Open Water Trips

Adventures in Open Water in Small Boats

Candlewood Lake Cruise

Mileage:7 aprox.
Conditions: 1-2 swells, boatwakes.
Calm Winds, Hot.

Candlewood Lake / Sherman to New Gairfield.

With all the bother of prepping for a move into a new home, and the "home improvements" needed in the new place, my kayaking has taken a bit of a back seat. With a Newport vacation coming up however in 10 days Im going to have to be more active on the water to get in even a little bit of shape.

This is the third and farthest Ive yet paddled in this newly built [but not finished] kayak of mine. A total of about 7 miles paddled in under two hours along some very scenic water. Starting by the town beach i haphazardly scooted into the cockpit sans spray skirt - after all, i figure, this is just you r basic flat water lake - heh heh.

Not even fifty feet from shore hitting my cruising pace my sense of speed is enhanced by the sight of so much lake weed just below the surface just whizzing by as I do my warm up strokes. Its hazy hot and relatively a calm wind as I make my way down this channel that leads to ther wider more spacious regions of the north westernn fork of this lake. I see lots of weekend boaters, on jetskis - and cant help but hope none are like the one that Wes Boyd had an incident with. As it turns out, its merely my paranoia due to my still budding "skills" as a kayaker.

More padeeling down the channel and still more and more underwater meadows of lake kelp, so dense in some areas they tickle the belly of my craft as I happily wisk by. Passing the backyards on this lake as opposed to a godawful river i recently paddled in yields many a fine fine lake front home. Sometimes with silly design excesses like tastless terraced land, but nonetheless interesting.

Passing Holiday Point, Im into the big water now, power boats just purring along the channel i just left now throttle up and turn some impressive wakes.
As pleasurable as this ride is now, this place is infact where I grew up and many many a day with only a fishing pole in hand, and no car, and freinds and girlfreinds a good 10 miles away, it was often a place that seemed more prison than respite. But boy what a difference 25 years makes - that and three kids!!!

At anyrate a little farther ahead I skim over a sandbar which I recall was a terrific place to skin dive among the shoaling freshwater fish. Perhaps, ill do it again, when my exit and entrances of the cockpit arent so danged perilous.

Upahead and looming larger now - MY FIRST ISLAND!!! Its called green island - and like any lake island in these parts its just a fuzzy green lump from a distance. Frankly, the common name "Green Island" which adorns any group of islands if you look well enough, mustve been someones idea of what to a name and island when it bears no other trait, history or whatever to set it apart from any of the other countless green lumps. Its is charming tho - and unpopulated so thats attractive in its own right. Scanning the shores, Im only 30 minutes into my paddle but itd be nice to stretch the legs anyway -but it just has the same rock strewn shore all the way around.

From there, I continue crossing south to Deer Island - another anonymous green lump, but this one had the sweetness of the fragrance of its shore flowers wafting over to me 150' before i reached them. Pink kinda tiny flowered bushes here really gave the olfactory nerves a warm welcome!! Prior to that it was a freshwater fishy smell. If you love the environment tho you love all the smells.
Aside form a few lake shacks, Deer Island is a xerox of Green. What made it special tho was the bird sighting - and Im no real bird aficianado, but toss a really cool huge bird infront of me and I turn into Rogewr Tory Peterson.

Its was a Great Blue Heron. I saw it fly right into the greenery of the side of the island near a big rock. Marking the spot i played close attention as i slowly skimmed pass the area. The there it was like a trophy standingproudly atop a 10' high rock about 50' from me. Apparently, thje slow moving of my paddle blades made it a little edgey and it booked. Yeah Yea, I kno what sierra club says , give atleast 100 yars to the native wild life blah blah blah - and for seals, whales large bird colonies fine. In this case that rule is irrelevent - especially since Im the quitest inhabitant of this lake at the moment! Anyway, it slumped off its perch and got into that really neat "S" configuration with its neck and just buzzed above the watertop by like 5'. What a cool bird, that intense stare, the streaked marking and that slate blue grey plummage. I love it when you find wildlife thats indigenous to the environment yuour paddleing in. My maidern kayak voyoage I saw a Great Blu Heron too. The mist of that morning heightend the affect of its mystery.

Well heading back and stopiing at Green Island, by way of swing from a low branch and climbing onto a shallow rocky floor I finally stretch. Ohhhhh did that feel good - especially my legs!! Arching back I giove a good stretch there too. As I m doing this wouldnt you know it, another blue heron - this one deeper in the woods of the island bolts thru a clearing speckled with the light of of a sun showing through the breaks in the leafy canopy. I real kodak moment here. Well after 10 minutes or less I get back in and move again.

Im amazed at this point just how effortless this has been on my arms and back. Sure its a workout but no burning fatigue pains. Instead I notice my new "skills" have gotten a little sloppy with regard to proper paddeling strokes. Moving along now, I concentrate on making a straight line which is fairly easy give thje straight tracking of the multichine hull, still, some waves coming form behind, maybe a foot steep at about 7 o clock cause my nose to wobble around which i corrected via paddle, a curious affect which im sure could prove a little challenging in salwater size waves and swells in wind.
What a pleasure tho to see how 2 foot waves are just ridden right over by a good paddle stroke and proud bow. Theres something definately cool about seeing these marching lines of waves just fall to the wayside with no more than a gentle raising and loweing of the craft.

Well, alas Im at the sherman beach again - and the lack of fatigue is a little suureal. Did I really paddle all those miles i kept asking myself, did I really paddle for two hours virtually? And Im not slumped over like some beaten horse - infact Im chipper! A little worn in the back but thatll make me stronger for the next time. Damn this is great!


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