Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Suitable For Most Marine Activities [Leslie Spit]
Date: September 6, 2009
Time: ~6:00 AM to ~9:30 AM
Launch Point: Cherry Beach
Destination: Leslie Spit
Passengers: Kashmera Self, William Self & Michael Mitchener
Conditions: Light winds with a slight chop, small short period wind waves, suitable for most marine activities.
Sightings: One otter, several beavers, many cormorants, ducks, mosquitoes, irritating little flies, one rower and two boatloads of dragonboaters.
After our last paddle in fairly choppy conditions, I decided to do a bit more research into marine forecasting and found a good website that said this past Sunday was going to be "suitable for most marine activities". Given this positive prediction, William Self, his wife Kashmera and I decided to take an early morning trip. This was Kashmera's first trip with us and she was keen to see what could possibly motivate Bill to get up at an insane hour to paddle around one of the Great Lakes.
With the shorter days upon us, we decided to sleep in and head out at 5:45 AM rather than our typical 5:30 AM leave the house time. Even still, it was decidedly dim when we placed the canoe in the lake beside the lifeguard hut at Cherry Beach. With the sky lightening in the east, we pushed off into the calm lake. It's beautiful being on the lake this time of day with the sleeping city glittering across the water to the north, the near full moon shining over Toronto Islands to the west, the dark Leslie Street Spit getting closer ahead of us as we paddled to the south, and the sun just below the horizon to the east.Our destination today was the south end of the Spit out towards the lighthouse. We spent our time wandering the different bays on the west side of the Spit, watching the wakening wildlife including one very brave otter who was perched on the edge of the shore and allowed us to get within a few feet of him to take pictures. Notable as well was a colony of beavers we saw in one of the bays that swam around the canoe and smacked their tails on the water as they dived (a well known beaver expletive). They escorted us out of the bay once we had our fill of watching them and taking pictures. Damn paparazzi.
At one point, we "hit bottom" on a sand bar and William and Kashmera gamely agreed to walk the canoe to deeper waters. William knows I like to keep the canoe on water and always force passengers to step into the cold lake to board the canoe. I guess scratches are a part of life for a canoe and I should get over it but it's very hard to let go.
We eventually reached the lighthouse after many pictures and many laughs and decided that our collective caffeine levels were reaching dangerously low levels and proceeded back to the mainland. It was a great morning on the water with Bill and Kashmera and ended with a coffee and industrial "have you had these before?" muffin at Red Rocket Coffee. Thanks for a great day to the both of you (and thanks for listening to our geeky camera chatter Kashmera).