Sea kayaking is one of my favourite water activities and since I’m in Ontario, with no actual “seas” around, the best kayaking to be had is on beautiful Georgian Bay.
For those who haven’t been, Georgian Bay is almost the size of Lake Ontario, so we’re talking about a big, open body of fresh water. How is that for a nice bonus over our coastal provinces who have to deal with annoying salt water on their kayak excursions?
Kayaking along the coast of Georgian Bay you glide through calm channels, past light houses and cottages and colourful, rugged rocky coastlines. The windswept trees and classic Canadian Shield scenery have drawn people here from far away who yearn to escape the crowds and be with nature. It was a favourite area for famous Canadian artists like Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven.
On my most recent kayaking adventure on Georgian Bay, it was a hot day, but thankfully quite overcast, so we avoided getting burnt to a crisp while out on the water. It was a half day paddle out of Snug Harbour, which wasn’t long enough for me! It was really just a tease of a kayak ride that the people from White Squall Paddling took us on. We did get out towards some bigger islands like Franklin Island but didn’t have time to explore, which left me yearning for more and wanting to pull out some smores and pitch a tent to go camping.
Ahh, no kayak camping trip this time, but it was still a great trip and gave me a bit of an introduction to an area of Georgian Bay that I hadn’t been to before – an area I will definitely return to. Despite having a little bit of wind on our way out towards some islands, my kayaking partner Jill, from Jack and Jill travel, and I got into a good rhythm and were gliding through the water quite effortlessly.
Kayaking is definitely a peaceful watersport and it isn’t as hard to learn as some people may think. You can just float along and take in the surroundings with nary a sound, aside from the occasional splash of your paddle. I think that is one of the reasons why I enjoy it so much. No motors or noisy engines to disturb the peace. But don’t confuse peaceful with boring. Kayaking is anything but boring. One of the great fun things with kayaking is trying to “surf” waves when conditions are ideal. It’s really quite amazing how fast you can get going in a kayak once you have some momentum built up!
As summer starts to wind down now, I’m thinking it may be time to return to Georgian Bay for some more paddling. Come September the summer camps and crowds will be gone, making it an even more peaceful paddle out on the bay.
Editorial note: I had this post written for quite some time but never got around to publishing it for some reason. Then, today I learned that one of the people I had the pleasure of kayaking with on this trip, and getting to know while exploring part of Ontario with for a few days, is suddenly no longer with us. This post is dedicated to the memory of Anita MacKinnon, who had a passion for kayaking, an infectious smile and will be missed by many.