I Survived

It’s been a long time since I was last here on this blog.

It was a tough winter which made outdoor activities a challenge. Spring … or this year’s sad version of one … continues to be chilly and wet. Again, not conducive to outdoor stuff.

But I have high expectations for the months ahead. Plans … many of them … and they started in February with a bold purchase.

After dreaming about it for over a year, I bought a kayak this winter with hopes of spending many glorious hours this summer exploring our local waterways.

My new boat – I call her ‘Blaze’

This week, in spite of the cold temperatures (9C / 48F), the Seniors’ Outdoor Club I belong to decided on an early season paddle to the Toronto Islands. In my excitement to finally get my new boat in the water, I quickly ripped off its protective bubblewrap and decided to join 6 other intrepid seniors on the shore of Lake Ontario.

To say I was nervous would be an understatement. As I was preparing to leave home, tying my boat down onto the car, my hands shook so badly I had to re-do the ties multiple times.

However, this wonderful group of seasoned paddlers couldn’t have been kinder and more supportive – even if they did joke that I was about to be their comic entertainment for the day.

We started off with some bubbly (Prosecco, to be exact) to christen my new boat.

Photo credit – Gisela Curwen
Me taking a picture of Gisela taking a picture of me.

As I soon discovered however, this day was not going to be an easy one. There was a chilly wind churning up the water – great for the kite-surfers, but a challenge when you’re bobbing like a cork at water level in a kayak.

There was a handful of kite-surfers out that day taking advantage of the sunshine and brisk wind.

I have never paddled on rough water before and this was the proverbial baptism by fire … or perhaps ‘freezing water’ would be a better descriptor. My fear of course was capsizing. Without a dry suit, a dunking at this temperature was going to be worse than unpleasant.

However, as the title of this post suggests, I survived … dry and a lot more confident in my ability. When the waves were most challenging, we paddled through with determination and rested when we could in more sheltered areas.

We were rewarded with beautifully calm water inside the channels between the islands.

Photo credit to Gisela Curwen
Me with the Toronto skyline in the background.
To the left of the CN tower, a plane taking off from the Island airport.

All in all, this was a 10-out-of-10 kind of day … enjoying the great outdoors, on a beautiful sunny day, with great company, exercising a new skill.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

Photo credit to Gisela Curwen (on the far left)
Seven intrepid paddlers … and one duck photobombing us on the left.

I predict many more of these days ahead … hopefully in warmer temperatures.

Look out summer. Here we come.

56 comments

    • I had my second outing in my kayak this week and it was wonderful. I agonized over the decision to buy one for 2 years and I’m delighted to finally have one.
      I admit the challenges of transporting it haven’t been fully ironed out yet but I have a “build it and they will come” mentality πŸ™‚

      Good luck with your purchasing decision. I’m lucky to belong to a great supportive group to help me through my learning curve.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Congratulations on your new Kayak! Blaze is a perfect name for her. I’m so glad you didn’t capsize or get wet.

    I paddled once on a very windy day in a slough along the Monterey coast I was so tired and had a hard time keeping up with the other kayakers! To my shame I had to be towed for a bit by another kayaker. (hangs head in shame still) 😩 I’m so glad your day was a 10-10 and you survived very well indeed!

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    • It’s outright scary when you’re bobbing around out there on rough water paddling for all you’re worth. I don’t think you should feel shame about needing a tow in rough conditions. Now … if you had said it was calm … πŸ˜‰

      Yesterday was our club’s official First Paddle of the season and the river we were on was beautifully calm with only a slight current in spite of the high water levels. Skies were dark and menacing all day, but it was a glorious day to be on the water!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done you! You are fearless! What a great bunch of friends you have there Jo. I can see many more kayaking trips in the summer months on that lovely lake. Is it easy to transport then? I imagine tied to the roof of your car. I would struggle with that aspect, not to mention getting in and out of a kayak. Must be such a lot of fun to paddle around in.

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  3. Ooo!! You’re one mean fierce blaze of glory! That photo with the city in the back is just wicked. You look like a pro with a career of many years. I’m so glad to hear that you built your confidence even more on this difficult day. Summer will be a breeze!

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    • hmmm – maybe I should have that photo framed. It’s rather special in a number of ways πŸ™‚

      This week is our Club’s official First Paddle of the season and the weather is looking like more of the same – cold, rain. Oh well – at least this time I have some confidence on my side!!

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  4. I’m glad it was a successful first run and that you didn’t go into ‘the drink’. Honestly, I thought it was going to go belly up there for a moment. Here is to many more successes paddling on warmer waters this summer.

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    • Going belly up was a distinct possibility at multiple points throughout the day. Either I’m incredibly lucky or my boat handling skills are better than I thought … probably a combination of the two.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. While I understood your nervousness and the struggle to secure the kayak to the car, I thought it was all about the paddling in the cold and all that entailed. But then I read about the drive to the launch! YIKES! You are made of sturdy stuff, my dear.

    Cheers to you and Blaze!

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    • Thanks for the vote of confidence, Maggie. There are occasions – like this one – where I do question why I do the things I do 😏

      For the record, I was concerned about the cold. I didn’t know how well my rain gear would hold up to the spray from the water, but I was pleasantly surprised. My gear did keep me dry!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hooray, Joanne!

    (Obviously there wasn’t too much bubbly consumed at the christening of your vessel, else the chance of a dunking would’ve been so much higher…)

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  7. Joanne–No one does ‘go big or go home’ better than you! I’ve kayaked twice–in a double canoe with my husband behind me. Why, yes, we did paddle in a circle until I got the hang of it….. So proud of you.

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    • hahahaha! I like the visual that conjured up πŸ˜†

      I do have a tendency to sometimes bite off more than I can chew. This time it was outright scary but I’m rather proud of myself and it’s been a huge boost to my confidence.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m pretty thrilled with that photo πŸ™‚

      Just to clarify – the air temperature was 48F. The water was much colder! Capsizing would have been pretty serious.

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  8. Go you!! Looks like a great day on the water, albeit with some extra newbie-scary challenges thrown in.
    I have a kayak that I dearly love, but can’t get it into any of our cars unaided, so short of moving somewhere right next to the water, my paddling days are pretty much over.

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  9. Isn’t kayaking THE best? I love being close to the water and skimming across it being splashed and feeling the waves roll under me. Glorious! You have a fun summer ahead, Joanne.

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    • It is!!! Canoeing never really resonated with me, but this is very different.
      Although the waves scared me, on the other hand, I loved the way they would break over the bow of the boat … and then hitting calm water and gliding effortlessly over the surface! Sublime!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Anabel. I’m grateful that Gisela shared her photos with me and I love this one too.

      It was a memorable start to the summer season … although it feels far from summer-like right now!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Great for you, Joanne! I was cringing thinking about you putting the boat on the car and tying it down. This has always been the big challenge for me. A beautiful day and a 10 out of 10. You are likely eager to get back out there. Funny on the christening of the boat. Hmmmmm…..Is it too late to christen boats after much use?πŸ˜…

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    • I had horrifying visions of my boat flying off the car into the traffic behind me. I was almost a wreck by the time I got to the lake … and then I saw the waves. I almost backed out.

      hmmm – I couldn’t find anything on christening used boats – unless you plan to rename it – but after thinking about it, I do like the idea of starting each new season with a ‘ceremony’ of good luck πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Lynn, but I’m more of the middle range rather than top end kind of person πŸ˜‰

      I’m very happy with her though. She handled nicely and after about 3 hours on the water (not including a break we took for lunch), I was still quite comfort.

      I can hardly wait for next week’s paddle when it’s the club’s official First Paddle of the season.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The ceremonial bubbly was such a nice touch! This group keeps giving me new reasons to like them πŸ™‚

      I’m glad to have finally had the first paddle and even better that it was challenging. It has been a huge boost to my confidence.

      Liked by 1 person

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