I love the water! Whether swimming in the ocean or rock hopping in a stream, playing in the water is one of the best things about summer.
Another way I enjoy the water is by canoeing. When I am in a canoe, I can take the time to listen to and look for all kinds of wildlife as I move across the water of a lake or river –– plus it’s great exercise!
Did you know that canoes, which are small narrow boats, have been around for thousands of years? The word “canoe” comes from the word kenu, meaning “dugout.” Native people (people who lived in an area long before the land was colonized or claimed by other countries) in North America hollowed out large tree trunks and used them to travel from one place to another across water. Canoes today can be made from many different materials, including wood, aluminum and synthetics (things that are man-made or not found in nature), such as fiberglass, Kevlar and carbon fiber.
Most canoes are pointed at the front (bow) and rear (stern) and have seats to sit on. Early paddlers kneeled on the bottom, or hull, of the boat. Paddlers face the direction they are heading and use the paddles and muscle power to push the water out of the way and move the canoe –– and the bigger the canoe, the more paddlers. Paddles can be single-bladed (a pole with a paddle on one end) or double-bladed (a pole with a paddle on both ends). By holding the paddle in certain ways and paddling at different speeds, paddlers can steer the canoe exactly where they want it to go. It is great to have more than one person help paddle!
If you go canoeing, you will need more than just paddles. You will also want to wear a personal flotation device, or life jacket, just in case you go into the water unexpectedly. And you’ll want to be sure to take your sunscreen, bug spray, hat, glasses and plenty of water and snacks. I also like to take along my binoculars and a sketchbook to draw the things I see.
Even though we use motorboats, cars, airplanes and trains to get around, canoes are still popular for recreation. People can sail them, go down white-water rapids (fast running water caused by rocks) or even race them, but I like to cruise along so that I won’t miss any of the beautiful nature around me.
Can you canoe? It might be fun to spend time with your dad canoeing on Father’s Day or for National Canoe Day, June 26.