I just wanted to mention that the "New trip plan" link takes you to the 2009 route map..and the Original trip plan takes you to the 2010 map of your route around Georgian bay.

    Happy Paddling!

  3. Glad you had a great day yesterday..sorry about previous comment..I went back and read the change of plans post and realized that you changed your Original plan to the route that you did last year.
    I think I have it straight now..
    Nice to hear Julie is geting more the "Bucket"

  4. "(my brother I don't care and he is family)"

    I love it. Family member is always your concrete support.

    Gook luck and enjoy your rest trip.


  5. Thanks Carol, always nice to hear from people following along, hope you are enjoying