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St Lawrence River


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Got up this morning and the sun was shining and the temp was -5C (23F) and I heard my kayak calling, so off I went for a little tour on the river. I arrived at Parc Belle Rive around noon and after loading up the kayak and getting dressed I proceeded on a leisurely paddle along the shore. It was a beautiful day with the sun shining, and people walking in the parc and along the shore. I got a few funny looks as almost everyone was wearing a parka and toque or, in many cases their hoods.

After a couple of hours I came back to the beach and I planned to practice rolling a little. This is my first year kayaking and I hadn't done any rolling in cold water. After beaching my kayak I went to my truck and got out my tuiliq. I put it on over my dry suit and put back out on the water.

Once back out I splashed a little water on my face to get used to the feeling. I prepared myself mentally and turned upside down. I haven't yet mentioned that the water temperature at the Beauharnois dam is 1.3C, or 34F. Immediate ice cream head ache...I rolled up, no problem, but wow what a feeling. As I am a glutton for punishment I rolled a couple of more times on each side and then gave up. The water was just too cold. The only part of my body exposed to the water was a small part of my face but that was enough, I felt like it was frozen solid.

It is easy to see how someone who happened to fall in water so cold would die very quickly, and it provides a very graphic illustration of why we use dry suits and several layers of insulation when we kayak at this time of the year.



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