At 3:30PM today I returned from my 2-day solo kayak trip from Toronto to Oshawa and back to raise money for Noah’s Ark children’s home in the Philippines. Every muscle in my upper body is aching right now, but it was a great trip and totally worth the effort.
On the way there I had perfect weather, and I even sported a bit of sunburn on my back. I left Toronto yesterday morning at 7:30AM and arrived at my destination at 5:30PM, so it took me a full 10 hours to get there. In looking for a good place to camp, I figured what better place to camp than Camp-X! Camp-X was a secret British training camp for spies during World War 2. It was also the home of Igor Gouzenko, the famous Soviet spy who defected in 1945, providing the Canadian government with 109 documents on Soviet espionage activities in the West (Gouzenko has widely been attributed to triggering the Cold War).
I was in pretty rough shape upon arriving at my camp-site, so I quickly setup my tent, ate some food, and I was lying in my sleeping bag by 7:30PM. I felt revived after my 10-hour sleep, so this morning I was ready to head back to Toronto.
On the way home I took a more direct route, staying further away from shore in order to shave some kilometres and time off my return trip. I was able to track my entire trip on GPS on my phone, so if you look at the maps below, the blue line represents my trip there while the green line is my trip home. You will see on the green line that at a certain point I started to head in closer to the shore. This was the point at which the water was extremely calm and quiet, and dark clouds were approaching me. You’ll also be able to see the point in which the storm hit hard and I paddled harder than I’ve ever paddled in my life to get in to the shore at the beaches. Even though I saw dark clouds approaching, the lightning didn’t appear until the storm was directly on top of me. The lightning was very close to me; I was caught right in the middle of it. The patrons at the store at the beaches watched me as I paddled and got out of the water in a huge hurry.
On the trip home I managed to keep a much faster pace, I think as a result of the good sleep I had the night before (I had averaged just under 6.8KM/h before the storm hit). I can’t attribute it to the wind because I was against the wind both days (The planes at the airport were taking off towards the East on Saturday and towards the West on Sunday, so the wind had done a complete shift). Or maybe I was just more motivated on the way home because I had a nice dinner and a comfortable bed to look forward to.
I tried to simulate that I was crossing the lake (since that was my original plan). I didn’t get out of the kayak for the entire 10 hours on the way to Oshawa, so I had the joy of relieving myself into a water bottle; that was an experience. On the way home I got out of the kayak to take shelter during the storm, but not surprisingly, I didn’t need to relieve myself at all until after I arrived home (Likely from dehydration).
Thanks to everyone who made a pledge for your generous donations to this good cause. I think I’ll be very close to my original goal of raising $4,000 by the time all is said and done, so thank you so much everyone for all your support! This was definitely worth the blisters on my hands 😉 I can’t tell you how many times an image of Simon Whitfield running toward the finish line in the triathlon event came to mind. His dedication and focus is definitely inspiring.
Here are some stats via GPS tracking:
Toronto to Oshawa – 240 tracking points
Distance traveled: 55.12332 KM
Avg Speed: 5.511 KM/h
Total time: 10 hours
Oshawa to Toronto – 45 tracking points (To help save my battery)
Distance traveled: 52.47704 KM
Avg Speed: 6.314 KM/h
Total Time: 8.3 hours
Jimmy! So glad you are home safe in spite of the storm on Sunday. You are an amazing person for doing this and an incredible athlete for accomplishing such a task!
well done jimmy.
i noticed you kind of back-tracked (east) to the shore during the storm. what was that all about?
Mark: When the storm was just about to hit, the wind increased to over 50KM/h and I was trying to paddle directly against the wind. I got to the point where I could no longer paddle forward and the lightning hit very close to me (and thunder sounded immediately after the lightning).
So in a hurry, I tried to paddle directly North, but the storm waves were hitting me on a 90 degree angle and the kayak was very close to tipping over, so I started heading North-East (backtracking) to ride the waves on a bit of an angle into the shore (Which proved to be tricky too, because on an angle it was still difficult to control the kayak because the waves were hitting so hard).