Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November Surprises! Burrs!

November paddle in the Boreal Baffin from Shirley's Bay to Pinhey's Point and back on the Ottawa River, Ontario, Canada. 10 kilometres each way. 20 kilometres (12 miles) round trip. About two hours of paddling each way. Compass bearings: North 0 heading out of Shirley's Bay, to NW 330 to Pinhey's Point . SE 150 heading back to S 180 into Shirley's Bay . Photo courtesy of KayakJock.
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 ever remember.

It's the first year I don't hate November!

And I've got November paddle burrs! All over my neoprene stuff. It's drying out and waiting until I've got the will, the courage, and the need to pick it all out. Which may not be until next spring!

Meanwhile, it's still a happy surprise to be able to paddle my Boreal Baffin in November. Even though we are sweating inside our dry and wet suits with the mild November temps. The water is very cold but the air temperatures are still fairly warm on days where we've seen 15-17 degrees Celsius (60's Fahrenheit), making dressing properly for a paddle a tough choice.

I fit much better into the big cockpit of the Boreal Baffin when I'm wearing that extra layer of Merino wool as a base layer, topped with a heavy duty Gul GCX2 breathable paddle jacket and dry pant combo. I need breathable gear!

I'm still paddling in a two-piece combo of gear. It's easier and more practical for me to get out of by myself. I'm afraid of those impossible to open monster zippers on one-piece dry suits.

Although, getting in to and out of my heavy duty Gul paddle jacket is a leap of faith. I never know if I'm going to succeed either way. I like to have a spotter near by in case I get hopelessly stuck in there! Once the jacket goes over my head, I never know what to do next. Do I pull here, push there, or just keep struggling and cursing until something works! I still haven't figured out the best strategy for getting my paddle jacket on or off. But it's an awesome jacket once it's on and everything is in place.

And when your paddle buddies ask you to help them with their zippers on their dry suits . . . they really do need help! Especially when they start turning green and purple.

More November Surprises

The dandelions are still in bloom.
The kite surfers are out and about.

The Last Sailboat is gone.

The forest, however, is still the same! The trees turn scary in November and look like they are auditioning for a starring role in a haunted forest movie!
Enjoy November Surprises!

Is November surprising you too this year where you live, paddle, and play?
The BaffinPaddler


  1. I hope you get all the burrs out! I like the idea of a two piece drysuit; I wish I'd done that. Hot, but so much more protection should something go wrong. I'm glad you've had a chance to get out and enjoy this unseasonable weather!

  2. Thanks. But I haven't gotten all the burrs out yet. I get discouraged every time I try. I'm more likely to wax my skis first! I woke up to lots of nice snow this morning!

    My goal is to get all the burrs out by Christmas!