Saturday, December 5, 2009


Two weeks ago I was invested as a Scouts Canada Beaver leader. That's right, for one hour each week I am responsible for a gang of highly energized, slightly looney 5 to 7 year olds, including my own son. Rudi started in Beavers last year, and was interested in returning if his dad became a leader. With Sunshine and Rainbow moving up to cubs, leaving only Hawkeye in charge, I was asked by Jen (Sunshine) if I would like to volunteer. My usual take on volunteering is simple: Call me as your last resort, and I will happily help out. So two weeks ago Grey Owl officially joined the crew. We meet every Monday evening for an hour of games, crafts, and other fun. In the past few months we have gone on a nature hike, built bird seed feeders out of reclaimed building materials, and last week cooked up a batch of suet bird feed, which we will eventually pour into little log suet feeders so the kids can hang them in their backyards.

Which leads me to the purpose of this post. Rusty is a Venturer helping us out this year, to get his community service hours for High School graduation. As I had already planned to take Rudi on a short (3 or 4 day) canoe camping trip to the Interior of Algonquin Park, I had thought that going with a few others might be a good idea, so Rusty has signed up for the trip. I think I will hand off some of the planning to him, kind of let him take charge of route planning, and equipment selection, and other stuff. So over the next few months I will provide updates on the planning for our big wilderness adventure in summer 2010!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I finally received the Excel inventory file from Jeff, and can now begin posting information on the boats that will be offered in the first ever "H20 Composites Factory Clearance".  The list Jeff compiled includes absolutely everything that we will have available for sale, and includes prototypes, demonstrators, brand new cosmetic defects, and used, as well as a small selection of boats from other top quality manufacturers (how else does one do research sometimes?)

As this represents pretty much all existing inventory from over four years of operation, there is quite a flotilla available! There are over a dozen canoes, a few kayaks and some recreational rowing shells, and about fifteen lightweight performance racing shells available. The boats are presently either finished and ready for sale, or unfinished requireing some work prior to sale. My plan is to offer the boats for sale starting with the ones that require little finishing, or are ready to go, and as we sell those, work on finishing and selling the rest of them.

Here is a short list of the first boats to be included in the sale:


H20 Canadian 16-6' 2009 Superlight Kevlar red/white, 46lb, new, cosmetic blem and repair, retail $2695 now $2195.

H20 Canadian 16-6' 2008, Carbon Kevlar clear/white, 43lb, lightly used, two minor repairs, retail $2995 now $2100.

H20 Cottage Classic 14' 2009, shot fibreglass red, 58lb, new, retail $1095 now $745.

H20 Cottage Classic 15' 2009, shot fibreglass white, 65lb, new, retail $1145 now $795.

H20 Cottage Classic 16' 2009, shot fibreglass red, 70lb, new, retail $1195 now $845.

Alchemist (by H20) Saga 17' 2009, Carbon Fibre clear/white, 44lb, new perfect cond, retail $3095 now $2795.


H20 Offshore 21' 2009, Carbon/Fibreglass white/white, 40lb, new blem thin paint, retail $4495 now $3495.

H20 Offshore 16' 2008, Fibreglass lime/white, 45lb, used good cond, retail $3495 now $2200.


MISSION/FISA Rec Racer 22' 2007, Fibreglass red/white, 55lb, used trade-in good cond, retail $3795 now $2400.

MISSION ROWING Rocket LT 25' 2008, Carbon black/carbon, 35lb, rentd 2008, excellent cond, retail $6995 now $4200.


CURRENT DESIGN Kestrel 14' 2009, Kevlar orange/white, 40lb, demo excellent cond, retail $2995 now $2200.

PELICAN SOT 9' 2007, Polyethylene orange, 35lb, used excellent cond, retail $495 now $350.

Please email me at if interested in any of these boats, or others that may be available. Payment may be made by MasterCard, Visa, Cheque or Cash, payable directly to H20 Composites. Retail sales taxes will apply to all new boats and those purchased using payment other than cash. For used boats and paying with cash payment can be made directly to me, and we can consider the transaction a private sale, as I am not a retailer.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I recently emailed the purchaser of my H20 Composites Canadian 16-6 demonstrator, to ask how the canoe has been working for him, and to give him tips on winter storage of a canoe, having found how simple and quickly four grown men each with a beer can construct indoor winter storage in a basement or a garage. A few days later I heard back:

Thank you for the storage tips and the link to your blog. The canoe is seeing lots of activity and the feedback is all positive. For most of us it has been twenty years or more since going out for a paddle and now we realize what we were missing.

That's the kind of stuff I like to hear!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Made it to the cottage for Thanksgiving weekend, and the wonderful occurrence of a meeting of the entire family! Mom and Dad; John, my sister Susan, and daughters Rachel and Natalie; Jeff, my sister Pamela, and their daughter Sophie; and Katherine and I with Alexander and Rudi.

Thanksgiving weekend also generally means 'closing' the cottage, although being a four season home, what it really means is storing everything used in the summer that you cannot leave outside over the winter. The paddleboat and wooden stairs come up from the lake, and for the first time this year, I built indoor canoe storage! There was no way I would be leaving an H20 composite canoe on blocks and under a tarp outdoors over the winter.

Building the canoe storage system was a four person operation. My dad Roger offered engineering advice while enjoying a Sleeman Honey Brown Lager. Jeff assisted with experiential advice and opinion while enjoying a Unibrou Chambly Maudite, a beautiful strong amber ale. John cut the support hangers and made tools available while sipping a Honey Brown, and I measured and installed the brackets while also enjoying a Sleeman. Then John and I raised the canoe and slung it in postion!

An unexpected bonus is the fact that there is enough room to store a second full size canoe (16' or more) underneath the first, and even a 15' solo underneath the first two!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Well Autumn is almost upon us, and Jeff and I are taking stock of what is left over from the year. This year, H20 Composites Inc. produced a few hundred canoes and rowing shells (can't tell you exact numbers), and it goes without saying that a couple of duds got in the mix. These boats are considered 'defective' in some manner or another, mostly due to some kind of cosmetic defect, usually gelcoat shrinking back during infusion, or sometimes incomplete infusion, where small areas had to have the catalysed resin rolled on by hand, and the occasional structural defect which has been repaired with the appropriate cloth. What is certain about these boats is that, apart from some apparent defect in the finished appearance, they are as tough, as durable, as light, and as good quality as all of the boats that end up at retailers, but they can be had for anywhere from a 20% to as much as a 40% savings or more off of the retail price. There aren't many, so stay tuned as I will put a list of these boats up here next week, and links to any ads I might have posted on

Monday, September 7, 2009



TYPE: Day Trip, half-day minimum to full day. Our trip including two portages, at an easy pace was 4.5 hours, plus an extra half hour for the hike.

LOCATION: East side Algonquin Park, Sand Lake Access Gate.

DRIVING DISTANCE: Two hours from Ottawa, six hours from Toronto.

COST: Vehicle Day Permit, $13 at the gate.

RESERVATIONS: Generally not necessary, first come first served.

SUITABLE FOR: Canoeists or Kayakers of any level of Experience.

FITNESS LEVEL REQUIRED: A moderate level of fitness is necessary due to the one or two portages, (depending on direction, about 500m long).

EXPERIENCE REQUIRED: Beginner to intermediate, with the ability to handle the canoe if a wind comes up the canyon.

REASONS TO GO: Incredible scenery, lack of crowds, bonus hiking trail to the top of the Canyon.


Dont drown needlessly, wear a PFD!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Well, seeing as I have five thousand words worth of pictures here, I will let them tell the story, click on any of them to enlarge (try to find the other canoe hidden in one of the photos - first correct answer posted gets a free nights stay at the Field House Bed and Breakfast in beautiful Tavistock Ontario!):

Thursday, September 3, 2009


After hiking the trail above the Barron Canyon, Rudi and I got back to the van and drove to the Brigham Lake parking lot, about 5km further up the road. Within a few minutes the canoe was offloaded, and we were heading down a fairly steep little trail toward the water, Rudi carrying the backpack and paddles, and me the canoe. We arrived at the put in, just below a small rapid, where a couple were relaxing, their canoe tucked just out of the way. By the time we loaded up and got in the water (and I returned to the van for my camera!) they were also getting ready to go. What then followed was a low speed canoe chase, which Rudi and I eventually lost! The first picture is a view looking East, downstream toward the canyon, with the couple who just passed us about fifty yards ahead. Here the canyon walls rise about 200 feet, but are well back from the river, and are simply steep, tree covered slopes. This small river section is about 1km long, and empties into Brigham lake, which is quite small, the far end of which is the first portage. The second photograph is a view looking back to the West, and Brigham Lake, where we had just landed at the take out for the first portage. The portage was only a hundred metres, and led us past some rapids, into a very small lake, which we crossed to find the takeout for the second portage. We paddled across the front of the outlet of this little lake, taking a peek over the steep set of rapids that led to Brigham falls. This portage was 440m in length, and It was a fair bit of effort raising the canoe, as it was the Fibreglass Prospector, and weighed just under 60lbs. The third photograph was taken with the canoe on my shoulders (look carefully at the strange dark part of the top of the photo, it is the inside of the canoe.) and is looking down Brigham chute, again toward the East. After this final portage, it was just some easy flatwater canoeing right into the heart of the Canyon.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


On Tuesday, Rudi and I headed for the Barron Canyon in Algonquin Park. I was thinking of a not too difficult or long day trip, maybe four hours or so of canoeing including portages, and this trip fit the bill perfectly. We were also able to get in a short hike to the top of the Canyon for a simply spectacular view.

We started early, dropping Alexander off at my Sister's house in Barry's Bay just after 8 in the morning, and drove to the Sand Lake Access gate, using Station Hill Road out of Alice as a shortcut. We arrived at the gate to buy our Day Pass ($13) just after 10am, and talking with the Park Employee, determined that putting in at the Brigham lake access provided a shorter paddle (8km round trip, versus 14km) than going upstream from Squirrel Rapids. It also enabled us to check out the short hiking loop that takes one to the lookout at the top of the Canyon.

The loop is a short, fairly easy 1.5km trail that takes you from the parking lot just off the access road, up a steep hillside to the clifftop over the canyon, giving a spectacular view in both directions. The canyon here is roughly 350' deep, and has nothing to stop one from falling over the edge... Apparently, this does happen occasionally, as a person fell and died just a few years ago.

Friday, August 28, 2009


On Saturday Rudi and I went downtown and checked out Algonquin Outfitters, a well known chain of outdoor stores. The store is chock full of anything and everything, including camping gear, clothing, shoes, books, bikes, and whatever else you can think of. Downstairs there is a small bike repair area, and it was there that I ran into someone I recognized from Waterloo. Randy was one of the employees of Bent's Camera in Uptown Waterloo, and about 7 years ago he moved to a business in Stratford, and after that didn't work out (not his doing, Randy is a great guy!) he and his wife decided to move to the Muskokas, and he started working for Algonquin Outfitters, where he is now the Marketing Manager, and his wife is in charge of Rental Operations. On monday I phoned Randy, thinking that if they had an available canoe, I would like to take Rudi out for a quick trip down the river and back. He said I was welcome to have one of the rentals for a little trip, which was very much appreciated, as a great way to spend time while we waited for the van to get fixed. We borrowed a kevlar Swift Canoe Algonquin 16, a nice stable boat that liked to hold a line fairly well, similar to the H2O Composites Canadian 16-6. The first photo is leaving the Huntsville 'Harbour', a long linear dock behind part of the downtown. Katherine chatted with the lady seated on the dock by the red canoe, who spends six months a year in Huntsville, and the other six months in the States. Apparently her Grandson is now old enough to take the stern, and she loves being his bow paddler for the trips they take!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Replacement wheel hub, wheel and tire, including labour: $1024.75

Two nights accommodation at the Rainbow Inn: $197.50

Family dinner at Louis II Restaurant, highly recommended by Dan from Independent Taxi: $56.30 including tip

Turning an exasperating breakdown into a fun little family holiday weekend: Priceless

Some things money can't buy, for everthing else, there's Mastercard.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Well it is about 10pm now, and we are at the Rainbow Inn in beautiful Huntsville Ontario, far from our destination of the cottage in Barry's Bay! I find it a bit ridiculous that we are smack dab in the middle of cottage country without a canoe on the top of the van!

In any event the day started uneventfully, leaving North York just after 7:30am with the van packed full and two gorgeous new Alchemist boats on the roof. An easy almost 2 hour drive got us to the Paddleshack store just outside of Gravenhurst to drop the boats off, and then we were on the road again to Barry's Bay via Huntsville, Highway 60 through the park, and on to Carson Lake. Only we didn't make it quite that far!

A minor ticking in the brakes on the drive up, which I attributed to the sound brake pads make signalling the end of their service life turned into a terrible sounding clunking just as we pulled off Highway 11 onto 60 at Huntsville. I hobbled into the Walmart Lube shop parking, with the van continuing to make horrible clunks, and as soon as I stopped, the left rear wheel nearly twisted off the van, held on by the last remaining lug nut of five originals.

Two hours later, after being towed to Midas, the news came in. Seems one or more wheel nuts were loose, and the four eventually backed off completely. How this happens 5 months and 6000km after the wheels were off for a brake job is a bit beyond me, as if my shop had left them loose the wheel would probably have dropped off within a few hundred kilomtres. Which then makes me wonder, did someone loosen one or more of the nuts within the last week or so? I would love to find out, but probably never will!

Fortunately Midas is close to downtown Huntsville, on a commercial strip with 3 motels within walking distance, and Katherine, Rudi, and Alexander went off in search of a room, and finding a decent rate at the Rainbow Inn we booked in. An hour later I had walked up all our luggage and we got settled in.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


After visiting SlipStream Yokes, Rudi and I headed West from Palmer Rapids on Burnt Bridge Road to the bridge over the Little Mississippi River. From the bridge the Little Mississippi flows North two kilometres to enter the Conroy Marsh and meet the York River, and South it meanders upstream toward MacArthur Mills on highway 28, about 20 kilometres away. This time we had our H2O Composites Prospector 16 in fibreglass, a nice boat that turns on a dime compared to the Canadian 16-6. We put in at the boat ramp on the West bank of the river North of the bridge (top photo) then paddled under the bridge, and headed upstream. Not that there was any particularly noticeable flow, I am guessing the river is pretty much flat for miles in any given direction, until it hits a series of rapids, chutes, or falls. We played leapfrog with a Great Blue Heron, who followed us up the river a way.

Monday, August 10, 2009


On the way back from the cottage I decided to stop in on one of our suppliers in Quadeville, SlipStream Yokes. I had no idea of their location, so I found the General Store in the village, and walked in, finding two lady customers (one with a cute baby) and the storekeeper. They were in conversation (about babies, a friend of theirs having twins - my comment was although very happy with 'number first' and 'number last', the ideal number of kids in my opinion was anywhere between zero and seven!) and when we had finished, the storekeeper asked if I needed help. I told her I was looking for a gentleman locally who was known to manufacture the world's finest canoe yokes, and at that the lady with the baby laughed, and exclaimed: "That's my dad!".

Although most H20 Composites canoes are fitted with high quality Teal yokes, a retailer in Nova Scotia has requested all H2O canoes delivered to his store be fitted with SlipStream Yokes. They are more expensive of course, but then again, isn't a Lexus more expensive than a Toyota? And that's the difference, the Teal yokes are high quality, durable, with a great finish... The SlipStream Yokes are extremely high quality, durable, with a finish that doesn't just approach, but rather redefines perfection! If you want the most beautiful and comfortable canoe yoke in the world, they are available at select outfitters, or online if your local outfitter doesn't carry them.

Friday, July 31, 2009


I was always curious as to the origin of the side channels Rudi and I found in the Conroy Marsh on our paddling trip several weeks ago. They had at least the semblance of being man-made from our perspective on the water, as they were too uniform in width to be natural, and clearly on the aerial view courtesy Google Earth as they stand out distinctly, and no other feature similar to these three ring channels can be found in the Marsh.
I accidentally stumbled upon the answer a few days back, and as it turns out, Ducks Unlimited Canada dredged the channels back in 1982 as some purported method of aiding duck breeding in the marsh (perhaps preventing four legged predators getting at them - But how is that fair?). If you look closely at the photo I have included, the channels were dredged around existing natural hillocks, the south end of the largest being a mammoth slab of granite rising twenty feet out of the Marsh. In any event, there appeared to be some negative aspects to the program, and the dredging was discontinued, whether or not more was planned for the Marsh.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Okay, I am a perfectionist - well, most of the time anyway. I won't even apologize for it, so if for some reason you were expecting one, I have to disappoint you. Here are a few shots of a boat I recently finished, showing the some of the fittings and fasteners on the gunwales. These are Alchemist Legend (Prospector) canoes, being delivered to the Paddle Shack in Gravenhurst tomorrow. So if you happen to become the proud owner of either "YFKLE 99G909" or "YFKLE 100G909" you will notice that even though a lot of work was done by hand, and lined up visually, the spacing and position of things like the bolts through the gunwales and the float tank hatches are virtually perfect. It doesn't actually take a lot of extra time to make sure a completed job makes an exceptional grade as opposed to sloppy, and I think the results are worth it! Just a good eye, and a steady hand, and you get everthing lined up nicely. Unfortunately I didn't have my Nikon Macro lens, so the photographs themselves are a bit pathetic - as I said, most of the time, anywyay!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


On the last Friday in June, I delivered ten canoes to Frontenac Outfitters. As I had to return to Tavistock to pick up the boys, as well as a rowing shell to try out at the cottage, I didn't have any choice but to make a real early run to Kingston, drop the boats, and return to Tavistock. So at 3:30 in the morning, I hauled my butt out of bed, grabbed the cell phone and my wallet, and got in the van and headed out, trailer in tow. It was a fantastic drive, crossing Toronto in the dark before 5am, and watching the sun rise as I headed east on the 401. I arrived just before 8am at Frontenac Outfitters, and within a half hour all ten boats were unloaded. I had a brief chat with Larry, and just as I was about to leave he told me to hang on a bit, and opened the door to his shop. Inside, he looked at his rack of paddles, selected one, and handed it to me. "Here, this is for you, it will fit you well" He said. I was really a bit surprised, so I replied "So officially, you have to tell me how much I owe you for this." To which Larry laughed a bit, and replied "Absolutely nothing Dave, enjoy!" I know a gruelling 10 hour drive leaving hours before dawn is tough, but Jeff pays me fairly well for doing them, and we are talking about probably a $50 paddle here. Wow! It certainly is nice to know something you do is really appreciated.

Friday, July 17, 2009


I recently picked up my other new boat, an H20 Composites Prospector 16 from Frontenac Outfitters. It had been previously lent to them to fill out their rental fleet, and as I had just dropped off four brand new canoes, and we were now within a half dozen boats of filling our 2009 order, Matt had no issue with letting me take it away. This is a fibreglass boat, very light for a glass canoe at 58 lbs, and like the Canadian, is fitted out as a rental, with a standard ash Teal yoke, webbed ash seats, and aluminum handles and thwart. I like the Frontenac Outfitters logo, and will probably leave that on. It handles quite differently than the Canadian, and I was surprised I could actually tell the difference, but it was significant. The Prospector loved to turn, and I guess about a half dozen paddle strokes could turn it in a circle, wheras it would take at least twice as many to turn the Canadian. It also wanted to move off course, yet was easier to return to course with a J-stoke of minimal effort. Probably great for slow little meandering rivers, and lakes where you want to explore the shoreline, rather than open lakes like Carson. I think it will be the Canoe of choice for our August paddle down York River into Conroy Marsh!

Monday, July 13, 2009


As some of my readers will soon come to understand, I am by no means an experienced canoeist yet! So if you happen upon this blog, and wish to provide useful advice, I would love to hear it! Feel free to leave comments by clicking below the relevant post. I am especially interested in hearing from people who might advise me how not to kill myself in case I sound like I am about to embark on something dangerous! Maybe like running class 3 rapids in a canoe with a seven year old bowman?

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I left the cottage today for home, driving a route I had never taken before. Down the 517 out of Combermere, then South at the end headed for Boulter. About two kilometres south of the intersection, the road passed through a little hamlet, and crossed a bridge over the York River. Here I slowed down, and checked the river... Deep, slow, and wide, absolutely perfect!

So that is the second part of the research done for our next big adventure, which will be to put in the York off the Boulter road bridge, paddle the York down about 3 kilometres into the Conroy Marsh, and then the 8 kilometer length of the Marsh. I had earlier called a gentleman in the area who gave me a good idea what to expect on the York River between the put-in and the Marsh, being two sets of small rapids, and how best to negotiate them. Stay tuned for an even bigger adventure with my favorite bowman Rudi sometime in August!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I got away with my little bowman Rudi on a big canoe adventure today, a three hour trip across Negeek Lake and into the Conroy Marsh and back. We drove down the Palmer Rapids Road South of Combermere (Highway 515), and found a cottage access road north of Jewelville that ended near the Southern end of Negeek Lake (Negeek is tha large body of water on the Google Earth map, top left), with a little track maintained by the MNR that led further to a grassy turnaround, and an old boat launch with a short log crib pier (Top photo). Ten minutes later the canoe was in the water and we were paddling across the shallow lake. I had to overcome my ridiculous fear of shallow water - for some reason I get really nervous about what is coming up underneath the boat, and I get the willies when I can see the bottom vegetation and muck. I think it has to do with the fact I would probably freak out if the boat got upset, and I had to swim in all that crap, so I reassured myself that there was no way in hell the Canadian was going to tip over on flat water on a warm, calm summer day!

It was fairly easy to find the entrance to the York River across the lake, up which the Conroy Marsh wandered, and we paddled through the wide river mouth, with a line of steep hills to our right, and most of the marsh and further hills off to the left. By this time I'd overcome my fear of the shallows, and was paddling close to reeds and lilies, not worried about the murky bottom (Middle photo). For about half an hour we paddled Southwest, mostly along the main channel, and then exploring some side channels on the South side of the main.

The side channels were of a consistant width, about thirty feet or so, and were divided by hillocks of probably spongy waterlogged ground, supporting in some cases small stands of trees (Bottom photo). In other areas, some mammoth rock outcroppings rose above the surface, around which these channels formed. Paddling quietly down one, we surprised a Buck, who looked up, decided we were a bit of trouble, and bounced away to the South. Rudi was very excited, as we had just rounded a corner, and the Deer was less than 80 feet away. We also saw a number of geese, a variety of ducks, and a pair of Great Blue Heron. After spending another half hour or so checking out various little channels, we found the main course again, and headed back down river to Negeek Lake, then across and back to the put-in. The canoe handled nicely, stable and predictable, and was quite easy to paddle, even for a relative novice like me. Rudi does have a bit of improving to do, as more often than not his paddle is in the boat, not the water!

Friday, July 3, 2009


H2O Composites Canadian 16-6, being put through her paces by Peter and John on the choppy waters of Carson Lake. The boat is a Kevlar standard, fitted out as a rental.


H2O Composites Canadian 16-6, paddled by Peter and John, arriving at shore after a half hour run on Carson Lake. She certainly is beautiful (and they aren't that bad looking either!)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I recently dropped off one of my new canoes at the Cottage, and took the old one away for repairs. The new canoe is an H20 Composites Canadian 16-6 Kevlar 'rental' (Notice the Aluminum thwart and carry handles) This was a 'factory defect' as it has a fairly large cosmetic defect, a slight rectangular crease so to speak, where the materials did not press properly into the mold, and left a 'relief imprint'. Otherwise a beautiful boat, and light at 44.5 lbs. I think it looks magnificent compared to the old Coleman beside her in the picture. The old canoe weighed in at about 75 lbs, and needs thwarts replaced, the float tanks fixed, and some fiberglass repairs here and there, which I will do in late July or early August, then return to the cottage as the complementary boat for our renters. I am already planning a couple of trips for Rudi and me in the new canoe, now that we have something we can actually carry. I am looking forward to a trip on the York River into the Conroy Marsh, and possibly a paddle up or down the Madawaska from lake Negeek.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


So about the job. The job is interesting, dull, fantastic, dreary, stimulating, mind-numbing, fun, boring, exciting, tough, challenging, and dreadful, all during the same day of course! There is a small crew of really good people I work with, sometimes four of us all doing different tasks, or sometimes just me and Jeff 'tag-teaming' the last few boats before delivery. There is never a shortage of work, at least in the peak season, which saw me working up to 50 hours or more some weeks, not including the occasional day to deliver a trailer of canoes. On any given day I could be cutting sheets of fibreglass or kevlar fabric, stamping out serial numbers, oiling and webbing wooden seats, pulling the 'consumables' out of a recently shot (resin infused) boat, or cutting the tops off of a number of boats that have just come out of molds. The work can be - Hell who am I trying to kid! - the work IS tough, demanding, and hard, but when I blow out the dust from inside a finished canoe, and wipe down the outside, the end result is simply phenomenal! An absolutely magnificent canoe!

Monday, May 25, 2009


We had been hard at work last week finishing the latest boats destined for Frontenac Outfitters, as well as prepping new moulds for another ten canoes and some rowing shells that have to be delivered before mid-June. Jeff had told me he was going to drive to Frontenac, but as I still had to get the a box spring to the cottage, I volunteered to do it, using his new GMC pickup (well new to him, it is a 2002 Z71 with 102,000 kilometres on it) and the mammoth twenty boat trailer. We got off to a good start, but it takes a long time to load and tie down 18 canoes on a big trailer. I managed to cross Toronto at about 2:30, and by 5:30 had exited at Odessa to fill up on gas. The tank took close to 80 litres to refill, kind of poor fuel economy as that had only got me 345 kilometres! After shortcutting to Sydenham, I finally rolled into Frontenac Outfitters at 6 PM.

(more to come)

Monday, May 11, 2009


It was last summer, and I had promised to take Rudi on a big canoe trip. Until then we had only gone out on little trips up and down the shore of the lake, and sometimes across to a point with some cottages and back around the bay. This time however, I was thinking of canoeing as far as we could go, to see if there was a way to get to Lake Kaminiskeg, about 10km away!

I knew from trip with Katherine about seven years earlier that there were several linked lakes that you could canoe, and that there possibly was a drain or additional lakes from the last of the four heading to the big lake, Kaminiskeg.

So one morning, Rudi and I set out in the canoe, and paddled away. We headed down the east side of Carson Lake, paddling slow and steady, following the old Ottawa, Arnprior, and Parry Sound Railway embankment off to our left, until it veered away from the lake. After about an hour we reached the concrete culvert under the highway, and pushed through.

On the other side the culvert opens into Trout Lake, and a sandy beach area, where we surprised a gentleman and his two kids who were bathing. Paddling away down Trout, we tried to keep out of the rising sun toward the east side of the lake, sometimes skirting within twenty feet or so of the shoreline.

(To be continued)

Sunday, May 3, 2009


So there we were at the 2008 Tavistock Fall Fair, having just found out our Roma and Yellow Cherry tomatoes had made the one-two sweep of their respective categories, giving us a whopping $2.50 payout each. And then I spotted it. It was absolutely gorgeous, with long, sleek lines, and a brilliant polished finish. On closer inspection, the top was a clearcoat over black carbon fibre cloth, with a white bottom under the waterline, and a large white sticker amidships under the 'gunnels' (no correction needed, I know it is gunwale!) reading "H2O". The interior was painted a flat green, kind of a mix of forest and olive green, which set off the wood interior beautifully. The level of fit and finish was absolutely impeccable, and I almost started to drool!

It was set on a display stand just behind and to the right of a amall table with product information about the company "H2O Composites Inc". Also on display was a single person rowing shell, with outriggers and oars, finished just as magnificently as the canoe. There was a note on the table which read "Back in 10 Minutes", a stack of business cards, and a placard to the left side of the table with a sign reading "Please Inquire About Possible Employment Opportunities". And that's part of how this little adventure began!


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