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43 votes
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How efficient is travel by canoe?

The canoe has three huge advantages: it works in the absence of paths or trails it can carry enormous loads adding paddlers to it makes it go faster The first is probably the most important. I've ...
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26 votes

Ice skating on a frozen lake -- how thick should the ice be?

Found an answer by Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources. For new, clear ice, 4 inches should be good for ice skating or any activity involving just a person's weight. They recommend double ...
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20 votes
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What is this dense foam on a lake?

It's "foam line" (though I believe there are other names) It occurs when there are surfactants in water, which is then agitated, resulting in foam forming. This foam then tends to clump together and ...
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  • 1,425
14 votes

Dangers of swimming with algae (potentially Eurasian Watermilfoil)

Those are just aquatic plants, not algae, and you'll find them in any healthy lake anywhere in the world. They pose no danger to you. No, you won't get tangled in them and drown. People swim through ...
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12 votes

If you are kayaking on a lake when whitecaps start happening, what is the best direction to get off the lake?

Conditions in which you can handle the boat depend on the style of boat and the paddler The range of what defines a "covered cockpit kayak" includes play boats from under 2 meters to over 5 ...
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12 votes
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Can I sleep in my canoe with it adrift on a commonly used lake?

For the specific question of drifting on the Great Lakes, doing so is effectively suicide. First, there's the matter of traffic. The Great Lakes are a major shipping lane, with upwards of a hundred ...
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10 votes
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What makes some of the lakes in the Himalayas saline?

In all of these cases it's because they are Endorheic, which is a fancy way of saying that they have inputs but no outputs. The salt that is carried down by the precipitation is trapped in the lake ...
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10 votes
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How to get a beached pontoon boat back into the water?

What constitutes “best and easiest?” I suspect you don’t want to pay for a proper boat lift to drive down to the beach and pick up the boat. If feasible that would be the best safety wise and easiest ...
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  • 9,628
10 votes

What is this dense foam on a lake?

It's similar to sea foam; nothing to worry about. This usually results from the build up of broken down organic matter that has dissolved in the water and foamed up due to turbulence (i.e. wind/waves, ...
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  • 101
10 votes

If you are canoeing on a lake when whitecaps start happening, what is the best direction to get off the lake?

I was always taught that it is best when possible to "three quarter" the waves, whether your intended direction of travel is up or down wind -- either way this avoids most splashing, and the boat will ...
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  • 795
10 votes

How efficient is travel by canoe?

The most efficient boat design is fairly straightforward. Rowing is more efficient than paddling, because anchoring the oar to the hull allows oars to be longer than paddles and longer levers are more ...
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9 votes

What is this floating raft-like object in the waters of a reservoir in Massachusetts?

Looks very similar to a bird nesting facility I've seen before in nature reserves. Purpose: allow for safe nesting for (probably a specific, possible endangered, species of) birds. Safe, because it is ...
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9 votes
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How did cartographers map out shores before modern times?

The topics of navigation and cartography are two sides of the same coin, and there are entire books written about each. It is interesting to study the history of cartography because it very ...
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8 votes

Are there fish in lakes with a lots of glacial flour?

Oh there are lots of fish in there. I grew up only 70km from the glacier that feeds the Elk River, and I've spent a lot of time up at the lakes just below the glacier. In the winter, the water is ...
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8 votes
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What is this floating raft-like object in the waters of a reservoir in Massachusetts?

Just thought to expand the topic a little more. What is pictured in Sue's question is floating nest for birds. There are a number of birds that prefer the safety of raising their young away from the ...
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8 votes
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Is this a dragonfly or a damselfly?

This is a dragonfly. Damselflies place their wings alongside their body when resting. Dragonflies can not do this, once they had their first flight after hatching. So when you see their wings ...
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  • 1,523
8 votes

What conditions would lead to lake ice being extremely clear?

Conditions that can lead to clear ice such as this are: Water with few impurities causing less scattering of light: This lake does not have any water flowing into it, therefore rain is the only ...
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  • 2,750
7 votes

What is this raised, icy-looking structure, found at the edge of a partially frozen lake?

Its just the result of pressure on the ice pushing the slabs up like that. It could also have been a solid non melting object underneath like a rock, but I can't see one in the picture. Ice will do ...
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7 votes

How efficient is travel by canoe?

The typical speed of a canoe on calm water is at least the same as a person walking along a smooth path, about 3 mph. If you are walking along a road, then a bicycle or a car would be the most ...
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6 votes
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Lake Erie / Presque Isle Water Level

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The water levels of the Great Lakes fluctuate at different time scales to different forces. Very short-term water level changes, ...
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6 votes

If you are canoeing on a lake when whitecaps start happening, what is the best direction to get off the lake?

There are a lot of factors to consider in a situation like this, so there will never be only one best answer but: In this case you have 3 issues, wind, waves, and distance. Wind Wind usually causes ...
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  • 217
6 votes

If you are canoeing on a lake when whitecaps start happening, what is the best direction to get off the lake?

Much depends on wave size. A sudden strong wind will kick up small white caps on a short reach. Not much to worry about. Give the wind 10 km or so of water to run over and it doesn't much wind to ...
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6 votes

If you are kayaking on a lake when whitecaps start happening, what is the best direction to get off the lake?

As said elsewhere “It depends”—-on the paddler’s fitness and skill, the geography of the lake, and whether the equipment (boat and clothing) make capsizing inconvenient or dangerous. Generally ...
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  • 3,466
6 votes
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Is it legal to launch a kayak from a public beach in Chicago?

It looks like it will depend on the beach, some beaches have restrictions on where you can launch, some don't and some do not allow kayaks or paddles sports. It would probably be easiest to ask the ...
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5 votes

What is this raised, icy-looking structure, found at the edge of a partially frozen lake?

To me it looks like the first bit or a small version of what we call in Dutch 'kruiend ijs' (stacked drift ice). The corresponding English Wikipedia page is 'Ice Shove' which seems the result rather ...
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  • 2,557
5 votes

Dead Canada goose stuck frozen to top of lake

The most likely cause of death would be a crash landing. When geese come in for a landing after a long flight they are exhausted and look for lakes or ponds to land on because they can glide in onto ...
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  • 53.1k
5 votes

What is this dense foam on a lake?

I used to have a marine (reef) aquarium. One part of filtration is called a foam fractionator. By blowing fine bubbles in a thin column, you produce a great deal of surface area where air and water ...
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  • 224
5 votes
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What aquatic animal laid these eggs?

Those look like Wood Frog eggs. You would expect to find Wood Frogs breeding in ponds, vernal pools, and marsh edges in or near forested habitat at a wide range of elevations as soon as the snow ...
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4 votes

Dangers of swimming with algae (potentially Eurasian Watermilfoil)

You can indeed get sick from swimming in algae, if the algae is a bloom. Not all algae in lakes is harmful - in fact, it shows that the lake's ecosystem is alive. But too much algae can be dangerous,...
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