Friday, July 21

Tripping Along The Saugeen - Flatwater ABCD Course

More Canoe Courses & Training...

Eric Williams is the Flatwater Instructor and he is also the past President (1992-1999) of the Ontario Recreational Canoe Association (ORCA). Eric was also the President of Canoe Ontario (competitive paddling associations 1999-2001) and the President of the Canadian Recreational Canoeing Association (2001-2005).

This is at Denny's Dam, south side of the Saugeen River in Southampton, Ontario.


This is the third ORCA course I have taken, the last being trippingg Level 1 in the interior of Algonquin Park.

The Flatwater course the prerequisite for the Flatwater Instructor's course that I am taking next month through the Canadian Canoe Museum and ORCA. This certification will allow me to teach Flatwater ABCD courses...If I pass the course that is I hope to teach Scouts the basics of canoeing.

I must say that Eric Williams is an amazing person, a "been-there-done-that" guy who has to be prodded a bit to talk about his accomplishments in canoeing. But more importantly, Eric is one of the best instructors I have come acros
s. He has the patience of Job and takes time to explain each and every new stroke that is introduced. He keeps you at it until you successfully accomplish the feat of making the canoe go and do what you want.

Here is Eric demonstrating an outside landing at Denny's Dam...It is not as easy as he makes it look...Trust me!

This is the last point of exit on the Saugeen River, prior to going over the dam, through the rapids and out into Lake Huron at Southampton, Ontario.

Here, you can see students practicing box strokes, prys and draws, encircling the square formed by four buoys placed evenly apart to form a square box.

The idea is to take the canoe around this box without turning the canoe around. You must go sidewards, backwards, forward and then sidewards to complete the task.

Oh yes, do not forget about fighting the mild current and breezes while figuring your next stroke and how much of a draw or pry you must use...sculling draws and prys work great but the regular draws and prys at a far outreach certainly help in fighting the elements.

The Saugeen River is a great place for anyone who wants to tryout canoe tripping down a moving river. It offers rapids, wide sections with islands to canoe about, and several canoe campgrounds along the way.

The river is 102 kilometers, starting at Hanover and ending at Southampton, Ontario.

Next month I plan to make this 60 mile river trip, solo, and I expect to complete the trip in four days. Right now I am in the planning stages, planning food, mapping, and weather reports. This mission will help towards getting the prerequiste for the Canoe Tripping Level II next spring...

But before this happens I will be off to Cyprus Lake, at the Bruce National Park to camp for a week and of course practice up my skills for the Flatwater Instructor's course next month.

After Cyprus I am off to Kilbear Park, north of Nobel, Ontario and have a site booked right on the shores of Georgian Bay...a great canoe site for sure...Then it is off to Peterborough area for the one-week Instructor's course in Flatwater Canoeing. This course is held at Silent Lake.

Right now, I am off to Sarnia Bay for some practice this afternoon...Then off to Bayfield River for more practice...And of course some fishing!

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