Monday, August 24, 2009

Kouchibouguac, NB - on the water

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fully recovered from yesterday's arduous ride, we strapped the boat to the top of the van and drove over to Callanders. The beach is fronted by a long, thin sand dune of an island that protects the beach from the heavier waves and stronger currents of the Gulf of St Lawrence. Rowing due north toward the river that forms the northern boundary of the park, we listened to the birds flying overhead, flowed with the current, day dreamers... each in own own separate reverie. This idyllic moment soon passed with the arrival of the shark fin. I'd been attempting to land the boat on the protective island when Jaws made its appearance. For a moment it was semi-surrealistic or just plain freaky. I don't know what the score card is on sharks versus rubber boats but I don't imagine it favors boats. As I tried to maneuver away from the intruder, I realized it was not moving, I was. Regaining my courage I moved in closer only to find it was a piece of wood masquerading as a shark fin. A very good impression, as you can tell by the picture. After this fiasco we walked around on this deserted part of the island hoping to find treasure but the only thing we took away were some funny memories.

Pushing off from the island we resumed our northerly trek. It was so shallow in some places that we had to portage several times. It gave us a real sense of connection with the earth and elements, wading through the water in this tranquil setting. We finally reached a point where the current picked up and we moved along at a brisk pace without much input from me. We passed under a walking bridge and entered the main estuary, or so we thought. Here things got dicey. In front of us was an island dune presenting a fork in the channel. To the left was the estuary, whereas the right went out to sea. I tried to go left but the current had other plans. The tide was now rushing out the channel, sweeping us along with it. I told Carol I couldn't out row against the current. The only thing to prevent a rescue at sea was to row as hard as I could across the current like a swimmer would when facing a rip current. When I finally pulled onto the island separating the channel, I was dripping with sweat. It had taken nearly all my strength but after a refreshing swim we were back in the boat again. At this point, I realized there was little to no chance of rowing back the way we came, so I figured if we continued up the estuary we would eventually arrive at one of the beaches near our campsite. In spite of my best efforts, we were passed by a family in kayaks. If only I had a rudder and a sail... then we'd really go places.

Anyway, once we found the access point that was only a short walk from our campsite, we could relax. I rowed a little further up river so that Carol could read from The Kybalion while I enjoyed the ride down stream. Everything was fine until Nicky decided to suddenly jump into the water. This was a first. We were fairly close to land but it was a marshy stretch with reeds, bogginess, and God only knows what might be lurking below. Carol tried to grab her tail and pull her back but the Nicster was off and paddling, no doubt trying to get to shore for a pee. I was worried she might get entangled in the reeds so I went in after her. It took a few strokes but I caught up to her and soon had her back on board, a little muddy but none the worse for it. Another funny memory made.

The rescue sort of put an end to any further reading so we decided to call it a day. Besides, Nicky needed to get to shore. We got Ulysses out of the water and carried the boat through the campground and back to the campsite. Nicky had relieved herself, Carol was dry, so all were feeling good except for me. I was wet, cold, and tired, but somebody had to go back for the van. Carol offered, but I knew she'd have trouble getting her bicycle into the back, so there was nothing for it. I hopped onto my bike and pedaled as fast as my weary body would allow. Carol didn't have it much better, since the keys to the Casita were in the van, but she got some outdoor chores in while waiting. Anyway, four and a half miles later I reached Callanders beach. I put the bike in the back of the van and drove back to Carol. I think I fell asleep before she even finished making dinner.

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