I checked out the Wainfleet Wetlands
Conservation Area with my Kayak
While surfing Google Earth, I noticed there was a sort of a lake just west of Port Colborne.
I'm a bit timid about going on Lake Erie, it can be quite tricky and I have not found it easy to get back in the boat if I capsize. It's quite high and balance is tricky until I'm in the cockpit. I'm making a paddle float that will help me.
It turned out to be a reclaimed quarry. I packed my lunch and strapped the kayak on the car and off I went to explore.
This small conservation area circles around the 2 lobes of an old limestone quarry. It is off the aptly named Quarry Road south of Hwy 3, just west of Port Colborne.
Here is a link to the Google Map. If the link is broken just do a search for "Wainfleet Wetlands Conservation Area"
Although I went there to paddle around, it's on the bike path that runs in the Niagara Region and the quarry would be a great place to take a break, eat your lunch and do a quick hike. There is a path around the 2 lobes of the quarry.
There are a lot of birds and this attracts photographers and other nature lovers.
Unfortunately there are no facilities at the site.
There is a path from the small parking lot to the water. I went during the week and only saw one other person there, week-ends might be busier. I had no trouble getting the kayak to the water using my handy dandy primitive kayak cart..
We have had a quite dry summer but there was still quite a lot of water. In the shallower area I touched bottom but otherwise there was enough depth to float the kayak, or a canoe. I don't think a motor boat would be very happy. It would float without any trouble in the deeper areas but there is a tremendous amount of water weeds so it would be a nightmare keeping the prop clear.
On the shore where I launched, there was a bit of mud. It was only a few inches of mud over gravel. It is possible to avoid it, I just did not bother.
The animal tracks were also interesting, besides the horse and dog tracks there were a lot of smaller animals and many bird signs. I think this would be a very interesting place to visit in the spring. Many birds have already migrated south for the season.
I know many people fish here. I saw quite a lot of tiny fish near the shore, and many larger ones in the weeds. I also saw a very large dead one near the shore where I could not go easily. It was certainly over 2 feet long.
I caught a small crayfish near the shore. Here he is just a bit worried, in my bailing glass. He looks like a perfect miniature lobster. He scampered off to hide under the mud as soon as I put him back in the lake.
There were many birds fishing on the edge of the water. Here, the egret is slowly patrolling. Besides the crayfish, there are lots of small fish in dense schools and I also saw quite a number of frogs and a few turtles, so, lots of food.
The ducks did not pose long enough to allow me to take a photo and the sandpipers were too small to show up with the camera I was using. I will bring zoom cameras next time. It is apparently, a good place to go birdwatching.
I was surprised by the variety of weeds found in the lake. These weedy patches were full of little fish and frogs. I saw a few turtles too. All of these guys are quite timid, I guess if you see a shadow coming near you, it's likely someone looking for a meal.
That's what the long weeds look like underwater.
The limestone makes an attractive shoreline with small cliffs and water trickling down.
Some areas were deeper than my kayak paddle.
The water is quite clear and you can see quite far underwater. At least my camera could.
Another kind of seaweed landscape with fish hiding in the stalks. Here a turtle had just jumped in and I was hoping to see it underwater, but no luck.
The quarry lake has 2 lobes separated by a bridge. I was worried I would not be able to get through, there was quite a lot of weeds and paddling was slow, but the other side was better.
I finally managed to take a photo of some fish underwater. I have this quite wonderful little sports camera. Inexpensive and wonderful quality images. Lousy manual though. It took me a bit of time to figure it out.
This is not expedition grade kayaking but it offered an interesting afternoon of pleasant paddling. It would have been easy to fish if I liked fishing. I will go back and hike around the lakes.
I was also on the look out for a good spot to swim. I think there are a few spots which would be perfect for diving in. If you plan to go swimming check the area for rocks before diving in. I think snorkeling would be fun too. I don't know if there are any rules about swimming, didn't see any signs.
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