"Our Experience"

Our first experience with Kayaking was when we took a trip to the Sault Ste. Marie Canada area to visit my brother Gavin and his family. Gavin and family have a beautiful cottage located on Diamond Lake 30 miles north of the Sault. The usual sports activity that we take part in there is water-skiing but on our visit in July 2001, we had the opportunity to use Gavin's new sit on top Kayak and also another white water style model. Well in that long weekend Maureen and I spent about six hours just touring from lake to lake enjoying the splendor of the surrounding lakes and after this experience we were hooked and decided to purchase our own Kayaks for the 2002 season.


We spent some time on the computer checking many manufacturers and models available from many sources and drove to local dealers, checking on the models that they had in stock. Just on a whim, I remembered that the Nova Craft Canoe company was located near our home and thought that I should see if they also were building Kayaks and sure enough they were just in the process of building there first RotoMold Kayaks after months of design and engineering. After considering our options, we decided to order our first two Aqua Fusion "Breeze" eleven foot Kayaks and in May 2002 we picked them up.

"First time out"

May 30, 2002

We were really excited and on a Thursday after I finished work we picked up our new beauties and were off to the Thames River which runs through London, Canada. Our first outing gave us sunny skies with pretty cumulus clouds and strong winds (20 mph plus). After taking a few photos and letting our friend Barb try out our "Breeze" models, we were off on a tour of the river east toward the downtown area, the forks of the Thames. The current was about 5 miles per hour and the wind in an opposite direction at about twenty so it was challenging and a whole lot of fun. We found our new Kayaks very easy to use and they tracked very well. We were also happy that they feel so stable unlike the models we used the past summer at Gavin's cottage. We started out going east with the wind for about 45 minutes seeing the scenery from a much different perspective than ever before and once we reached the forks, decided that we should head back to our friends home, where we started from which would be into the wind and we expected that it would be harder against the wind but as it turned out going with the strong current made our return coarse much easier and we back to launch in about thirty minutes. This was a very relaxing pretty ride and we are very happy with our new touring Kayaks. We are planning many new tours with our new sport and will keep you updated with new reports.

"Our First Big Day"

June 18, 2002

Saturday finally arrived and we were excited to get on the water so I said to Maureen, let's leave our car in the middle of town, just before the waterfall and then launch our Kayaks 5 miles east and make our first big run downstream back to the car, and so we did. Saturday turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous day with a wonderful blue sky and temperatures around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. We launched our Kayaks just east of the city packed with our camera equipment and we were off.

It was amazing to see the water so clear that we could almost always see the bottom which had a lot more sand than we ever expected and with the current at about 5 MPH we were just scooting along. We noticed a calm area just behind a clump of trees sticking out from the north bank and decided to stop there for a few minutes to get a photo moment and it was very worthwhile as the scenery was breathtaking with lots of wildlife. As we traveled a little further we saw a blue heron, a blue jay and lots of red wing black birds. As the river meanders through the city it has the occasional island in the middle and we could never quite decide which side to pass through and a couple of times we were stranded on a bed of small rocks and had to push off with our hands and before long we were on our way again. We came into about eight areas where the river narrows and the water was moving quite fast and had some good rapids with surges to about one foot high and that was a blast ripping through them. We had seen this part of the Thames many times before BUT from a different perspective as we walk our Dachshund along this area on a regular basis but seeing it from the water was fascinating. Well, sure enough before we ended our trip, I just had to pee so bad that I spotted a good spot to stop and eased into the shore which had a 20 degree slope and as I was trying to re-enter my kayak, oops, I slipped on the mud bank and there I was soaking wet but got back into the kayak and away we went again for another two miles. After about two and one-half hours we reached our destination and climbed up the ten foot embankment to our car where I found some dry clothes and while Maureen retrieved our van from the launch point, I paddled around the destination area and spotted an older gentleman making music in a secluded area with a couple of sticks and singing. You never know just what you will find while on the water.

We captured fifty five photos while on our first big adventure and you can see a few of them by clicking the Photo Gallery link below.

All in all, our first big day with our new Aqua Fusion "Breeze" kayaks was a wonderful new experience and we do hope that many of our friends will join us in the excitement.

If any of you are interested in the Aqua Fusion line, send me an e-mail and I will be happy to help you get started on your way to a great new sport.



Another Great Day

June 25, 2002

Our next Kayak adventure takes us to Port Frank's and our friend's Eric & Barb's cottage on the Aus Sable river which is about one-half mile from Lake Huron. Eric, along with his grandson, Michael and a friend Brett Fitzpatrick in Eric's canoe took us on a very scenic trip along a branch of the river which parallels the lakefront about a half mile inland. We followed this branch for about two hours which brought us to Pinery Ontario, Provincial Park and a concession which rents canoes, Kayaks and other watercraft. Wildlife observed on our trip included many turtles, cranes, hundreds of large fish spawning and banging against our Kayaks and most memorable was the Giant Bald Eagle which we first spotted sitting in a tree about forty feet off the ground and of coarse Maureen tried to get close enough for a great shot and just as she was about to shoot the camera, the eagle took flight and this was the largest bird that I have ever seen. I would estimate the wingspan to be over seven feet and it was so beautiful to see the Eagle floating around us.

We had another great day on the water with our friends at Port Franks followed by a wonderful barbecued steak dinner with Dave and Laurie Fitzpatrick and family. Thanks to Eric Walne for being our waterways guide for the day.


More Sweet Adventures

July 3, 2002

I have not written for a few weeks now but we sure have been having lots of great fun on the waters in Ontario and Michigan. We took another run at the river between Grand Bend and Port Franks and this time Eric and Barb led our excursion and we had a great scenic four hour trip through the Pinery Provincial Park. Photos of the following trips are at -   Click Here For Kayak Photos Page Two 

On a Saturday evening, I took my ten year old grandson, Seth Shuster, on a trip of the Thames east from Airport Road to the center of town and Seth was a real trooper challenging the rapids and doing very well.

Mike Crosby and myself took a trip from Hwy. 73 to Egerton street on a nice Friday but the Thames was low and we had many spots where we were stuck on the rocks and had to push off, sometimes for a few minutes at a time. The trip took us four hours and we encountered a tremendous thunder storm with lightning flashing real close by so we were not very comfortable on this trip but survived the teaming rain and made it to our destination one hour late for Jane to pick us up and we were soaked and happy to be retrieved.

On the last Friday in June we took our most exciting trip so far with Eric Walne from Hungry Hollow past the Sylvan Bridge  and two miles further which turned out to be a four hour trip filled with exciting rapids and great scenery. Because it had rained quite heavily on Wednesday evening the water was screaming through the gorge which drops 60 feet in less than one mile as it reaches toward Lake Huron. These were crazy wild rapids that kept us on our tows for the first two hours. At the start of our trip, our friends Ken & Mary McBurrney told us that there were many shallow areas that needed to be portaged but because of the rain, we did not have to carry anywhere and it was exhilarating. This is a trip we will long remember as being the most fun we could have had.

While on a hang gliding trip near Lansing Michigan we spent a morning paddling the Grand River which passes by Michigan State University and east of Lansing. The scenery here was spectacular and we are going to continue from where we left off and see a whole lot more of this fantastic river.


A New Route

July 11, 2002

Here we go again and Mike and Jane tell us of a trip they took to the west starting at SpringBank dam here in London and running the Thames river west to the town of Delaware which is about fifteen miles so we were excited and on Thursday July 11, 2002 after work we were ready. Mike offered to drive us back to the launch at SpringBank so that was a big help and we were off. Right away, rapids at SpringBank and that was a nice start and as we traveled west we found about ten sets of unsuspected rapids and the scenery was excellent. About half way through our trip I experienced my first flooding of my Kayak as I was entering a set of rapids I bumped a huge rock and the force of the water behind me turned my Kayak ninety degrees to the flow and pinned me against a four foot rock with my upstream rail under water and it immediately filled my Kayak with water. Well, that normally would not be a big problem but because I had Flash our Dachshund with me, I was grabbing for him and getting Flash on the big rock and then remembered that I had my new $400.00 GPS on the floor and it was submerged so I was frantically grabbing for it and got it out of the water in about twenty seconds and through all this craziness I realized that my paddle had gone flying with current so I called to Maureen who was through the rapids and waiting for me but she could not hear me due to the rapid noise. Well, after getting the dog, the GPS and other essentials sorted out, I removed a drain plug at the nose and lifted the hundred pounds of water in my Kayak to drain it and it took about five minutes to escape and I got the plug back in then the dog and accessories and we were on our way again but without a paddle. Maureen had been trying to paddle upstream to assist me but the current was to strong and when I finally reached her I asked if she had found my paddle and she was surprised that I had lost it so we searched and luckily Maureen found the paddle in a eddy so I was lucky to be back in business and we were off again. Soon we were passing rapids at Killworth bridge and they were super wild and we enjoyed them very much. We reached our evening destination at Komoka bridge and Mike had returned with his son to try some fishing and greeted us noticing my soaked condition and helped us pack up. We were so excited with this trip that Maureen suggested we do it again on Friday morning so we did but this time we took the cameras and photos are available by clicking on the link here -  PHOTOS-Click Here

We had a great trip but this time decided to travel the whole route to Delaware and it took us five hours and fifteen minutes which was a bit to long for us at this time so some recuperating was necessary.


The North Branch of the "THAMES"

August 10, 2002

Maureen says, well let's try another new trip, so we decided to try the north branch of the Thames from Clark Road to Adelaide street. This turned out to be a shallow start and we portaged a lot in the first two miles but once we passed Highbury avenue the going was great with a couple of good rapids so we shot some photos. Through the whole trip, the water was less that three feet deep and usually two feet deep but wouldn't you know it that when we stopped to take the rapid photos, I pulled in to the shore and proceeded to get out but slipped and found myself in water over my head. Well Maureen had a good laugh and I found it amusing also so we got the photos and by the time we finished, I was mostly dried out. Our trip on this Friday July 19, 2002 was almost five miles long but took us three hours with photo shoots. Check out our photos on page three.


We finally got a chance to try some waves on Lake Huron on Saturday July 20, 2002. The waves were about three feet trough to crest and breaking about one foot high near shore and it was a neat experience with waves sometimes breaking over the bow and passing over our skirts which worked very well. After experiencing the waves for about one hour, we cruised Mud Creek, a narrow waterway into the marsh behind Port Franks. It was another great day and experience and our total time on the water was about two hours.


Maitland River

August 23, 2002

The Maitland River at Goderich, Ontario, Canada provided another enjoyable day on the water for Maureen and myself. First, we took a look at the water about five miles inland from the mouth of the Maitland where it dumps into Lake Huron at Goderich but found that the dry weather had left it quite low so we drove to the mouth and decided to start from there and paddle upstream until we felt it might be time to return to our launch point. We started at a marina and paddled around a large seawall and then into the main river and then along the golf coarse and upstream to the first bridge. There were lots of ducks near the golf coarse and they did not seem concerned with us. Fifteen minutes after we passed the first bridge, we came to a shallow are and had to portage for about one hundred feet putting us into water that was two or three feet deep. The scenery here was OK but not as spectacular as many other places that we have paddled. About one half an hour later we again portaged for another hundred feet and soon came to a second bridge where we talked to a gentleman who was catching crayfish to be used in his fishing that evening. We made our way back to the mouth stopping to shoot a few photos and when we arrived at the Goderich harbor and the mammoth salt mines, we noticed a very long pier stretching out into Lake Huron and decided to venture onto the calm lake for a bit and then I suggested that we go to the beach which is on the south side of the pier. Well, when we paddled to the other side of the pier, the waves started getting larger and finally when we arrived at the beach fifteen minutes later the waves were about three feet high and Maureen's stomach started feeling queasy but not to be defeated, Maureen after a short stop on the beach decided to head back to the marina and we braved the waves again until we reached the other side of the pier and we were back in the calm water and then into the river. We arrived at the marina after a three hour session and had traveled six mile according to my GPS. Maureen said that she had really enjoyed the day and the accomplishment of finding the deepest areas in which to paddle through the shallow areas. Note - the salt mines are located under Lake Huron and travel for many miles to the south along the shoreline and tours of the mine are available.


Another Fun Day on The Thames

September 3, 2002

We had the good fortune of hooking up with Jane and Mike Crosby for a run from Springbank dam to Killworth bridge and the trip was challenging with about ten rapid areas but this time the water was a little lower that previous times so navigating the shallow areas was more of a challenge. Maureen was the only one who managed to navigate without getting stuck throughout the whole trip. Jane and I bottomed out about three times but, no problem as we have strong arms and simply pushed off. Mike was good enough to drive for us and picked us up at Killworth after we went through the rapids a few times. Even with the water level being lower the rapids were still quite good and photos are available at - PHOTOS - Click Here  While Mike and his two children were waiting for us his son Steven caught five nice fish and his daughter Candice was delighted.


Relaxing on The Water - Grand Bend, Canada

September 28, 2002

We started this trip a few miles south of Grand Bend and headed north toward the Bend. On a previous trip we headed south from the same starting point and ended up at Port Franks and this time we will check out the water to the north. This time we have two dogs, our Dachshund Flash and my mother's dog Mickey a 16 pound Shiatsu who Maureen took in her Kayak. At the first of the trip there were lots of weeds extending to the surface and paddling through them was a small challenge. It was a beautiful afternoon and the reflections on the water were wonderful. We had to portage across three roadways as we passed Southcott Pines a subdivision of very expensive resort properties. About half way through our trip Maureen spotted a Blue Heron perched about six feet above the water in a bush and we expect that the Blue Heron thought that we could not see him as he remained there as we came closer and I got to within ten feet before he finally flew away and I capture his take of on Maureen's digital camera and it was spectacular. Later we came across aver scenic bow bridge that mad a nice shot reflecting on the water and soon we came to the last portage but found that the river had dried up with our drought summer but we were only a short block from the main harbor at Grand Bend so we carried our kayaks to the harbor river and put them in and paddled out to Lake Huron and onto the lake where we took a few shots of the big motel situated on the beach. As we paddled back into the harbor I was not looking forward to the paddle back as it was getting late and we needed to have supper in Port Franks with our friends at the cottage so as we approached our entry point in the harbor I asked a gentleman if he would give me a lift to my vehicle and Bill the Harbor Master said sure, no problem so we were saved again and packed up and we back in good time for supper. It was a nice two hour trip and I am sure we will do it again someday.


Another Fun Day on The Thames With Alyssa

October 4, 2002

Maureen and I had my eleven year old granddaughter Alyssa with us for the weekend so we decided to take her on her first big Kayak excursion on the river. We started at Springbank dam and headed for the Killworth bridge which is about a six mile trip. After a very dry summer the water was a little low but we only got stuck once and needed to push of the rocks. Alyssa, being a nature buff really enjoyed the scenery as we saw Blue Herons, a King Fisher and most spectacular Alyssa saw her first Bald Eagle. The leaves just started to turn so the colors were nice. Alyssa wasn't to sure about the rapids but mad it through the ten sets with no problem. The best rapids were at the end of our trip just before the bridge at Killworth and we went through them four times and it was lots of fun. Just before we started this trip, we met another kayak paddlers just starting out from Killworth going west to Delaware and I am hoping that they will e-mail me to let me know how their trip turned out.

Alyssa had a great trip and a great story to tell her family when she got home on Sunday.

Photos available Click Here


Another Fun Day on The Thames With Justine & Andrea

October 10, 2002

WE enjoyed a visit with my daughter and her two children, Justine and Andrea in October, 2002 and I took the two girls eleven and 8 years old on the west branch of the Thames from SpringBank dam to Killworth Bridge. Justine had paddled a bit on flat water with her dad last summer but Andrea had not tried it yet so Justine was already an accomplished paddler and Andrea had a bit to learn so we practiced a bit near the dam and soon were on our way and through the first rapids near the dam. Justine just flew through the rapid and Andrea was through before she realized it but was concerned about not being able to get straightened out after she exited the rapids so a little instruction was in order. Finding our way through the deepest sections was challenging and we each got hung up once or twice but soon pushed off. We saw the usual Blue Herons and Kingfishers and for the first time on this leg we saw two turtles which Justine spotted first and they let her get within three feet before exiting into the water. We stopped near Photo Rock where Justine collected clam shells to take home and after a short rest we were on our way. We had arranged for Maureen to pick us up in two and one half hours at Killworth but as it turned out we were there in just less than two hours so while we waited the girls were showing me how they could climb the surrounding trees one of which hung out over the water about twenty feet, Just as Maureen and Debbie, my daughter showed up to pick us up I heard a large splash and there was Andrea in the water after slipping off the tree which let her fall about eight feet into the water and fortunately Andrea was OK except for her pride as she exclaimed "I am fine so don't bug me". After getting dry clothes on we headed home for pizza and to watch the photos of the day's events on the computer. It was a great day with Justine and Andrea.


Last Run Of 2002

We were lucky enough to get another real nice day on November 8, 2002 and I expect it may be our last run this year. For the first time my son Bob Jr. came along with Mike & Jane Crosby, Maureen and myself. I was my first time out with my new Turquoise Breeze Kayak and it is the basic model making it a little lighter than the two deluxe models we have. We started off at SpringBank Dam again on this beautiful Friday and the temperature was about 60 degrees F. and the current was much faster than it had been all summer and the rapids were working well. Near the end of our run, I was goofing around paddling backwards, watching the others come through a set of rapids when I struck a large rock which tipped me sideways and if I had not had the skirt on, I would have capsized again but managed to get things going again. The water temperature was about 55 degrees so I was glad to not have capsized. My son, Bob Jr. enjoyed the trip and we expect that he will want to go again next summer. Photos from this trip CLICK HERE

Now we will look forward to February and a trip to Florida Where I will do some Hang Gliding and we will try the Kayaks amongst the alligators.


We will have many more great adventures to report and will do our best to keep reporting.

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