Saturday, April 28, 2018

Grey foggy day on the water

The forecast Friday was for light southerly winds and sunshine and so it was when I left home Saturday morning early.  Then it changed to fog lifting around noon.  Arriving in Tors Cove it was foggy with Fox Island barely visible from the beach.

We couldn't see the islands of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve so it was a paddle along the shore to LaManche.

Hazen paddles past the micro hydro generating station in Tors Cove.

It looked like it might clear up as ...

... Great Island rose out of the fog and ...

... Pee Pee Island also but Great Island was began to again lose the battle with the fog.

Dean and I paddled around the rock in Bauline East where the wind picked up a little forcing me to pull on my neoprene mitts as it picked up the cold of the ocean.

Heading into LaManche Bay where the bit of swell ...

... went skywards as it hit the shoreline but it was nothing to worry us as we ...

... arrived at LaManche dominated by the magnificent suspension bridge of the East Coast Trail.

The group of eight - Brian, Cathy, Clyde, Dean, Gary, Hazen, Terry and myself stopped for lunch in LaManche.  There it became known that we had a casualty.  Hazen had slipped as he got out of his kayak and injured his shoulder.  It was clear he wasn't going to be able to paddle back himself so after we finished lunch we agreed on a towing arrangement.  More on that later.  We were lucky.  The group was large enough to share the load and what wind and swell there was was at our backs.

We all made it safely back to Tors Cove, packed up and stopped for coffee on our way home.  An eventful but good day on the water.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Caving in Middle Cove

Friday is usually shoulders, lats and traps day in the gym but when Shane mailed Thursday about a paddle in Middle Cove, I couldn't pass it up.  We met at 12:30 and after putting in we made our way along the east side of the cove.

Shane has paddle once before in Middle Cove but not the east side where there are a number of caves.  I'm going to tag this cave as "Split Rock Cave".  I don't believe its been named yet so now it has a name.  Its apt because ...

... you can go in one side and loop around to come out the other.  We didn't today due to a bit of swell that was running and the sea has been known to cause an unpleasant surprise especially in a narrow cave.  We moved on to ...

... one more substantial one but its not ...

... ,thought similar to, The Molar where I shot a similar photo.

We paddled into the imposing cliffs of Ship Cove.  Leaving there we poked our noses into Outer Cove where a stiff southerly wind was blowing and decided to cross Middle Cove over to the west side and through ...

... Motion.  Motion is a place to be avoided at times because it comes by its name honestly.  Today when we were there it was low water so the rocks afforded some protection.  The rocks broke up the waves dissipating their energy but still interesting.

Near Torbay we checked out another cave.

Entering Torbay the cliffs out of the sun still harboured a few icicles.  We carried on into ...

... Torbay proper.

At this point we began to retrace our steps to Middle Cove.  In the back of my mind I knew what we were going to face as the wind was forecasted to increase and sure enough when we left Torbay we were face and eyes into 35 km southerly winds gusting to 50.  Breaking wind waves sprayed salt water into our faces.  We paddled the remaining 2.5 kms back at what felt like a snail's pace but the thing about padding into the wind is, just paddle.

Thankfully back on the beach and our gear stowed we stopped for a cup of java, a super way to end the day.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Year 10 get off to a start

A group of us have been meeting at St. Philips one evening a week to practice paddle skills or just an evening leisurely paddle.  Last evening marks the kickoff of the 10th year.  There were years in the past when I was by myself on the first evening but there were six of us this time.

The water temperature is near 0C.  I got things rolling by jumping out of my kayak to do an assisted rescue.  It went off without a hitch.

Cathy gets around the Rock of Ages with a cross bow rudder.

The last number of day have been windy so we still had some residual wave action around the rocks.  Cathy, Peter and I had a blast doing a bit of rock hopping.

Craig and Dave made it an evening for a relaxed paddle.

Paul did the assisted rescue with me and then also made the rest of the evening a relaxed paddle.

I was apprehensive about how well subscribed these evenings would be after last year when attendance hit lows.  So far, so good but I think the water will have to warm up a bit before more people get wet.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Rescuitating paddling

Saturday evening I sent mail out to 12 of my paddle mates.  Shane was the first to reply positively.  Then a stream of declines came in but in Sunday morning Cathy and Gary were in making it a foursome.  We've been woeful getting on the water this winter but with spring on the way hopefully we be paddling more frequently.

The corpse of paddling looked like rigor mortis had set in but I think we've managed to resuscitate it.

It was high water meaning we could get through passageways and channels.

It was only the fifth time I've been on the water this year.  Normally that would be what I'd paddle each month over the winter.  Over the next little while I'll have to slowly build up my paddling conditioning.

Gary goes through my favourite channel.

Arriving at Portugal Cove where we hung out for a bit before returning for coffee and a chat about the paddle.

So, it was four of us today, hopefully more next time.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Four times is a charm

Its been meager pickings this winter to find days to paddle.  Today was only the fourth day I've been on the water this calendar year.  Pitiful really but ...

... I've found other things to do when the weather doesn't cooperate for kayaking (photo credit Brian).  But I digress, back to ...

... paddling.  Today I was lucky to be in the company of Cathy and ...

... Brian, who has also succumbed to the fatbike addiction.  Brian said so far this winter he's paddled once in January, February and now March.  I'm not alone!

Massive icicles just four weeks ago have had their feet nibbled by ocean waves.

Dave hasn't paddled since last September but happy to get out today.

Clyde and Brian paddle by Harald Bluetooth.

And, the fifth (excluding the guy behind the camera) of the group today - Gary.  That made  group of six of us, all of whom also own fatbikes!!! 

So, it was a short paddle of 13.5 kms as we try to get back in paddle shape.  In four days it will be spring and hopefully better paddle weather and regular weekly paddles.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Mother Nature, you're an eight

Mother Nature you're an eight, you'd be a ten if you were warmer.

This past Tuesday evening I went to the pool where it was nice and tropical.  Today, it was the opposite.  It was cold, snowy and blowing a bit.  As I prepared to put in I tried to put my two piece paddle together but it wouldn't lock.  The water from the pool night had frozen in the paddle preventing it from setting properly.  I blew warm breath into it trying to free it up to no effect.  Shane jokingly said "Pee into it, urinate into the paddle!".  Well, that worked.  Ah, I reasoned, it would be no less salty than the water I was going to paddle on.

Shane behind the Rock of Ages.

Dean and Terry getting round the Rock of Ages.

There's not much snow on the ground but its still winter by the look of things along the shore.

It was blowing a bit dropping the temperature to manageable but noticeable.  Every once in a while we stopped behind rocks to escape the wind and ...

... here again where massive icicles draped over the rocks.

We carried on for a bit burning up an hour before returning to grab a coffee and have a chat.

Every now and then something happens to make a paddle memorable.  Several years ago it took Dean and myself to get my spray deck on because it was so cold it froze solid.  This paddle will likely be remembered for the call of nature that came to the rescue.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Arrr, no pirates

This morning, Thursday, I got mail from Dean wondering if some of us were interested in  paddle.  It was going to be a beautify day with low wind.  I suggested we meet at Long Pond for a paddle out to and around Kellys Island.  Brian was also interested so it was just the three of us.

We left the harbour and, paying no particular attention to the rules of the road, we paddled on the left by the red bouy and started our 30 minute crossing to the island.

We arrived after a leisurely paddle across the bay.  Now, Kellys Island is reputed in folklore to be a place where the pirate Peter Easton buried his loot from piracy.   In fact, he established his headquarters on Kellys Island.  He's long gone since the early 1600's.

Making landfall we made an unspoken decision to paddle around the island counterclockwise.  Setting out we spied a seal on the beach sunning itself.  Usually they are very wary but this one ...

... let us take his picture.

Sunlight behind us lit up the cliffs of sedimentary rocks of Ordovician Age.

On the north side the high cliffs hid the sun cooling us down in the shade.  Icicles also hid from the sun.

Rocks leaned over threatening to topple into the water.

There is practically no snow on the ground locally.  That is most unusual and its been off and on cold, cold enough to keep ice from melting.

Back on the south side we were back in full sunshine heading east.

There are only three places to get off the water.  This is one place.  We got out and climbed to the top of the cliffs to ...

... look around and over the waters of Conception Bay.

Back on the water and under some impressive cliffs.

We returned to the point where we made landfall and set out for the return paddle to Long Pond.  It was smooth padding on calm seas without much effort.  Fourteen kms ended with a stop for coffee before heading home.

We didn't see any pirates.  I think they may of moved to the Caribbean for the winter where its warmer.

An awesome day in weeks of strong winds had to be taken advantage of, and, we did.  Thanks Brian and Dean.