Monday, August 5, 2019

Today was the Cathy show

Cathy invited me to ride our bikes up Signal Hill today.  Two issues: I didn't need the strenuous exercise after two weeks of hard labour and it was going to rain.  Cathy countered with lets do a paddle then because we'll be dressed for it.

We put in in the river down over a steep bank.

Cathy climbs own after catch me in my kayak.

Leaving the harbor on still water.

As it was only Cathy and myself, it was the Cathy show!

We took our time wending our way wherever possible through the rocks.  Here the tightest of passages.

More of Cathy!

We stopped at Topsail Beach for a short break when it started to rain fairly hard before we got underway again.  We retraced our track paddling around the Rock of Ages before grabbing  coffee on my part and a cup of tea for Cathy.

Lovely day on the water catching up on news.  Been too long.  Thanks Cathy!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

A small berg is still a berg

I knew there was an iceberg by Kellys Island because I could see it riding my bike long the coastal trail; finding the time was the issue.  Today I found it so I went to the harbour at Long Pond.

It didn't take long to get underway passing the "industrial complex" as a ship was unloading something I know not what.

About to exit the harbor I caught sight of the berg across at the island.

A short 30 minute crossing had me at the island with a couple of berg bits.  There were a few boats out too so I had to be careful because a kayak does not have high visibility.

Arrived at the island I paddled along the cliffs towards the berg under increasingly ominous skies.

And so, I reached the berg scoping it out from a distance for stability.

I took my time going around the berg cock wise for every side looks different.

Another side sparkling under a sun sneaking through broken cloud.

I hung out for about 30 minutes and took a parting look before ...

... heading back across the bay after a fantastic day on the water.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Paddling zest rediscovered

The first evening paddle of the year for me!  Thanks to Shane for instigating the paddle.  Also on the water were Ashleigh, Brian and Terry.

I did a few rolls before we set out down the shore towards Topsail Beach.  The water was cold but the air was warm.  That caused some problems on the camera lens with it fogging up.  Here we were making our way around the Rock of Ages.

Brian jumped out of his kayak and Ashleigh was conscripted to do an assisted rescue.  Brian has a habit of doing that; helping newer paddlers learn some of these essential skills.

There was a bit of wind from the SW which made it interesting paddling along the shore.  I haven't done much paddling lately, maybe having lost some of the enthusiasm for it and even feeling like I'm becoming a fair weather paddler ...

... but I hugged the shore getting the best of the action as waves beat off the rocks.  I felt like I was finding my mojo again.  Like riding a bike, you never forget.  It felt so natural and I relished the rough water.

We didn't go all the way to Topsail Beach.  Here we stopped by Harald Bluetooth rock while ...

... across the bay under grey skies Bell Island hovered on the horizon.  After bobbing up and down on the waves we went a sort distance further and paddled out into the bay to catch the stronger winds and bigger waves.  What took an hour to paddle into the wind was a 30 minute series of surf rides tearing back to the harbour at St. Philips.

Back at St. Philips I went up the river to wash the salt off of everything and did a few more rolls.  This is Ashleigh setting up to do her first, I think, cold water roll under Shane's watchful eye.

I think I lost a lot of interest in paddling because I was getting too much of a good thing.  I didn't have a lot of balance in my sporting life.  Then I got sidetracked with the purchase of a fatbike and kayaking took a back seat.  But, thanks to Shane I rediscovered the joy of ocean paddling.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

An iceberg goes poof with a bang

On May 27 some drone footage of an iceberg off of Bacon Cove Head was reported in the media.  Today Hazen and I decided it was time to go check it out.

We drove to Conception Harbour where we put in to paddle North to Bacon Cove.  But first we ...

... we checked out the sunken wreck of a ship.  Its the signature attraction in Conception Harbour for us.

After hanging out at the wreck for a while we headed north toward Bacon Cove and the reported iceberg.

As we came around Bacon Cove Point the iceberg came into view but it was a long way off.

We kept paddling and the berg got bigger.  Well, closer.  When we got to about a kilometer away we heard a loud bang and a piece broke off and crashed into the water.  A few seconds passed and another piece broke off; and another and the thing just kept breaking apart.  I was dismayed because I wasn't going to be able to see it in its huge, majestic state.

This is a screen shot of it (please note the lagoon in the center) before it collapsed and ...

... this is what was left after the crashing and banging was over.  I figured I was between about 100 meters from the remnant when I took this shot.  It looked like it was surrounded on all sides by a similar amount of broken ice.

Here's a link to a video posted on Facebook from a boat in the vicinity that captured the collapse.

A lot of the ice that was shed was small but several larger chunks floated in the debris field.

Hazen and I paddled to the north side where some of the floating ice began to disperse.  The berg had rolled and the underside smoothed by the water had come to the surface on the left.

We continued to circle the berg.  On the NW side there was no floating ice.

The extent of the roll was evident from the NW side as we got a little closer but still at a safe distance.  We were forewarned!  The area occupied by the lagoon in a previous picture was now tilted down almost vertical (left of center, semi-circle). 

My signature cap that I've had forever was no longer fit to wear.  I bought a new one which I wore today on its inaugural paddle.  Still supporting Oranje!

Back on the south side the ice surrounding the berg had not dispersed  Some of the ice was just slivers that was refreshing as it melted in my mouth.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take a piece home to drop in a glass of rum as it would have melted before I could get it there.

We took one last look before heading back to the takeout.

I believe we act safely near icebergs.  I can't speculate how close we would have approached had the berg not broken up.  But I will say that once the berg did begin to collapse we would have urgently had to paddle away.  When it started I could see pieces of ice flying a considerable distance.  Hazen and I discussed it.  We felt in this case a distance of 5 times the perceived height would have been appropriate.

It was only one berg but due to its collapse, it provided a fun and awe inspiring day showcasing the power in icebergs.  Stay safe near icebergs; discretion is the best part of valour!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Cape Broyle surprise

Friday there were two mixed forecasts for Saturday.  One was for drizzle and rain showers; the other for cloudy skies.  I suggested making a decision Saturday morning.  In the morning Brian suggested Cape Broyle as we had not been there in a while.

Brian, Cathy, Clyde, Dean, Roy, Sue, Terry and I drove to Cape Broyle and as we arrived our eyes just popped out our heads with the size of icebergs at the head of the bay.

The paddle in Cape Broyle followed the usual recipe when we paddle there.  The first stop was to check out the falls where Horsechops River tumbles into the sea.

Then it was east until we reached the Narrows, the narrowest point in the harbour where we crossed to the south side.

We paddled between seastacks and the shore and ...

... under dominating cliffs with waterfalls and ...

... the signature seastack in Lance Cove where we stopped for a bite to eat as it was 12:30, all the while with the icebergs on our minds.

Back in the boats we paddled further east out the harbour where several bergs floated on the water, here framed between a rock and the cliff.

Dean and I paddled closer to shore and checked out this smaller berg first before I ..

... paddled out to the main attraction.  This berg was huge with four towers (three visible in this shot) all joined to a base underwater.

I was joined by Cathy, Clyde, Roy and Terry.

I paddled around the iceberg which showed a different face and on the right, the shorter fourth tower.

We hung out for a while before Cathy, Clyde and I were the last to head back to the takeout.  With the boats loaded on the cars and the wet gear stowed, the eight of us had a bite to eat at the restaurant before leaving for home..

I did not expect to see an iceberg when I left town.  I knew there were many, many off of our shores and with the recent northerly winds there will be dozens to to visit this year as can be seen on this ...

... Environment Canada chart of icebergs in iceberg alley.