The Maiden Voyage

Well, everything finally came together to make this a perfect day to try out my new inflatable kayak.  It was mid-morning as I headed over to the boat launch area at Esten Lake.  It’s one of the more remote launch areas since you have to go through some bush roads to reach it.  It’s usually a very quiet location and today was no exception.

The day was mostly sunny and reasonably mild with light winds, perfect for some relaxing kayaking.  It took me about ten minutes to get the kayak inflated and ready to go and I was quite familiar with the process after having it inflated inside all winter.

It’s been quite a while since I was last on the water and it felt really good to get out there again.  There were lots of waterfowl around on this particular lake, which is not the main part of Esten Lake but I’m not sure if it has it’s own name because it is not named on any maps I’ve seen.  I saw a cormorant and many different types of ducks that I’d never seen before, but none of them let me get close enough for a good picture.  I did, however, get a good shot of this Ravens nest.  It’s pretty big too.  I think this is the first time I’ve seen a Ravens nest.

As you can see, the trees up here still have no leaves on them.  It’s been going well below zero at night, although last night it was pretty mild.

Like most lakes up here, this is a wilderness lake, with no cottages or buildings of any kind on it.  I was very please with the way this kayak handles for an inflatable.  It’s very easy to paddle and I have to say that it’s the most comfortable solo craft I’ve ever been in.

Exploring these lakes in the kayak is going to be such a pleasure, and so peaceful.  I’ll also be doing some camping with the kayak too.  I particularly like camping on small islands, of which there are many in the lakes of this area.

That black rope you see bundled up on the front deck is a 50 foot floating line with a fluorescent float on the end.  It is now required safety equipment for all kayaks and canoes.  It’s called a heaving line and I guess it would be used to toss to another vessel in case rescue was needed.  I can’t see it being of much use for that purpose on the lakes that I usually frequent.  My thinking is that it is more meant for larger open waters or even oceans.

Inside the kayak, between my legs, I have my small backpack which contains my cameras and a drink and snack for the day, along with a few other various items.

Here’s a short video I took.  Excuse the wind noise, it really wasn’t that windy but the mic volume is way up so the you can hear the birds singing in the background.

Here’s another short video I took when I found a nice place to dismount along the lake-shore.

As I mentioned in the video, there is a lot of prime Crown Land up here which you can camp on for free.  The only problem is, you really have to know where all the spots are that you can get in because much of the Crown Land in Ontario is inaccessible because, either there are no roads, or someone has set up house by parking their trailer there permanently.   The only way to find them is to go and look which could take some time and that’s what keeps many people from doing it.  However, with the prices at most Provincial Parks these days, and the fact that a lot of these Crown Land sites are much better than anything you will find in a Provincial Park, it might be worth checking out.  You won’t see me camping in a Provincial Park anymore, unless someone else is paying.

I paddled for about 3 kilometers along the shoreline of the lake today.  It took me about an hour at a leisurely pace.  This was just a test to see how well the kayak handled and I’m very happy with it.   I’ll be doing much longer trips with it in larger lakes.

When I paddle back to where I parked the truck, all I have to do is take a few minutes to deflate it, then put it in the duffel bag that came with it and throw it in the  back of the truck.

This increases my exploration ability so much, and in a way that is very enjoyable.



2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Avril Frame on May 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Loved the videos Al ………… felt like I was in the kayak with you…….. great job.


  2. Thanks Av, glad you are enjoying my adventures. It truly is a wonderful thing having this kayak now. It opens up so many more possibilities for exploring the area.


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