Showing posts from 2011


What's your relationship with turtles?

Do you ever think about turtles?

Do other people ever make you stop and think about turtles?

What do you think about turtles?

Why am I thinking about turtles when I should be planning a ski trip or a trip somewhere warm with a beach?!

It's time to get this thing with turtles off my mind and into a post so I can move on to other things!

So here it is, my thing with turtles!

50 Baby Snapping Turtles: Adirondack Turtle Tails . . .

On a rainy day last September, our group of seven kayakers were headed to Big Moose Lake in the Adirondacks, New York, to paddle on a day I thought it would be much more fun to visit the Adirondack Museum!

On a steep sandy embankment along the road next to a creek, there was a gathering of about 15 people hovering around the same spot.

I thought there had been an accident. Was it a roadside vigil?

But, the people were all smiling. Someone called out: "Baby snapping turtles are being born! Come watch!"

I t…

November Surprises! Burrs!

You thought I meant burrrr, it's cold? No, I'm talking burrs! Those prickly, clingy, sharp, spiny, bristly, thistle-like things that let loose in the late fall and get stuck in all your neoprene gear like your paddle booties and spray skirt and won't let go!

You don't even notice the burrs, lurking in the brush, until you're getting back into your sea kayak. You look down and see that you've suddenly grown lots of prickly hair on your feet and spray skirt. You're going to have to paddle back home like that. Covered in them! They are sneaky things.

This is the first time I've paddled in November in the National Capital Region of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario/Gatineau, Quebec). November weather around here is usually wickedly wet, cold, windy, and grey! Most years, by November, there is already snow on the ground and my paddle gear is put away in a warm, dry place.

But this year, November has surprised me. It's been warmer, drier, and sunnier than I can e…

Kite Surfing the Ottawa River in November! The wind shifts, a kite goes into the trees!

WOW! The first week of November I saw 18 kite surfers negotiating the 15-18 knot wind from Parc des Cedres on the Lac Deschenes section of the Ottawa, River just off the Aylmer Marina in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada.

It was an awesome sight! It was 17 degrees Celsius, about 63 degrees Fahrenheit, which is really warm and nice around here as long as you are geared up in a good wet suit with a layer of insulation or a dry suit with ditto.
I've seen the kite surfers out in much bigger wind, but never in such great numbers. I couldn't understand how they managed not to run into each other or get tangled in each other's lines. Kite surfing is an extreme sport. You've got to trust who's out there in the water with you right? Or hope you can.

I didn't have my camera with me. It was 3:00 p.m. With the time change set back one hour, I knew if I went home to fetch my camera, they'd probably be off the water by the time I got back at 4:00 p.m. And, when the wind dies do…

The Last Sailboat - Images of November on the Ottawa River

Coming Soon: Kite Surfing the Ottawa River in November! The wind shifts, a kite goes into the trees!

Enjoy fall. One way or another!
The BaffinPaddler 

Poison Ivy and Your Pet!

So, you've taken the doggie ashore on the mainland or an island for a little exercise. "Hey, you look so cute in the bush."

The final flowers of fall are still standing. You've got to get a shot of the beautiful field of six-foot tall yellow wildflowers before they're gone.
Suddenly, your early warning system clicks on and you remember to look down instead of up to see what you're tromping through on that barely there trail to the flowers.
 Ah, ha! Of course. There are a few strands of poison ivy creeping out under the tall stuff! And you manage to avoid it.

But where's the doggie?

She's romping right through all that poison ivy you've just avoided and now her fur, paws and collar may be full of the oil, called urushiol, from the poison ivy plants - the oil that can cause a nasty rash if it gets on your skin, especially if you're one of the many who are allergic to the toxin from the plants.

But you're not quite sure. Did the oil from t…

Fall Peaks in Gatineau Park, Quebec: Colours and Cold Water!

Fall peaked during the Thanksgiving weekend in the National Capital Region of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario/Gatineau, Quebec). The air was warm, in the high 70's (27 C), but the water in Gatineau Park lakes has already become too cold to swim in without a wet or dry suit.

Even in a wet suit, it is not a comfortable five minute dip to test paddle gear or practice cowboy scrambles - not shocking, but not enjoyable either. It's a big change from water temps in July, August, and September - which were still cool at best. Next paddle, I'll bring a thermometer and plunge it a few feet down to see how cold the water is.
Gatineau Park set a record this year for the most beautiful fall colours I've ever seen along with record crowds and traffic jams in the Park to match!

No matter what the season, I find Maelstrom Kayaksbeautiful both on and off the water. And so does everyone else. People keep coming up to me with the same comment: "What a beautiful kayak!" From the shore…