Monday, May 3, 2021

Lake Utopia Canoe Trip

New Brunswick is home to a number of beautiful lakes and rivers that would be ideal for AMOS water monitoring. One such lake that I learned about recently is Lake Utopia, located in eastern Charlotte County, about 1 km northeast of the town of St. George. According to Wikipedia, it has a couple of claims to fame: it is connected to the Magaguadavic River by the second deepest natural canal in the world, and according to local legend, the lake is inhabited by a sea monster known as the "Lake Utopia Lake Monster". 

My daughter Hannah and I had made plans to drive out to the lake with our canoe and AMOS this past weekend. It was quite windy (28 km/h from the northwest according to the Weather Network) and still fairly cold (high of about 12 deg C) so a route was made for AMOS that stuck close to the western shore of the lake, starting from Canal Beach, and following a circuitous route down the canal to the Magaguadavic River. I had previously connected the fish finder / depth transducer to the boat, along with the temperature / conductivity probe, and AMOS was set to collect this data throughout the trip at one second intervals. 

Even in the canal, the wind was quite strong, working against us and making for a slow trip. We were a bit faster than AMOS in the canoe, so would usually canoe a few hundred meters ahead of it, then take a break and wait for it to catch up. Here we are in front of an old covered bridge on one of our breaks:


AMOS came along shortly afterward:





I was encouraged to see that the boat performed well despite the relatively high wind. Hannah shot this video as AMOS was rounding the point to go from the lake into the canal:





We made it to the Magaguadavic River, and paddled a few hundred meters down there, towards the town of St. George and a hydroelectric dam. We soon turned around though, as it was getting late in the afternoon. Here is the data that AMOS collected over the trip:

Depth (m):

Most parts of the canal were about 4 m deep, although AMOS did pass over some much shallower parts (indicated in purple) and there was a much deeper area (indicated in red) near a bridge that was over 15 m deep. 

Temperature (deg C):

I found this temperature distribution to be interesting / perplexing, since it shows that the warmth from the shallows at the mouth of the canal was being "transported" down the canal, although the water at the surface was quite clearly moving from the canal into the lake, since the wind was ~ 28 km/h from the northwest. Perhaps this means that the deeper, non-surface water was flowing in the opposite direction, from the lake into the canal, and that diffusion and / or turbulence from the wind was allowing the warmer water to come to the surface? 

Conductivity (ms / cm):

Overall the conductivity was quite low throughout, with only some slight differences. Conductivity near the shore of Canal Beach seemed a bit higher, perhaps due to the sandy soil and shallow water level. 

I hope to make some return trips to Lake Utopia later this spring and summer, to sample some of its other sections. It's a great spot to spend a relaxing day outdoors! 😎