Friday, May 13, 2011

PADDLING THE ESQUIF CHAMPLAIN CANOE WITH DOUGLAS

A very loud cicada chorus is all that I can hear.  The forest is full of these bugs.  This must be the month, or year for locust immersion.  I'll have to read up about them.  A cicada fell into the water, below, and caught hold of a twig to pull himself out.  The photos were taken with the 500mm lens.
I would hate to get hit in the head with one of these while on the motorcycle. 
I had a close friend supposed to visit with me last evening from Pittsburgh, PA so I didn't want to become involved in any major undertakings.  Douglas had that anticipatory look on his face that implores me to take him somewhere.  I selected the Champlain Canoe for a two hour morning paddle at my favorite cove not far from here.  I threw the canoe stabilizers in the truck and Douglas and I were on our way.  The Champlain is a more narrow canoe than the Mistral thereby making  it less stable with Douglas in it.  The stabilizers eliminate any danger of tipping.
You can see how the stabilizers look when attached in the above and below shots.  The pontoons will extend out from the sides of the boat about thirty inches.  There is no way to capsize the canoe.

They can be moved fore or aft as required.  I did move these once on the water as my paddle was coming in contact with them on the power stroke.  These stabilizers are a must if one wishes to canoe with a dog of any size.

Pontoon Attachment with vertical adjustment
 I used the canoe wheels to remove the Champlain from the shed and get it to the trailer.  At the cove, however, I didn't need the wheels at all.  This boat is made of Kevlar and easy to just pick off the trailer and set it in the grass or the water.  That black strip on the floor of the canoe is plastic stair runner.  It's great protection for the floor of the boat and gives Douglas traction.

Stabilizer clamps to the gunnel's
Stabilizers detract from the clean lines and beauty of the canoe but they make it impossible for the canoe to tip over and offer security if one carries expensive photographic gear.
Once aboard and moving I immediately noticed how absolutely effortless this canoe is to paddle.

I've been paddling the Mistral for months and this is the first ride this year in the Champlain.  When I plant the paddle for the power stroke, and pull back;  the canoe literally thrusts ahead.  I'm amazed at the ease of paddling this Kevlar boat.
The Mistral is not difficult to paddle by any means but it doesn't move as fast as the Champlain and does require more effort.  It's a very big canoe.
Both canoes are a delight to be in.  One is a freighter and the other a greyhound.  It's nice to have a choice of which canoe to use for a particular purpose.  Both are beautiful to look at.  The Champlain is a graceful looking boat and the Mistral is a mule team on the water.
We paddled along the shoreline enjoying the cicada orchestra and looking for oddities or wild flowers, whichever came first.  My little bench appeared marking the place where we would exit the Champlain and just simply mess around on shore.
The Champlain is a beauty.  I make notes in my journal and glance up occasionally to look at her tied directly in front of me.  The graceful lines are very pleasing to the eye and the numerous coatings of tung oil have darkened the white ash trim to nearly the color of the boat itself.  I hope the white ash trim on the Mistral takes on this same coloring.

Douglas has been investigating the area while I rest here on this bench.  He stays out on the trail and stares at me.  This is his way of asking me to come with him.  He really likes to hike with me.  Normally I would take off down the trail with him but I don't intend staying out here much longer and don't want to get into any rush trying to get back home.

 He takes off down the trail without me.  This action is a farce.  It is to let me know he's ready to move out. 
When I don't follow;  look what happens.  Look closely in the center of the picture for his face.  He is just staring at me saying "come on."
I threw sticks into the water for him and tried to get his mind off the trail.  It worked for awhile.  In the end he was back laying on the trail waiting for me.
As I said earlier;  I just had the urge to feel the canoe paddle in my hands and be with Douglas.  My desire to be on the water has been satiated and we'll be off to the truck shortly.
Fishing boats are starting to appear at the mouth of the cove so I guess the cicada will soon have boat engine sounds mixing with their music. 

Time to move on.  This shoreline is a sweet place to be early in the morning.  It's beautiful here.

"Come on Douglas;  get in the boat."
After we returned home, I took the bike to Chilhowee Lake on the way to meet my friend.  I wanted to see if the lake was still closed and if the area where I put the canoe in the water was accessible.
As you can see; the lake access has been closed.








I usually park the truck at the bottom of those steps you see in the right hand shot.







That tornado went right up Abrams Creek channel.  I sure would like to paddle up there.  I may find a way.
That's about it for this blog entry.  It was just a nice day.  Nothing happened spectacular and no adventures.  We'll see what happens over the next few days.