Posts Tagged ‘circumnavigation Lake Ontario’

Self portrait at the end of Lake Ontario circumnavigation. (Plenty of time for photography since he had to wait three days for a ride home!)

Self portrait at the end of the 2013 Lake Ontario circumnavigation. (Plenty of time for photography since he had to wait three days for a ride home!)

 

I know it’s hard to tell if Stephen finished or not, since we left him somewhere west of Toronto last summer. After embarking on July 14, 2013, he completed the trip around Lake Ontario on August 29, 2013. It was the fastest trip yet, the shortest coastline to paddle, but this lake took a toll. The paddler was quite sick when I arrived three days after he landed at the campground that he had started from 46 days earlier. He began to get sick during the second week of August, and paddled through serious pain and fatigue during the last week of his trip.

 

Ghostly scene from last paddling day on Lake Ontario.

Ghostly scene from last paddling day on Lake Ontario.

 

Stowing the gear.

Stowing the gear.

 

His condition worsened over the next six weeks while we saw doctors, had tests and tried several antibiotics for a serious leg infection. Finally, he tested positive for Lyme disease, and within a week of the right treatment was began to feel better. It took months for his strength and energy to return to pre-illness levels, but apparently it happened, because he is days away from launching his well-traveled Kruger canoe onto the frigid waters of Lake Superior!

 

Lake Ontario-oh

Author: Stephen
Lake Ontari-oh

Lake Ontario-oh

Nestled here in the boat yard at Mayer’s Marina, in West Webster, NY, on Irondequoit Bay. Pulled in early Friday afternoon, just before the wind started really picking up. They have many docks, with lots of boats. As usual, I looked for one that wasn’t going to work for anything larger than a canoe. After tying up, I went into the office and asked if there was a restaurant nearby, and if I could leave Seaweed for a bit. The guy with the warm smile at the counter, Rowan, answered yes to both questions. Said there was “a really excellent” restaurant a short walk down the road. With it’s cluttered counter (which included a box of cookies with “free” written on it), old boat motors, and gentle clutter, the place made me think of Ryde Marina back home. I had a great lunch at “Castaways.” It has a deck overlooking the big lake, but I’d had enough sun the past six days, so sat at a small table inside.

There’s a narrow spit of land between the marina and the restaurant, with just enough room for a row of cottages facing the lake, the road, and a row of cottages facing the bay. There are some huge homes on the bluff across the bay, and all manner of boats on the bay. There’s a bobtail swing truss bridge (you don’t see one of those every day) that crosses the channel into the lake, but it’s always open from April to November, as this is a harbor of refuge, and sometimes (as I was to discover shortly) boats need to get in here in a hurry. So I can’t get a good look at the amusement park on the other side, but I can hear the screams.

Back at the marina, Rowan was busy with a customer, so I mentioned to the the other smiling guy at the counter, Al, that I’m attempting to paddle around the lake, and the weather was looking dicey, and might they have a spot where I could pitch my tent? “Sure,” he said, “I’m sure we can find a spot for your tent.” Ahh.

I pitched camp between boats that don’t float on trailers with flat tires. There’s a flotilla of spare dock sections tied up at water’s edge, on which the resident great blue heron, cormorant, geese and gulls peaceably sun and socialize. My tarp is tied off to cleats and pulleys and wheel rims. Nice and tight. Which it needed to be…

The weather wasn’t “supposed” to get rough until later Friday night. But on my way back from dinner at the other restaurant, the Bayside Pub, huge dark clouds suddenly started to build. Within 20 minutes, the wind was howling. I made it into the tent just as the clouds exploded. It was rain and thunder and lightning into the early morning hours. Al, under his umbrella, checked on me shortly after the storm burst, but I was fine, and he said if I had any problems to come to his place. Al and Rowan told me in the morning that the winds reached 60 mph. My tarp was whistling , but everything held, with no leaks.

There was a bit of wind this morning, and some more rain, so I took a rest day. It’s cleared up now, and I plan to head out in the morning. I’m expecting headwinds, and there’s nuke plant 10 miles away that I’ll need to get around.

Thanks so much to everyone for the warm wishes.

Breakfast on the veranda

Breakfast on the veranda

Bathymetry map of Lake Ontario

Bathymetry map of Lake Ontario

July 14th, 2013, at 11:20 AM, Stephen launched his canoe onto Lake Ontario. During previous summers he has circumnavigated Lakes Huron, Michigan and Erie, in that order. Lake Ontario is the smallest of the Great Lakes in circumference, but much deeper than Lake Erie. Water from the four other lakes flows through the Niagara River and over the Niagaran Escarpment before entering Lake Ontario, so the lake is more than 300 feet lower than Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie. From Lake Ontario, the water flows through the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Atlantic Ocean.

Stephen has done a lot of paddling along the islands and ridges of the Niagaran Escarpment on Lakes Huron and Michigan.

Stephen has done a lot of paddling along the islands and ridges of the Niagaran Escarpment on Lakes Huron and Michigan.

On the beach at Four Mile Creek State Park preparing Seaweed, the canoe, for departure.

On the beach at Four Mile Creek State Park preparing Seaweed, the canoe, for departure.

Four Mile Creek State Park is only a few miles from the mouth of the Niagara River, where historic Fort Niagara is open to visitors. We spent a day as tourists before he began his summer of paddling. This building, built by the French in the early 1700’s, is the oldest building still standing in the Great Lakes area.

The French castle at Fort Niagara

The French castle at Fort Niagara

Much too soon, it was time to say goodbye. Here is a parting shot of Stephen before he paddled away to the east. Bon voyage!

Day one on Great Lake number four

Day one on Great Lake number four