kayaking in Port Colborne

Kayaking in Crystal Beach and around Abino Point Lighthouse, Niagara Region, Ontario

I'm still sorting out the Kayak I bought at an estate sale this summer. This is a hand-built plywood kayak. It slices through the water and goes very easily. It is just short of 17 feet long and weight about 43 pounds. A lot more when I'm sitting in it though!!

Before I could take it out on the lake splash skirtI made a spray skirt. I had taken the boat on the beach a few days before and the relatively small 1 ft waves were enough to wash over the opening.

Lake Erie is quite a windy place and waves come up very quickly.

Have you seen the photos Dave Sanford took of the waves, pretty spectacular.

I have also made a paddle floatI also made a paddle float. I've been struggling to figure out how to get back into the boat if I capsize and the paddle float helps with this.

beach at foot of Barnard st.free launch

Launching a kayak is easy. I either go to the foot of Bernard Street where there is a small right of way and sandy beach. The parking lot also has a porta-potty. It's a 6 km paddle to the lighthouse as the crow flies.

There is also a small boat ramp just past Crystal Beach where a small trailer can launch. It's not maintained particularly well but it's free.

Larger boats can launch at the Crystal Beach Waterfront Park and Boat Launch for 5 dollars I think. It's about 3 km from the lighthouse. The Bertie Boat club on Point Abino also allows outside launch for a fee.

Because Crystal Beach is protected by the Point and forms a large bay, wind and waves are reduced. Prevailing winds are from the West and can come up very quickly.

Google satellite photo of area.

Just off BarnardOn towards crystal beach

As I paddle along I took an underwater photo using the new sports camera I had just bought. It's too wet in the kayak to use my other camera. The water is only about 15 feet deep. The whole area is very shallow.


The Point Abino Lighthouse stands over a long spit of very shallow ground. Large limestones sheets go on for close to a kilometre.

Although there was never a great deal of Canadian traffic in the area, there was a considerable number of ships going on to Buffalo and the shallow rocks caused a great number of shipwrecks over the years.


On a quiet day I dared venture out to the buoy.

Snorklers can find bits of nails and hardware even now when they swim around the lighthouse. There is no road access to the lighthouse because it is a private road. The City of Fort Erie along with volunteers run tours during the summer.

There is a Youtube film about the history:

beach stonesbuoy

On the quiet side of the lighthouse the lake floor is loose rocks and gravel. On the front all the gravel and stones have been washed away and big limestones slabs line the bottom. The occasional boulder makes a good spot for the birds to sit on when there is no wind.

Besides the various gulls and Canada geese, there are ducks, cormorants and the occasional swan.


I you have more energy than I had, you can go on, past the lighthouse and eventually reach Port Colborne. It's at the end of the land point in the photo. I was too tired to go on. I still had to get back to my launch point a little over 8 kilometres away.

amazing colours green and blueamazing colours green and blue

Turning back, I took this photo with the camera almost level with the water. The colours have not been retouched. I'm not sure what kind of special effect this was. Great fun.

I eventually made it back to the base of Bernard as the sun was starting to dip.

email: Christine

This web site reflects my personal ideas and doesn't represent anyone else's point of view. I'm not an expert at anything, and don't suggest that how I'm doing this is the best way, get out there and have fun I own the copyright for all the photos on this website unless noted otherwise.

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