September 19, 2008

There's No Such Thing as "Enough Boats"!

We are in the Vancouver area this weekend and finally have a decent internet signal again!

For the past 16 months, everywhere we go people alaways comment on how we could fit four boats on top of the truck, and of course, why two people need four boats? Well, as all you fellow paddlers know, you can never have "enough"....

Part of our "rethinking" the RV lifesye, and making a few changes is to allow us to do much more with different gear. We had thought about getting a square-end canoe, that could be paddled, or, used with a small motor thereby greatly expanding hwo far we could go, and allowing us to "self shuttle" on trips. Careful searching on the internet only turned up one comapny that truly made a light weight square-end, Clipper Canoe made by the great folks at Western Canoe & Kayak, who agreed to set up a demo for us if we visited them in Abbortsford (near Vancouver).

We were disappointed in the square-end, being quite heavy and very wide...too much so to act as a tandem "paddle" canoe. So, we tested two boats Tuesday on the Fraser River both with & without a 2HP motor (that provided). We ended up liking the 16-1/2ft Tripper S which did a good job with both of us in it with & w/o the motor. After we each paddled it solo ("S") and found it to be acceptable to use in that maner also (like if I want to >go fish by myself). I also used the motor solo, our minds were made up, this was the new boat to add to our growing fleet!

It was pretty amazing how fast the boat went, paddling, or with the motor at only half throttle. Back at trhe factory Marlin (the owner) made us a "special deal" on a Custom Ultralight that he had in stock that had a couple of almost imperceptable blems on it's finish (we'll puts lots more than that on the first few trips out! ) > >if you are interested in the complete specs:

I'll pick up the tiny four-stroke, 26lb Honda 2HP motor to go with it when we get back into the states..

So, just how do we get (now) FIVE! boats up there? Turns out it was easier than we expected. With a few suggestions and "spacer boards" at the factory, we were ready to head on to Vancouver Island in short order.

We missed the ferry to Victoria, and had to go to Nanaimo (about 100 miles north), which turned out to be a great detour. Kim found Living Forest Campground in ther trailer guides, and it is simply beautiful. We ended up in one of the best sites in the 55acre park, on the very end of a small point overlooking the mouth of the Nanaimo River and an expanse of saltwater marsh.

Anxious to try the new rig out, we carefully unloaded and placed it in front of the truck. Kim commented "we better get a picture of this sleek shiney hull right now, it'll never look like that again"....and I must admit that Western does a magnificant job of fit & finish on their boats!

From the looks on our faces, you can tell we are delighted with the decision. Paddling happily upstream, in strong current, against a ten mile an hour breeze, we moved swiftly along.

The ducks and geese (mostly Mallards & Canadians) were in the area in high numbers, but interestingly were sppoked at the mere sight of a quiet canoe approaching.

We had watched an old Bill Mason canoe video at Western, and I guess Kim just had to try some of Bill's canoe anticks...of course she didn't jump the docks, boats & ramps like he did....

The paddle up the River was nice, and the trip downstream (tide now going out & wind at our backs) allowed us to just sit back, relax & enjoy the moving past briskly. It was interesting to see the local Natives "sight fishing" along the banks....

Into a small bay at the mouth of the River, and along a beautiful high bluff on the farside of the Campground, what a great first paddle!