Friday, August 29, 2014

Caledon Park Paddle

On Sunday a few of us met at Caledon Park where we had arranged a kayak tour with a guide. It's a beautiful park which provides a summer home for bald eagles, and these we were hoping to see.
We weren't allowed to bring our own boats but the ones they supplied were perfect with lots of room allowing easy access for my knee, which isn't bending well lately. There's limited access and no put in point for boats on the shoreline to protect the eagles' habitat so it was lovely to see that we'd be the only people paddling on the water.
The gang quickly posed together so I could snap a shot and then we were ready to go, pulling the kayaks off the trailer and given instructions by our very handsome guide, Mike, who much to my delight didn't suffer fools gladly, and quickly put a couple in their place whose voices were way too loud for such a peaceful setting.
We all helped each other into the water and then started off. The water was pretty choppy and there was a brisk breeze blowing. We could really have used some skirts for our boats but i enjoyed the way we were buffeted about by the cool wind.
And then we saw our first eagle, soaring high above us.
Steve trying his hardest to swerve and miss me as I was trying my hardest to get a good photo of Mike. We both failed!
We bobbed up and down over the waves as we paddled along the shoreline, seeing more eagles, an osprey and turkey vultures, all who were enjoying just gliding on the therms. We passed an old cliff face where fossils could be seen sticking out, and nearer the top, a foot or so below the surface we could see the white shells that had long ago been buried by native indians after a meal.
We paddled to an inlet where there was an access to marshlands. The tide was coming in so we could enter through a narrow opening which we all had to enter singly.
We all formed an orderly line waiting our turn to paddle furiously through the waves, laughing at those who got caught up on the sand bars.
We all made it through and sat in the calm water of the inlet, listening to Mike pointing out the birds and naming the vegetation around us.
I followed closely behind Mike and we paddled quietly through the water. There were some of the group behind who couldn't talk in whispers and I was glad not to be close to them. As we moved forward I suddenly jumped. In front of me a huge snake head fish darted up in a leap from the water's surface and alongside it were hundreds of tiny fish. I though it was feeding until Mike explained that these fish herd their young for 3-4 weeks, schooling and guarding them, something not done by other fish species. This had been a rare sighting and I was glad to have seen it even though these fish are not welcome in our waters. But apparently they taste wonderful.
We saw a blue heron who as soon as he spotted our flotilla took off quickly. We could hear a kingfisher chattering in the trees but never saw it.
We hung around the lagoon for a while looking at an old beaver dam and the beautiful flowers growing there. Lots of wild rice grass, cardinal flowers and pickerel, the blue flowers. But we had to leave to ensure we all got back out into the river. Entering over the sandbar, we all noticed we only had a few inches underneath our boats.
We all got through and after some picture taking it was time to head back to the start. The water was a lot rougher and choppier now but the occasional splash felt good and the breeze was still cool. I'd really enjoyed this trip and asked Mike where I could put in my own boat if I came back. We got back to the beach and helped to load the kayaks on to the trailer, and then a nice lazy drive back home.
I spotted this store on the way back. Haven't a real interest in hobby shops but the name really caught my eye!

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