Kayak on the water, paddling trips

Sunday, July 10, 2005

'Thar she blows into quicksand

Weather : Mainly sunny getting partially cloudy, hot
Wind (km/h) : SW 18, W 24, W 35 gust 45, W 26 gust 37
Temperature : 27 - 31 °C
Distance : 23.4 km
Avg. moving : 6.1 k/h

Location : Parc national des îles-de-Boucherville, Varennes, Québec, Canada

Double-crested cormorant, Common terns, Ringed plovers, limicoles, 1 Least Bittern, 1 Common Loon, Ducks and the usual great herons, red-winged blackbirds and gulls

A late start but after yesterdays torrential rains anxious for the weekly fix of water, air and paddling. A navigational device in the family, Geko 201 (Garmin). It is horrible the effect of an LCD on my eyeballs. After finally getting the satellites signal, I couldn't tear myself from constantly checking the direction and speed.

The west wind pushed us to Varennes and as we let it guide us we watched the Asphalt Victory (from Georgetown) lift its anchors. Two beautiful tugboats strapped on one side. An adult common loon stretched out it wings on the water as if waving us onto the crossing. As we reached the first of the small islands in the St-Lawrence Seaway, another huge cargo forged onwards. As we pondered if it would take the same channel we were in, I became hyponotized by the small wall of water foaming on its front. This mother was moving a whole lotta water...

As it passed us, minutes later huge waves pushed us effortlessly. Small boats and sea-doos clinging onto its wake. As we rounded the island the wind had gotten stronger and our initial plan of resting before recrossing towards Boucherville was abandoned. Actually, we tried to land on the tip of the island but the water level was very low and Libellule was scrapping her belly on the weedy and rocky bottom. It was the first time the cormorants didn't fly away in disarray. This was their turf, we just hadn't realized it yet...

The wind was not too helpful and the next 45 minute were work. JF had noticed an area where we might beach, a new place on the eastern side of the marshland. Fair enough says I... as we approach the small muddy beach. I decide to do some fancy footwork, that result in spraying slimy weeds in my face and all over my seat. Surprised by the unwelcome, I firmly plant my feet on some kinda of quicksand...

Definition: Quicksand is loose, water-logged sand which yields easily to weight or pressure.

Within milliseconds I sink about a foot into an evil gray colored mud that won't let go. Never felt so rooted and grounded than at that moment. Using leverage - fear, discomfort and my paddle I free my poor traumatized toes from the gurk (gray + beurk).

A beautiful spot - a large dead tree trunk lay on the ground posing as a bench, I stretch out and look up. Zillions of small dark green leaves are making a sound that reminds me of rain. Bushes of wild comestible bright-colored berries. Thistles that haven't bloomed yet. A park guard surprises me and I return to reality.

The trip through the marshes proves that we are slowly regaining our paddling expertise as we out-manoeuvre canoes in the zig-zags. Yup, one idle second and its straight into the tall marshes. The lower the water level the higher they seem.

As we entered the final stretch, the west wind graciously pushed us towards the beach, weaving between the parked boats back to cement city.

Notes to brain:
Longitude = East or West
Latitude = North or South
North - Magnetic, Real, Grid


Post a Comment

<< Home