Paddling The Tunnels at Caddy Lake (video)

Caddy LakeI got a call from my mother one day telling me that they had pallets of kayaks for sale at Costco. I figured they were probably drek but I drove down and took a look at them. They were your usual, low end kayaks but these ones came with the car rack (sponge and rope), paddle and a spray skirt. There was a small, air tight compartment at the back for gear, a fairly comfortable seat, drink holder, waterproof pouch for a GPS and it even had foot pegs. I checked out the online reviews and they were pretty good overall. I also found that they usually sell for around $600 and Costco had them on sale for a little less than $400 so I scooped one up.

Around the same time I had also purchased a GoPro Hero cam which is popular among the extreme sports crowd. It can shoot at 1080, take stills and comes with a waterproof case that’s good to 120 feet.They also ship with a number of strong, adhesive clips that you can stick on to pretty much anything so I placed one on the hull of the kayak and a second on the end of my paddle.

I decided that a weekend at Caddy Lake in Manitoba’s Whiteshell would be an ideal location to try out my new toys. There are two tunnels connecting 3 lakes that were built years ago during the construction of the railroad in order to keep water between the lakes level. The total distance was around 30 km’s round trip or roughly 14 km’s each way if you paddle directly. Ambitious for a first time out but what the hell, it was a nice, sunny day and I was in the water early.  The trip out was a lot of fun and though it took a while to get used to my new wobbly watercraft I was soon skating across the lake enjoying the wildlife and the sunshine. The trip home was not so pleasant. I had only just started back after going through the second tunnel when I got hit with a strong head wind and light rain. Paddling a small kayak into a headwind is no easy task and it took the better part of 4 hours to finally get back to my camp, worn and sore and grumbling. A quick meal, a few rye and cokes and all was right again…until I woke up the next morning and could barely lift my arms. This is a short video of that trip.

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Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quiestest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey. Pat Conroy