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 Post subject: Seashore canoeing?
PostPosted: August 16th, 2017, 4:56 pm 
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As mentioned on my other current thread, I am getting back into canoeing after decades of not canoeing. All my prior experience in canoeing was on small Northern Ontario lakes where potential hypothermia was the major thing to keep in mind.

Now I am on Vancouver Island, and since the seashore is a lot closer (about 1 to 6 miles away by car, depending on specific beach selected) than the nearest lake (15 miles away), and since the ocean has more interesting lifeofrms and scenery to encounter, I thought I'd ask about what issues, safety and otherwise, are involved in ocean canoeing versus lake canoeing.

I intend to do 1 to 3 hour outings only, very nearshore only (The Georgia Strait is never truly warm so hypothermia potential is high if I tip over), and only in sheltered bay areas and low breeze conditions (10 kph or less usually). Navigation is not an issue, as my usage will be strictly within close sight of the shore (I want to explore the coastline and the estuaries).

Here are the issues I have already identified even as an inexperienced newbie:

- I'd better be good at staying upright, as hypothermia potential is high most of the year

- Stay nearshore so if I do go in the water, I don't have to swim far!

- No outings where there is any possibility of a wind increase that could create waves I am not ready to handle

- Go out at mid or high tide,not low tide, so I don't have to drag the canoe across 2 kilometers of wet and muddy tidal pools (no kidding - our beaches are very shallow sloped,so the difference between low and high tide gets as high as 2 km across the tidal flats). Even so, MIGHT need a C Tug Sandtrax!

- There are no "tide funnel" areas in my target cruising area that would pose a concern

- Full safety gear of course (PFD, whistle, throw bag, paddle coil, spare paddle secured to canoe, cellphone / ID / car FOB in waterproof case, etc)

- Wash the canoe after each outing, outside and inside, so the salt left from ocean use does not attack the finish and corrode the metal trim

- The canoe is a Wenonah Solo Plus,so it is relatively low (19" bow, 13"mid canoe, 17" at stern), narrow (32.75"maximum and 29" at the gunwales), and weighs only 42.6 lb (actual), so when soloing,I will have the height-adjustable center seat set low for maximized stability

- I'll be using a kayak paddle (250cm length) as I strongly prefer the kayak paddle over the canoe paddle, and the 29" gunwale width and tumblehome sides support using the kayak paddle

- I'm not sure if going tandem paddling with my wife on the ocean is a great idea in this specific canoe. Wenonah designed it to function in both solo and tandem use, but that resulted in fairly narrow gunwale widths where the bow and stern seats are located. Both of those tractor seats are adjustable for longitudinal position, but not for height, and since both me and wife are not lightweights (me 197 lb and her 170), I would worry about stability in water that is often cold enough to be a hypothermia risk. Is my concern warranted?

What other issues do I need to be aware of and concerned about when considering ocean use?

Jim G


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 Post subject: Re: Seashore canoeing?
PostPosted: August 16th, 2017, 7:49 pm 
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Location: Milton
For one how is your WW stroke experience?

I say that because it does not take much of a "funnel" to make strong eddies, boils, small holes.
Also it does not have to be a "funnel" to make tidal rapids.
It is just a matter of having a "kit" bag of strokes so that you are comfortable in these different currents.

It is a matter of recognizing them. (both inbound and out bound tides.
I have done it a few times and I am pretty comfortable with it and in a canoe, 2 weeks in NL and we only got out twice. and just recently 4 days in Grand Manan N.B. and out once. (but have been out a quite a few other times, including Skookumchuk in a kayak on the Sun Shine coast (for those not familiar, google Skookumchuk and watch some of the vids)
I also know that local winds can change things up, and I would sit out if needed.
As you are already aware Mountains do weird things to the winds.

Get the tidal charts that show the speeds of the various currents, this can help you avoid the strange spots.
On Grand Manan I chose 1hr before high tide so that the currents would be slowing down.
Remember so much depends on other "stuff" (just like river levels)
Be aware of "king " (spring) and neap tides as they will increase the current flows.
Know the tide height distances and the terrain you are going to paddle as it might not interfere with an area you have chosen to paddle.

If you are not familiar with rip currents, learn to read them, not only does tides affect them but also the winds, especially if you get stuck out there when a sudden wind pics up. (again they can be local due to the Mountains)
All in all it is just another learning curve

Get to know the local fisherman/outfitters and find out where the local weird currents are.

Make sure you have the charts, gps, and compass should a fog bank roll in, they can be incredible thick.
Hope this gave you a few things to work on.
Enjoy!
Jeff

As for tandem, I did it in NL with the ice bergs with my wife and last year at Gaspe.
Around Perce rock no problems with the tide coming in from low tide.
But on the Lands End point in Forillon National Park the lead up to Shiphead (the point) it was very gentle but within 200m the currents really picked up and and formed a formidable CIII along the shoal line. (no funnel)
Weather conditions was warm and next to no wind.

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 Post subject: Re: Seashore canoeing?
PostPosted: August 16th, 2017, 8:37 pm 
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Your reply sounds like it has a LOT of ocean experience behind it! Thank-you. I want to ensure that as a newbie, I am not getting in over my head.

Jim G


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 Post subject: Re: Seashore canoeing?
PostPosted: August 16th, 2017, 9:27 pm 
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Enough to keep me out of trouble 8)
And wise enough to know tomorrow is another day.
Local knowledge can make it so much easier.
Jeff

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Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss. — (David Bolling, Ho


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 Post subject: Re: Seashore canoeing?
PostPosted: August 17th, 2017, 1:00 am 
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Great advice given above...check out the thread "Ocean canoeing, some basics" from 2007...
jedi...if you seen an orange Clipper Mackenzie 18'6" with a blue spray deck at Perce, or Forillon last year that was me LOL...NL paddling was out of the question though.


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 Post subject: Re: Seashore canoeing?
PostPosted: August 17th, 2017, 5:58 am 
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Location: Near Ottawa ON
Yes, SGrant did an excellent job in that article.

I think it's mainly a matter of going at it slowly and cautiously (like you are doing) as you learn the new "territory" of ocean tides, currents, wind and waves. "If I fall out of my boat, where are they going to take me"?

Practicing getting back in your boat after having fallen out of it would be a good thing to do
Air bags would be helpful in that situation.

I'd consider expanding the contents of your ditch-kit. Paddling solo you could probably use the ballast anyway. Anti-hypothermia stuff like fire starter and some kind of fuel. A poncho, warm clothes, energy bars, water. Maybe a couple of those chemical heat-pack things. Flares.

A 2-way marine radio would be a good thing to have. Current weather reports, and reliably monitored communications. Also fun to listen to - a window into what's happening on the water around you.

A dry-suit, although pretty much intolerable on hot summer days, would give you the option of getting out there on the cool rainy ones, of which there are many on your Wet Coast!

I'm struggling with your concern about stability when tandem. Go somewhere safe and practice.


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 Post subject: Re: Seashore canoeing?
PostPosted: August 17th, 2017, 6:06 am 
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Location: Now in Sudbury
Your list reminds me of when I would go for my early morning Sunday Motorcycle Ride on days when I was feeling a little under the weather. I'll just take it easy.... Sometimes we don't keep our resolutions. So...
At the very least bring a compass and keep it on your PFD.

I would also start to consider a spray skirt, although you probably will keep your resolutions well enough not to need one. At least at first.

Best of luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Seashore canoeing?
PostPosted: August 17th, 2017, 6:36 am 
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My partner and I paddle on the ocean near you extensively in a tandem Clipper Tripper. We enjoy it more than lakes because of the sea life. We have rarely had to deal with wind, waves or swells because we tend to paddle in more sheltered areas, watch the weather and get off the water in the afternoons when the wind picks up. This applies to our lakes as well. Having whitewater experience has helped us become more comfortable in the odd wavey situation. I could not imagine us tipping, ever, except in ww.

From your post, I'd think the biggest issue, aside from going solo, is getting to or out of the water at low tide. Have you considered going to a place a bit further away with steeper shores? Also consider going out in the very early morning. August (fogaust) typically has good weather, btw.

The Broken Group is an ideal place to canoe as are the Discovery Islands, but there are more crossings there--some of which can be avoided.

Enjoy!

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 Post subject: Re: Seashore canoeing?
PostPosted: August 17th, 2017, 7:51 am 
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Thank-you all for your inputs! Anyone who has more to add, please don't hesitate. I am eager to hear good advice.

Jim G


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 Post subject: Re: Seashore canoeing?
PostPosted: August 17th, 2017, 12:09 pm 
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Location: Burns Lake, BC
Join a club.

Take a serious paddling course. Not some fluff one that 90% of them are.

Learn to paddle safely and understand what different conditions mean to you and your boat.
Taking care of you and your boat is the priority. All the other beta will come to you with experience and time.

If you plan on taking it on by yourself I would suggest you practice a mock dumping and rescue on some safe waters. It's one thing to practice in theory but another whole ball game in real world conditions.

Do you have a paddler's bible?... "Path of the paddle"


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 Post subject: Re: Seashore canoeing?
PostPosted: August 17th, 2017, 12:22 pm 
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Canoeheadted wrote:
Join a club.

Take a serious paddling course. Not some fluff one that 90% of them are.

Do you have a paddler's bible?... "Path of the paddle"


I have downloaded and studied 7 Kindle books on canoeing and kayaking to absorb as much as I can before setting out and learning "mistaken" techniques on my own!

I've tried to learn the various paddle strokes as best I can before actually trying them on the water, and I have prepared a checklist of gear to take on each outing.

I am still struggling with the best way to secure the canoe to the car for transport to and from the water (see my other posting on that!).

Jim G


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 Post subject: Re: Seashore canoeing?
PostPosted: August 17th, 2017, 3:25 pm 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
Be careful of paddling too close to shore and near points. Reflecting waves cause seas from two directions and clapotis(confused seas) happen at points where currents converge
Sea canoeing is typically done in boats with substantial bow flare t direct emeaves down. Not up over your gunwales.
Some Wenonahs have lots of tumblehone and rollers come right in. Those are pretty unstable in seas.
Others like our Odyssey have little tuck and lots of bow flare and it's a wonderful sea canoe. It's fine on Superior and the Gulf of Maine. I'm not familiar with your model however
Beware boils and whirlpools and there will no doubt be eddy lines
In my youth we got whitewater instruction before going to sea in canoes. Boston AMC Whitewater Comm used to do whitewater for sea canoeists


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 Post subject: Re: Seashore canoeing?
PostPosted: August 17th, 2017, 3:33 pm 
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littleredcanoe wrote:
Be careful of paddling too close to shore and near points. Reflecting waves cause seas from two directions and clapotis(confused seas) happen at points where currents converge
Sea canoeing is typically done in boats with substantial bow flare t direct emeaves down. Not up over your gunwales.
Some Wenonahs have lots of tumblehone and rollers come right in. Those are pretty unstable in seas.
Others like our Odyssey have little tuck and lots of bow flare and it's a wonderful sea canoe. It's fine on Superior and the Gulf of Maine. I'm not familiar with your model however
Beware boils and whirlpools and there will no doubt be eddy lines
In my youth we got whitewater instruction before going to sea in canoes. Boston AMC Whitewater Comm used to do whitewater for sea canoeists


Should my initial outings be on a lake instead? Just to limit the number of potential simultaneuous hazards in play?

Jim G


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 Post subject: Re: Seashore canoeing?
PostPosted: August 17th, 2017, 7:53 pm 
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Yes


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 Post subject: Re: Seashore canoeing?
PostPosted: August 17th, 2017, 10:26 pm 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
Just go out and think capsize. And watch the wind and tide. If the wind is coming off shore and the tide receding it will look deceivingly calm. Until you get out there and realise getting back is impossible
For safety sake go when wind is coming off the water and the tide incoming.
Remember. Take a safety device like SPOT marine radio and PLB And wear it on you the boat does not wear it


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