|Ready to go & dressed for immersion: NRS neoprene hood, long underwear top & bottom, Level Six hot fuzz unisuit (one-piece long undies), fleece sweater, double layer of warm socks, Level Six Emperor drysuit, Chota mukluks, thick neoprene pogies, PFD, spray skirt.|
It was 1.6°C at launch according to Environment Canada. I launched from the west side of the South Saskatchewan River at the boathouse in Victoria Park because it afforded me good access to the river and parking. Transporting the kayak to the water had never been easier, simply sliding the boat along in the snow. Launching was OK, the docks are out at this time of year (though a piece remains this winter) and the river bottom here is muddy due to the silt that the water treatment plant just upriver dumps back into the river (an iron-rich clay that the plant filters out of our river). I chose not to launch at the piece of dock due to a large tree branch caught up under and beyond the dock. However, I was able to get in from the bank easy enough without bringing a bunch of the orange clay mud on board.
|Taking a break in the eddy to get a couple of photos.|
|Looks like I really need to stretch the neck gasket on the drysuit!|
|With the low angle sun, the snow and water, it was REALLY bright. I must remember to bring sunglasses next time.|
The open channel in the river sticks to the west shore and that shore was ice free meaning egress was possible to the west bank anywhere that I paddled. The open channel is fairly narrow from the boathouse and upriver to beyond the water treatment plant, so the current was relatively strong through this stretch. I was able to paddle upriver at about 3 - 4 km/hr. I paddled upriver about 35 minutes until my allotted time was nearly up, then turned with the river and headed downstream. Now going at speeds of up to 13 km/hr, I was back at the boathouse in just a few minutes, so continued downstream toward downtown Saskatoon, before once again turning back toward the boathouse.
|The ice pushed up this large chunk, 1.5 m or so tall.|
|Heading downriver toward the city centre.|
|Strange tracks in the snow.|