A Visit To 16 Mile Island
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Since it’s been almost a year since we’ve weighed anchor and visited the desolate 16 mile island which lay about 1km southeast of Charles Daley Park, my best mate Chuck and I decided to pay the island a visit today in our 5m Coleman Ram-X canoe.
We hitched the truck and trailer together and made for Charles Daley park around 14:00hrs and were greeted by hundreds of people crowding the beaches of Lake Ontario. We found a parking spot and removed the canoe from the trailer and put all our gear in it to carry to the waters edge.
Today the water was a different colour than the usual pea soup green. It was tea brown. We inched the canoe into the water and loaded Luka and Morgana in the canoe. Chuck slowly climbed into the canoe and perched himself on the forward seat and prepared for my arrival. I slowly pushed the canoe into deeper water and as I was about to step in – calamity.
The dogs started moving around the canoe as I started to step in, causing it to sway port and starboard with great violence. Both Chuck and the dogs overcompensated for the sway, and coupled with my vein attempts to steady the boat – Chuck was ejected from the canoe, still in his sitting position, oar in hand into the water, landing on his back, legs still retracted. As the murky water poured into the canoe like tea from a kettle, the dogs swam to the safety of shore and abandoned us to our own devices in the waist deep water.
Chuck righted himself and I held fast the canoe,feeling through the large rocks with my bare feet to keep steady as we brought her to the shallows. as we brought her to the shallows. Chuck suggested we bail her out as she’d be too heavy to heave onto land. Chuck produced two bailing buckets. One 500ml waterbottle and a 1L waterbottle which we cut the bottoms off and proceeded to attempt, quite futilely, to bail the 1,000L of water out of the large canoe 1.5L at a time. Eventually we decided to haul her ashore and tip her to empty the water.
Our second attempt was greeted with great success and we all boarded the canoe without incident. Although we gathered quite an amused crowd, we declined assistance amidst the laughter heard from women ashore.
We set sail under the QEW highway and made the short portage into open water where we continued southward into the wind and worked hard to keep her steady as we paddled. We came upon a young couple fishing who said the catch of the day was a hearty helping of catfish.
Arriving at the familiar island in the middle of 16 mile creek located at N 43.1655 by W 90 33.13, I didn’t forget the vendetta against this island. A little more than a year ago, I was on the island and broke my left baby toe on an iron post which was sticking up just a few centimetres from the ground. I brought with a hammer to settle the score, and drive the iron stake deep into the heart of the island, never to bother anyone again. I still have difficulty wearing closed shoes because of that broken toe.
Chuck and I relaxed on the island and re-lived past adventures while we had a soup lunch, and the dogs played off-leash as there was little danger here with the iron spike out of our way.
After an hour or two of relaxing under the tall oak trees, we weighed anchor and headed back around the island with the wind at our stern and arrived quickly at the QEW with little effort.
Chuck staying with the boat, I headed back to the park so we did not have to portage the heavy 39kg canoe. Arriving at the truck I was surrounded by young, teenage Latino girls enjoying the bright and sunny day in string bikinis. I took my time to ensure that all the fluids in the truck – oil, radiator, brake, etc. were topped up and checked the trailer connections positive before I left the area to pick up Chuck and the boat.
We hauled the boat out of the water and onto the trailer and headed for home a little wetter than we had planed. However we lived to tell the tale…