Monday, July 29, 2013

Silver Dollar [Leslie Spit]

Little Red Boat by Michael Mitchener
Little Red Boat, a photo by Michael Mitchener on Flickr.

Time: ~5:30 AM to ~7:30 AM
Launch Point: Cherry Beach, Toronto, Ontario
Destination: Lighthouse on Leslie Spit (attempted)
Crew: Michael Mitchener & William Self
Conditions: Light winds with choppy seas and occasional whitecaps.
Sightings: Some punk senior citizen playing loud fifties music in the parking lot, large rolling swells, a irritable beaver w/dam, a couple of fisherman, and a magnificent espresso machine worth more than $20K.

We decided to get serious about beating the sunrise this morning and arrived at Cherry Beach way before 5:30 am!  Given the early arrival, we finished up our picked-up-en-route coffees and discussed the breeze and choppy water while listening to fifties rock from the stereo of the only other car in the parking lot (odd).  The lake is usually pretty calm in the morning but not today.  After the SC punk took off, we unloaded our gear along with Nessie and hit the beach.  Bill had the honours today and we headed out onto the choppy lake. 

Our plan was to head out to the lighthouse at the end of the Spit and I was hoping to go around the point and check out some of the lagoons I see ships moor in when out cycling on the Spit.  We soon discovered that the rough water was indeed rough the farther we paddled from shore.  The swells rolling in from across the lake were fairly big and while Nessie was brave and true, her bow was coming fairly close to the water line on some of the downward troughs.  While not overly concerned about the canoe or us as Nessie can handle some rough weather, we decided it might be wise to store our cameras in dry-bags until we reached calmer waters.

Deadheads by Michael Mitchener
Deadheads, a photo by Michael Mitchener on Flickr.
About this time we decided it would be unwise to continue to the exposed end of the Spit and veered east towards the sheltered creepy cormorant trees.  Once we passed the sunken barge, the lake calmed down considerably and we were able to relax and pull our cameras out again.  The lake is quite high as noted by the amount of visible deadheads in the bay by the cormorants, and our ability to get through some channels that are typically hit and miss.

We had a good tour around the various bays and the marina near the red bridge and had a minor altercation with the damn beaver.  He hates it when we smack our paddles on the water but he started it.

After an enjoyable paddle exploring the sheltered western side of the spit, we put our cameras back into the dry-bags and headed across the open bay to the lifeguard hut.  The paddle back was easier with the wind behind us as we rode the swells.  Once ashore, we took a few more photos, goofed around and headed back to Queen Street for a real coffee.  Unfortunately most of the coffee joints were still closed but thankfully we found the Tango Palace open.  They have an amazing copper and brass espresso machine that makes a fine Americano.

Nessie at Rest by Michael Mitchener
Nessie at Rest, a photo by Michael Mitchener on Flickr.

All and all, it was another great urban voyageur adventure complete with a new collectible to boot!  How cool is that?  Thanks.

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