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Sunday, March 17, 2013

MOHAWK NOVA 17 CANOE REVIEW AND A MORNING PADDLE ON BEECH CREEK

Further canoe comparison info can be found here:
http://garysoutdoorwanderings2.blogspot.com/2013/03/canoe-thoughts-and-some-information.html

I listened to the weather forecast last night and pretty much blew off the morning.  Sure didn't look like rain.  I walked outside with a coffee and my favorite fir face friend and stared at the sky.  The heck with it - I'm outa here.
As usual, she sat on the porch and watched me load up the canoe.  How much of this can I take?  She's breaking my heart.  It's always the same when I handle the canoe.  She knows she isn't going and she is crushed!
"Ah, sweet girl - I'll be back soon.  Your day is coming."
It's really terrible looking at her knowing she wants to go with me so bad.  I get this all the time.  If this canoe tests out good - she'll be able to go along with me in it.
There was no sign of rain and I headed for Beech Creek.

So far the only down side to this boat is the weight.  Great Scott, she's a heavy one.  I would never even consider putting this boat on top the truck cap.  It's all I could do to handle it to and from the canoe trailer.  I loaded it up and started out on the water.
I knew instantly that the primary stability was ultra great!  I put the boat in the water and just stepped in.  The thing never moved.  I shifted my weight left and right while I stood straight up and the canoe didn't care.  Alright!  I walked from one end to the other.  No big deal there either.  Primary stability passes the test.  The seat height is perfect too.  I was afraid I'd have to make adjustments to the height but, everything is fine.  I pulled the paddle back and was off.  Very nice.  
This boat isn't as wide as the Esquif Mistral and is very easy to paddle on either side without scooting left or right on the seat to get closer to the side being paddled on.  I can say here that the secondary stability is exceptional.  Remember - I'm used to a kevlar boat.  I shifted my weight left and right and the canoe felt totally stable.  Wow!  From that moment on I didn't even think of tipping it over even once the whole morning.
The canoe is a piece of cake to paddle.  It's effortless.  Anyone who complains about paddling a Nova should probably hone the paddle skills a bit.  This boat is a delight to paddle.  It is very responsive to various paddle strokes and turns nicely.  It tracks straight and turns quickly.  The glide is less than what I'm used to.  The kevlar boats glide up hill against the current.  This boat does have good glide but not great glide.  It's to be expected.  The thing weighs 76 pounds.  I ran right over a submerged snag and she didn't even try to roll.  The boat is stable for sure.
This boat will be great on Calderwood Lake.  The royalex build will ward off the boulder damage that would severely scar the gel coat on a kevlar boat.  That's not to say I'm going to be careless on rocks.  I want to keep this thing as scar and scratch free as possible.  I take care of my equipment.  But, I'm not going to lose sleep over a scratch like I would on the Attikemec.
 Ducks were flushing to the sky from the wet lands that lie beside the cattails that line the shore.
I kept paddling up Beech Creek but also wanted to go up the Holston River a short way to see if I could spot otters.

I heard a mallard quacking loudly and constantly.  That bird is the noisiest duck I ever heard.  I pulled close along the cattails to inquire what her problem was.
There was a male mallard with her but he flew off before I could get set.  I think this female will be a mom in the not too distant future and is being protective of the nest area.  







 I'll ease out of here and let her be.  Something is blowing in as the wind is picking up.  The sky is gray too.  I'll head back toward the old bridge and keep going awhile until things get dicey.
There were lots of small birds out when I came up here but they are disappearing.  That's a sure sign there's some harsh weather on the way.



 I'd say the wind was at about 7 to 10 miles per hour with gusts to 20 miles per hour that last for about thirty seconds and abate.  The 7 to 10 isn't a bother.  The 20 part is.  So - hows the boat take wind?  It's like any other canoe in the wind.  It goes where the wind blows it.   It responded well to corrective strokes, however.  One thing is different than with a kevlar boat.  With kevlar - corrective paddle strokes can stop the wind driven boat's swing instantly, sometimes.  With this heavier boat -  if the wind catches the front and pushes hard - that heavy front end picks up momentum as it swings across the water and makes paddle correction a bit more difficult as one is paddling to fight the wind's push "and" the momentum that was built up with the swing from the boat's weight.  No big deal really.  It's just something I noticed..  The wind is becoming progressively stronger.

Those holes were cut by a pileated woodpecker.  Look at that perfectly square hole.


 I think I'll forget the Holston River and just pull this canoe out of the water and load it up.  I found out what I need to know about it.  I don't feel like fighting wind out in the open on the river.  
Well, well, well.  Winter is surely over now.  Look at these guys out soaking up the sun.


I noticed a pair of coots swimming in and out of the cattails just ahead.  Everybody is paired up and ready to have baby chicks.  Can't wait.

I loaded up and headed home.  It's probably a good thing I did as the wind blew the truck all over the road driving out of there.
otter den.  Hope the trapper missed it.
When I got home I got the bug to put up the tent I purchased a couple years ago for canoe camping.  It is called a Springbar Tent.  It's very top quality and fits really nice in a canoe.  The down side is that it weighs about 30 pounds.  To me it's just ballast for the boat.  No big deal.
I've used this tent on previous canoe outings and they can be found under Calderwood Lake camping else ware on the blog.
 The quality of this tent is second to none.  The fabric is very heavy and I can attest to the fact that it is totally water and wind proof.



The entire tent fits into this utility bag and stows under the thwart
So, the canoe passed all the tests and it looks like Shade can now go along with me if she wants to.
I carried that boat back into the living room and about didn't make it.  It is heavy!  Of course, if I didn't have to go up the porch steps and wiggle through the front door, get past the wall and across the living room to the saw horses - it wouldn't be so bad.  



That wraps up another entry.  Sorry it was so short.  Now that the canoe data is out of the way I'll get back to normal wildlife and associated hair raising entries.  See ya.