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Kayaking the 1000 Islands in Half Moon Bay

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1000 Islands Kayak Tours

1000 Islands Kayaking

One of Thousand Islands’ top rated attractions, 1000 Islands Kayaking provides a variety of tour options for all experience levels. They offer guided full and half day tours, camping tours, certifications, and rentals. They also offer several specialty tours, including Wednesday night ‘paddle and pint’ during the summer months (the tour I did!). As a beginner paddler myself, this tour was the perfect length and provided lots of opportunities for paddle breaks.

The tour started at 6pm from the marina at Joel Stone Park in downtown Gananoque. We crossed the channel of the St. Lawrence River to wind our way through the 1000 islands led by our friendly guide, Scott.

A red kayak in Gananoque Marina.

The Briton

Our first stop was at The Briton, one of hundreds of the shipwrecks found among the 1000 Islands. The water here is quite shallow, so you can easily see the hull as you paddle beside it. Depending on water levels, part of the hull actually protrudes above the water’s surface. This particular ship was used to smuggle alcohol between the US and Canada during the prohibition era, and was often the site of offshore parties before it was intentionally set ablaze and sunk in 1920.

The Briton, a shipwreck in the 1000 Islands.

Turtle Tunnel & Half Moon Bay

Next, we paddled past several islands, passing through Turtle Tunnel, where you can see first hand the history of the granite rock formations so unique to the Frontenac Arch Biosphere (originally known as The Bones of the Mother in Mohawk [Kanien’kehæa:ka] tradition). The islands were once the peaks of a mountain range! Our next point of interest was Half Moon Bay on Bostwick Island, home of ‘the tallest cathedral ceiling in the world’, a boat-only-access open-air church – complete with a 134 year old granite pulpit. You can see the boat tie-offs in the picture below on the rock face opposite the pulpit!

Half Moon Bay in the 1000 Islands.

Golden Hour

After Half Moon Bay, we circled around Bostwick Island to begin our way back to Gananoque. This was the most challenging leg of our journey as the wind picked up and the river was less sheltered from the islands along this stretch. I was the slowest of the group, but our guide followed up the rear with me – slow and steady!

The last hour of the tour was my favourite – the water was calm, the sun had begun to set, and a beautiful full moon appeared across the shore from Gan. We made a short stop at McDonald Island to bask in golden hour, take some pictures, and enjoy the serenity of the St. Lawrence at sunset. We returned back to Gan around 9pm and headed to Stonewater Pub for a pint and some great food!

Check out to book your kayak adventure today!

Three kayaks at sunset in the St. Lawrence River.

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