Thursday, July 24, 2014

Isolated and loving it

Up to day 3 of our Fortune Bay trip we had beautiful sunshine.  On day 4, when we awoke in Doctors Harbour to a foggy day.  Foggy, but no rain and not at all unpleasant.

We had breakfast, broke camp and backtracked a bit to begin the day with a tour of Belle Harbour.  Dean looks down into the lower reaches as fog lingers on the hill tops.

Hazen looked happier as we turned and were almost out of Belle Harbour.  Somewhere between Doctors Harbour and the entrance to Belle Harbour he had lost his glasses.  It was the first time I ever heard him swear.  He back tracked and luck was on his side when he spotted them floating on the attached glasses float.  So far the day was off to a good start.

Near Doctors Harbour we stopped to admire this tall waterfall tumbling to the sea.

This part of the trip was in many ways the most scenic even in the fog as the cliffs towered 250 feet over our heads.  In the distance Isle a Glu is just a slight bump on the horizon.

Dean paddles between a rock and a hard place.

The theme for the day was waterfalls as we pass another descending out of the fog.

And another waterfall in an un-named small cove I will call "Watering Hole Cove" because it was where we ...

... stopped to filter and replenish our drinking water.  The water is probably safe to drink without filtering but so far from medical attention wasn't worth the risk especially as we had the equipment.

Again, in Little Bay, water falls off of the high hills.

The shore along Little Bay took us to a small river with what looked like a large marshmellow.

After stopping in Burdocks Cove to cook up lunch we continued on in the fog which seemed to thicken as we reached Rencontre East.

We picked a campsite on Rencontre Island, set up our tents and then set off across the water to check out the community of Rencontre East, whose motto was "Isolated and loving it".  Its only connection to the outside world is by ferry boat.  Or, kayak if so inclined!

The day was foggy but not at all wet.  A most enjoyable 25 km paddle from Doctors Harbour.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Is there a doctor in the harbour?

We got up Monday morning, the third day of our Fortune Bay trip, to a rising tide which meant we would not have a long carry to put the kayaks in the water.  Again, for the third day, we were lucky with the weather.

We left Parsons Cove and made our way into South East Bight hugging the shoreline all the way.

We checked out this waterfall in East Bay.

We rounded a headland into Magrath Cove which gave us a good look down into the expanse of Fortune Bay.

There's an aquaculture operation in Back Lally Cove.  When we arrived they were harvesting fully grown salmon from one of the cages.  We stopped to talk to the harvesters who told us the salmon grow to market size in 18 months and even offered us one.  We regretted after not taking the 2 foot long, fat bellied salmon.

 After having lunch in Back Lally Cove we paddled through the channel with Lally Cove Island on the right and the funneling wind driving us through on surfable waves.  Without paddling I was doing 4 - 5 kms/hr.

 We entered into Lally Cove with its typical wharves and stages.

Approaching Potato Point.  Doctors Harbour., our destination for the day, lay just beyond.

Dean checks out a uniquely coloured dyke intruded into the host country rock.  These rocks are volcanic extruded by under water volcanoes and the dyke intruded during a later event.

One of few sea stacks we saw on our journey.

We arrived in Doctors Harbour after a 25 km paddle.  Doctors Harbour is only 8 kms from Parsons Cove as the crow flies but hugging the shoreline gave us the additional distance.

An aerial view of Doctors Harbour from Google Earth.  Our research in January made this a desirable stop and camp site.

A field of Blue Flag Iris lay behind our tents.

I climbed a hill to get a bird's eye perspective of our location.

An abundance of driftwood meant ...

... the mother of all fires.  I coaxed Hazen to stand by the fire for perspective.  He's over 6 feet tall!

Dean stepped on a nail that luckily only punctured the sock in his drysuit but not the skin.  We were fortunate with that because there was no doctor in Doctors Harbour.  I doubt there ever was so I am curious how it got its name.  That thought didn't linger long though as I fell asleep to the gentle lapping of the sea, steps from my tent.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Day 2 ends with a duck

Day 2 of our Fortune Bay trip began with a paddle up the Bay du Nord River and a walk about the resettled community of Bay du Nord before carrying on to East Bay where we intended to camp for the night.

By 12:00 we had already clocked 15 kms and we were ready for lunch.  We stopped on this small beach near East Bay Head where there was just enough room to set up our stoves.

We had been paddling along cliffs of conglomerate and at our lunch beach I had a chance for a closer inspection.  A cobble of granite in the conglomerate caught my attention.  It was interesting because it must have had a long journeyed history before ending up in the mix.

Granite is an intrusive igneous rock that cools over a long period in the earth kilometers underground.  As it cools slowly, identifiable crystals are formed.  Millions of years of erosion unroofed the granite intrusion to free it and deposit this rounded cobble in with the other bits in the matrix.  Now you know!

After a swing through the entrance to North West Brook in East Bay (sheesh!) we made our way to Parsons Cove.

We saw numerous eagles and I finally got one to sit still while I took it picture.  Click to enlarge and its at about 1:00 from the center of the snap.

Near North East Brook in Parsons Cove we filtered some water but before Hazen decided to take a cool down.

We looked around a bit to pick the best campsite.  Parsons Cove is very shallow and with the low tide we were a long way from tenting ground.  We carried the kayaks after taking most of the heavy stuff out.

My dome tent turned into an "A-frame".  With no rain in the forecast I left the repair to the next day.

All the while we were setting up camp a duck was impaled on a stick and suspended over the fire to sweat it out.

As darkness fell we had a few swallies by the fire right on the edge of the high tide mark.

Its not a fire until enough wood is added *lol*

As day 2 drew to a close the moon rose in the night sky casting moonbeams on the darkened sea.  It was a great day with lots of interest along our 27 kms paddled to get here.

How we got there.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Rigour mortis in Bay du Nord

After paddling back down the Bay du Nord River we were again on salt water.  We stopped to have a look around the resettled community of Bay du Nord.

Hundreds of isolated communities have been abandoned and the people resettled in larger, accessible towns.  Bay du Nord is the latest such community we visited.

All that is left of the former community of almost 200 people are concrete foundations and rotting wood.

The community had existed since before 1846 because the census of 1921 showed a Mary Farrell born there in that year.

The community crouched on a rocky, steep hillside.  We commented on how hard the struggle for survival must have been in a location that offered little in terms of cultivatable land.

The census of 1921 showed the population was 188 souls living in 39 households.  Some of the more numerous family names included Gould, Farrell, Rose, Davadage, Fitzpatrick, Hilliard and Lundrigan.

The church was usually situated on the most commanding site of the community.  The entire population contributed to the construction which must have siphoned off valuable time and resources needed to survive.

One James Cross had a family of nine children born every two years apart. 

If you look closely you may see the congregation walking up the steps to the church every Sunday morning

In 1935 there were still 189 of them.  The family listed as Davadage in 1921 was then listed as Davidge and James Cross with his wife and nine children had moved out of Bay du Nord.  Possibly necessitated by the demands of providing for such a large family in such a demanding location.

After climbing up the 10 steps parishoners stepped onto a landing before turning left and up two steps and into the church.  Where nourishment may have been slim for the body, spiritual nourishment was well nurtured.

The census for 1945 still listed 194 inhabitants.  I have no idea when the community was resettled but likely in the mid-60's as many of the others were.

I felt a certain amount of reverence for the people who lived here.  It must have taken a great deal of courage fraught with uncertainty.  We were here on a beautiful sunny day.  It would not have looked so inviting in the dead of winter.

We got back in our kayaks to make our way to Parsons Cove and our campsite for the night.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Up the river, with paddle

Saturday we took the ferry from Bay L'Argent to Pools Cove, paddled the short distance to Lake Cove and got ourselves in position to begin the trip proper.

We awoke Sunday on day 2 in the shadow of the hill under which we were camped but the sun lit up the hills beyond.  We broke camp and were on our way ...

... to explore the Bay du Nord River.  When we conceived the trip back in January Hazen wanted to paddle up this river that extends inland for miles and miles.  He had been here some 30 years ago so maybe there was a bit of nostalgia involved.  I know I feel that way.

As we made our way up the river I spotted a blue and gold plaque fixed to a rock along the shore.  I went over and with some difficulty snapped a picture because it was well above my head.  It indicated the river was designated a "Canadian heritage river" in 2005.  Its part of the Day du Nord Wilderness and Ecological Reserve.

About two and a half kilometers up the river it narrows and then opens up again and we were greeted by this placid scene.

Five and a half kilometers up we came to a set of falls that blocked our progress but it goes on for well over 20 kilometers.

Three people were busy fly fishing for salmon, without success said the angler.

I had to walk the kayak up the last stretch to get to the deeper water of the pool below the falls but managed to float back downstream avoiding rocks in the river.  When we got back out to the mouth of the river we had paddled or coasted 11 kilometers and at 11:00 am the day was just starting.

One objective of the trip had been met.

The breadcrumbs (in blue) for the river paddle.