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Swimming Lakes To Keep Fit

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Written by Town & Country Marine customer, Ken Bestard

Perhaps you have seen someone swimming around Mckee Island on your trip to the marina , or maybe you have seen swimmers with Kayak spotters  swimming around Geales Island. If so, you have seen me.


I’ve heard many times over that swimming is one of the best all round  exercises that we can do. It provides a great cardio work out, works lots of muscle groups, and has little strain on the joints. I’ve swam Geales island only a few times with a fellow swimmer but McKee Island I’ve swam too many times to remember. In the summer of 2015, I opted to do something different than swimming circles around McKee Island. Instead, I set before me the challenge to swim the entire perimeter of Catchacoma Lake. By perimeter I mean following the shoreline, around every point, in every bay, skirting over the shoals of rocky points and going into shallows of the bays as far as the water depth allowed me to swim. I am 61 years young, second generation cottager and I don’t think in my recollection that I have ever missed being at the cottage a single year of those 60 years. I’ve fished the lake extensively over that time, but I swam you through bays that I had never seen before.

I’ve been told that the size of Catchacoma is about 2 miles by 3 miles. Prior to my swim I ventured out in the boat with a good neighbour and his handy GPS unit and we followed the shoreline as close as we dared around unfamiliar points and in bays to record the perimeter distance. The boat trip took over 1.5 hours and the recorded distance was just shy of 25 kms. Over the course of 12 days I completed that 25 kms. I started with shorter swims at first and increased the distances in the the later days to 2.5km or better per day. Perhaps if you are a cottager on Catchacoma you may have seen me swim by. If I saw you on your dock, I always stopped briefly to say hi. Only once was I met with angry confrontation. It was the end of my second day of swimming and I called it quits in front of a cottage with a nice beach. I swam up near shore in knee deep water to get into the boat when I was angrily greeted as trespassing on his neighbours property and I didn’t have permission to be there. Last time I checked the cottager did not own the lake bed. However with a final greeting (trying to be nice) of have a good day we drove off. Starting the swim the next day, much to my wife’s fear, I jumped into the water in front of the same cottage and was stared down by the irate cottage owner till I swam away. Oh well,that was the only bad greeting in all the persons I met on the swim.

Wearing swim googles gives me some underwater vision when the water is shallow enough. The only things I found were a few golf balls and noticed only a few bottles. One vivid memory that I will not forget was swimming by the mouth of Pencil Creek where it enters the lake. Lily pads grow there in the shallows of the sand bar. I intended to swim along the edge of the lilies but before I knew it I was in the middle of them. If you were thinking scary, no it wasn’t, it was incredible. The lily flower’s were in full bloom and the aroma was something never to be forgotten.

It was a real sense of accomplishment finishing up at the point at which I started. Starting the swim it was my spotter (wife) in the boat and myself but finishing the swim there was a banner flying and a great cheering section from within boats, kayaks, and on shore. Will I swim Catchacoma again this year? Heck no, I’m doing Mississagua. Watch for me, I intend to swim between the 8 and 10am periods starting the first week of July. Here’s hoping the water is warm by then. Look out Cold and Gold Lakes in 2017.

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