• HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA! 🎆🧨🎇

Hello from Florida

Joined
Nov 25, 2021
Messages
419
Reaction score
201
Location
Florida
Happy Thanksgiving y’all!

I’m from Florida and have been in or on the water most of my life. Grew up in the Florida Keys snorkeling and fishing and only got into canoes in high school in Tampa. Canoes were something you used at camp, or you occasionally rented with a group. I went on several canoe trips on the Little Manatee, Hillsborough, and Alafia Rivers with my high school cross country team.

Once in college in Tallahassee, I bought a used canoe from a shop that is sadly no longer in business. It was a well used rental Old Town Discovery 164. I used it for fishing and scalloping. Great canoe, heavy as hell. After meeting my bride, it lay dormant until I used it a couple times at work. My field partner punched out the cane in the stern with his elbow 🤦🏻‍♂️ and I replaced them with webbed. Again it lay dormant.

Fast forward a few years and kids came along. Even the outboard sat idle, 2 sets of twins demand a lot of time. About a year and a half ago my son (now 6) wanted to use the canoe, so we dragged it out, washed it, and I carried it down to my in-laws’ home on the neighborhood lake. A weed choked thing, perpetually low, and representing drainage catchment from the neighborhood, it was at least wet and he had a blast. We’ve since branched out to nearby rivers and lakes, Tallahassee is well located for many paddling adventures.

Then COVID struck, and I learned my wife’s uncle was preparing to sell his second home in Panacea. A light bulb went off, and I asked what he planned to do with his kevlar Wenonahs. I had paddled them once or twice and was impressed. They were mysterious creatures so different from my OT, so exotically light. Well, he didn’t plan to take them with him and so he sold them to me, along with an 18’ glass Sundowner, and a pile of paddles. I promptly sold my OT to a friend for about half what I paid for the 2 Wenonahs.

This past summer after getting hooked back to canoes (no license, no registration, no gas, no trailer, no boat ramp needed… freedom!!!) I began reading everything I could. I began researching makers, design, and layups. The Sundowner was lighter than the OT, but not by much. Or maybe not at all. It’s a beast. And I’ve had luck putting the kids in the Encounter, one in front and one behind. But they’re growing, and want to paddle, and I wanted a new light tandem. I can haul two boats on my truck rack and one on the minivan, and I have visions of getting 4 kids and my MIL out in canoes (wife is not interested, but appreciates the peace when I haul the kids somewhere else!). I’ve succeeded only once thus far. After much deliberation and dreaming, I landed on the Northstar Polaris in black light and deluxe aluminum trim with a third seat. Maybe I should have gone full wood? The next one will be 😁 This weekend was the maiden voyage. How many boats made in Minnesota get their feet wet for their first time in the Gulf of Mexico?

Already I am shopping for my next solo. Something that turns better than the Prism or Encounter, to be more maneuverable for those windy spring runs and tidal creeks in Florida waters. Looking forward to the search!
 
Joined
Oct 11, 2020
Messages
170
Reaction score
90
Hi Woodpuppy, I find it interesting how we share the common interest in canoeing but are so different in our equipment preferences and our tripping styles.

I too own a Northstar canoe in the black light layup. Mine is a Northwind with wood trim. I wanted aluminum trim for durability and easy maintenance. I also feel that aluminum is a better match with the black light in terms of high tech / high tech versus the high tech / low tech combination of black light / wood. I didn't own a canoe and was in town for the start of a canoe trip. The dealership had no aluminum trimmed canoes in stock and could not say when one would become available. They were also an outfitter who then offered to discount the canoe so that between the discount and what it would have cost me to rent a canoe for that trip I decided to buy the wood trimmed canoe, a regrettable decision for me.
 

Glenn MacGrady

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
2,705
Reaction score
973
Location
Connecticut
Welcome to site membership, Woodpuppy!

I have paddled in and around Tallahassee, off and on, for 51 years and lived there twice. The first time I recall was in the early 1970's at the FSU Reservation on Lake Bradford and the next time was on the Ochlockonee River, both in rental canoes. Since the mid-80's I've paddled all over Florida in my own canoes and I have family in Tallahassee.

You have some nice canoes. Look forward to your participation here.
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
3,924
Reaction score
1,607
Location
Appleton, Maine
Welcome Woodpuppy, same Woodpuppy from BCUSA? We had set of twins and then a third child soon after, Two sets of twins must have been quite an experience, I can understand your wife happiness when she see the truck loaded with canoes and kids rolling out the driveway.
Hang in there, enjoy, before you know it their all gone.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,885
Reaction score
874
Location
Raymond, ME
Welcome Woodpuppy! I am from the North but since 2005 have enjoyed a month of winter paddling in Florida. The purchase of the Delorme Gazetteer for FL was a big incentive to find lesser used areas mostly near the Gulf coast. We still enjoy paddling there a month every year. The Hillsborough River is remarkable for being so near an urban mess yet teeming with wildlife and no people. We will be going back with Big Bend, Apalachicola, FIsheating Creek ,Juniper Run, Ocklawaha river . Everglades on this years menu.
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2021
Messages
419
Reaction score
201
Location
Florida
Thanks for the welcome!

Glenn, does your TLH family still get around with a paddle? I sure wouldn’t mind finding some other folks to paddle with.

Welcome Woodpuppy, same Woodpuppy from BCUSA? We had set of twins and then a third child soon after, Two sets of twins must have been quite an experience, I can understand your wife happiness when she see the truck loaded with canoes and kids rolling out the driveway.
Hang in there, enjoy, before you know it their all gone.

Yep, that be me. Twins come with a built-in buddy (most of the time, occasionally mortal enemy) and they’re all pretty good together. The time has sped by. They’re 10 and 6.

This trip to St. George Island, a random gentleman surf fishing saw us walking along the beach. He happened to hook a fish and handed the rod to my son. He reeled in his first fish! Now 2 of the 4 want to go fishing, so I have some leverage to get them into a canoe! Score! So I’ve got to strip 20-yo stren off my reels and buy new line and leader. Guess I’ll start with a popping cork and baited hook, and or gold spoons.
 
Top