Saturday, June 4, 2016
Race Report: Canoe the Nonquon 2016
A tale of muck and weeds. And more weeds. And more muck.
Navigation Note for Next Year
When trying to spot Port Perry - aim for the larger apartment buildings, not the brick building to the left (that's the grocery store). And when you get to Port Perry the finish line is past the furthest dock where the boats are moored.
Sorry, that's for me so I don't forget (and I'm pretty sure I'll read this next year before I do this again!).
Shallow Narrow River
The water levels on the river were low... much lower than the previous years we've done this one. Made for a very narrow at the start, and lots of paddles hitting muck in the bottom - this was more like a creek than a river! No current to help us out, either...
Had some trouble overtaking slower boats - thankfully there weren't many as we started very early, but the ones we did encounter were tricky. On one, we tried to go inside a corner to pass them - only to get completely beached in muck! The narrowness and low water levels made this especially challenging.
Finally we got out of the narrowest winding part and into some clear water...
And then it happened - we flipped. This is such a sleepy no-current river, you'd think there was no chance... you'd be wrong! Murky water, stump/branch looming below the surface, we caught it at full speed on the left side of the boat and it tossed us right over. We were in the water before we knew what hit us - no chance.
Turns out the Nonquon is not a pleasant place to swim. In fact it's downright disgusting... I could touch the bottom, but sunk into the disgusting muck... we managed to get the boat flipped over and generally free of water, chase down our belongings (which stayed close due to the lack of current!).
Everything stunk to hell but at least we were back going again!
Rest of The River
The rest was wider, but still gross - weeds and lilypads everywhere, it was pretty tough slogging at times. I don't remember it being quite so bad, presumably low water levels just make it that much worse.
Lake Scugog can be a beast - one year we had a killer headwind that knocked our speed by 30-40%. This year it was still, even a slight tail-wind! So that part went great, once we got out of the weeds at the mouth of the river. Which again, went on forever.
Don't know the official time but we were definitely slower than previous years by about 5 minutes or so. The lake part was faster than 2015 (which is surprising as we had a decent tailwind last year) but the river was much slower (not surprising at all given the lack of current and flip!).
... Moraine Relay next weekend! I'm doing the canoe stage with a buddy (not my usual paddling partner though), should be fun.