Another generation of paddlers
Third-Gen. I guess that’s what I’ll call granddaughter Margeaux now, the third generation of paddlers in my family. She had been out once before, but that was three years ago on a short excursion with her younger sister, parents and I on a small lake in Manchester, CT. Boredom set in quickly that day.
This time it was the real deal, no boredom involved. A month shy of her ninth birthday, she got to go paddling on her own with Grandpa.
Photo by John Messier
She had her own seat in the front of a tandem canoe, her own paddle, and her own responsibility for helping the boat move forward. She filled the seat, worked the paddle, and handled the responsibility well.
The occasion was an evening excursion with some of my friends from Paddle Killingly, a loose amalgam of leisurely paddlers from eastern Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
We were out for a bit over two hours and covered about four miles in the harbor at Mystic, CT. Margeaux paddled nearly the whole time and on the way back insisted on trading paddles with me so she could use my double-bladed version. She needs one like that of her own, that’s for sure. She kept the boat moving and I added a few strokes and did some steering with her small, child-sized paddle.
I had rigged a chair in the middle of the boat, anticipating I might have a bored, tired
The name of this boat drew snickers of course.
passenger on my hands at some point, but she used it only a couple times to take short breaks and grab a snack.
The rest of the time she was up in that bow seat, paddling. I could feel the boat move at her every stroke. We pushed against a breeze and incoming tide to the outer end of Mystic seaport and then back to the launch near Interstate 95.
We paddled past a lot of very large boats and went under an open-trestle railroad bridge just in time for a very loud Amtrack train to go roaring through about ten feet above our heads. That was a little unnerving!
We didn’t get to see the huge counterweights of the quaint, 100-year-old drawbridge on Mystic’s Main Street in action because of what looked like a mechanical problem, but we did witness the opening of the long swing bridge that carries passenger rail traffic across the water between Groton and Stonington.
Margeaux says she had a good time. I know I did and I was pretty sure she was enjoying herself. The only boredom was on the drive there so she kept busy with the paper and pen I had in the car.
The end of a paddle is never the most fun time of course, with all the trips from the water’s edge to the car with the boat and all the gear. After all the hauling and as I was finishing up the ropes holding the canoe to the trailer I noticed Margeaux had retired to her car seat and closed the door against the slight evening chill.
I figured she was just tired out and in fact might be falling asleep already. But when I got into the driver’s seat she handed me this:
She did fall asleep on the way home, but in a most adult manner. After dinner at Angie’s Pizza with a few of my paddling friends it was nearly 10 pm when we turned on the GPS so she could call her mom with an ETA and hit the road. She set the alarm on my phone and went to sleep in her seat. The alarm went off five minutes before we arrived home. By the time we pulled into the driveway she was awake and ready to walk inside and hit the bed.
Well done, Margeaux! Here are some photos of your mother in the same boat:
EPSON scanner image
And some more photos from your trip…