Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Three hounds chasing a rock

After paddling out of Bay Bulls and paddling through the sea stacks at the headland we entered Witless Bay.  There we entered this indent in the red sandstone cliffs to investigate.

On the left a dark cavern opened under the gently sloping sedimentary beds.  We looked in and could see daylight through the smallest of openings at its end.

Inside I looked out at the crew taking in the awesomeness.

Onward we went until we ...

... came to this cave that we had to check out.

Another cave that attracted all of us with room for all.

Whereas we had a cold easterly breeze in our faces paddling out of Bay Bulls, we had it at our backs on our entry into Witless Bay.  Here Brian and Dean wait for Clyde to ride a bit of surge over a rock.

Eventually the land had less appeal and we paddled directly to the beach in Witless Bay for lunch.  Those of us who had coats or a cag donned them to keep warm in the cold.  Three dogs entertained us on the beach by constantly picking up this one rock for us to throw and play fetch.  Fog began to roll in from the open ocean while we ate our lunch so it wasn't long before we left the dogs to amuse themselves and we were back in our kayaks to retrace our route to Bay Bulls.

Back in Bay Bulls Derek had to rush home while Brian, Cathy, Clyde, Dean Hazen and I went for a coffee and warm-up.  Cathy picked up the tab so thanks for that and Hazen had Girl Guide cookies he was trying to push.  Overal, a most enjoyable trip punctuated by amazing seascapes.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Baboul Rocks rock

Baboul Rocks are a bunch of sea stacks between Bay Bulls and Witless Bay.  They are exposed to the open ocean and often are not accessible due to large swell.  Sunday we exited Bay Bulls harbour to paddle through the lot.

Cathy makes for an opening.

Finding little passages.

It wasn't that there was no swell, it was just very gentle washing over rocks near the surface.  Hazen waits for his turn to ride it over.

Brian among the rocks.

It seemed like Brian, Cathy and I spent more time exploring among the rocks than the others so we were last to continue around the headland and into Witless Bay.  On a day like we had Sunday I wanted to savour the area like letting good, dark chocolate melt in the mouth.

The rest of the gang waited for us around the corner and we carried on again as a group.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Bay Bulls - Prelude to the good stuff

Sunday we met in Bay Bulls, a 30 minute drive from my home.  It was something on the table the previous weekend but conditions were not favourable then.  Dean resurrected the plan, a paddle from Bay Bulls to Witless Bay, for this weekend.

The first part of the paddle as we made our way towards the south side of Bay Bulls is low lying land with not much to excite except the chance to get on the water again.  It was cool and it took some time to generate a bit of body heat.  The temperature hovered just above zero and an easterly wind blowing over the similarly cold water didn't help matters.

Further along towards the entrance to Bay Bulls the cliffs became more imposing.  The sun, shining from that direction, tried to wash out the pictures I took.

Several years ago Gerard led us into this cave.  There's almost only room to get a kayak through the entrance so its not obvious.  I backed in several kayak lengths until it opens up into a more cavernous feature.  Looking out from the darkness, the contrast in light overpowers the camera.  Cathy is barely visible outside but she ...

... joined me.  This was the best picture I got.

Back outside Cathy paddles away as she and I catch up with the other guys who were ...

 ... checking out this cave.

A sizeable water fall attracted our attention and despite the cold we grabbed a quick run through the falls.

Just over an hour later we were at the entrance to Bay Bulls harbour and into the open.  The splendors of Baboul Rocks were just around the corner.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Are you kidding me?

As I looked out my back window Wednesday morning with the falling snow coming to and end, I wondered about our evening practice in St. Philips.  We had 13 cms of snow on the ground and in fact had more snow in April than we had all winter.

Luckily the sun came out around noon and the air warmed to 8C.  It looked like the evening practice would be on anyway.

When we arrived at St. Philips there was no evidence of snow on the ground.  There's usually less snow at sea level anyway but if there was any it had melted during the day.

Maybe the earlier weather affected the turnout; there were only five of us.  It was calm so we just went for a paddle to Portugal Cove mostly doing a bit of rock hopping.

Shane in his new Karma RG.

Gary entering Sailing Point.

Terry emerges after waiting for the water to settle.

At 8:00 the sun sank behind Bell Island and we were back at St. Philips.

We had a lovely evening but I am left to ask, when will spring arrive?

P. S.

Subsequent to posting these few pix, Shane who had a camera going on his RG, uploaded a video of some of the action.  Some nice action and great music to accompany.  Here's the link.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Kellys Island - finishing up

Having circumnavigated Kellys Island we set off for Little Bell Island three kms away where we decided we would stop for lunch.

Thirty minutes later we were alongside the yellow lichen covered rocks of Little Bell Island and ...

... taking out for a well deserved lunch.

I picked up Fred Flintstone's smartphone but found it didn't take very good pictures of the mainland in the distance.

Another crossing of 3.5 kms into a strengthening wind we arrived at the mouth of Manuals River and a further 3 kms along the shore of glacial till we were back at Long Pond to take out.

Thanks to Cathy, Clyde, Dean, Gary and Hazen for sharing the day and the coffee and chat after.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Kellys Island - transition to mountaineering

Almost around Kellys Island we stopped on Easton's Beach to have a look around.  The hill above the beach is 50 meter high and still had a bit of snow on it from the previous Wednesday's snow storm.  We managed to find the fixed ropes the sherpas *lol* had fixed for our ascent.  We didn't have ascenders (tongue in cheek) for the rope so we ascended hand over hand until ...

... we were on the plateau to the summit.

From above our kayaks on the beach looked like ants had paddled them here.

We had a fine view.

A mountain is not climbed successfully unless you get down.  You can't make this stuff up!

Back in our kayaks we continued along the sharply defined sedimentary rocks of the Bell Island Group.  At this point Cathy asked about the obvious difference in the colour of the rocks.  I thought they (the lighter grey) were turbidites, sediments that were unconsolidated on the continental shelf before being sent by an earthquake into the abysmal depths in a turbidity current to settle out of the muddy cloud.  The darker shales possibly were deposited between episodes.

Then I recalled the Bell Island Group rocks on Bell Island contain worm castings and trilobite tracks which only form in shallower waters.  In any case, the darker shales indicate deposition in deeper waters.  One thing we do know is that these rocks formed between 488 and 444 million years ago when this was still part of super continent of Gondwana (today's Africa, South America, Antarctica, Australia, and the peninsula of India) and was appended to Laurentia (North America) about 425 million years ago.

Soon we were near where we reached landfall on the island.  From there we decided to paddle to Little Bell Island where we would have lunch before heading back to Long Pond.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Return to Kellys Isand

Almost all traces of Wednesday's snow storm had disappeared when we arrived at Long Pond for a paddle out to Kellys Island in Conception Bay.  There were some patches of snow but it seemed the low laying areas at sea level escaped most of the accumulation.  In any case, Sunday morning was a beautiful day for a paddle and Wednesday was long forgotten.

Under blue skies and on blue water we paddled out to the exit of Long Pond harbour ...

... to begin the three km crossing to Kellys Island.

The water was oily calm for the crossing as the land faded away on all sides.

Thirty minutes later we were at the island.

Dean asked Cathy to pick a direction for the paddle around.  We went counterclockwise and were soon ...

... under the massive cliffs of Ordovician age sediments.

Kelly Island is not a big island being only 2 km long but hugging the shoreline through Martins Cove and Big Cove ran the distance up to 4 kms.  At Martins Cove we again said we should come here for a one night camp trip.  Maybe it will happen this year.

The north side of the island was cast in shadows and now around the tip and on the south side we revelled in the brilliant and warm sunshine.

There's something fascinating about rocks.  They are the open textbook of the history of the Earth.  Here darker shales cap thick beds of sandstone telling us something about the environment in which the sediments were deposited.  Cathy would also note the contrasting rocks.

It was such a beautiful day and we were in no hurry so we got out for a stretch on this cobble, fibreglass unfriendly beach and went "mountain" climbing to catch a bird's eye view of the bay all around us.