Ever wanted a deeper understanding of the people that paddle canoes? James Raffan, the director of Emeritus at the Canadian Canoe Museum and Tumblehome gives us the breakdown one myth at a time.
Canoeing Myths Busted by James Raffan
by James Raffan on rapidmedia.com
After a decade of columns in this space dedicated to the history, heritage, esoterica and minutiae of canoeing, written for paddlers and would-be paddlers, it occurred to me that there might be people out there who are non-paddlers. Maybe the spouses or children of readers, who might pick up Canoeroots out of curiosity or from self-preservation having to share living space with a person who goes on and on about all things canoe. For the benefit of these folk, here’s a debunker’s guide to the paddling mythosphere.
Canoeists are cheap. Let’s get this one right up front. When it comes to gear—and I’m talking good gear, not office technical wear, and stuff that is sold with main street in mind—canoeists will spare no expense. It’s not so much the availability of funds as it is about deployment of funds that fuels this myth. Canoeists look at ‘60s blue porcelain bathroom fixtures, shag carpets or comely avocado-colored kitchen appliances and ask, “Why would you want a new one of those when the ones we have are perfectly serviceable?” Same goes for decisions about saving for college tuition and weddings versus setting cash aside for a new canoe or a longer or more exotic canoe trip.
Canoeists all drink as much as Kevin Callan. I know Kevin is prone to claiming that alcohol taken orally is an excellent bug deterrent. He also claims it makes his skin more water repellent. Whatever other merits he and his sidekick, Andy Baxter, award the perfect bush martini, most canoeists don't drink as much as Kevin. No, no, no. For as far back as when the Hudson Bay Company and North West Company sent voyageurs west with casks of whiskey to trade, we've tended to drink more.
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