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Friday, March 17, 2017

Trip 2017


Since 2010 I've done an extended kayak camp trip, except last year.  I'm determined not to let that happen in 2017 so we are looking at the Conaigre Peninsula at the head of Fortune Bay.  In particular, at paddle from Harbour Breton at the lower left to Pools Cove upper middle.  The coastline is better seen by clicking to enlarge.

This year it looks like we'll have a change in personnel as Neville can't make it and Dean looks to be doubtful.


Hazen and I identified the target location but we'll need to get together with the other guys to may more definitive plans so that everyone is happy with the plan.

One of the features on the area are the three resettled communities in the bay namely: Little Bay West, Miller's Passage and Red Cove.  Visiting these resettled communities is a key interest of mine because I am interested in seeing these isolated places and marveling at the resourcefulness of the people who survived there.


This is an aerial shot of Miller's Passage from the Memorial University of Newfoundland resettlement website.  Not great quality but a not so bad representation of where 138 to 153 people lived between 1921 and 1945.



This picture from Google Earth by "2rabbits" shows the area near Miller's Passage.  Catching a day like this on our trip would be a bonus.


Looking in the direction of Red Cove by Terry Clarke posted on Google Earth.  Looks like spectacular scenery.


After getting around the more exposed coastline we'll be paddling by occupied communities connected by road to the outside world.  This an island off of St. Jacques by Mikhail-Kolnik.


Further along past Belleoram we'll pass by the imposing hill called Iron Skull Mountain, picture by 3Neurons.

The trip will finish at Pools Cove which happens to be the beginning point of our trip in 2014 so we'll be closing part of a circle.

It looks like a trip to look forward to.  The planning by filling in the details adds to the excitement and anticipation.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Winnie the Pooh and the blustery day


Here's a screen shot of an NTV webcam overlooking Bell Island Tickle on this past Saturday.  Sustained winds, at their height, were at 106 kms/hr (58 knots) and a maximum wind gust recorded of 159 kms/hr (87 knots).  The wind whipped the water up into a frenzy with horizontal streams of water as it blew the tops of the waves.

Needless to say there was no paddling.

It knocked out power to 20,000 homes, mine included, for 2 and 1/2 days.  With temperatures outside of -10C it became a little bit of an inconvenience as temperatures in the house dropped accordingly.  But, its never so bad that it can't get worse as two of my neighbours found out.  The wind took their roof shingles and tossed them to the wind.

So, without power I was forced to camp in the house.  My MSR Dragonfly stove performed yeoman's service as did some of my other camping stuff.  Finally we have out power back and I have internet access again to explain my absence.

Some of us have talked for some time about winter camping.  After this recent experience I think I will need some convincing.  Maybe next year.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Blue sky day at Brocks Pond Falls


After a gut busting workout at the gym I passed on the cardio there and decided I'd beat it home, get the kayak out and do my cardio outside.  What to do?  It was still winter as the buoys were wearing their icy caps but spring is not far off.  I thought of Brocks Pond Falls which would be frozen now but not for much longer.  So, its decided, Brocks it was.


The icicles hanging off the cliffs are still spectacular but nothing like I expected the falls to be.


Making my way north Brocks Head appeared in the distance.  It was a ways off but under crystal clear blue skies and no wind it was a glorious day on the water.  It was about the journey, not the destination.


My favourite channel to paddle through.


At Portugal Cove the ferry was just leaving for Bell Island.  Perfect timing for it meant I could just paddle across the mouth of the cove without having to paddle in and around to avoid getting caught by it in mid-channel.





Past Portugal Cove the cliffs dropped straight down to the sea and then straight on down to the depths.  They are the hard rocks of the Harbour Main volcanics and the oldest rocks of the Avalon Peninsula.

Brocks Head in the distance but just around the nearest point, Hag Nose Head, I knew I was getting very close to ...


... the target for the day.  The water coming out of Brocks Pond up on the plateau falls over 100 meters here to reah the sea.  It was mostly a mass of frozen water but there was visible water running and also under the ice.

The falls are a spectacular sight in summer but more so in winter I find.  Especially on a sunny blue sky day which made the ice and snow seem that much more white.  Content, I retraced my paddle strokes and as I approahed Portugal Cove again I ran into ...





... the leading edge of the low pressure system forecasted to bring freezing rain and rain the next day.  While the day didn't end under clear blue skies, I had gotten the best of it.  The way the weather has been lately its best to take advantage of every opportunity.  Awesome day!!!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Long Island 2011: The Summary

Doing a bit of housekeeping and continuing with a summary of recent trips.

This summary is one of a three day trip we did doing a circumnavigation of Long Island in Placentia Bay.

Day 1: Paddle from Arnolds Cove to Spencers Cove: Link
             Paddle from Spencers Cove to Port Royal: Link

Day 2: Paddle from Port Royal to Harbour Buffett: Link
             Paddle from Harbour Buffett to Haystack: Link

Day 3: Return to Arnolds Cove: Link

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Making do with the weather


When there's nothing to talk about around here there's always the weather.  Its been cold, snowy, rainy and windy of late.  The cold, snow and rain I can deal with but ...


... the wind is another issue.  There's not a lot of appetite to paddle in below zero temperatures and 20 - 25 knot winds.


Several years ago it too was cold but not so windy that I paddled pretty much every weekend.


This year it didn't seem like I paddled at all ...


... except, to my chagrin, until I checked my log.  Turns out I've been on the water so far seven times, almost once a week.


So, I can't complain about the paddling but I can complain about the weather.   Again, except today when there was no wind to speak of.  However, commitments kept me to a short paddle.  Short paddle means close by but at least it was on the water.

Thanks Brian for sharing the outing.  Short but sweet.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Whitewater, the frozen kind


With high winds and low expectations of a paddle I proposed getting out in our short boats and use them for some childhood fun - sliding.


Shane and I met at the concert venue in Paradise where the hill was covered in crusty snow.


The crusty snow made for some speedy runs down the hill and ...




... had us suckin' for air pulling the kayaks back up the hill.


It was a hoot.  I could not stop laughing.

The icy crust on the snow made it precarious getting in and getting set up, maintaining position without setting off when not quite ready.  Steering was also an issue as the paddle skimmed over the surface without being able to place a stern rudder.

The ride downhill was at breakneck speed with the kayak spinning around to all points on the compass and out of control.

After an hour the biting wind drove us off the hill and to the coffee shop.  We'll do that again hoping we've sold the rest of the gang on how much fun it was.

Addendum:

 Shane recorded some video of the festivities  which is more indicative of the hoot we had.  Here's a link to the YouTube clip.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Island Hopping


Shane came up with the paddle plan for Sunday.  It was a trip to Tors Cove where we would check out the islands on our way to LaManche.  Here, we're looking out across the water towards the islands and ...


... here's a Google Earth overhead shot of the islands of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve.


It was overcast when we arrived.  Leaving Tors cove we paddled past Fox Island to get to ...


... the east side and open water where a bit of swell was running.


From Fox Island we made for Ship Island and thence to Great Island, here in front of our bows.


Finishing the short crossing we arrived at Great Island, the largest of the group.


Cathy making her way to paddle between this sea stack and the island.


These islands of the Ecological Reserve are home to tens of thousands of sea birds that come in from the open ocean in the spring to nest.  The effects of the birds can be seen as Dean and Shane paddle past massive sandstone cliffs covered in guano.  As its winter, the birds weren't home but were at sea.


These thick sedimentary beds are the west limb of a south plunging syncline.  Each bed represents a change in environment where either there's a change in ocean depth or an interruption in the delivery of sediments.  Dean and I went to get a closer look entering the cave but avoiding paddling under the icicles hanging in the ceiling.


In the next cove we got into this larger cave.  The interesting feature in this cave were ripples in the sand of the sea floor that were preserved in the rocks.  In the roof rocks on the right were casts of the ripples in the overlaying bed and on the left we could see ripples right side up.  These rocks are undated from the Pre-Cambrian because they do not contain fossils but are in excess of 542 million years old.  So, we were looking at very ancient sea floor.


Further along we came to the Great Slot where the sea had eroded a bed that was made up of weaker sandstone.  Dean, Shane and I had a look but decided the swell made it too dicey to try to get through.

I've only managed to make one passage in the few times I've been here and that was in 2013 when Tobias recorded some video on a less dramatic day.


So, the three of us paddled around to look through the slot from south to north.


Having reached the south end of Great Island we turned east to make the short crossing to return to the mainland.  From there the plan was to stop at the resettled community of LaManche which is now part of the East Coast Trail dominated by ...


... this impressive suspension bridge.


Here we stopped for lunch protected from a light northeasterly breeze under clearing sunny skies.

The rest of the paddle was uneventful returning to Tors Cove where we packed up and stopped for coffee on the way home.  Cathy Gary and I were in LaManche on November 11th last year.  We've pretty much been everywhere in our area so some places take on an air of sameness.  This day's paddle, while it ended up in the same place, was different because we hopped from island to island to get here rather than handrail the shoreline as we did the last visit.