My journals have now been deemed awesome enough to merit their own tab! Crazy! Now if you want to read them all in one go (or if, for example, you miss a day or two), they will now all be in one convenient location for ease of consumption.  That said, I will continue to put them on the front page as they go up, just to give the impression that stuff is going on here, even if, for me, it is not.

Also: This was shown to me by some fellow paddling enthusiasts, and I was moved by it.  Here’s hoping that you are too.




My kind of Monday

So while my erstwhile partner deals with some essential last minute details that I can’t help with, I decided to do a bit of pre-emptive training / exploring while I’m here in Ottawa. So I did a bit of a solo adventure exploring the Rideau River. The launch point was a bit muddy,


but I got off without too much difficulty, though I have to say that the smell of dead fish was nearly overwhelming. The water level was very low, with several feet of mud visible all along the bit of river that I paddled yesterday. (edit: since then, they’ve refilled it seemingly, as it’s bank full now).   As I understand it, the water is nearly drained (the river forming part of the world famous Rideau waterway, which is, by the way, a UNESCO world heritage site) every fall, both to limit the damage done by the ice, and to leave room for spring floods. The thing is, this year, there was very little snow, and so far the spring is one of the driest on record. So the next time that you hear someone say that they’re not sure about climate change, you have my permission to punch them.

That said, I DID take a side trip down an unnamed creek just north of my launch point, and though the water level was low,

Turtles turtles, rah rah rahand it felt a bit like paddling through caramel due to silt and mud floating in the water, there was still as much wildlife as I’ve seen in a river. From Geese, to muskrats, to ducks, to a cornucopia of turtles (though, none, regrettably of the teenage mutant ninja variety), this little creek was TEEMING with life. I surprised some Geese on the way in, got a number of turtles to slip into the water from their perches, passed by a muskrat and scared up some ducks. I’ve paddled in some fairly remote places, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen quite this amount of wildlife on a waterway anywhere. I suppose that it just goes to show that no matter how much humans will change an environment (remember that we’re barely 15 km south of Downtown Ottawa here), nature will cling to what’s left. It gives me hope, that does.
Near the end of my jaunt up the side creek, I happened across a road, but luckily, there was a culvert piercing it.  As much as they are man-made monstrosities, and they represent the gas guzzling culture that defines us, I really like paddling through culverts. The sudden lack of sunlight is like stepping into a cave,

and all sounds are muffled, with the exception of the odd car passing overhead like an avenging angel with little warning, and less remorse.  Somehow though, the sounds made by your paddle are eerily amplified and reverberate through their echoes as you drift along. Additionally, the light at the far end plays tricks with your mind, either rippling along the curved walls and roof or somehow managing to almost disappear for a moment just long enough for your eyes to adjust to the dark, before bursting upon your senses once again at the far end of the tunnel.  I don’t know what it is, but the whole experience leaves me feeling oddly cleansed each time I go through it. . .
Once I was through with the itty bitty muddy creek, I went the rest of the way downstream and then upstream, hemmed in by locks at either end.

A hundred and fifty years old!!It really is something a wee bit mind blowing to think that this canal system is more than a hundred and fifty years old.  AND STILL USING MOST OF THE ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT!  If all engineering projects had that sort of ambition for their lifespan, then we’d have a lot less waste in this world.

I’m going to see what I can do about getting the rest of the pictures posted on here, bear with me as I learn the vagaries of the alongtheus site.




Deepcrap Horizon & BP

Deepwater Horizon fire

BP was using the Deepwater Horizon (ultra-deep water oil rig) under contract. Last September 2, 2009, it drilled the Tiber oilfield the deepest oil and gas well with a vertical depth of 35,050 feet (10,680 m). The Tiber oilfield is a ‘giant’ oilfield estimated to contain 635 to 950 petalitres (4 and 6 billion barrels) of oil in place.

Unfortunately the Deepcrap Horizon blew-out during this year’s Earth Day celebrations (21st April 2010) . 11 workers died in the incident as well.
The oil spill is trying to be contained and we hope that a good job will be done before it reaches the coast where there are many wildlife reserves.


Mississippi tornado events

Twelve people have died in the recent tornado that passed through the southern US states of Mississippi and Alabama.
We will be watching closely weather forecasts and a quick view of the weather in the US can be found in the ‘Weather‘ section.

Photo credits: AP


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