Monday, April 14, 2014

Cruising into Colliers

Finished lunch, we put in again and checked out this waterfall in a small cove next to where we had lunch.  A few of us took turns to duck into the shallow cave behind the cascading water.

The colour of the rocks behind the falls looked psychadelic.

Inside, looking out through a curtain of water.

Sue was wondering what the "white stuff" was.  A seaweed of some sort but I hadn't see anything like it before.

We hugged the western shoreline and exiting Curtain Cove we were looking down Colliers Bay.

A few walls of ice were clinging on to the last vestiges of winter.

Looks can be deceiving.  This looks like a cobble beach and that would be right if we had been here some 542 million years ago.  Now, its a conglomerate from the Cambrian period that is exposed in James Cove.

Entering Burkes Cove we were greeted by erratics resting on the rocky shore  Erratics are rocks that were picked up and transported miles by glaciers and left to rest where they were when the glaciers melted on the Avalon about 12,000 years ago.

In Dock Cove I checked out this rust bucket with the name "Hamilton Banker" registered in St. John's but unlikely to ever see that port agin.

Looking back from where we came Sue is between Ryans Head on the right and Marysvale Ridge on the left.  We were almost in Colliers where we had left the cars five hours earlier.

All that was left to do after a wonderful day on the water was to change clothing and load the kayaks. But, before we went home the seven of us stopped for a coffee and a chat.  Thanks everyone for sharing the day.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Looking for the Cambrian explosion

Saturday I joined Brian, Dean, Derrick, Hazen, Neville and Sue for a paddle around the Colliers Peninsula.  The first order of business was to shuttle the cars a short distance from Conception Harbour to Colliers.  Hazen and Sue stayed to keep an eye on the gear.

When we got back to Conception Harbour we got ready to get on the water.  Everyone noted Hazen was on the water first because it was unusual.

With all hands on the water we made our way north and out of Gasters Bay.

The mouth of the bay opened up the further north we paddled.

Paddling under cliffs of red siltstone.

Further along the shoreline the land came down to meet the water.

Dean checking out a small run of water in this little nook.

At Bacon Cove we stopped to stretch our legs and we had a ...

... geology lesson on unconformities.  Here we're standing on mid-Proterozoic Conception siltstones.  The siltstones date anywhere between 1 billion and 1.5 bilion years old.  Precise dating is not possible as sedimentary rocks are generally dated with reference to fossils and these rocks were deposited prior to multi-cellular life.

The Conception rocks were uplifted and eroded over a long period of time before the sea held sway again in the Cambrian period to deposit a basal layer of conglomerate.  The students *lol* point to the contact.  The Cambrian period began 542 million years ago at a time when lifeforms exploded and diversified.

We continued on paddling between steeply dipping rocks to our left and ...

... over kelp beds.

At Colliers Point we paddled into this little cove where we ...

... took out and stopped for lunch.  The forecast was for rain and while we did have the occasional sprinkle, it was warm without wind.  It was shaping up to be a large day.

To be continued ...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Weeeee're back

Last evening we had our first Thursday evening practice/get-together at St. Philips for the year.

It was windy so we spent the evening catching some surf rides.  A bit of a slog into the wind, turn, drop skeg, paddle furiously to get on the face of a wave.

The waves weren't organized so patience was required to catch the biggest and best waves.  If you read the literature the recommended practice is to start paddling hard once you feel the stern get picked up.  I find I catch more waves if I start paddling as soon as the first wave passes under the bow.  Such a joy when effort is rewarded with the bow purling as the kayak hurtles along and the skeg hums.

Derrick in a close up of his newly painted kayak.  Its a strip built and this past winter he decided to paint the hull white.  Looked pretty sharp.

So, the first of our regular Thursday evenings is in the books.  I look forward to them because regardless of weather, they go anyway.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Klingons along the coast

After a short stay at Brocks Pond falls Clyde, Dean and I turned south for the return leg of our paddle.  The light but cool northerly wind in our faces on the way up were now behind us.

It was April 5th and two weeks into spring but no sign of it yet.  There are still numerous masses of ice clinging on to the cliffs and ...

... winter is clinging on too.

A short stop to stretch our legs after almost three hours in the kayaks and we were on our way again.  Here, Dean explains the details of my Christmas Eve swim in this channel.  Such fond memories!

A recurring theme on the day.

Approaching St. Philips and the completion of our 20 km paddle.

I've enjoyed my winter paddles but I'm ready for some warmer weather.  Winter drags on, though more like clinging on and no end in sight yet.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Waiting for spring weather

During the past week we had a good old nor'easter that dumped 40 cms (16 inches) of snow.  It is technically spring but it was anything like spring.  Clyde, Dean and I decided on a paddle anyway at a place familiar to us and close by.

When I arrived I was greeted by a bank of snow that kept me out of the parking lot which necessitated ...

... a drag of 100 meters over snow to the put-in.

It was -4 C with ice fog when we arrived, some of which obscured the top of Bell Island.

We paddled down the coast to Portugal Cove through this channel which is one of my favourite spots with varying degrees of happy memories.  Happy when negotiated and less so when dumped in a natural washing machine.

Everywhere ice and snow still clung to the cliffs held firmly in place by a cool north wind

As we entered Portugal Cove the ferry was returning from Bell Island so we waited for it to clear the shipping lane before proceeding on our way ...

... up the snow clad coast to our destination of ...

... Brocks Pond falls which tumbled over cliffs some 70 meters high.  Water was running under the ice and snow.  We considered trying to get out but that would have required a swim onto and over the rocks.  Neither of us felt any great urge to do that so we hung out for a few minutes before heading back where a hot coffee would be waiting.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

LaManche through the backdoor

After a while it get difficult to find a stretch of coast I haven't paddled before.  There are lots but not many that are close to home suitable for a day paddle.  I've been to LaManche a few times, always leaving from Tors Cove.  Today Clyde, Dean, Hazen, Neville and I went back to LaManche but left from Brigus South.

Clyde, Dean and I waited for Old Wobbly to put-in by checking out some action at this rock in the entrance to the harbour.

A number of years ago I paddled the same stretch of coast but well off shore.  This time we hugged the shoreline all the way checking out every nook and cranny.

Staying in close made for entertaining paddling in the waves and clapotis.

Officially its spring but winter hasn't yet released its icy grip.

It still felt like winter with an ashen sky overhead but not bitter cold.  Melt water is starting to flow.

Nor was the scenery brightened by the grey to black slates that run like a ribbon from Brigus South northwards for some 65 kilometers as far as Torbay.

Hanging out is a small cove which we did at every opportunity.

Having logged almost 12 kms we reached LaManche, the site of an abandoned fishing community that is now dominated by an impressive suspension bridge as part of the East Coast Trail.  We started to see patches of blue sky as we rounded Cape Neddick.

Bathed in brilliant sunlight we ate our lunch warmed by the sunbeams that fell on us in this protected though cramped take-out.

After our lunch we turned our bows south sped along with the wind which had picked up from the northeast and ...

... before long we were back at Brigus South.  Hugging the shore gave us 11.7 kms, doing so less rigorously on the return netted us 8.5, a sizable difference.

This will be the last paddle for March.  Winter is behind us.  Some were looking forward to warmer temperatures.  I think they'll be disappointed - there's another 15 cm of snow in the forecast in the next two days.