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Swamp Bouy Lily

When we lived in New Hampshire I was perusing the local bookstore one day when I had found an interesting book on boat building.  The book came complete with blueprints.  I wanted to build myself a sailboat but decided I should start with a canoe instead.  I had my canoe ready for its maiden voyage the following summer.

The canoe I built wasn't a fancy canoe.  Its hull was flat bottomed, made out of 1/4" plywood with fiberglass reinforcement.  The shallow draft combined with the kayak paddle I used for propulsion allowed me to get into all sorts of cool swampy areas.  Perfect for New Hampshire.

Heron We lived on Wash Pond Road.  The little creek in our front yard flowed down to the lake.  I loved that lake.  In the winter it froze over with a couple feet of ice, thick enough to drive a truck on and an excellent snowmobile race track.  In the summer the girls would happily spend all day swimming in the lake with their friend Allie.

After getting my canoe built I'd drag it down to the lake whenever I had the chance.  When the jet skis weren't out and the wind was calm the water became crystal clear and very peaceful.  The lake had several sheltered coves filled with water lilies, turtles, ducks, muskrats and even the occasional otter.

Once, while quietly exploring one of the shallow swampy areas, I watched a heron catch a turtle.  There's no way that turtle would ever fit down the heron's throat.  After several tries, the heron finally gave up and dropped the turtle but not until after trying to fly away with it.  A smaller turtle might have become dinner but this one seemed to survive the encounter just fine.

Unfortunately we had to move away later that summer, all the way across the country to a new job in California.  We miss that lake.  We miss our friends too.  Hopefully some day we'll be able to go back for a visit.

San Diego The canoe followed us to California.  I had the chance to take it down the Kern River once.  I also took it to San Diego a couple times.  Paddling around San Diego Bay was great fun.  My father took this picture of me reclining in the canoe while having the girls pull it ashore.

The canoe didn't make it to Hawaii.  My Uncle Les inherited it.  He lives near a little pond that will be perfect for that canoe.  Here in Hawaii, outrigger canoes are popular.  I've been out paddling with the local canoe club a few times.  Sometimes dolphins will swim right next to the canoe.  In the winter, whale encounters are possible.  I've seen dolphins but no whales yet.

The canoe club has several large 6-seat and even a 12-seat canoe.  They aren't as fast as some of the sleek one or two person canoes but they're much easier to paddle.  The race canoes are amazingly fast but they're also amazingly tippy.  The first time I went out in one of the sleek little canoes we had just left the protection of the bay when I asked my paddling partner is she had ever hulied (flipped) the canoe.  She said "No, I really try not to because I'm not the strongest swimmer."  Seconds after she said that a wave caught us wrong and over we went.  It was a calm day so we managed to right the canoe and climb right back on without much difficulty, no rescues necessary.


My mother is a strong paddler.  She wins lots of races.  Click on the picture below to watch some of the paddlers go by in one of the races.  Unfortunately the movie stops just as my mother's canoe starts to come into view.  My stupid camera was being difficult that day.

Click on the picture for a short movie. (3.44 MB)

Maybe some day when I get the time I'll join the local outrigger canoe club.  In the mean time I'll watch the races from shore.  I'd love to have my own outrigger canoe but the high-tech fiberglass construction is way beyond my meager building abilities.  I guess I'll have to save my pennies.

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