Ottawa: Life in the big maple Syrup...Part One
So I have been out in Eastern Canada on the Ottawa River for a while now, and so far it has not been disappointing. Fantastic paddling, friendly people, cool wildlife, great parties and a bit of hard work in-between.
Here is how it all started out, firstly I needed a job. I already had a work visa, so this was one hurdle out of the way. Next I just had to find a suitable rafting company which had space for me. I had a loose contact at Wilderness Tours, one of the three larger companies on the Ottawa, so I decided to plum for them and see how it turned out. When I arrived on a rainy thursday afternoon I managed to speak with the operations manager, who told me he wasn’t sure if he had ay work available and to come back in a few days. Now this left me in something of a pickle, as I didn’t really have anywhere to go, and I did not particularly want to carry my 35+ kilos of luggage and kayak anywhere else. So I decided to wait it out at WT and see what happened. After some 5 hours of reading, at around 9pm, one of the other staff who was about to leave for the day came over and asked what I was waiting for. I explained my story and that I was a kayaker and he kindly offered me a place to sleep at the log cabin he was sharing with another member of staff, just a few moments away in the WT premises. These two guys turned out to be kayakers as well, who were happy to look after me.
(The log cabin where I stayed for a little while)
Anyway, almost a week later I was able to secure a job, helping out in the marketing office and raft guiding (subject to completing rookie training). I also got to move into staff housing.
Second hurdle was going kayaking, but this has been a fairly small hurdle, most people are happy to have one extra person to go boating with, which is awesome for me. The Ottawa is a great river for big water training. Every rapid pushes out into a huge lake of flat water, so if you do swim its not too much bother retrieving all of your gear. Water levels have been dropping much faster than expected. The river was a nice low medium when I arrived but has since dropped down to mid-summer levels. This is actually better for playboating as there are many high quality waves which come in, including Corner Wave, Babyface, Push Button and Garberator (easily my new favourite wave). There has also meant mid-summer temperatures, strong sunshine often with temperatures in the high twenties. Awesome.
The wildlife is awesome out here too, so far I have spotted racoons, chipmunks, skunks, ground hogs and the odd deer. I always think its pretty cool when I spot a new piece of wildlife, but most locals just thin that most of the stuff we see are vermin.
I think that is all for now, keep your eyes open for more updates on life out here in the Big Maple Syrup.
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