Monday, November 23, 2015

The main thing is getting out

Sunday looked a good day.  Where to paddle when we've been everywhere within reasonable daily reach?  A look at the maps and my eyes fell on Holyrood as we haven't been there in a while so I suggested a paddle from there to Harbour Main.  It wouldn't be new but it would be fresh.

We arrived at the marina in Holyrood where the big boys have been taken out of the water for the year.

Leaving the marina at 9:30 Bow Me Down Bluff in the left distance was our first objective.

At 10:30 we were there.  On the right (click to enlarge) the Holyrood Power Generating Station's three smokestacks were belching smoke into the sky that hung in the still air.  It burns Bunker C heavy oil but will soon be decommissioned and the power we consume will come from Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Plant, our contribution to reducing greenhouse gases.

The sea was calm but in places paddling through the rocks proved interesting.

At Red Rock Cove the grey siltstones of the Conception Group gave way the Cambrian Age rocks juxtaposed by a fault.

Rounding the point at Red Rock Cove we entered Harbour Main.

At the bottom of the harbour where Maloneys River runs out we stopped for lunch.  I checked my GPS surprised to find we had make almost 12 kilometers.  Surprised because of the calm conditions and the relaxed pace made it seem much less.

The forecast was for sunshine.  It finally made an appearance after we finished lunch as we made our return.

Neville and Brian probe for a way through.

As we re-entered Holyrood Bay Butterpot Mountain, on the right, came into view.  Mountain may not be the term to use but at 1,000 feet it dominates the surrounding landscape.  It all relative.

The group got scattered a bit returning down Holyrood Bay so I decided to paddle all the way along the shore checking out Memorial University's Marine Institute Marine Base in Holyrood.  Their website indicates they  "provide a venue for practical and hands-on experience for students in a variety of degree and diploma programs including marine environmental studies, marine biology, marine ecotourism, diving and oil spill response.

At 3:00 we were back at the Holyrood Marina, the general consensus being it was a super day, a day to live for.  Thanks to Brian, Cathy, Clyde, Derek, Neville and Sue for sharing the day.

Monday, November 16, 2015

A little bit of this and a little bit of that

It has been windy around here lately so there aren't many paddling opportunities especially on the weekends.  Sunday there was a chance in the morning before more wind was expected to arrive.  It was a raw morning when we arrived at St. Philips - -4C with the windchill and wet.  Shane wanted to try Brian's kayak so we went up the shore a little in waves surprisingly bigger than the wind should have been whipping up.

There were a few whitecaps and with high tide when the waves hit the rocks it made for interesting places to paddle.

A couple of kilometers up the shore we had a chance to practice a rescue as Shane jumped out of the kayak.  Brian and Dean ...

... sprang into action as Neville hovered close by waiting for ...

... Shane to scramble back into the kayak.  All of this near shore in waves the camera doesn't do justice to.

We returned to the cove to play behind some rocks as the waves curled around the point and over the submerged rocks.

Dean and Shane emerge through the surging waves.

Shane started paddling this past summer would you believe?

Just before we called it a day Brian shows Shane the best way to do a between the boats rescue for the next time he gets the urge to get wet.

Like I said it was cool so after changing back into our street clothes we went for coffee or tea to debrief the morning and warm up.  Clockwise from left to right it was Neville, Dean, Brian, myself and Shane.

My GPS showed a scant 8 kilometers but we got out and had a bit of fun bouncing around into the wind a bit, playing around the rocks and doing some rescue practice.

Dean has some more pics on his kayakohilic blog.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bird has flown

Wednesday 10 of us arrived at Tors Cove for a paddle out to the islands of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve.  During the spring, summer and early fall the reserve is home to hundreds of thousands of birds.  This time of year and winter they spend their time on the open ocean.  In season though they are a sight to behold; take a short detour to see 2 minutes of video I recorded in July of 2013.

It was a sunny but cool day with temperatures near 0C.

Leaving Tors Cove we paddled outside of Fox Island, onto Ship Island before ...

... crossing to Great Island.

We went to explore this cave in a small cove at Great Island.  Yes, this was a true colour of the water caused by aeration of the water as it bounced around in the constricted cove.

Leaving the cove the water returned to its natural colour punctuated by the white surf breaking over the point.

I thought it was too rough to paddle through the slot which unfortunately the angle didn't capture.  That didn't stop Terry though.  There are two slots formed by erosion of the sedimentary rocks which at Great Island form one limb of a gigantic syncline.

Andrew, visiting the province from Massachusetts, plows through foam created by waves crashing on the island.  From here at the end of Great Island we crossed back to the mainland

We paddled into LaManche Bay handrailing until ...

... we reached the site of the former community of LaManche dominated now by a modern suspension bridge of the East Coast Trail Association.  The trail runs north - south along the coast of the Avalon Peninsula.

The foundation of an abandoned house looks out over the cove.

While the temperature hovered around 0C and the sun seemed to do a disappearing act, it wasn't uncomfortable where we had lunch tucked in a sheltered hollow.  Some boiled a kettle for hot tea.

I felt chilled as did a few others but it didn't take long to warm up as we left LaManche.

Brian, Dean, Shane and I handrailed the shore coming out of LaManche Bay reaching Long Point with the high land of Bauline Head in the distance.

On the outbound paddle we went outside of the islands on the horizon.  On the return we hugged the shore passing Bauline East, Seal Cove, St. Michaels and Burnt Cove returning to Tors Cove.

A fun day on the water for the ten of us ended with a stop at a coffee shop in Witless Bay before driving home in the dusk.

Here's the track, in hot pink on a cool day.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Bonavista Bay 2015

The thing about labels in Blogger is that entries with the same label are listed in reverse order.  So, in order to provide a chronological order of the trip I'm doing a bit of maintenance and posting a summary.  Each link will open in a new page.

In August 2015 we did a four day kayak camp trip to the Flat Islands in Bonavista Bay.

Day 1: Burnside to Bloody Point - Link

           Bloody Point to The Beaches - Link

Day 2: The Beaches to Flat Islands - Link

           Walkabout on Flat Islands - Link

Day 3: Exploring around the Flat Islands, Part 1 - Link

           Exploring around the Flat Islands, Part 2 - Link

Day 4: Flat Islands return to Burnside - Link

Monday, November 2, 2015

Escape from sickbay

Two weeks ago I came down with a nasty cold - congestion, hacking cough and a lack of energy.  Its been a long, in a way depressing, two weeks.  I still wasn't over it Sunday but I felt maybe a bit of fresh air would help.  The planned paddle was advertised to be a relaxed affair which suited me fine.  There were eight of us.

We drove the 45 minutes out of town to Conception Harbour where we put in under blue sunny skies.  The first order of business when we paddle there is to check out the sunken shipwreck but we were sidetracked.  Today, there was a diversion.  Shane borrowed Clyde's RM Nordkapp to try it out.  Its considerably narrower than what he's currently paddling so stability was an issue.  I think he enjoyed the water because he refused an assisted rescue.

With Shane back in his kayak we went to check out the sunken wreck which is a local landmark, rather seamark in this case.

Everything was going very casually as we gave Shane time to get used to the Nordkapp.  It felt a bit like a 100 yard dash for people with no sense of direction.  So far so good.  I wasn't looking for a workout and the slow pace allowed us to take in the fall colours as we slid down into Middle Arm.

We hugged the shoreline and coming out of Middle Arm we reached the light at Ballyhack Point making our way to ...

... our lunch stop at Broad Cove.  It was only early but with the clocks going back at the end of daylight saving time, our stomachs weren't informed of the time change.  So, we had lunch early having paddled only 6.5 kms.

Now, while I wasn't looking for a workout I also wanted more than a float.  I felt better than I thought I would.  I suggested a paddle up to Salmon Cove Point.  That seemed to be accepted so Gary and I made our way across Avondale to the east shore of Gasters Bay and headed north.

Light winds coming from the southwest stirred up the water just a little bit.

Near Salmon Cove Point the red slates of the lower Cambrian Period gave way to greenish grey siltstones of the much older, Proterozoic, Conception Group rocks.

The attraction of Salmon Cove Point is the slot.  On Sunday it was pretty benign compared to the last time we were there.  Then, waves roared through the slot as high as the lowest rocks on the left, about two meters.  Only Terry and I were foolish enough to give it a go then but today all eight of us did, some for the first time.

Leaving the Point we paddled broadside to the wind crossing towards the community of Kitchuses where we would finish our paddle back to Conception Harbour heading into the sun.

It felt so good to be back on the water after two weeks of tissues, cough drops and benylin.  Still not over the cold but I'm over the worst.  I have some catching up to do.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Catching the weather window

The forecast for Sunday was windy and rain, but in the afternoon.  There was a weather window for three hours.  Eight of us took advantage of it to get a paddle in.  Because the forecast could be off we decided on close by with an option for an easy return to the put-in in case winds arrived early.

We met at St. Philips and waiting for all of us to get on the water we saw some whales north of us.  That decided it.  Clyde, Gerard, Shane and I paddled into the bay hoping to get near.  Brian, Cathy, Dean and Derek paddled along the shore.

The minke whales were busy feeding and elusive.  I had several sightings close by but they evaded capture on my camera.

We returned to the shore and the group reformed for a relaxed paddle to Portugal Cove.



Derek and Shane

Brian, Dean and Gerard



Portugal Cove is just 4 kms from St. Philips.  When we arrived back at St Philips Brian, Clyde, Dean and Derek called it a day.  Cathy, Gerard, Shane and I decided to paddle the 6 kms to Topsail Beach.  As we made our way south we could see a rain front approaching.

At first it just pecked  few drops.  It didn't bother us in the least.

Even a few small ducklings we out.  The rain drops were like water on a ducks back but ...

... we could not escape the rain forever and it got cold.

It was an uncomfortable change into street clothes back at St. Philips harbour.  We had pushed past the weather window but it was worth it.  Thanks to everyone who showed up.