Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Today's ski report from Gatineau Park, Quebec, Canada

Freakin' cold! Minus 12 degrees Celsius, but spared by good gear and the trees in Gatineau Park from light wind. Cold temps makes for slow classic skiing in groomed tracks - like skiing on sandpaper, even with glide wax, but the skate skiers are always happy. They move faster and don't get face slapped by low-hanging snow-laden trees and debris that falls on the sidelines into our groomed tracks. Especially around Lac Philippe.

The ungroomed trails look like this . . . an interesting change.
 Maybe better to snowshoe in some parts - and stay off closed trails.

Then, off to Renaud day cabin to heat up a grilled cheese on the wood stove and sip on a thermos of hot chai tea with honey, and throw another log on the fire.
A setting sun on the way back is pretty sweet in the Gatineau Hills, as we passed by several happy overnight campers in the park's cabins and yurts around Lac Philippe enjoying a very white holiday season.

There's a lot more snow on the way in the National Capital Region of Canada. About 20 centimeters falling from Wednesday to Thursday.

What will the forest trails look like after more snow? Whiter, more downed branches, and more fresh snow to play in.

Take care and enjoy!
The BaffinPaddler

Friday, December 21, 2012

Time to snowshoe!

Just in time for Christmas. It will be white. We have our first big snowstorm in the National Capital Region of Canada bringing us 30 centimeters of snow today.

It's time to snowshoe before anyone else gets out on the trails and packs them down.

We can cross-country ski a bit on a few trails in Gatineau Park, Quebec, Canada.

But for now, I love my snowshoes!

These are great conditions for snowshoeing, but not for driving and traveling until the storm is over. Enjoy your own backyard for hours!

Happy trails!
The BaffinPaddler

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How long will it take this tanker to overtake me in the St. Lawrence Seaway?

Even if you understand how fast a knot is, you don't know how many knots a boat is traveling. Especially a big tanker. They move faster than you may think.

See the big tanker in the distance in the shipping channel of the St. Lawrence Seaway?

It has crossed under the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge that connects New York State in the U.S. to Ontario, Canada and is traveling west in my direction.

Question: How many minutes from the distance you see in the image above will it take that tanker to overtake me in my kayak if I'm in its way?

Not sure?

Me neither.

I sat in the safety of the sidelines closer to shore and watched this massive tanker approach in the shipping channel and kept time with my watch.
Answer: It was passing me 10 minutes later.

How far away was it when I turned around and saw it? I'm not sure.

How fast was it going? I don't know. Maybe 10 to 12 knots.

Could I hear tankers approaching from behind in the shipping channel parallel to my paddling route with the wind in my ears? No! Not until they were passing me. This came as a surprise.

I was always well out of the way of the shipping channel, but you would think you would hear them coming from a distance. Not so.

If I had been paddling with my back to the ship in or near the shipping channel, I would not have heard it coming in time to get out of its way.

This is the SOLEY-1.

It's a chemical tanker with a vessel flag from Malta.

How big is it? Length: 491 feet, Breadth: 76 feet, Depth: 42 feet. Deadweight tonnage: 19,991

Wow! It's hard to believe. If you think that's big, look up the size and speed of cruise ships. That'll scare you.

Now it's easier to understand how much water the big ships displace and the big swells and boat wakes they kick up when they pass in narrower channels. The swells and pitchy chop hit about 5 to 10 minutes after it passed.

My Maelstrom Vital 166 suddenly got excited and said, "Giddyup, let's go!" I wasn't paying attention and the swells came from behind as I watched the tanker head off into the sunset. But the waves and swells weren't big enough to catch a little surfing moment. Sorry Vital. And I couldn't pick up my camera again until the tanker was long gone.

If you can see the name of the ship from a safe distance using your binoculars or a good zoom on your camera, you can do a vessel search using the name of the ship and find out more about it. It makes for an interesting pastime or hobby.

Vessel Search

U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Information Exchange

Happy and safe paddles.
Watch out for the big ships. They are fun to watch when you're safe.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Rescue me! A geocache without the geo at the Battle of the Windmill National Historic Site, Prescott, Ontario, Canada

I think this is an awesome candidate and location for a really cool geocache.

I found the candidate. A big, beautiful, fishing lure that I almost stepped on at the rocky, wild beach just below the Battle of the Windmill National Historic Site in Prescott, Ontario on a recent November paddle on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The site has a small, wild, tangled woods surrounding it. Perfect for hiding a cache.

You can reach this destination by car or by kayak. 
This site is easy to find and a pretty cool place to spend some time, learn a little history, and watch the big tankers go by in the shipping channel. Just Google: Battle of the Windmill, Prescott, Ontario, Canada.
Where to find the lure

I placed the blue and silver fishing lure on top of a large, brown, round rock not far from where my kayak is beached in the image above. Then, I secured it by placing a smaller, but heavy, pale grey, triangle shaped rock on top of it, and left it there for someone else to find, and not step on!

This object, and the site would make an awesome geocache, but you'd need to geocache it.

I've left it as a potential geocache candidate for one of you to find and package, or as a gift to a wanting fisherman who may want to rescue it and fish with it.

If you do find it and rescue it, please let me know it's safe and sound. We don't want stuff with hooks floating around getting caught up in things.

If you find it and turn it into a cool geocache, please log in the BaffinPaddler, November 23, 2012.

Paddlers and hikers with a GPS love to geocache. 

I should have been prepared with a waterproof case that I was willing to leave behind, a marker, a small log book, and a GPS on this paddle!

And I was wondering, did I bring along my fishing pliers and wire cutter?

Be careful handling the lure. It has multiple hooks. Watch where you walk on shorelines. This guy was hard to see.

Happy geocaching!
The BaffinPaddler

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Short Stories: Seagull chasing away kayaker

I know what you're thinking, Ahhh, look at this great spot! This island is all mine . . .
It's the perfect place to read, take a nap, catch come sun, and do a little yoga.
Maybe not?

Such a cute little guy.
You don't want to share the island? Or do you just want some of my lunch?

Ok, I get it.

It belongs to you. All of it! Except my kayak.
You can keep the yoga mat!

Happy trails!
The BaffinPaddler