Saturday, July 27, 2013

Kenora 2013: Wasting No Time

Our "lodgings" in Kenora
When we woke up Saturday morning there was no trace of the bad weather that had plagued us over the second half of our drive. It was sunny and cool and we knew that we were going to be fishing before the clock hit double digits. Lana made us a pretty fantastic breakfast which we ate in the sun room overlooking the street, then we made a quick check of the weather and winds (sunny and calm, according to our sources) and bundled our gear into the car. I had been a little worried about getting my camera and lenses wet, so Lana came up with a Ziploc bag large enough to hold everything in it at once and still close properly. I tucked this precious cargo into a sports bag and off we all went to pick up the boat and (for Sarah and me) our fishing licences. At Sunset Baits, where we took care of the paperwork (and, of course, picked up our minnows), I bought a pair of FroggToggs waterproof pants—a steal at $18.99—and changed into them from the non-waterproof sweatpants I had been wearing. If I had known, as I discovered later on, that my baseball jacket was not even water resistant, I'd likely have bought the whole set. Live and learn, I guess. (Trust me: that jacket will be waterproofed by us very, very soon.) Once we were done at the bait shop we made a quick stop at the home of Lana's dad, Sam, to pick up the fishing gear and then we headed down to the Rec Centre parking lot to launch.

The view from our "fishing spot" on Lake of the Woods
Everything went very smoothly on the way out to our fishing spot, well south of Kenora on Lake of the Woods. I managed to snap off this lovely picture of an island not far from where we tucked in to fish....and that was it for the pictures for that whole trip. Just this one. Hardly seemed worth the agonizing over keeping my equipment dry (no, I'm not referring to the pants) for just one photo, but there you go. The funny thing is, though: the number of pictures I took beat the number of fish we collectively caught by a total of one. As this was a favourite spot of Lana's and Sarah's Dad's, it was quite puzzling as to where all the fish were, until our trolling took us to the end of the little sheltered bay we were in and we began to notice how the wind had picked up (it's likely the fish had long ago noticed the same thing and were sheltering themselves). "Gusts up to 18 kph", the man had said. Give me a break. When we realized what kind of a return voyage we were in for—and saw that the sky was beginning to darken and look wilder in the direction of our port—we put a premature end to our piscatorial pursuits, covered up everything we could, and pointed our boat into the swells for the difficult journey home. I didn't do a very good job of replacing all of my camera bits and pieces into the baggie and was keenly aware of this on the trip back; consequently, I spent much of my time with the sports bag in my lap, hunching over it fiercely while the water came crashing in on top of me for the many long minutes that we were in the open water. (As I mentioned before, it was during this seemingly endless voyage back to port that I discovered my "windbreaker" not only did nothing to truly "break the wind" but did even less to "break the water".) I was drenched and not particularly warm by the time we once again reached the shelter of the Rec Centre's docks, but at least we did get there eventually. I would really have enjoyed the adventure a lot more—wet jacket or not—had I not been so worried about the camera, but nothing happened to it or to any of us, so it can be termed a successful trip, despite the paucity of fish.

Sunset in Kenora
We brought the boat back to Sam's and returned home to "recuperate" (read: have tea and beers). We spent the afternoon just chatting and watching some television, as the weather showed some uncertainty, although it never actually rained. At supper time we decided to walk about halfway downtown and try out a brand-new restaurant, The Boathouse. It had only been open for a couple of weeks (for one thing, on its FB page you can see that the deck has furniture on it now; this was not the case the night we were there) and was absolutely jammed. We got a couple of drinks from the bar and waited on the (empty) deck/patio for about 40 minutes before we were called inside to sit down. It was a nicely appointed place and has a lot of potential, but it definitely was suffering through some growing pains. For one thing, the bartender was not particularly good at his job (I ordered a bourbon sour; I'm not sure exactly what I actually received); for another, our menus did not all agree with each other and remember: this restaurant had only been opened earlier that month. The food was pretty good, a little pricey to be sure, but the fun was really in having dinner out with family in a nice environment on perhaps the most beautiful lake I have ever been on. We walked back slowly and stopped on the pier to look out over the lake for a few minutes before continuing on our way. The picture here was taken from the room upstairs that Sarah and I stayed in while we were in Kenora (in the picture at the top of the page, you can see the window that this picture was taken from: upstairs right under the "V" of the roof). I wanted to be sure I shot at least one sunset while we were in Kenora; it turns out our timing each day was such that this ended up being the only one I was able to capture. Let me assure you: most of them looked just like this. It's a pretty spectacular part of the world.

Tomorrow: we hit the road again—this time to spend a couple of days in Winnipeg.

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