Saturday, February 17, 2007

New Arrival

Well, we finally did it. We bought a canoe.

We've been talking about this for years, but in the last couple years, I looked at Pocahontas and said "We really need to get a canoe!" We are really sedentary people, and while we're all well read; we really all need some fresh air and exercise. And since we live in a place where it's warm well over half the year, a canoe seemed like a good idea.

We did our research, and I wanted either a Wenonah or an Old Town. A local shop: Great Outdoor Provision Co. was highly recommended, so we went there. They didn't have the canoe I was looking for: the Minnesota II by Wenonah, but they had a 16 foot Prospector in stock. I have to admit the Prospector caught my eye as soon as I saw it. It's didn't look like much on Wenonah's website, but in person it was beautiful: sweeping lines, high bow and stern, and a wide hull. But it wasn't what I had been looking for, so we thanked Amanda for her help, and went to the Bass Pro Shop.

The Bass Pro Shop had a few more canoes than the Outdoor Provision Co., but sales staff wasn't anywhere around, and the majority of their stock was too small for us. However, they had two Old Town Discoveries in the 16 foot length.

So now we had two 16 foot offerings available, from two excellent names in canoes, but the Old Town was a lot cheaper than the Wenonah (around $400 or so).

Of course I wanted the more expensive one more...

So I did some research online, and decided the Prospector was the right thing to do. It cost more, but seemed more along the lines of what we wanted. And it was slightly narrower than the Discovery, which means slightly easier to push across a lake.

So this morning we went back to Outdoor Provision Co. and talked to Amanda again (if you're buying a canoe or kayak in Charlotte, talk to Amanda, she's awesome). We bought the canoe, two padddles, some assorted gear, and lifejackets all around. A little pricey, but it'll have been worth every penny if we get some family time outside out of it.

The reason I finally went with the Prospector is this: when I was growing up, you bought a canoe. Now they're modernized the industry to the point where you can't just buy a canoe, you buy a canoe for lake travel on days when it's sunny, and you're heading due north. The canoes people make are uber-specialized, and it's a little intimidating. The first thing they ask is "what'll you use it for?" Well, when I was growing up, Dad and I took our huge canoe on lakes, whitewater, and even saltwater. If you wanted to go solo, you turned it around, sat backwards in the "front" seat, and went "backwards". Now you're expected to buy a seat to sit in the middle of your canoe, just for solo trips.

But the Prospector is a remake of a circa 1910 canoe. It's as old-school as you get. Actually, I noticed it was hailed as a great all-round canoe before I realized a lot of companies make a "Prospector", and they're all take-offs of one built in the early 1900s. So this is the closest thing to the canoes I grew up with. But being made of newer materials, this thing is light. I carried it more or less alone from the truck to the backyard, and it was a breeze.

And just for comparison, the Discovery, the other canoe we were considering, has molded plastic seats. So you couldn't turn it around and run it backwards if you wanted to!

Of course, a lot of canoes today wouldn't run backwards, as they're not symmetric front-to-back. Check out the Wenonah Minnesota II I was considering on their website for an example.

We got everyone to sit in it before we decided to buy, and we all fit great, with room enough for a night or two of camping supplies. So it's a good, practical choice.

It's been too cold to go out on the water, so the baby's sleeping in our backyard. But next weekend is supposed to be warmer, so we'll try again Saturday. Then I suppose we'll know whether it really is worth what we paid.

I'll be sure to post a full review of it here once we actually get it wet.


Shan said...

Awesome. You've ARRIVED. I would love to have a knew.

clumsy ox said...

Did the photo album work for you? It doesn't seem to come up right for me: I can't see the thumbnails, but the slideshow works fine. Weird.

We can hardly wait to go out in it. Of course, at home that would be even further away than it is here; but next weekend suppposed to be warmer, so we'll take it out for its maiden voyage then.

One thing we do have here that we didn't at home is, water mocassins. I guess we'll just keep the machete in the canoe, in case one of those bad boys wants to climb aboard with us.

Shan said...

The photo album worked fine, both on Mum's Mac and on my PCs.

And whaddya mean, "even further away"? I was just saying to Mum an hour ago, "If I was staying at Mark's I would TOTALLY go out with him in that, four degrees or no four degrees. That's what wool is for." You couldn't keep me away from the lake if I had a boat. Remember I'm the former UVic rower who had to defrost the slide-bite blood on the back of my calf in order to get my tights off, after a January race. I am impervious to cold.

clumsy ox said...

While I sympathize with your enthusiasm, we're a little concerned with the kids in the cold.

Next year, I might go alone if it's too cold for the kids, but they're all so excited about having a canoe, I don't want to go without them.

So we're waiting. Wednesday is supposed to be warm. The water will be cold, but the air is supposed to be warm.

I do find it funny though, people around here assume you have to stay off the water when it's cold (??) and they assume you're going to capsize your canoe (???). In fact, Amanda, the salesperson who sold us our canoe, told me "Sooner or later, all canoes capsize". Interesting, I don't remember EVER going over in a canoe.

Obviously if we were doing a lot of whitewater or something, that might be different... but I've done some whitewater too (not much), and never capsized.

And further, Dad and I paddled the Campbell, then out across the Straight to Quadra---in a riptide---and were perfectly fine.

Makes me wonder about these people.

clumsy ox said...

Of course, if you guys WERE to come down here, I'd gladly take you paddling---four degrees or no four degrees.

Just trying to bait the hook a little.

Shan said...

Wow I didn't know that about you and Dad and the Campbell and Quadra...that is so cool. Yeah I don't know about this capsizing business either.

I would love to come and stay. Maybe I'll start running some Google ads on my site to try and make some cash to finance the plane fares.

Ames said...

I'll air out the guest room! Would you prefer the west wing or do you prefer an easterly view? Shannon's coming to visit, Shannon's coming to visit, Shannon's coming to visit! (in sing-songy voice)

Shan said...

Ames, I like to sleep facing Vancouver at all times, if possible - plus of course the bowing and chanting which happens four times daily. So that would be NW.

Ames said...

Right-O! The west wing then. I'll get the servants on that right away.