Saturday, July 4, 2020

Just exercise, pure and simple

With an expedition of indeterminate length in sight we felt we should at least try to get a bit of paddling in to get in shape or assess our conditioning.  Access to the slipway was limited so we carried the kayaks down over a bank and nestled them alongside of the river in St. Philips.

The plan was a 19 km paddle to and from Brocks Pond Falls.  As we left St Philips we spotted a juvenile Bald Eagle.  The Eagle didn't move until we were directly underneath it.  The heads of Bald Eagles do not turn white until they're 3-4 years old.  This one was obviously a juvenile but was still a sizeable bird.

The paddle was primarily exercise, a work-out, but we did take advantage of paddling around rocks and channels.

Nine and one half kilometers after setting out we were at Brocks Pond Falls.  This was our first paddle there this year but our third overall.  This past winter we viewed the falls from up on high having ridden there on our fatbikes.

Returning to St. Philips we completed our work-out of 19 kms pleased with our conditioning though we hadn't done much paddling of late.  One or two more paddles and we'll feel confident we'll be ready.  We'll try to fit one of those into wind and waves.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Way down upon the Rocky River

Now for something different.  A paddle down the Hodge and Rocky Rivers in my Pyranha Micro 240 creek boat.  It was an event organized by Hazen and enjoyed by the fours of us including Brian, Neville and myself.

It not the ideal boat for river paddling but it did hold me in good stead once we reached the much shallower Rocky River.

I waited at Markland while Brian, Hazen and Neville shuttled two vehicles to Colinet where the river would end for us.  An hour later we were on our way in the fast flowing Hodge.

We took the right hand channel around an island in the river.

We started out under cloudy overcast skies but eventually the sun broke out to highlight our serene surroundings.  Everywhere birds chirped serenading our float downriver.

The black flies were out so we looked for an exposed point of land with a bit of wind to have our lunch.  The slight breeze kept the flies down so we could enjoy our lunch in peace.

The landscape took on a different, flatter look at an elevation of 25 meters from the 65 at the put-in, a drop of 40 over 20 kilometers.

As we neared Colinet we heard the roar of the falls where it dropped over the rocks.  None of us were prepared to tempt fate by challenging the falls so we looked for a path away to the road where the shuttled vehicles stood.  A bit of scouting and we ...

... found a path and carried the kayaks up to unload our gear and head for home.

It was something different for sure but it was fun to do  It was a relaxed paddle where the current made our work a pleasure.  Its not something that presents an opportunity very often.  We needed a lot of rain, which we got, and we needed to get on the same page.

After some 55 mm of rain six days ago the river peaked at 120 cubic meters/second.  We were looking for 30, the bare minimum on the Rocky River, and good weather.  Today we got both.  It was fun, not something I would do every day but a nice change of pace.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Cape Broyle

Hazen organized the trip to Cape Broyle.  There were two groups to comply with health directives: one group of five and one group of one, me *lol*.  Cape Broyle is a scenic paddle destination.  It is also one of ten favourite places of our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.  If I remember correctly he had his stag party there.

Not long after getting underway I came upon this loon swimming along the shore.  It felt is was an apt representation of the loony times we currently live in.

The usual first destination in Cape Broyle is Horsechops River Falls.  Surprisingly very much subdued at this time of year given spring runoff should be underway.

We started off along the north side of the harbour and at The Narrows we crossed over to the south side.  There are a number of sea stacks on that side as well as caves and massive cliffs like ...

 ... here!

Showertime!  We each took turns under this stream of cascading water that fell from some 20 meters.  Bone chilling but exhilarating.  No chickening out was tolerated *lol*

One of a number of caves.

The destination of Cape Broyle was predicated on the tide being at maximum when we arrived.  That allowed us to get over a rocky entrance and into and thru a tunnel.  There was a little bit of wave action guarding the entrance that Clyde and I got over no problem.  The others opted to go around which was unfortunate to miss the opportunity.

This is not said tunnel but one of the caves yet, it gives a pretty good idea of what the tunnel exit looks like.

Ashleigh and Hazen are dwarfed by the sea stack as you enter Lance Cove.  Lance Cove is the usual destination and turn around point for club paddles.  We debated having lunch here but decided we'd carry on further east and have lunch at ...

... Church Cove.  We turned into the cove into a head wind and found a bit of swell made for a tricky surf landing on the dumping beach.  All hands made an uneventful landing and after lunch, an uneventful launch.

18.5 kms after leaving the put-in we were back, got out of our padding gear, loaded the kayaks aboard the vehicles and congratulated ourselves on an outstanding day, all at a safe distance apart.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Physical distancing = 1 paddle length

One of the issues for people who are adhering to the health measures to flatten the Covid-19 curve is not being able to see friends.  The five of us that paddled have been good.  Today was also the 11th straight day of no new cases and about 18 days with zero or 1 new case.

We decided the weather beckoned and given the above we decided to get out for a paddle using physical distancing.  That was easy to do on the water.

We agreed to meet at St. Philips where we were careful to maintain physical distancing while putting in and we were on our way north into a gentle breeze.

While we had the gentlest of breezes there was a slight swell running that heaved up when it hit the rocks.  There is a passage behind these waves but the first paddle in some time meant exercising good judgement until skills were sharpened after the layoff.

I thought some rocks were safe enough to get around so I went and caught Brian and Hazen who opted not to.

Derrick claimed the day was his eighth paddle of the year.  That's about eight more than he did all of last year *lol*.  We might see more of him if they don't put sailboats in the water at the Holyrood Yacht Club this year.

Brian and Dean emerge from the channel at Sailing Point.

In due course we neared our destination of Portugal Cove with the coast stretching far off into the distance to Cape St. Francis.

At Portugal Cove we bobbed around for a while before heading back to St. Philips.  This is what physical distancing looks like and may continue to look like for some time to come.  Its the new normal.  Its a shame we won't be stopping for post paddle coffee anytime soon but at least it was great to get out for a paddle with these guys.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Blogger issue

Seems like there's a Blogger issue with pictures in posts are disappearing.  Mine are among those that have disappeared in my last post.  Blogger is aware of the issue and I hope they have a fix soon.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

All alone, almost

Today I got off my bike and into my kayak for a solo trip to Kellys Island.  Putting in at Long Pond I surmised it was a good thing the pilot wasn't around because I wasn't in need of a pilot.

I left the put-in and started to make my way out of the harbour and past the industrial complex ...

... and into open water.  Destination for the day was Kellys Island 3 kms distant in front of my bow.

There was no wind and the temperature was inviting.  I settled into an easy pace and with the calm water my paddle strokes eased me into a Zen like state.  I thought I was all alone until I saw another kayaker off to port.  Judging by the distance apart I figured we'd reach the island about the same time and prepared to practice physical distancing.

Reaching the shore of Kellys we introduced and had a short chat across the water.  I said I was going to do a circumnavigation of the island.  Laura opted for a stretch and return to Long Pond.  Nice to see someone else on the water anyway.

There was no need to look up as the scenery was perfectly reflected in the mirror surface.

It was time to grab a bite to eat so I got out on this beach.  Before eating though I decided to climb up onto the height of land for the view.  My kayak looked like a splinter on the beach far below.

Continuing with my plan I came upon an interesting rock formation.  The darker rocks are a shale whereas the grey are siltstones.  The difference indicates a change in depositional environment, possibly a drop in sea level.

Spring was certainly in the air evidenced by the snow melt-water running off the land.

Rounding the south end and on the other side of the island I had a view of "The Bell" of Bell Island separated from the main island by a barely perceptible gap in the distance.

I touched the beach where I landed after crossing to complete the circumnavigation an headed back to Long Pond.  Here passing the buoy, red right return.

We live in strange times now but we can still adventure as long as we either go solo or make arrangements to keep our distance in a small group.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Covid-19 social distancing

I'm baack!  Unbelievable, I finally dusted off the Nordkapp and got out for a paddle.  I haven't done much paddling the last couple of winters; just got sidetracked with winter fatbiking.  Most of my paddle buddies were into the same thing.  It just got to be too much biking and not enough balance.  Hopefully that will change now that spring is here.

So, on the spur of the moment I made the decision and got ready before I could change my mind for I was going solo.  With no wind I thought it would be a comfortable first calm water paddle for the year.  Wrong!  When I landed in St. Philips it was a bit more lumpy than I expected but in for a penny in for a pound.  The water beat up on the rocks pretty good so there was no taking chances getting in among the rocks.

Rocks disappeared and reappeared as swell covered them and drained away.  It was a bit chaotic but I found my groove more and more as I made my way north.  A bit like riding a bike; it didn't take long to get in tune with the kayak.

As I approached Portugal Cove the swell increased.  It was a broad open swell of about a meter washing up on offshore rocks and then ...

... draining away.

Turning the corner at the point I looked into Portugal Cove and, satisfied with the day's effort I turned to return to St. Philips.  The swell I had paddled into then pushed me back and even caught a couple o surf rides.

It felt good to be back in the boat.  I look forward to more as the weather warms and more of my buddies pick up their paddles again.