The 1000 Islands area is where the St. Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario. It's a major tourist area, but we had the best of both worlds -- restaurants and entertainment in tourist area; plenty of quiet where we camped a few miles from Gananaque. We base-camped right on the water at Misty Isles Resort. Gayle, the owner, was awesome! She provided us with laminated marine charts of the immediate area and shared info of great places to paddle.
Day 1: Landers Bay
This was a good opportunity for us to hone our minimal navigational skills. With chart bungeed on the front deck and compass on the bow, we found our way to Landers Bay, just a mile or two NE of camp. Paddled under a bridge between the river and bay. Lily pads in bloom and rocky cliffs peeking out of heavy forest were highlights.
Now late afternoon, winds picked up with whitecaps on the river. Navigating the shallow passage from bay to river without getting swept onto rocks was a challenge! The :30 paddle down became a 1:30 hr strenuous paddle back.
Lesson 1: Paddle early and check the weather reports often
Lesson 2: Use the blasted compass rather than try to line-of-site it. We fought our way to the wrong island (blush)
Day 2: Gordon Island
Well, we got an earlier start and stayed in the lee of a series of islands to avoid 20MPH steady winds and serious chop. Navigation is easy since islands are close together.
Gordon Island is a National Park with very nice campsites and the coolest ramp for landing safely close to rocky shores. We walked around the island, had lunch, and just generally relaxed. By mid-afternoon, winds picked up and the water was a mess. Paddling back with "following seas" was not fun, but we made it.
Day 3: Sugar Island.
We had planned to paddle to and spend a couple nights on ACA's Sugar Island. Under normal conditions, we would have packed our camping gear into the kayaks and paddled the 2.5 miles there. With rain predicted and 20-30MPH winds, we decided to pass. Maybe next time.
This is such a beautiful area, and an awesome place to paddle. Weather is a factor to seriously consider as conditions can change quickly and drastically.
Misty Isles Resort has motel-like units, seasonal RV sites, and one former RV site-turned-tent site next to the water. Hot showers and adequate toilet facilities. Gayle, owner, is awesome and a great source for paddling info. She has a few nice Necky Looksha 14' kayaks to rent.
Hurricane Tracer 165 with a skeg
Seda 18' Impulse (I think) with a rudder
Gordon Island has a $5.00 fee to use their way-cool landing ramp. Camping fees apply as well. Sugar Island charges a nominal camping fee for ACA members. Misty Isles Resort charged us $35/night for a grass site on the waterfront with power and water.
Marine chart and compass are a must!