Information Roundup – 17 August 2008

Here are a few readings you might be interested in.

Well, for the past two weekends I’ve tried to cross Lake Ontario unsuccessfully and, though positive about the experience, am going to hold off until next year.

Last weekend, Max and P.J. flew in and we stayed over in St. Catherines on Friday night. The forecast for the weekend was very mixed. Sunday was definitely out because of t-storms and the Saturday forecast called for afternoon storms. We knew we needed to get out early and have a perfect paddle, so got to the beach at just after 5:00 in Niagara-on-the-Lake. We set out and things were okay, but the winds weren’t right and we knew it would be a long haul, so turned back. Dissapointing, especially for Max and P.J., but we made some good decisions and it felt like an adventure. I also figured I learnt enough that I’d go for it solo and unsupported on the next opportunity.

So yesterday I drove out to Jordan Harbour for a morning start. It was probably a mistake to go from there because it’s five kilometres further to cross (50 km total from Jordan versus 45 from NOL) and you lose the good current coming out of the Niagara River (about 3 km/hr). I figured I would have a better bearing for tailwinds from there but the wind never veered far from the West/North West and I was paddling across and slightly into the wind the whole way, which was okay but meant I couldn’t knee paddle or relax. By 20 km there was no turning back but I was hurting and going a full third slower than my normal pace. Twenty-five to 30 km was extremely tough mentally, and when a couple km later a fishing charter came by asked if I wanted a ride I figured it might be my best option. Thanks to Endel V. for his kindness and the lift back to the Port Credit harbour. If anyone wants a good Lake Ontario fishing charter let me know and I’ll hook you up with Endel!

I’m looking forward to going it again, maybe next May when there’s more likelihood of scoring a calm day without a storm risk. Hopefully I can talk Max and P.J. into coming along. They’re solid guys who provided the whole motivation for this, and its been great to get to know them.

I have no regrets. At times in my training I felt a little nonchalant about the task, but a crossing is a lot different than paddling even long distances near shore because you’re super-committed and super-exposed. It was a really brutal feeling to be hurting so bad at half way and have nobody around and no options but to keep going, but there lies the challenge! Thanks again to Boardsports for loaning us a stand-up paddleboard and to everyone who donated. We’ve raised almost $600 to date for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

Until next year, Lake 2 versus Surf Paddlers 0.