We were to go on a down-winder. Starting in Beaverton and kiting around Thorah Island and then up and back to Orillia. When we arrived at Beaverton Harbour we saw these crazy ice vehicles made by Bombardier that the local Ice Fishing outfitter uses to cart people and their gear back and forth from the parking area out to the ice huts. Little did I realize that we would have the opportunity to ride in one of these ice cars later in the day. As we pumped up our largest kites we felt the gentle wind blowing past our kites. Once underway and further out into the bay it became quickly apparent that we had lots of wind and in fact it was necessary to depower the kites to ride under control.
The cruise out to Thorah Island was awesome, with a solid 20 kph+ wind, we kited over in short order. The pressure ridge of ice had created pools of open water in some spots so we chose our crossing location carefully.
After reaching Thorah Island we cruised around to the southwest side where the big ice ridges were and spent a couple of hours jumping and riding the 4-10 foot high ice piles, it was a ton of fun….
With a couple of hours of kiting the Thorah ice fields under our belt, we worked up an appetite and stopped on the lake for a bite of lunch accompanied by a cold beer. It was a classic March day with the sun beating down on us and plus 4 temps. We hit the jackpot on this outing.
As we packed away our lunch items we noticed the weakening wind conditions and decided to continue on our journey before running out of wind.
Our kites stayed on the ice, we couldn’t seem to get a launch to work since the wind completely died out.
The exception was David who was able to work his kite to keep it in the sky and he headed downwind.
Paul, Mark and I packed up and started to head towards the mainland which was a good 6km away.
We got extremely lucky in that a local ice hut operator stopped to pick us up on our way back.
We felt like we had been saved and perhaps we quite literally were given the huge task of getting back to mainland.
Mike, our driver navigated the ice fields successfully and placed us back on dry land in no time.
We were then able to get a ride back home from Beaverton after our day out on the lake, with big thanks to Floyd Hales icehut operators.