So last month Chantal and I signed up for a beginners canoeing course and the time had finally come this weekend. But the forecast was 6-degrees above freezing in the morning, rain and winds gusting to 40 Km/hr.
Decisions? We decided that since we paid for the course that we would go but not before making a few stops at some recommended outdoor adventure stores for some recommended gear.
- Gore-Tex socks and neoprene ankle boots
- Neoprene paddling gloves
- Marmot rain gear
- Proper paddling PDF (life jacket or personal flotation device)
So on Saturday morning at 6:45 AM in the cold and a bit of rain we put on our motorcycle Rev-It base layer pants and shirt combined with another layer of merino wool shirts and sweaters topped off with our new Gore-Tex socks, ankle boots, gloves and a wool hat. We strapped the canoe to the Zombie Mobile and headed to the RA canoe Camping center an hour away.
Most people taking the course used the clubs canoes. The club has an excellent choice of flat water and white water canoes in all types and sizes. Every one was taught how to properly and safely strap a canoe to a vehicle. Additionally the instructors verified all of our safety gear including the fitting of our PFDs.
The weather was colder and windier the second day but it rain more the first. There is no substitution for having the proper gear since we enjoyed every minute of our course with dry and warm feet, hands, head and body. Even stepping in the water was a nonissue.
The beginner’s course offered by the RA Canoe Camping Club (www.raccc.ca) was absolutely Excellent! Every Canadian knows how to canoe. I think it is genetically passed on from our forefathers. But as we learned this weekend, there are far more techniques that improve your efficiency that reduce the effort and strain required to paddling a canoe which is especially noticeably in 40 Km/hr wind gusts.
The instructors and participants were all amazing people. Chantal and I learned the names of the various strokes, their techniques and how to better communicate them between us to avoid slamming into docks, other boats and/or turtles. We believe that this course helped us become far better paddlers and we will enjoy the sport much more going forward with far more confidence. Have a look at some highlights of our weekend.