Saturday, April 13, 2019

The best-laid plans of mice and men did go awry

Brian, Clyde, Dean, Sue and I met at the Irving gas station on the Trans Canada Highway at 9:00 to begin our ride to Avondale to begin our paddle.  Dean remarked he wasn't sure if he still knew how to paddle as its been a while.  The next thing he said was he was sure he didn't know ... he had left his drysuit at home!  As Clyde rode with Dean they left to pick it up and paddle closer to home.

Three kayaks remained and Brian, Sue and I put into the cove that was skimmed over with 2 - 3 mm thick ice

Crunching through the ice we were in calm water and making our way along ...

... the shore towards Salmon Cove Point.

Six kilometers later we were at Salmon Cove Point where the calm of the inner harbour turned choppy and swell crashing on the point.

We rounded the point, left Gasters Bay and checked the sea surging through the slot at the point from the other side.  It was a no go zone today.

We carried on into Harbour Main under imposing sedimentary rocks of the Conception Group where we ...

... stopped for a break at the local swimming hole before retracing our way to Salmon Cove Point.  Around the point and facing southwest we were met by a 20 km/hr breeze all 6 kilometers back to the take out in Avondale.

Dean and Clyde did paddle at St. Philips while Brian, Sue and I also had a great day on the water.

Monday, April 1, 2019

First paddle of spring

A week into spring and we had our first paddle.  It was warm, 10 C, but the vestiges of winter clung on along the shore.  I joined Brian, Cathy, Gary and Sue for a ease back paddle to Topsail Beach.

Brian said he had not paddled since last November.  None of us have paddled much this winter as the appeal of winter paddling seems to have worn off.  I've only had two winter paddles this year whereas several years ago Dean and myself paddle pretty much every weekend.

Cathy paddling around the Rock of Ages.

We were off to Topsail Beach and the return would net us 13 kms.  That was a comfortable paddle to get us going for the rest of the year.

The water was still cold but the air was spring like.  Usually this time of year I'm still wearing my neoprene mitts as protection from the cold.  On this day they weren't needed as the sun kept my black paddle shaft nice and warm.

The closer we got to Topsail Beach the breeze increased slightly as we picked our way around and through the rocks and ...

... checked icefalls along the way.

Hoards of people were at Topsail Beach also taking advantage of the weather.  We landed but on the other side of the stream running out of the pond behind the beach so we had that part to ourselves.  Nestled behind a cobble bank shielding us from the slight breeze some of us snacked before making the return journey and completing our first spring paddle.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Bluebird day return

Well, its been such a windy winter that we haven't been able to get out since the end of January.  So I've had to get my outdoor fix by ...

... Snowbiking on my fatbike.  Today was a bluebird day and I finally managed to get out for a short paddle.  I arrived at the put-in with lots of ice ...

... to hinder my launch.  To my surprise my friend Hazen was across the boat basin and got a shot of me getting ready to launch.

Gobs of ice clung to the wharf works and after a quick chat with Hazen ...

... I was on my way, captured by Hazen.

Lots of icicles!  It was just below freezing.

Ice on the rocks testifies to the strength of the winds.  Spray from the waves were pushed high by the wind while the rising and falling tide nibbled at the ice at the water line.

Capped like a mushroom!

Squinting into the sun on the return through my favourite channel at Sailing Point and back at the take-out ...

... it was time to wash the salt off in the fresh river water.  Refreshing!

Spring is on the horizon and with some luck we'll have better luck with the wind.  I live in hope!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Return of Gullfeather

In January 2011 Stan and I took winter kayaking to a new level.  Granted others had paddled winter time but not consistently over the whole winter.  For a variety of reasons we hadn't paddled together for quite some time.  Today, we re-established the connection.  We, along with Cathy and Dean put-in at Tors Cove.

We decided to make for Great Island on our way to the resettled community of LaManche.  Cathy in foreground, so to speak, and Stan, in his kayak "Gullfeather".  It was an open water crossing to the island directly over their heads

It was cloudy and -5C with the wind chill but I believe it was colder than the weather forecast promised.  The sun tried its best to penetrate the clouds but still brightened up the sea ahead.

Arriving at Great Island.

Some recent warm weather and rain took away a lot of the snow but not the cascade of ice.


We decided to head for the mainland shore but not before Cathy suggested we should paddle around this seastack and rocks.  Turns out it was a great idea and a first time through we had not noticed before.  A first time is always memorable.

Back on the main shoreline we poked into this deep cleft in the cliffs.

We reached the resettled community of LaManche and its signature suspension bridge of the East Coat Trail.  A quick stop to answer the call of nature and a quick snack and we were on our way back to Tors Cove.

It was cold, just sayin'!  We were chilled and our hands were cold but they soon warmed up wrapped around a bowl of hot chili or, in my case, a bowl of spicy Thai soup.  And a hot covfefe of course!  It was an awesome day with a little chop.  Thanks to Cathy, Dean and Stan.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

The fall from hell

All of November was nothing but wind that has kept us on shore.  Finally, today, December 2nd the weather cooperated to let us get on the water.  Seven of us met for a short paddle.

Winds were light but swell from the exiting low pressure persisted to give us a bit of action.  Here Dean waits for his opportunity to get through the G-Spot.

Two dots on the horizon evaluate the situation before passing through the gap.

Shane leading the way.

I can't remember the last time I paddled with Dean but I was happy to see him today.  Several years ago we paddled every weekend throughout the winter.

Many burley men weren't out paddling today but the diminutive Sue was.  Never judge a book by its size!

Paddling by impressive cliffs.

Nearing the turn around point.

Three weeks left in the fall season.  After the previous nine  think we've earned a reprieve and are due an easy ride into winter.  We live in hope!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

A question of balance

Its been over two months since I was in my kayak.  There are a variety of reasons too complicated for a short explanation.  Nevertheless, I hope today is the first day of my recovery.  I sent out some emails but I only got two affirmative replies.  Cathy, Shane and I had a short paddle before the southerly gales set in.

Its not only me that has suffered a lapse in paddling.  Dean, the kayakoholic, has directed his energies to hiking.  Clyde went biking today.  Brian, other stuff.  For many years my adventures were centered exclusively on kayaking.  That changed last year when I ...

... bought a fatbike.  In the current calendar year I've been on the bike more than I've been in the kayak.  I also recently completed a three day hike completing the Long Range Traverse the northern extension of the Appalachian Mountains.  Several years ago Dean and I paddled 12 straight weekends from New Years Day onward.  Most years I clocked over 1,000 kms.  But ...

... this year I'll be woefully short of past years targets.  That's not necessarily a bad thing if the lesson of achieving a level of balance is learned.  Kayaking will always be a part of my adventure life but biking and hiking will add greater balance.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

I've looked at stacks from both sides now

On Saturday Cathy, Gary and I put in at Point LaHaye to paddle the shore of St. Mary's Bay down to St. Vincent's.  We made it into the Gut and pitched our tents just off of the beach but out of sight of houses in the community.

Sunday morning it was time to head back to Point LaHaye and check out the sea stacks from the other side.  It was the same coast but any coast looks different from either direction.  We'd find out we missed a few features paddling south on the previous day.

We got out through surging waves at the mouth of the Gut safely and were pushed by an easterly breeze towards Cape English where ...

... massive slabs of steeply dipping rock dominated the headland.

Around the Cape we were back into the rocks and sea stacks.  Whereas Saturday we had a little swell, Sunday there was none and we were out of the easterly breeze.

On the paddle south this cave wasn't obvious or ...

... this one that had to be explored.

Fourteen kilometers from St. Vincent's we stopped again on this beach to stretch our legs 8 kms from the end of the paddle.

There are fewer sea stacks along the last 8 kms but still lots of rocks ...

... and passages to paddle through.

Exiting the last passage we made a straight beeline for the beach at Point LaHaye and the end of our two day adventure.

We three agreed it was the most scenic stretch of coast we've paddled.  Its not around the corner as its an hour and a half drive from home and its open exposure makes it dependent on the right winds and swell so it doesn't get much kayak traffic.  Any planning should carefully consider the weather forecast and an assessment of skill in case of a change in the weather while on the water before taking on this paddle.

Gary suggested the next time we do this we should paddle from St. Vincent's and camp at Point LaHaye.

A good helping of fish & chips topped off the weekend with a whole bunch of new memories formed with good friends.