Flotillas of 2014
Flotillas involve making your way down the river from Conn's Mills to the Basin (actually the Nix residence at 27 Pleasure Cove Road) where a barbecue and music awaits. Flotillas have grown over the past several years from a few folks paddling down the river to a large group of friends and new acquaintances enjoying a summer afternoon on the river followed by a potluck meal, barbecue and great music - doesn't get much better!!
SUMMER 2014 - July 26
And it was a huge success
So, the annual Flotilla went ahead as planned on Saturday July 26. It was a beautiful sunny day and we had the largest turnout to date - 42 kayaks and canoes on the river! Most left from Conns Mill around noon, the remainder from Anne's Landing a little further down the river. All arrived at Nix Landing with smiles on their faces, the first group (Greg and Alvina Nix) at 2:30 (or so) and the last around 3:30. No mishaps to report although the basin was quite choppy!
There was plenty of food, thanks to many contributors and thanks to the barbecuers (Tom and Michael McGlone). The music provided by Heather and Jerry Pyke and Ben Smith was also great so what else can I say, except enjoy the photos and look forward to next year!
FALL 2014 - October 11
Fall Colours Flotilla - Based on the success of the summer flotilla(s), we decided to launch again - this time to enjoy the fall colours. Thanksgiving weekend seemed like an appropriate time.
Instead of leaving from Conn's Mills, 50 of us started and ended at the estuary house on Crowley Road. Once again the flotilla was well attended; we headed up a few streams, under a few logs and got a sense of the estuary and its tributaries. Clara and Larry looked after the barbeque, and folks had a chance to see our beautiful new digs and learn of our plans.
Flotillas of 2015
SUMMER 2015 - August 18
This summer’s flotilla was as much about the preparations as it was about the actual paddle. It was the first summer flotilla to end at the FOPE house and not at the Nix’s lovely beach. So certain drastic measures had to be taken.
The biggest concern was the mosquitos. We cleaned out the barns and several people donated mosquito tents. At worst, we thought, we could all huddle in a tent and eat. But even more useful was Rocky’s remedy - a close mow followed by a spraying of garlic. Meantime, people were warned to bring their bug suits. Well, all the worry was for nothing - the garlic worked a charm and paddlers were welcomed by a lovely bug-free dinner and chance to hang out and listen to music.
The stats on the paddle show that it remains a popular summer tradition. There were 27 kayaks and 17 canoes as well as 2 energetic stand-up paddlers. Thanks everyone who participated and thanks for the donations - not only of cash, but of the can of garlic spray.
Fall 2015 - October 18
On October 18, we had the first snow of the year. Not particularly unusual. However, what was rather surprising was that it was also the day of the second annual fall flotilla. There were 8 canoes, 10 kayaks - 26 of us in all- and a lifejacketed dog. A totally new experience for most of us was paddling through snow, then hail, then sun, then cloud, and then wind. We modified our plans somewhat and headed up Doherty Creek, exploring both arms. The fall colours were fabulous - there wasn’t a snowbow, but the trees made up for it. It was a windy and chilly paddle back to the FOPE house for some food and a bonfire. Thanks to all of you who participated. Thanks to Rocky for cooking. Thanks to Sarah for organizing. And a special thanks to Mike Cunningham who provided a new barbeque - a much welcome addition to FOPE flotillas.
Flotillas of 2016
One of the best flotillas ever - or perhaps they all were - but this one featured a perfect summer day, enough wind to make it a bit challenging, great food and fabulous music. Thank you all so much!
The Fall Flotilla was not just about floating this year. We did have 15 boats (well 16, but that is another story) with 23 hardy paddlers, but for the first time, we also had 22 walkers. They trod our new Pugwash Peace Trail led by Alice, Mike and Jose. As an extra bonus, Sherman Williams was there to share his expertise.
As for the paddlers, the breeze was interesting at points. Some of the paddlers stopped to look at the teepee. Some just kept going to the end of beautiful Canfield Creek. We contemplated travelling into the lakes, but the thought of the hikers getting all the food, and also the state of the tide, had us deciding to paddle back - well actually we blew back.
No worries. There was lots of food, cooked by that master of the barbeque, Rocky Irons. Hot chocolate, a bonfire and good company wrapped up a beautiful sunny fall day.
Flotillas of 2017
There was no summer flotilla this year - well, we were ready, but Mother Nature wasn’t. It poured. To make up for it, our fall flotilla on September 23 was on a beautiful day. We combined it with Canada’s 150 Celebration and the official opening of the Peace Trail. A group of about 15 hiked and about 17 of us set off in kayaks and canoes. On our return, the Estuary house was at its best with some jamming by visiting musicians and a BBQ to greet people. And it was warm enough for some to swim.