It has been a very long time since I paddled and I had been anxious to get out, but the ice wasn’t cooperating or getting off the lakes. It seemed like forever and finally, the first Wednesday in May, the ice went out in Muskoka. I was so happy and my mind began doing that thing it does, planning an adventure and figuring out the where, when, how, etc.
Last year I visited Wye Marsh and saw they had a guided canoe outing there and thought that would be interesting. My plan was to head South a little from where I lived as the lakes North were still frozen and where I lived it was mostly cottages, which I didn’t enjoy paddling around much.
I was offered to have a private tour with Wye Marsh, but unfortunately wouldn’t be able to paddle my kayak, and that was kind of the point of the day, to paddle and explore myself. I opted to still do the Wye River, as it seemed like a nice place to paddle and it wasn’t too far from me.
I parked at a boat launch I found online right at highway 12 and the river, which is also parking for Sainte Marie Park. I unloaded my Delta, packed it with whatever I’d need for the paddle and squished myself into my dry suit. The air was very warm today, but the water was still very cold, not that I was planning on going in, but better safe than sorry.
I was actually honestly a bit nervous to paddle, I was anxious to be out. I don’t know if it was due to the concussion, or not adventuring much the last few months, or what it was, but as soon as I slid into my kayak and started paddling, all that lifted and flew away.
I was a happy happy girl and was so glad I didn’t let my nerves stop me. I headed down the river towards Georgian Bay and took my time checking out all the sights and sounds of the area.
Spring is such a great time to be out on the water as there are so many things to see. The geese were honking incessantly at me so I knew they had babies around. It didn’t take long to spot them and I used my zoom lens to try and take some photos of them without disturbing them. I’m not a fan of geese but the babies were just way too cute.
I didn’t count them but there was a huge amount of turtles out sunning themselves. I didn’t blame them one bit as I was enjoying the warmth of the sun as well. Many of the turtles cared less that I was there and just kept on doing their thing.
A few of them even mooned me as I paddled past. How adorable. LOL
I continued paddling along and found a small stream on the right side of the river that I, of course, attempted to get in to to check things out.
I found a pair of ducks there just paddling around enjoying the day, just like I was. I sat and observed them for a bit as I couldn’t paddle in further due to a fallen tree. I didn’t see any babies unfortunately and made my way back into the river shortly after.
The air smelled so good, the sun was warm, and it was the perfect day to be out on the water. It was a lovely area and I’m glad I came here for my first paddle of the season. I wasn’t the only one, while paddling back from the bay heading to where I’d come from I passed a man in a red kayak, also enjoying the area and waved a hello.
I made my way back towards where I’d put in near highway 12 and towards the Wye Marsh. I knew I couldn’t go in very far but still wanted to check out the bridges and see what was there. As I paddled towards the bridge, something white came into my view and it was large. I, at first thought it was a canoe.
But then realized it was two giant swans and they were heading right for me. I wasn’t sure what to do but I knew that swans could be violent, especially during mating season and did I mention they were huge???
I began paddling backwards very quickly and assumed they would pass or loose interest, but no, they continued to follow me, dare I even say, chase me? I tried to back up to the side of the river so they would just pass but as I did they turned and followed me again. I didn’t want to stop along the banks of the river if they continued to chase me as I would then be trapped, so I straightened out and continued paddling backwards, not even having enough time to turn my kayak around and paddle forwards, as they were coming towards me so fast!
My phone had been recording most of the chase and all of the photos above are screenshots as I didn’t even have time to take a picture. Just then, I turned and looked behind me and saw the man in the red kayak coming towards me. I yelled at him that I was being chased by giant swans and that he should paddle away from them as they could be dangerous. The mans face broke into a smile and he laughed slightly and said “that would be me they are looking for, I’m the culprit” and pulled out a big bag of bread from his cockpit. WHAT???
The swans passed me quickly and headed for the bread. I went to say something to the man in the kayak but was just too angry. Unlike the man in the red kayak, I am aware that you are not supposed to feed birds bread as it is hard on their digestive systems and not good for them. In addition, it makes them chase people in kayaks who think they have bread when they don’t scaring the SH@%T out of them. URGGGGGGG.
I headed back towards the bridge muttering under my breath, still amazed by it all. The bridge was pretty neat though and the calmness of the water and the day slowly took back over and removed most of the anger from my system.
The area on the other side of the bridge was very small but there was an interesting fort along the banks that I checked out and took some pictures of. I found out later it was Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons Mission National Historic Site of Canada and more information can be found by clicking the link above.
I decided it would be best to head back to the parking lot before the swans decided to come back and trap me on this side of the bridge, looking for more bread. I would not be feeding them.
As I paddled towards to take out I saw them heading towards me. I stopped to take a summary end of paddle video, but did it quickly before they got to where I was so I could still get out of the water. Massive birds looking for food was not something I wanted to encounter again today.
After taking my video, I headed to the take out to find my way was blocked by another creature. A stubborn duck. What were the odds???
I talked to him asking him if he could please move and that I needed to park my boat and get off the water before the killer swans came and pecked me to death, but he just sat there quacking at me.
Finally he flew away and I was able to pull my kayak up onto the shore. Just in time, as the swans came swimming past.
I wished them a good day as I wriggled out of my dry suit, unpacked my boat and put it back on top of my car. Ready for another adventure tomorrow, if I was up for it, we would see. For now, it was time to go get some lunch, and head back home.
I hope you enjoyed my first paddle of the season and were amused by the killer swan chase. Please check my youtube channel to see the video that goes with this post, in my opinion, it is much more entertaining than the written post.
Bread is the absolute worse for any wildlife what an ***.
Love your first encounter! They are really gentle birds unless they have cygnets and even then it is the Canada geese, snapping turtles and other creatures they will attack. Check out Ontario Trumpeter Swans on Facebook for a background story.