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Writer's Corner- New Brunswick

Original Day Adventures
By Barry L. Hatt

   What really upsets’ me is people making a good living out of something that I should have started. I’m not upset by others doing it, I’m upset that I didn’t take the idea a little bit further and do it first.

   These day adventures are a case in point. Brian Anderson and I had a good start at it in the early fall of 1970 and didn’t realize what we had.

   One day we were in Saint John for supplies, (Brian had an Auto Body Repair shop, ) and saw a 16 foot, fibreglass canoe with air compartments at both ends. The price was greatly reduced so we bought it, along with a couple of paddles and life jackets. It had air compartments at both ends for safety purposes and that canoe turned out to be one of the best purchases we ever made. Come to think of it, I probably still owe him some money on that canoe.

   One of the good things about canoes is that they are so easy to transport. With a couple of lengths of rope and a blanket we tied the canoe to the roof of Brians’ old 51 Dodge, 2-door, and were homeward bound.

   We proceeded to take it to Lake Utopia for trial runs and found it to be stable, very fast when under power, and easy to control. That fall and all the next summer we wrote the book on day adventures.

   On weekends if we had an hour or two to spare, off we would go. We explored Lake Utopia, The ‘Canal’ from Lake Utopia to the Magaguadavic River, The Magaguadavic River from Second Falls to St.George and for Salt water we explored L’Etang Harbour, the L’Etang River to the causeway, Lime Kiln Bay, Blacks Harbour and all the islands in that part of the world.

   A canoe is a very nature friendly craft and animals are not overly upset at its passing.

   Not only did we see some awesome scenery and get some exercise, but also we saw nature in its pure form with animals and birds of many diverse kinds. We saw eagles, ducks, various types of sea birds, seals and on one special occasion two porpoise in Lime Kiln Bay came over to take a close look at us. To see them surfacing and submerging as they detoured to journey past us helped put everything in the world in proper perspective.

   There were often deer that would stand to watch as we went past. Even an occasional bear would note our passing. To have a warm summer sun shining as we manouvered the many turns of the Magaguadavic River was relaxation at its best.

   Salt water canoeing is a little more dangerous, especially on the Bay Of Fundy. The 35-foot tides, currents, larger waves and ocean swells all have to be taken into consideration. The most important thing is to be prepared and know how to handle a canoe and, if the weather is changing, stay close to a friendly shore.

   After we were used to the many aspects of canoe usage we decided to take a weekend trip along the coast. We put the canoe in the water at Musquash Harbour on Friday evening and headed west. We looked at several places to set up our tent for the night and finally put in at Haleys Cove. There we fixed a meal, played the guitar and scared the animals away with our singing. With a meal in our stomachs and a beautiful night before us we slept well.

   Morning found us socked in with fog. We prepared a simple breakfast and decided at first to stay close to the coast. The fog was thick and the shoreline was invisible even a few yards away. However the good thing about a canoe is the ability to hear the things going on around you. There were various fog horns and bells that could be heard and the sound of waves lapping the shore. That allowed us to stay offshore and make good time. The relative calm of the water made our passage almost unnoticed.

   We passed Chance Harbour and Dipper Harbour without even seeing the coast. When we arrived at Point Lepreau we decided that instead of going out into the open spaces of Maces bay without a visual of the far shore that we would set up camp for the evening near New River Beach. We did not want to go directly to the beach area because of the many campers there, so we decided that Fielding Cove would be a good place to camp for the night.

   By sound we navigated across the mouth of Little Lepreau Harbour. We did not want to have to follow the shoreline all around Lepreau Harbour so we used the sound of a chain saw in the distance as our beacon and crossed the mouth of Lepreau Harbour and came out at Fielding Cove. There we set up camp high on the beach and decided to call friends to see if we could get a gathering initiated for that evening.

   Our friends took up the challenge and about a dozen of our friends arrived. With a campfire, our tent pitched on the shore and our friends with us we had a great evening.

   The next morning showed a change in weather with overcast skies so we decided to leave early before the wind picked up too much for safe paddling. We headed across Maces Bay and along the coast as far as Seeleys Cove where we called Eugene to come and get us. All in all it was a great weekend and we learned a great deal about salt water canoeing. We probably did approximately 30 miles of paddling.

   One weekend later that summer I was visiting Wayne Patterson on a Saturday morning. We decided to visit Brian at his shop and on the way there Wayne speaks up and comes out with; “ Let’s take the canoe to Eastport.”

   Now Eastport is in Maine and I promptly told him that he was crazy. But he persisted and explained that it was a calm, warm summers day and it was only 15 or 20 miles by water. He appealed to my adventurous spirit and in a weak moment I said “ Let’s go.”

   We didn’t tell anyone what we were doing but went down to Hinds bay, on the L’Etang peninsula and set out for Eastport. We went along Frye Island to Back Bay. It was a beautiful day and even was warm on the water. Grand Manan Island was visible in the distance and we were tempted to set out for there but there was a great deal more open water so we stayed on our original course.

   We had decided that the most sensible way to go would be through the Deer Island passage as there were many islands there in case we got into trouble. We headed across the channel to Adam Island and past Simpson Island, then set a straight course for Marble Island.

   The passage has interesting currents because of the tide but we paddled steadily and only stopped once to pick up a bottle that was set afloat by the Biological Station in St.Andrews worth 2 dollars. We went between Marble Island and Deer Island but were careful to stay far away from the whirlpool, ‘The Big Sow’. We set ashore in Eastport after about a three and one half hour paddle and after hauling the canoe up the beach were happy to take sustenance at a local eatery. We saw many friends and acquaintances there from Back Bay. When asked how we got there we informed them that we had come by canoe. Most of them didn’t believe us until one of them said that he had seen our canoe on the beach and had hauled it up further so it wouldn’t float away.

   Most of them thought we were a bit crazy to have done it. The prospect of paddling home wasn’t nearly as inviting as the afternoon wore on. Then one of our friends informed us that he could give us a tow back most of the way. We jumped at the chance but the only problem was that he only had a short rope. Well, we set out riding the wake of his boat and when he made his first turn the canoe slid off the wake and water started pouring in. Although the canoe filled with water we were able to keep it upright and save all of our supplies.

   We had made an epic journey only to be scuttled by our friends. We hauled ourselves, along with the canoe, on board, and had a great laugh. They took us as far as Adams Island from which we set off across the bay towards home.

   The late afternoon winds had picked up and were off our starboard side, which made paddling more interesting and demanded skill and attention to the task at hand. When we were almost at Back Bay some more friends stopped to have a talk. By the time we went back through the ‘Narrows’ to the peninsula it was getting on towards supper- time. We had covered more than 30 miles that day and had experienced quite an adventure.

   Remember that I mentioned that we never told anyone where we were going, Well, of course Waynes’ wife, Rose, had not been told where we were either. When informed where we had spent the day she was ready to kill all hands. Needless to say I did not stay long to chat. But like the old fellow says; “All is well that ends well.”

    Day adventures are here to stay. We live in a beautiful part of the world with numerous places to enjoy Nature at her finest. Brian and I probably were not the first, nor will we be the last to experience enlightening and exciting day adventures; And like Brian said; “ If we haven’t received any royalties yet from inventing Day Adventures, then we probably aren’t going to get any.”

Barry Hatt lives in Fredericton. You may contact him through his e-mail address which is blhatt@rogers.com

THE END

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