Gunkholing on the Sevylor…

Reflection of the morning sun, through some morning mist but mainly smoke from the forest fires in NW Ontario…

Last Saturday (July 17) I decided to go gunkholing in the inflatable kayak… well, to tell you the truth, I am not sure it is a kayak or a canoe, but it is powered by a kayak-style double paddle: the old Sevylor Rio… Exactly the same that you find here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJmT-lcR0eg (only differences are that I use a foot-action pump and I did get it on the water…). On August 22, 2015, I used it to cross from the mainland to Upper Duck Island in the Ottawa River and operate from it /QRP/P and qualify it for the Radio Amateurs “Canadian Islands Activators” program as ON-296 (https://veislandactivators.blogspot.com/2015/08/va3pcj-another-successful-first.html). Around 7:30am I got the Sevylor out of its bag and opened it on the grass nearby the ramp at Dick-Bell Park. I inflate it as showing in the above video, and launched from the ramp.

First I paid a visit to Sassy at the dock and then rowed out of the harbour, along the breakwater, into the unnamed shalow cove that separates the marina from Crystal Bay. I’ve always called it “Duck’s cove” but have not been able to find a name for it anywhere. It is rather shallow and only once I saw a boat anchored in its mouth. It has some water-grass and lots of river mussels (likely the Elliptio complanata or Eastern elliptio). I am no mussel expert, but those I saw seemed alive and well, several were half-buried in the mud/sand and their tracks were also readily visible along the bottom. The Ottawa River is famous for the diversity of its indigenous mussels, which are even used to monitor radionuclides in its water (an important undertaking given that the reactors in the Nuclear Research Laboratories of Chalk River are just a hundred miles upstream from the water intakes of the city’s two drinking-water purification plants in Britannia and Lemieux Island (“The levels of radioactive tritium in Ottawa’s drinking water are routinely two, three sometimes four times above background level”: https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/dewar-calls-for-tougher-water-standards-after-tritium-leaks-1.376856), (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/nuclear-contamination-plan-containment-rolphton-cnl-algonquins-1.4584336).

Bird-wise, the purple martins from the unique colony kept within the grounds of the Nepean Sailing Club were very active on the trees (perhaps some fledgelings were already training for their first migration South?). I was able to take pictures of some large birds on the shore, where two American crows seemed intrigued with the “one-leg contest” between a Great Egret and a Canadian goose:

Two American crows watching the one-leg contest between a Great Eagret and a Canadian goose…

Some large flowers of water plants (Nymphaea virginalis) that had been completely closed upon arrival, were open and in full glory a couple of hours later:

Nymphaea virginalis

Actually, the main reason for this fun exercise was to test the ability of two old quadriceps (and other allied muscles) for getting down and raising up from the low level seat in the kayak… and I am glad to report that they are still functional. Next, will be to test their ability to do the same in “QRP”, the BIC Sportyak II…