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Ice Row!
by Bruce Hector
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(click images to enlarge)

April 5 2005 was bright, calm and a cool 8 degrees Celsius in Kingston, Ontario. Cold yes, but it was the calm that caught my attention. I had to get on the water.

Right after lunch Trevor and I loaded my Jim Michalak designed Sport Dory in the truck, threw in the oars and a life jacket and we headed for Lake Ontario. Since I knew the water was still pretty cold, we stopped to buy an insulated float coat in case of a capsize, but alas they didn't have their summer merchandise in yet. My light jacket and cotton gloves would have to do.

Click to enalrgeSince immersion in 1 or 2 degree Celsius water will bring on hypothermia in minutes, I resigned to staying within 10 yards of shore. If I dropped her, I hoped I could make it that far (I'm a strong swimmer, ex lifeguard and speed swimming coach) before my little heart stopped.

Down at the yacht harbour all the boats were still on land. Quietly waiting their May launch date. Witnessed by a few seagulls we quickly had the dory afloat and I boarded for a short photo op. The sound of a small ice growler scarping along the bottom grated on my nerves several times, I didn't like it. I didn't like to think what the sharp ice shards were doing to poor Sport Dory's new RCMP Mountie paint scheme either.

Click to enalrgeJust getting up to speed once, I caught a glimpse of something solid ahead, so I dug in the oars as a brake and slowed enough before I hit solid ice that we did not re-enact the Titanic scenario.

After the photos, I moored the dory and we had a pint in the Portsmouth Tavern.

Later, after dropping Trev off, I returned and went for an hours pull along the front of the city. Beautiful, calm winds, bright blue sky, a slight half foot swell off the lake, and not another boat anywhere. Nice. I paralleled the shore, just about 10 meters off, for a half hour, then returned to put Sport Dory to bed for the night.

Click to enalrgeThe Portsmouth Olympic Harbour is not officially open yet, so I tied to one of their floats and left her there overnight. I'm hoping for good conditions for a repeat tomorrow.

The End.