Monday, August 24, 2015

Life of Dudley [Killbear]

Life of Dudley

Date: August 9-17, 2015
Launch Point: Killbear Provincial Campground
Destination: Anywhere
Crew: Michael Mitchener & Dudley
Conditions: Summer

Nessie Northbound

I spent about a week at Killbear this year and had Nessie on the water a few times.  While Georgian Bay can be fast and rough, most paddles were calm with relative smooth waters (at least the times I choose to canoe).  I met some canoers who had been out the day before and had had troubles getting back to our bay due to strong winds.  At one point they were being pushed against the rocks and used their paddles to keep the canoe safe.  With this in mind, I kept an eye on the weather and picked my times.  

Red Squall

While Dudley isn't a big fan of canoeing, he was out and about for a few rides and reluctantly enjoyed himself although his preferred position is tucked between my legs when on the water. 

Drowned Leaf

Killbear is beautiful, you should go there.  Cheers.

A Bug's Life


Sunday, August 2, 2015

An Urban Urban Voyage (Port Lands Ship Channel]

William Self

Date: August 2, 2015
Time: ~5:30 AM to ~8:00 AM
Launch Point: Trusty Cherry Beach
Destination: Port Lands Ship Channel
Crew: Michael Mitchener & William Self
Conditions: Light and variable winds with smooth seas in a very protected channel. 
Sightings: 1 sleek mink, many ducks, a haunted boat, 3 freighters, a SWAT team, 2 power plants, many dog walkers and dogs (of course), 1 star in the making, a couple on a board, and a "you shall not pass" drawbridge.

William Self

After reading about the latest plans for the Port Lands including the Don Mouth Naturalization and Port Lands Flood Protection Project, we thought we'd explore the before view of Port Lands waterways before they gentrify the joint.  This also seemed like a true urban voyage and different from some of our more nature-oriented past trips around the Spit and Toronto Islands.  

Michael Mitchener 

Initially we thought we'd put Nessie into the water off Commissioners near Carlaw but realized that would involve a 5 foot drop into the water and wouldn't bode well for our camera equipment (or Nessie).  The rowing club near this location has a dock in the water but it's locked up behind a fence.  Not put off, we headed to our trusty launch location, Cherry Beach.

Metis Sunrise
Michael Mitchener

The moon was full and still prominent in the sky as we put Nessie into the calm water about 5:30.  We took a few pictures and jumped into the canoe and headed out.  It was another beautiful morning, very calm and quiet as we rounded the point and saw our first view of the city.   

Reflecting Metis
Michael Mitchener

Passing by the old Rochester Ferry dock, we noticed a large group of people dressed in black gathered on the edge of the pier.  I'm guessing they were police officers involved in some sort of training exercise.  Thankfully they took little notice of us as we passed by.

William Self

Next on the route was two large docked freighters.  Nothing makes you feel smaller than passing one of these towering bad boys in a 15 foot canoe.  They are freakin' huge and must extend 8-10 stories above the water.  They didn't seem to be going anywhere so we passed by fairly close in awe. 

William Self
After that we headed towards the Cherry Street drawbridge noticing a sign on the bridge that stated:

Commercial vessels only
Small craft access by prior
arrangements only.... 416-462-1260
Toronto Port Authority

We quickly evaluated our options as a non-commerical vessel with no appointment, and put our heads and paddles down and went for it.  Luckily, we entered the channel unchallenged.  

William Self

The ship channel is amazing.  It's huge, sheltered and full of potential.  We were shocked how much distance we had covered once we reached the turning basin and looked back to the drawbridge.  It must have been quite the feat of engineering to build the channel initially complete with turning basin.  

Power Trip
Michael Mitchener 

Today, there are numerous industrial sites, power plants, and salt piles which make for interesting photo subjects.

Hydro Two
Michael Mitchener 

Once we reached the turning basin, we turned but to be honest, we had lots of room to maneuver.  I'm not sure what they were thinking when they built the basin (obviously not Nessie). 

Michael Mitchener

Bridge Unmanned
Michael Mitchener 

Heading back to Cherry Beach, we hoisted Nessie onto the car, and headed to the Mercury Espresso Bar on Queen Street for a couple cortados and scones on the patio.

Metis Toronto
Michael Mitchener 

It was great to get out to a new spot for a change of scenery and a new perspective on the Port Lands.   

William Self