Kayaking in Port Colborne
I found a new stream to check out
There is nothing more delightful than finding a new place to explore.
I launched my Kayak in Port Colborne, just west of the Sugarloaf Marina with the idea of checking out west of the entrance to lake Erie. As it turned out I never got that far. I found a great little stream to explore instead. Just as well, the weather report (I had my radio going,) said there was a strong wind warning. I looked a bit hairy outside the break wall.
Because I have not figured out an easy fool proof way of getting back in the Kayak if I capsize I try to be extra careful. I'm just finishing a paddle float so that will help me get back into my boat if I capsize.Earlier I had made a Spray Skirt that has worked very well at keeping small waves out of the cockpit.
There were a lot of canada geese and ducks gathered in the bay and several egrets watching me as I went by. I was not particularly silent because I was listening to the weather report on the VHF.
I was surprised to see a nice dinghy moored near the shore. I have not seen a lot of wooden boats in the area. I went in to check it out.
The entrance to the little stream is not obvious from the bay, I only noticed it when I went closer to see a boat and the birds.
Here is a link to the Port Colborne Map The Launch point is behind the Hospital, Niagara Health Port Colborne. It's just to the West of the Sugar Loaf Harbour Marina, on the west side of the Welland Canal. It's also next to the LL Knoll Lakeview Park.
There is a large parking lot that can accommodate cars and boat trailer. There are parking machines where you pay for your parking. There are seasons pass available from the city.
Porta-potties are close by. The boat launch can get quite busy I think. I was there on a friday morning and 5 boats launched and came out in the short time I was getting ready. There is lots of fishing in the area.
There are 2 sets of breakwalls so the launch area and Marina are well protected. It is large enough to allow for a happy hour or two of kayaking if you are hesitant in going out onto the canal or the Lake.
Seeing the unsuspected stream, I decided to check it out.
A few hundred feet in from the mouth of the stream, there is a concrete dam. I don't know what the purpose is except perhaps it is linked to the Welland Canal water control mechanisms. Since there was no current in the stream I could not figure out what the purpose was.
Near the dam there was a yacht club The Lakeside Yacht Club, not many boats and no one around.
It was lovely and quiet with lots of birds and millions of dragonflies.
The stream has trees and quite a lot of reeded areas. Occasionally it goes by some homes.
As I went along I kept hearing plops as turtles and frogs jumped into the water. There were also quite a lot of fish jumping.
The stream was spanned by a couple of little bridges. It always feel a bit mysterious to go under a bridge. The round one did not have a lot of clearance and was covered in cobwebs that snapped loudly as I went through.
Lots of reeds crowded the boat on both sides. One side, when the stream followed a more developed area there was a muddy shore.
I'm not sure who lives in the carefully tended hole. It was only about 6 inches above the waterline. I figure a crayfish might live there.
All through the area there were canada geese and ducks and many of the trees near the water were protected by mesh. The beavers got this one before they had time to wrap it up.
The open channel gradually narrowed with reeds taking over the waterway. I decided it was time to turn around but I had left it too long.
I had a heck of a time turning the boat around. I should have backed up. I only figured that out after I was crossway in the stream and faced another half hour of going forwards and back to only turn a minute distance.
It was very muddy and nasty on the bottom and I did not look forward to jumping out to lead my stupid big kayak out of the reeds. Eventually I got my boat turned around and started on the way home.
It's always surprising how different the river feels going back and how I notice different things. There was a lot of Silky Dogwood with their almost metallic blue berries.
Foliage is just starting to change and with the late afternoon light the whole place was a golden rich colour.
I made my way out and noticed near the mouth of the stream that at one time there must have been many docks. Only the rusted metal remained. Might have been the docking area for the yacht club.
I went out of the breakwall to check out the lake but the waves were quite confused as they bounced off the rocks so I came back in the calm protected bay and paddled towards the lighthouse.
I have not found an easy way of getting back into my boat if I capsize so I'm staying near shore for now. I have just made a kayak paddle float to attach to the end of my paddle. This allows me to brace myself against the floating paddle and to balance enough to get back in and self rescue. I need to practice using it before I venture far though. Earlier I had made a splash skirt that keeps waves from flooding into the cockpit.
There was a tremendous number of birds sitting on the rocks and fishing. Gulls, cormorants, and herons and egrets. They would sometimes fly off if I came too near but they were not very afraid of me.
I only brought a small camera so bird photos are from a distance but I think it would be worthwhile going in with better gear just to get some photos of the birds fishing.
I crossed the Welland Canal channel. I'm always a bit nervous doing this because the big boats create quite a large wake even when they travel slowly and there are often many fast fishing boats around. I was lucky, it was quiet with a big gentle swell. Across the way there is a boat junk yard. The big Lakers are slowly dismantled here.
I toodled around for a while and slowly made my way back to the launch site. I was tired, a bit sun burnt and completely happy with my day.
Kayaking books and stuff
- The Art of Kayaking: Everything You Need to Know About Paddling
- Fifty Places to Paddle Before You Die: Kayaking and Rafting Experts Share the World’s Greatest Destinations
- Recreational Kayaking The Ultimate Guide
- Forbidden Road 2L 5L 10L 15L 20L Waterproof Dry Bag for Kayaking
- Carlisle Magic Plus Kayak Paddle - Polypro Blades/Fiberglass Shaft (Sunrise, 220 cm)
- Paddle Leash with a 2 Rod Leash Set, 3 Leashes Total Plus 1 Carabiner. Built to Last.
- AUNAZZ/Downwind Wind Sail Kit Wind Paddle 42 inches Kayak Canoe Accessories, Easy Setup & Deploys Quickly, Compact & Portable Green
- Lifetime Warranty TMS J-Bar Rack HD Kayak Carrier Roof Top Mounted