The Maiden Voyage of the Canoe

The time came for us to break out the canoe, and take it out on its maiden (well, maiden to us) voyage.

I had planned to take it out the day before, but due to some forgotten events in the schedule (forgotten due to my excitement to get the canoe out on the water), the maiden voyage had to wait until Sunday.

After mass on Sunday The Mother of Five started prompting us to get out on the canoe.  I was feeling badly because I would have liked to have had her there with us, but unfortunately she had to work.  I would have also liked to have had the boys with us, but they were away, working at Scout Camp.

With the #2 and #3 of 5 working at Scout Camp, The Mother of Five at work, it left #4 and #5 of 5 (the girls) and myself to take the canoe out on its maiden voyage.  The canoe will only hold three or four of us at a time.  With a family of seven, not everyone’s going to make it anyway. 

cartopping the canoeI packed a “go bag” – consisting of a first aid kit, the canoe registration, my GPS, and a camera.  We also packed a cooler of bottled water, cut watermelon (thanks Mother of Five!), and some granola bars.

With the help of the Mother of Five (before she left for work) she and I strapped the canoe “cartop”, we loaded up the paddles, lifejackets, seat cushions, cooler and go-bag, and headed out!

My initial worry (being among the “tall and fat” members of society) was that with me in the “stern” of the boat, the “bow” would be lifted way up and out of the water. 

My solution was to put both the girls as far up front as possible, and then (since she was going to have to sit on the floor of the canoe, and it would add extra “ballast” – I was going to bring #5 of 5’s folding pink Disney Princess chair along for her to sit in.  The size and height was PERFECT match for the canoe!  

The canoe traveled perfectly.  We had no problems “cartopping” it. 

First time paddling in 12 years!We arrived at our destination – Fish Lake

We unloaded the car, loaded up the canoe, and headed out for the great open water!

It was the first time (well, actually third.  Best Bud Ed has taken me out on his canoe twice) that I have been in a canoe since 1989.  Even after 12 years, it immediately came rushing back to me, and it felt GREAT!  I suppose it’s like what they say about riding a bicycle.  Once you learn, you never forget!

We made our way around the perimeter of the lake.  About half way around we found a quiet little shaded area with a sandy bottom that we were able to wedge the canoe into while we ate our snacks.

Snack break!After our snacks we headed back to open water and continued our journey around the lake.

Once we made it back to the public access, there was a long line of cars (boats) waiting to get into the lake and a line of boats waiting to get off the lake.

We used that time to play around a little bit.  We canoed in circles for a while.  I traded off spots with #4 of 5 (who was in the front of the canoe earlier) – giving her a chance at steering the canoe.  (She’s gonna need a little more practice (i.e. – an excuse to get back out more often!))  Not bad for her first time out!

Then, I took #5 of 5 off her pretty pink princess chair (which fit perfectly in the canoe) and got her a paddlin’.  She too will need a little more practice (i.e. – an excuse to get back out even MORE often!) but also did well for her age and for being her first time in a canoe!

The time came that it was finally our turn to use the public access.  We pulled up the canoe – hopped out on the dock and (unlike all the other big motor boats), I was able to grab the canoe, and drag it off to the side of the landing so the next guy could load or unload.  I had the canoe out of the water and out of the way in (literally) moments! 

#4 and 5 of 5 sat in the canoe while I ran and grabbed the car from the parking lot.  We made quick work of unloading the canoe, and loading up the car.  We were back on the road and headed for home.

#5 of 5 with paddle in hand  Waiting for dad to return with the car

I could not have been happier with the performance of the canoe.  It glided through the water like silk, and handled like a charm!  It has been all I wanted (and more).  I have identified a couple of potential “needs” to accessories the canoe with – namely a couple of portaging pads for moving the canoe around, and a better “cartopping” system than what the previous owners used.  Ironicly, the portaging pads will interfere with the “cartopping”, so I will need a removable yoke for those portaging pads (when the time comes).   

Maybe some sort of fishing pole holder, and some kneepads for kneeling – but they are not “necessities” at this time   

Also, having the GPS with us while we are out makes for seeing how far we paddled, how fast we paddled, and how long we were padding very easy!  I upload the data to the EveryTrail website and plot it all out with charts and graphs!  I’m looking forward to using EveryTrail to keep track of my paddling exploits!  Be sure to click through and see a live demo of The Canoe’s Maiden Voyage!  

The Canoe's Maiden Voyage! at EveryTrail

EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking near St. Paul, Minnesota

I hope you enjoyed the story of our new canoe’s maiden voyage – because we sure enjoyed it!


  1. I'm impressed that you are able to get it back on the car without Mother of Five's help.

    I took the boys up the river last Sunday afternoon(the other river that flows through our town... there are two, then they meet out of town and become one). When I pulled up to the river's edge to load back up, it was a little sloped. Had a VERY hard time getting the boat on... it kept rocking down off my foam blocks. When I finally got it on, everything was twisted from the slope and it came loose twice in the less than five minute drive home. Few more "scars" on the top, now. In hindsight, I think I was a little lazy with securement, since my travel was so short. I was pretty angry... but lesson learned!

  2. That was so fun, I felt vicariously relaxed. I love canoeing. The slap of the water on the canoe sides, the quiet lap of the paddle, the pleasant blisters on the palms. It's all designed to remind you of the important things in life. How wonderful that your girls got to experience the maiden voyage with you.

    And it was fun to see where you canoed, as well..


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