The sound of the paddle and the sight of the “warrior” canoe are familiar to all St. John’s students. As you view this video – flash back to your time in the canoe; send us your memories.
Click to see canoe video footage
April 25, 2011
Memory Monday, News
June 29, 2011 at 6:12 am
The feel of paddling…
When you have a light headwind, and 4 inch waves running at you. The waves whiz past, and you feel like you are flying…
… and the flip side. When the wind is behind you, but still light, The waves hardly move compared to you. Since you are going the same speed as the wind, it’s calm in the canoe. Calm, and humid. That horsefly has no problem keeping up with the boat. And you feel like you are dragging an anchor along the bottom of the lake.
The rush of having a serious tailwind. Getting enough speed that you are starting to surf the downside of each wave. As steersman, the wobbly sense of control, as you pry to keep the force of the wave crest from flipping you broadside to the waves.
And the joint cracking and muscle ache as you pull hard into a headwind. Conversation impossible with the roar of wind in your ears, and the sound of steady, hard, powerful strokes. Exhausting, but exhilarating.
One trip with Murray Davis, working our way from island to island. It would take 20-30 minutes to go a kilometer. Then we’d rest for 10 minutes in the lee, and then take off for the next one.
Or on the Firebag with Simon Jeynes and Jim Gerber. We’d pulled in behind a point for lunch. When we took off, we got around the corner, and were stopped dead. Paddling furiously, and the shore, 30 feet away, would drop back 6 inches with each forward stroke and slide forward 5 inches while we swung our paddles back for the next. After 10 minutes we had made less than a hundred yards. So we turned around, went back to the lunch site, and waited for the wind to drop.
Calm glassy water. Every canoe paced by it’s perfect reflection. Conversations and songs drifting across the water between canoes. These moments tended to be very early in the morning when we were fresh. Many spanned sunrise with the magic light that comes at that time.
There were exceptions: One newboy trip in Selkirk we did Traverse Bay at 107 F. The entire summer had been hot. Glassy lake all day — not a breath of a breeze. We had mandatory water fights — not that there was much resistance. And the water was green. Green with little green algae blobs. It was lukewarm, and tasted faintly of alfalfa sprouts, and it didn’t quench our thirst.
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