I woke up Sunday with no plans at all. Such an odd thing for me! I have been striving to find some small rivers and creeks to paddle in since moving to Port Carling. It’s been a hard search as most of the lakes in my area are very big and full of motor boats and cottages. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I like to paddle on calm small waters, still water, where I can see wildlife and not hear motor boats or people screaming and yelling, blasting their music, etc, etc… so the search continues.
I was told by someone at Killbear that one of the places that might suit me is called Byng Inlet in Britt. I googled the area, found out there is a marina there where you have to pay to park at, put the location in my phone, and got my stuff ready. I put my kayak on my car, packed some food, water, sunscreen and the necessary items and off I headed to Byng, about an hour and 15 minutes from my place in Port Carling.
I arrived at St. Amants and the weather was already starting to turn a bit. I had planned on heading to Wrights’ Marina but this popped up first and as I wanted to paddle away from Georgian Bay and away from Wrights, I figured I’d just park at St. Amants. It was forecast for the POP to go up to 40% around 2pm today and as it was only around 1030-11, I figured I would have plenty of time. Plus being on small water would be helpful, but as I turned into the parking lot and paid my $7.00 fee, I noticed the water was not that small or that calm.
I spoke to a man named Glen who looked like he worked at the docks here. I asked him about the smaller portion of the water to the left of us and not the larger part going towards Georgian Bay. He called it the Stills and that made me happy as that is what I am looking for. We spoke for a few minutes and then I took my boat off my car, put it in the water with my gear on/in it and off I went.
The water was very choppy already and the wind was picking up by the minute. I paddled up to what I thought was the turn off for The Stills and it was like a huge wind tunnel. At the moment it was pushing me in, but I couldn’t imagine how hard it would be to paddle back out, especially if the weather got worse as predicted.
This interesting building? … was at the corner of the turn. I think it’s an old airplane cockpit???
After going down the waterway only a few properties, I knew this was a really really bad idea. I wasn’t up for super hard paddling today, I just wanted to spend a few hours on a quiet, lazy meandering creek or small river, and this wasn’t it. I weighed my options and even though I hated it, I made the decision to turn back. No matter how badly I wanted to explore this area, that I just spent over an hour driving to, it just wasn’t worth it today.
I wasn’t super happy but I was certain in my decision. I paddled back to the boat launch with a great deal of effort. It took me over twice the time to get back as it did to get out and the wind was picking up and the sky was darkening. The biggest worry I had at the moment was how I was going to get my kayak back up on my truck?
I did not as yet have a kayak carrier for my truck. As I have just moved up north, I am assuming at some point in the next few months, I will need to purchase a four wheel drive vehicle, so at the moment, adding a boat carrier would just be silly. I know in several past situations, where there is high winds, I have had the hardest time ever getting my foam blocks to stay on my roof while getting my boat up onto them. Today I had a clever idea and it worked great!
As I had recently moved, I had packing tape in my truck. I made four rolls and put one on each end of each block. I then put them on the roof and stuck them to it. They stayed! AWESOME!
Once the boat was on top of the blocks, I carefully removed the tape before securing the boat to the truck with the straps. I didn’t want them to get hard pressed onto the truck and then peel the paint, and it didn’t. I put the straps on and I was all set. Super duper!
I got in my truck and started the drive back to Port Carling. My front strap was a bit loose so I pulled over to tighten it and was amazed by how dark the sky was from where I just came. I think in this case, I definitely did the right thing by getting off the water when I did. Sometimes, no matter how badly you want to paddle, you just have to use your common sense and get off of the water. Would I have been alright? There is a very good chance I would’ve been, but it wouldn’t have been a calm stress free day, or, an easy paddle and as that was what I wanted therefore, I made the right choice for me.
On my way back from my short paddle, I stopped in at White Squall in Parry Sound. It was canoe day after all, and I have been thinking about purchasing a solo canoe for myself. They had one in stock, so I tested it out on the water there and liked it very much. Will I buy it, or another canoe, or perhaps a new kayak??? ….. you will have to stay tuned to see what I decide!
I hope you enjoyed my post! If you have any comments, questions or issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.