Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lapstrake Canoe

It didn't take too long to realize that some fish might be swimming out a little ways from the shore-- just out of casting range. That, plus some lakes only have a boat launch for public access, so people fishing from the bank at the launch have to reel in their line for those who want to put boats in the water. It gets a little crowded.

One day all was going well fishing from the boat launch until a younger guy drove up, threw his car doors open, and cranked up the volume on "his" music for all of us to hear (suffer). So much for a peaceful afternoon of fishing at the lake.

I went to Craig's List in search of a light solo canoe and found one in Marysville-- a very decent lapstrake canoe. "Lapstrake" means "overlapping wood strips" or something similar. The dictionary refers to "clinker-built" as the same thing. I'll be reading and learning more from here. Anyway, I'm told that this is a Tom Hill design. It's 13.5 feet long and weighs about 35 pounds. There is a fiberglass bottom.

Ten years ago I bought a book titled "Mississippi Solo" written in 1998 by Eddy L. Harris, who had started in the ankle-deep headwaters of the Mississippi River and paddled its entire length to New Orleans. It was interesting. He made the adventure sound real appealing, and it didn't take much more than a small canoe to make his dream happen. About that same time I had purchased a book published in 1985 simply called "Basic Canoeing" or something, which described the "J" stroke and all the other basics. I had a daydream of paddling around the Snohomish River sloughs.

So this wooden canoe looked perfect for my purposes. It's amazing. It's just right. The craftsmanship might be a little rough, but it's solid.

Here's a picture of how the canoe looks when I'm paddling around. Also, here's a picture of a bald eagle sitting on one of the lake's swimming docks, and a picture of one of the docks. While it's not the Mississippi River, it's pretty close.

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