Skills articles talk about skills that GLSKA members have, want, or should have to paddle safely.


giscoeapp1bTwo views of maps that can be made from the Land Information Ontario website:
This link brings you to a disclaimer. “Agree” to gain access to the maps. Click Select Map Layers.
Check Topographic Data and Ontario Imagery. Type in the location you want to see. Use the sliders in the box on the left to show the topo or the photo imagery. Zoom in and out…as close as 10 metres per cm! You can see individual trees. Create a printable map from the I Want To… button.
The website uses aerial photography, which can give some very fine detail. These two maps were printed at a scale of 1:36,111. You can choose to have more or less detail when creating the map.
Permission to print this information is granted by the Queen’s Printer of Ontario.

Tips for Meal Organization

In preparation of one of your meals, have you ever had to go back and forth to your kayak because you keep realizing you’re missing an ingredient or utensil to prepare your meal; having to check through both hatches, looking through bags, emptying your kayak until you’ve finally found it? Maybe it’s raining hard and you’re taking a short break for lunch but you’re searching for your soup and sandwich, hatches open and water streaming in. Don’t worry, you’re in good company. We’ve all misplaced things and not a big deal unless it’s the coffee rations!
Now, let’s try to minimize these memory lapses through meal organization. This starts at home before the trip, or even at the beginning of the season to help you pack faster for your trips. Whether it’s a weekend or a two week trip, you can follow the same principles.

  • Use different coloured stuff sacks to represent your breakfasts, lunches, dinner, and drinks. The drink bag (including sugar/milk if that’s what you use) can be prepared for the whole season. Just keep adding when your supplies start to get low.
  • Use the same colours for each meal type every trip so you don’t have to keep opening the bags – you will start associating colours to meals.
  • If your meal bags are getting too bulky, divide in two.
  • Use mesh bags for items such as your fruits and vegetables. It might be better to store in mesh anyways so that they can breathe. Mesh bags also come in handy, especially if you’re trying to chill your beer or wine, or hang up your mess kit to dry.
  • For larger groups, a foldable pop-up mesh laundry bag (buy at dollar stores) is great for holding everyone’s dishes and pots and pans to dry.
  • Use old film canisters to store your spices. Do this at the beginning of the season using fresh spices and put in a zip lock bag. I bring this on every trip in case I have to “fix” a meal.
  • Have a small bag with an emergency meal or two in case you end up spending an extra day out on the Bay because of bad weather. Packing some rice and one of those boil in a bag Indian dinners, and some instant oatmeal will take up very little room. Each trip, you keep putting this same bag back into your boat.
  • Store your lunch for the day in your front hatch within easy reach when you land; or if it turns out your group decides to eat on the water, someone can easily grab your lunch for you.
  • Keep a separate knife/fork/spoon, salt/pepper, just for lunch in a thermal bag rather than always having to remember to make sure to add these things in the morning. Lunch time, just pull this one bag out.
  • In my pot set, I keep a small round cutting board (dollar store) whether I plan to use it or not on a particular trip. It’s just always packed together and doesn’t take up additional space.
  • Keep a thermos of something hot inside your cockpit within easy reach. This comes in handy if you or someone in your group gets cold and it is quickly accessible while on the water. My Current Designs boat has a spot on each side of my seat where I can put my thermos and water filter on one side and my pump on the other.
  • Keep some gorp or an energy bar handy in your deck bag or life jacket, but remember to put it in your kayak at night to keep critters away.
  • Take off all excessive packaging and label if needed
  • Double up your Ziploc bags. In case the seal breaks on one, you have a second.
  • You can use the extra Ziploc bags to hold your garbage. If you have coffee grounds, try and re-move as much moisture as possible before putting in a Ziploc and double bag. Use this bag only for coffee grounds.
  • By using the smaller Ziplocs, it is easier to store in the kayak and by double bagging, it reduces the smell.
  • Separate garbage such as coffee grounds, squashed cans and organics. Coffee grounds can get especially messy when mixing and matching. Organics will be more compact if kept together.
  • If you are worried about leakage from the garbage even with the double bagged Ziplocs, use a drybag. If it can’t fit in your boat once you’re fully loaded, either leave in your cockpit or strap to the back of your kayak.

Quinoa Guacamole

Use your favourite guacamole recipe and add about 2-4 tablespoons of cooked quinoa into the guacamole. It will be a smooth light texture, especially nice in the summer, and will also stretch the amount of guacamole. This recipe is super easy and if you happen to be cooking quinoa the evening before or in the morning, just hold back a few tablespoons to make this appetizer. Note: A green avocado placed in a paper bag takes approximately 5 days to ripen.


Get Wise About Bears

Most kayakers who enjoy multi-day or overnight trips will sooner or later come across some evidence of a bear, or even meet the animal in person. The more you know about bears and their behaviour, the safer you (and the bears) will be.

Mike McIntosh is a committed to improving our bear knowledge and was an appreciated speaker at GLKA’s 2014 Rendezvous. To learn more about these highly-evolved and intelligent mammals we recommend a visit to Mike’s website.




As the boating season draws to an end, the next best thing to being there is to spend the hours looking at maps! This one of Franklin Island is from the Forest Management Planning for the Parry Sound area. Much of the province is subject to logging on Crown lands. Go to this website and follow the links to find maps of the area you are interested in. Each forest area is managed by a different company, and some of the maps are better than others. None of the maps are recommended for navigational purposes, of course!

The original map has a full legend, and better resolution. The little black dots are Rk, which means rock.

Spring Project: Build a Thunder Box!

A thunder box is a great thing to find. Tucked back into the woods, down a narrow little trail, and often with a great view, thunder boxes are placed near campsites for the toiletry convenience of the campers. The boxes are placed far enough away from water to eliminate human waste contamination of our waterways.

Have you ever arrived at a favourite campsite at the end of a long paddling day to discover it is uninhabitable because the previous occupants left unmentionable refuse everywhere? Now is your chance to return that sight to its pristine beauty. This is a knock down design for assembly in the field.

Adjust dimensions to ensure a good fit before mass production begins.

FRONT AND BACK 8 pieces of 31 inch long 1″ by 6″ tongue and groove boards.
SIDES 8 pieces of 22 inch long 1″ by 6″ tongue and groove boards and 4 pieces of 18 inch 2″ by 2″ (or 2×3)
SEAT 5 pieces of 32 inch long 1″ by 6″ tongue and groove boards and 2 pieces of 22 inch long 2×3
LID 5 pieces of 32 inch long 1″ by 6″ tongue and groove boards and
2 pieces of 25 inch long 2×3, 2 pieces of 29” long 2×2
About 130 1½ inch deck screws, Two 4″ Strap hinges and 1 inch screws.
2.5 linear feet of 3/16″ by 1¼” zinc plate link chain, 2 2″ by 5/16″ lag bolts, zinc plated
At home: Screw the 22” pieces to the 2x2s, flush to the edges and ½ inch from the bottom.
Screw the lid pieces to the 2x3s and 2x2s.Screw the seat pieces to the 2x3s.
Cut the hole 9″ by 11″ like a toilet seat opening, rounded edges.
Bundle the 32’boards together to transport to the site.
On site: Screw the 32” boards to the side pieces. Set the seat into the top, then use the hinges to attach the
top. Attach the chain to the side and lid with the lag bolts
Find a beautiful location….far from the water, away from the tent sites. Dig a hole as deep as possible.
Place the box so that when the lid is lifted, it gives some privacy.

Thoughts on Photography and Kayaking

by Erwin Buck

For kayakers, photography presents a special challenge. There is only so much storage space to take equipment like extra lenses, tripods, etc. And then there is the issue of water- proofing your camera if you plan to have it handy while you’re paddling. Fortunately there are now relatively inexpensive waterproof cameras.As well, there are many waterproof containers for cameras or smart phones which reduce the risk of damaging the camera with that unexpected spray of water from your paddle. I have a Canon D20 Powershot which takes high quality images and HD video. It is always attached to my PDF and I never worry about getting it wet.

So then, how do you great pictures? Luck, technology, and planning. Continue reading

Going on a GLSKA Trip?

by Keith Rodgers

This information is intended primarily for club members who have promised themselves that in 2012 they will go on their first GLSKA member-organized trip. I have assumed that you may also be fairly new to kayaking, and so have little or no experience of camping out of a kayak. To help, I have included some general information and a “what to bring” checklist. Continue reading