Hoosier Canoe & Kayak Club

The HCKC Sea Kayak Fleet organizes paddling trips and training for touring and sea kayaks.   We often do trips or overnight trips on Indiana lakes and the Great Lake and Atlantic Ocean but we also try to have at least one day trip to a nearby lake every month.  In 2017, we are planning a trip to South Carolina, the Chesapeake Bay, the Apostle Islands (Lake Superior), Sleeping Bear Dunes (Lake Michigan), and maybe Tybee Island, Georgia.   

Click here to view a complete HCKC Sea Kayak Calendar.

Anyone with a touring kayak or sea kayak is welcome to join us.  For most trips, we pick locations where paddlers must wear spray skirts and should have fore and aft flotation (either sealed hatches or flotation bags).  On all trips, paddlers must wear their life jackets and must know how to wet exit from their kayaks.   For trips on "bigger water" (e.g., Great Lakes, Monroe, or the Atlantic), we may require that you have a sea kayak and that you have participated in a open water rescue clinic before coming on the trip.Lake Fontana - 5-2016

Eagle Creek Evening Paddles:  In 2017, we are planning to have paddles at Eagle Creek on Tuesday afternoons and evenings from May through the end of September.  Watch the May newsletter for details.

E-Mail List for Sea Kayaking/Touring News and Spontaneous Trips:  In addition to scheduled events, we have spontaneous events on some week ends.  We use the Bulletin Board and a Google E-mail list (IND_TOURING_KAYAKS) to let people know about upcoming events.  We also use this list to remind people of upcoming sea kayak events and to discuss touring questions.   Contact Jim Sprandel to be added to the E-Mail list.  

Training: This year we are planning the following classes. 

  • Intro to Paddling Class - this is a 4- to 6-hour class for new paddlers that covers paddling equipment, safety issues, and how to do your basic kayak strokes (forward, reverse, sideways, stop) correctly.  This provides a good foundation for new paddlers.   
  • Open Water Rescue Clinic - Everyone paddling lakes is encouraged to join us in this clinic every year.   This is a chance to learn or practice solo and assisted reentries that you need on open water (when you can't easily drag your boat to the bank).  This is necessary for experienced paddlers as well as newer ones since these skills have to be sharp when you get in a situation where they are needed.
  • Intermediate Paddling Class - We will have an ACA Level 3 Stroke Refinement Class - this class is intended for paddlers with at least one-year experience since taking an Introductory class. This class will hone your turning skills, your forward stroke, and teach you maneuvers that you will need for handling big water conditions.
  • Rolling - Rolling is the safest and fastest form of Open Water Rescue.   Learning to roll is highly individual and I would encourage you to go to the pool to learn to roll.   It took me 3 weeks before I executed my first roll - some people are slower and some are faster.   At the pool, you work one-on-one with a coach to learn this critical open water skill.  Check the Bulletin Board for current Pool information.

Contact Information:  For more information, contact the HCKC Co-Chairs  Jim Sprandel or Mariann Davis.

Upcoming Sea Kayak Events

Sea Kayak and Touring Kayak Trip Reports

  • 30 May 2017 1:37 PM | Jim Sprandel (Administrator)

    Six HCKC paddlers headed down to Wooster Ramp at Hardy Lake.   Hardy Lake is just north of Scottsburg, In and about 1h40m from Indianapolis.   

    Hardy Lake is not a flood control lake so that it's level is relatively constant  and the shore is more natural that some other state reservoirs.   Parts of the lake have idle restrictions while others do not so that you can play in waves at times.   The lake has a lot of deep fingers where play tree slalom in areas where forest was flooded.     

    We also found a quiet bay and Tony practiced rolling for 15-20 minutes.   A good trip and the weather turned out very nicely despite the forecast.   

  • 17 May 2017 11:59 AM | Jim Sprandel (Administrator)

    Trip Report - Cagles Mill (Cataract Falls) High-Water Trip                                    

    Saturday, May 13, 2017

    On Saturday May 13, 10 paddlers set out from Lieber SRA and paddled up the headwaters of Cagles Mill Lake to the base of the Upper Cataract Falls.    Cagles Mill Lake is a flood control lake and the water level varies throughout the year.   After the rains of the past weeks, the lake stage was at 675’ about 40’ over its normal summer stage.   

    We launched from the road down to the beach since the beach was under water.   The high lake stage makes for an interesting paddle since paddlers can “short cut” all the way up the falls – paddling over the peninsulas that form the channel near the beach and bee-lining where we normally have to follow the bends in the creek.    Most people on the trip had paddled to the Falls several times before and the lake has a very different feel at this level.

    We stopped at the Lower Falls long enough to look around.  Normally, the paddle from Lieber to the Lower Falls is a 6-7 mile trip and we got there in 5.5 miles due to short-cuts. 

    Once there, we paddled upstream another mile to the base of the Upper Falls.   The bulk of the water comes down the Upper Falls on one side and there is a lighter veil across the rest of the falls.   Several people paddled behind the veil away from peak flow – you just had to be willing to get a little wet.  There was even enough room behind the veil to turn around and paddle out where you came in.

    The trip back was uneventful and we had a 12-13 mile day.    Cagles Mill Lake is one of my favorite places to paddle for several reasons.

    • ·         First, it’s only an hour from Indianapolis so it makes a great day trip.
    • ·         Second, the Falls are spectacular.  Most people launch from the Cunot Public Access Ramp off of Indiana 42 and it’s only a 3.5 mile paddle up to the falls from there.    An easy day’s paddle.   However, you have to park along the side of the road when the lake stage exceeds 750 feet. 
    • ·         Third, the lake is a fun place to explore.  There are a lot of fingers and inlets to explore all around the lake.
    The club will have a Moonlight Paddle up to Cataracts Falls from Cunot Public Access Site (if the water goes down by then) on Saturday, July 10.   Watch the July newsletter for details.

  • 07 May 2017 10:39 AM | Jim Sprandel (Administrator)

    In April, Mariann and Dave lead us down to South Carolina for a week of paddling in the Charleston area.   Dave and I scouted Lake Jocassee on our way to Charleston – Jocassee is an interesting lake about the size of Lake Monroe but located in a much hillier area.   There were 6-8 significant waterfalls scattered about the lake.       

    In South Carolina, we paddled a mixture of salt and fresh water.   One really interesting paddle was going to Fort Sumter at the mouth of Charleston harbor – an educational paddle since there was history, big water conditions, tidal currents, and cargo ships to think about.     We also visited Lake Marion – a fresh lake that is 10 times bigger than Lake Monroe and has alligators!   This lake was neat because we paddled through cypress groves around a series of islands.   Osprey also nested in the tops of cypress trees so they were only 15 feet off of the water when we paddled by.   A great trip – look for a full write up in a future newsletter.    To view pictures for this trip, go to:
          https://www.flickr.com/photos/creekfreak/sets/72157681701392011 (Dave Ellis)
          https://www.flickr.com/photos/merlin3d/albums/72157680135376224   (Mine)
          https://www.flickr.com/photos/96668759@N02/albums/72157681614686521 (Duane Garloch)

    There is a brief overview in the trip in the descriptions of the merlin-3d pictures.

  • 17 Apr 2017 7:15 AM | Jim Sprandel (Administrator)

    Westwood Park Lake, New Castle, IN
    Trip Report and Photos by Jim Eckerty, Trip Sponsor

    Twelve paddlers took to the water and twelve paddlers returned…always a good thing.  

    While the winds were constantly  gusting to 20 mph, the 80 degree sunny weather ruled the day.  Another plus of the day was FREE park entrance, apparently they start charging Monday! 

    We paddled the perimeter of this small lake and returned to our launch point for lunch and conversation. Doing this trip in the Fall was discussed as we all agreed this is a very pretty lake, especially in the Fall. 

    Several newer members came on trip, with Bob & Kathy earing the distance award as the came from near Cincinnati to join in.  After lunch, three of us decided a second lap was in order so we paddled again in what seemed ever increasing winds.

  • 03 Apr 2017 11:26 AM | Jim Sprandel (Administrator)

    Seven HCKCers paddled out from Cutright PAS on Sat. April 1. It was cloudy but it was not raining.

    We paddled over toward the Middle Fork of Salt Creek and set up camp at Campsite 17 which is just this side of the Wildlife Resting Area buoys. I miscalculated slightly since the resting area does not open until April 2 rather than April 1. Oh well.

    After setting up camp and having lunch, we headed north up to Pine Grove PAS. On the way back, we stopped off at the tip of the peninsula that is north of the Marina (just west of the tip of Deam).

    Kevin said that the Sycamore Land Trust had acquired about the last mile of that peninsula. We all unloaded and hiked to the top of the first hill where we had a 360 degree view of the lake around us. 

    View from top of hill in Sycamore Land Trust Area

    After our hike, we returned to our boats - 2 people heading home and 5 of us sleeping out at our campsite.  After we got to camp, the sky cleared and we ate dinner, After that, we sat around the campfire listening to Brad's selection of bluegrass music and swapping stories. I studied different ways to torture Jiffy Pop and Jiffy Pop poppers.

    We headed back in the next day under beautiful conditions. Monroe is such a treat . Some people saw loons (although everyone heard them) and we also saw eagles near Deam not to mention coots and king fishers.

  • 20 Mar 2017 9:41 PM | Jim Sprandel (Administrator)

    Trip Report by Jim Eckerty

    Nine hearty paddlers welcomed spring on our annual trip to Summit Lake.  Upon launching we were greeted by the loud call of a large loon that stayed relatively near for a bit…. A good start to the trip and the year ! 

    Another good sign was that six of the paddlers had less than two years with the club, were new members, or were considering membership. No incidents or accidents occurred.  The weather was dry, with a high temperature of approximately 48 degrees and virtually no wind at all, rare for Summit Lake.    

    The trip began with an overcast sky with a few peeks of Sunshine throughout the day with a good bit of Sunshine near the end of the trip.  We paddled the majority of the Lake's shoreline. A valve in the Dam was repaired over the winter months so the lake was approximately 7 feet below normal levels during our trip.   This created a great opportunity to see some new structures normally submerged. 

    Coots taking off - FYI From Google:   "Coots area small water bird that are members of the Rallidae family. The constitute the genus Fulica, the name being Latin for "Coot

  • 11 Jan 2017 10:24 PM | Jim Sprandel (Administrator)

    Three HCKC paddlers rang in the New Year by paddling about 7 miles on Eagle Creek.   The weather is in the 30's and the wind was low (about 6 mph).  The water on the lower lake was largely open with occasion skim ice. 

    We crossed the lake and paddled most of the way down to the sailing club until we were blocked by ice.   We then paddled up the west side of the lake and then under the bridge.   On the way, we saw several groups of mallards and golden eyes..   We then paddled up the north end of the lake.   One of the highlights was watching a grebe land on ice and sliding after it touched down.

    Just a tad North of the Discovery Center the lake was ice shore-to-shore so we paddled back to the Dandy Trail Ramp.   A total of about 7 miles in a smidge under 2 hours.   A great way to start off a new year.

  • 11 Dec 2016 1:20 PM | Jim Sprandel (Administrator)

    Trip Report by Trip Sponsor:  Jennifer Jose

    Over a year ago, Doug and I learned about the 100 Wild Islands on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia and thought it would be a great paddling destination for th e club. We hoped that a few people would be interested, so we put together an itinerary and added three days at Acadia National Park. Here is the report of our adventure.

    We arrived at Acadia on Sunday, July 31st and camped at Blackwoods, a wooded campground in the park and conveniently located near Bar Harbor, where we dined “mainely” on lobster. Monday morning we launched from a sandy beach in the town of Bar Harbor. With calm seas and little wind, we headed out to the Porcupine Islands just before high tide. Crossing over to Sheep Island and around Burnt Island, we came to Rum Key, a small private island. Long Island was next. It is owned by the Nature Conservancy and is a protected nesting area until mid-August. The Hop is a small island which bridges to Long at low tide and provided a good lunch spot. The layers of geological formations, bald eagles and osprey made for a great first day of paddling.

    On Tuesday we launched at Seal Harbor for destination Cranberry Isles. As we paddled out of the harbor amid a variety of sailboats, a Harbor Seal swam past looking for its next meal. The Cranberry Isles are a group of islands on the south side of Mt Desert. We crossed open water to the east side of Sutton Island, and then went further south between Great Cranberry and Little Cranberry Islands and into the “pool”, a large almost-enclosed inlet into Great Cranberry Island. We paddled the perimeter of the salt marsh shore and stopped to rest at a small weathered marina and dock. From there we crossed over to Little Cranberry in hopes of having a l obster roll at the restaurant. The restaurant was closed but box lunches were available. After lunch, we paid a short visit to the artists’ studios and a museum on the history of the Cranberry Islands. Back in our boats, we paddled north to Sutton Island and around the west end of it. The north shore of Sutton was the most rugged and beautiful scenery of the Acadia trip: High cliffs of granite, shallow caves, and an old osprey nest perched high on a rock. Back to Seal Harbor with the tide almost low, we had a much longer haul from the beach to our cars.

    Our last day in Acadia and we had three other paddle left: The Bartlett Narrows, Mt. Desert Narrows and Somes Sound. The sound divides Mt. Desert almost in half and is the only fjord in the eastern U.S. The entrance, called the narrows has a “swift tide”. The description sounded good, but in reality the fjord wasn’t as imagined and the narrows weren’t so narrow. There was boat traffic, a busy marina and homes along the coast. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable paddle and there was a nice lunch area in a park-like setting up on a hill. We all met back at camp to carpool to Southwest Harbor for our farewell dinner at Beal’s restaurant. UGH, more lobster…The next morning we said goodbye to the Cannadays and Theresa and journeyed to Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore.

    Friday, August 5th we launched from Murphy’s Campground. There were lots of small islands that sheltered us as we approached the north end of Borgles Island. We paddled along the small inlets of Deep Cove and around to Tucker’s Point. The wind had picked up so Martha scouted around the headland to check out the seas. Some confusion ensued as Doug followed to see her signal. The rest of us thought it was a go, so we followed. We crossed in 2-foot plus waves with winds gusting to 20 mph. Fortunately, it was only a mile and a half crossing. We found a place to camp but there was a nicer place around the bend. Doug, Dave and Martha paddled south through rocky islets to scout Big Sandy Cove. A paradise awaited us: a wide, sandy beach with clear turquoise water. The plan was to stay two nights, but with bad weather coming the next day, Doug and Martha decided (at 5:30 a.m.) that we needed to pack our bags and head for more protected waters.

    We paddled back over to Borgles Island, then along the north shore to the steep cliffs at Borgles Bluff, and crossed over to the Baltees in rolling 3-foot waves. Deep inside an inlet on Inner Baltee, it was a little tricky finding the north passage between the Baltees. After scouting a known campsite on Baltee, we decided to continue across to Sandy Cove, our preferred destination. It became our camp for the remaining four nights: another beautiful, wide beach with hiking options and large rock formations. We pitched our tents in the shelter of the woods. The storm didn’t hit until later that evening.

    On Day 3, with light wind in the morning we rounded Sandy Cove Point and crossed over to Gerard Island. We were planning to go around Gerard Head and then into the mouth of the “Bawleen”. Martha and Dave scouted around the bend and reported rough water. So instead, we paddled north along Gerard to investigate “The Portage” into the Bawleen. Several of us walked it, but no one wanted to carry boats. The thought of having fish and chips for lunch at a nearby restaurant on the mainland enticed us . Alas, the restaurant was closed due to a death in the family. Despite three foiled plans, we headed back to camp, knowing that it was still a great day of paddling in such beautiful scenery. Along the way, we checked-out “the carrying place”, a short-cut back to Tangier Harbor passible only +/- 20 minutes of high tide (we missed it).

    On Day 4, we all paddled back across Tangier Harbor to Baltee Island. Doug, Ernie and I turned north while Dave, Mariann, Jack and Martha took off for Tangier Island. After a relaxing lunch, we paddled to Coastal Outfitters in Tangier, where we said goodbye to Ernie. With winds and 1-foot trailing seas, we made it back to Sandy Cove quickly. As for Tangier Island, you’ll have to read Dave’s report on their exciting day.

    On Day 5, we went to the Bawleen. This is a reference to the baleen whale, which has comb-like projections that filter their food from the sea water. Gerard Island wraps around the north side of the Bawleen, with Phoenix Island and numerous long parallel rock formations on the south side. Seals are known to beach themselves in this area especially at low tide, which was around 7 a.m. that day. We got there around 10 a.m., and while we didn’t see the seals, Martha spotted mussels. Out of her boat she went, plucking them from the submerged rocks. Doug and Jack gathered quite a few as well.

    Mussel tonight! Our resident chef, Jack, chef, scrubbed, rinsed and steamed them in sea water. Delish! It was a wonderful ending to another day in paradise. We went to bed with clear skies and the moon shining through the door of our tent. The sound of a distant fog horn and waves lapping on the shore could be heard for our last night. These memories will be with us forever and will warm us throughout the cold winter.

    Doug and I would like to express our thanks to the HCC for making this trip possible and to our dedicated paddlers, Theresa, Martha, Jack, John, Sharon, Mariann, Dave, Jim and Ernie that put their faith in us and were great companions. A special thanks to Dave and Martha for keeping us safe!

    For more pictures go to: https://flic.kr/s/aHskGgYZFV

  • 10 Nov 2016 11:46 AM | Jim Sprandel (Administrator)

    We had a great overnight this last weekend. Seven of us paddled and the temperature and wind were moderate with a touch of fog before we set out on Saturday.     We paddled on Saturday and did about 14 miles going to Patton Cave and Pine Grove ramp and setting up camp on the tip of the Peninsula in Deam Wilderness.     Many other people must have realized that this might be the last “great” weekend of the year because most of the campsites on the peninsula were full.   On Sunday, we paddled west and down to Ransburg Boy Scout Camp and to Allen’s Creek. 

    On Sunday, I did see a loon (one of my trip objectives), coots, and possibly an eagle.
    Pictures from the trip are at:
                    My Pictures:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/merlin3d/albums/72157672622083933
                    Jeff’s Pictures at:  https

Hoosier Canoe & Kayak Club

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