My wife and I, accompanied by our four-year old daughter, had only pushed off from the launch site off Anstruther Lake Road and paddled for a total of five minutes when the three pre-teen boys came racing around the first small island in their 14 foot aluminum boat, full throttle. At first I thought they just didn't see us paddling close by. But as their wake hit us and the boys laughed hysterically, then circled the island for a second pass, I knew it was definitely intentional.
As they approached (we're talking less then three canoe lengths away), still full throttle, I gave them the hand signal to slow down. Their response was an index finger gesture and an embarrassing failed attempt at mooning us.
I'm Irish and a guy. So, my first thought was to lose my temper and return the gesture. But I'm also a forty-five year old dad, who had my daughter (and wife) with me. So, I made sure not to stir up conflict. On their third approach I consciously did not even give them eye contact, thinking they would get bored of their stupid antics and move on.
They did move on, after two more passes. The boys went back to a nearby cottage; and that's when bad went to worse. I overheard someone at the dock yell out "Go get them again." So, the boys sped out and began to continuously pass us back and forth in full speed, creating enough wake that I had to move to shore, step out of the canoe and hold on so our stable Prospector designed boat wouldn't capsize.
We had two choices at this point. We either turned tail for the access point or confront their parents, who were hopefully sitting up at their cottage blind to their children's illegal actions. We tried the retreat at first but couldn't without a good chance of being hit by the boat. So we went towards the cottage to seek out the parents. There was none. Only a few older boys, who then joined in on the fun, this time with a much larger speed boat - all the time yelling out "Get off our F Lake" (did I mention this was a newly designed provincial park)
As we crept back to the launch, keeping close to the shoreline the entire time, all the boys eventually bored of us and went to bother a second family of paddlers who had just approached the small island.
Ironically, the two childish loon parents were hugging the shore near the launch as we packed to leave. It's as if they wished to leave with us. I gave them a wave and quietly wished them good luck — they'll need it.