Tuesday, August 4, 2009

2009 Sugar Island Encampment

I was off last week, camping on Sugar Island, Canada. Sugar Island is part of the Lake Fleet chain of islands in the Thousand Islands and is owned by the American Canoe Association (since around 1903) and they have been hosting the Annual Encampment even before that time. In the 1920's and 1930's, the Encampment was a big deal; canoe clubs from up and down the East Coast attended, paddling and sailing competitions were held over the two weeks, there was a large dining hall and a ferry stopped over at Headquarter Bay to take on and offload passengers. Plus, during the Prohibition, Sugar Island was just inside Canada and you could legally imbibe alcohol, something that was readily enjoyed by American canoeists.

Today the Annual Encampment is on a much, much smaller scale, most of the canoe clubs from the past are long extinct, the dining hall either burnt down or was razed and the Island has returned to a wilder state, replete with raccoons, mink, deer. The International Canoes (I know they don't look like canoes but their heritage is very definitely grounded in the sailing canoes of yore) race the first week for some very old trophies. I haven't owned a race boat Int. Canoe since the mid 90's so I attend as a Int. Canoe alumni and help with race committee, connect with old sailing buddies, kibbitz with the current crop of International Canoe sailors and paddle my surf ski hither and yon.

More about the Encampment later but here is a video of my campsite.

Oh, I forgot to say that they cliff dive (into the water) off of Island 48. International Canoeists are masochists but they usually don't throw themselves off cliffs to the ground below.

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