7.02.2011

Peace and Quiet

First Paddle
I ordered myself a Pelican fishing kayak in March and it finally arrived at Canadian Tire in June, don't even ask. I was thrilled to finally get a chance to get off the shore and out into the water and do a little sight-seeing and fishing from the middle of the lake.

I went out after supper around 8pm and paddled my way to the end of a small lake near my house. It was beautifully calm and relatively quiet- the airport is right near the lake so there were a few planes coming in for their landings. It took about an hour to paddle all the way to the end of the lake but I tok my time and gawked at the scenery trying not to get too close to the shore as the mosquitoes were ravenous.

As a kid, my dad and grandad often took us out in a canoe when we went to our cabin during the summer holidays and I'm pretty sure learning to canoe is a part of many Canadian gym or Rec Ed programs. Kayaking is a different story. The thing I love most is that it will float in about three inches of water. The thing I love least is that it is way more tippy than a canoe.

For my first trip across the lake I left my fishing gear back in the car: no sense in losing it all if I dump the boat first trip out. I took my time getting used to turning around and moving forward and backward. I pulled into shore and organized the foot pedals which gave me a little more control and helped with my balance. I need quite a bit more practice with paddling though as I got pretty wet from all the drips off the handle, (good thing it came with a spray skirt)!

After gaining confidence with my first two hours of paddling I returned to the car and grabbed my fishing gear. It was only about 10pm so I figured I had at least an hour or two before I would have to pack it in. I set up my fishing rod in the rear rod holder and stuck my gear bag between my legs. I grabbed my hoodie in case it cooled off and fought the mosquitoes again as I fumbled around on shore. I had to paddle fast to out run those little suckers and finally left the hungry swarm behind.

I caught a couple little jackfish (northern pike) while trolling behind the kayak and only got stuck a few times. The nice thing about that is that I could just paddle backwards and free my lure instead of trying to fight it from shore. Fishing from a kayak is challenging. I am glad the fish I caught were relatively small....a larger one might have taken me for quite a ride! While the boat does come with an anchor I think perhaps in pursuit of larger fish I might just paddle to an island or location where I can fish from shore if I'm hunkering for a lunker!

I have to say I am really happy with my investment. The kayak is light and easy to carry weighing only 40 pounds. I can load it and unload it myself and it allows me to do a lot more exploring. I can venture up the river and across lakes, and portage through to smaller lakes that are inaccessible to motorboats. I had the entire lake to myself and as you can see from the photos it was a beautiful calm night for a trip. I was able to see parts of the lake I could never access and found a couple really nice little fishing holes as well as some potential campsites. I shared the lake with nesting ducks, muskrats, ravens and arctic terns who were too busy fishing too try and peck my eyes out (they defend their nest with rabid vengeance).

I have to spend July recovering from my surgery but the prospect of getting back out on the lakes to enjoy the quiet beauty of the outdoors is reassuring. I can't wait to paddle out someplace and set up camp for a night or two, sleep under the aurora and count the stars. I can spend a day or two fishing and exploring, taking photos and maybe even go for a swim. Summer is short enough but with a six week recovery plunked right in the middle I am going to be sure to enjoy every second of whatever is left, especially in my new body.

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