Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tickles - some individuals

Fellow Board member Marie. Marie said "So this is what all the Board meetings are for". That's right, its all about paddling. Peter led us out from Colinet to Tickles for an overnight kayak camping trip. I volunteered to act as sweep so most of the pictures I was able to take were from the back of the pack.

Nadine and super chef Cyril as we're leaving Colinet. I'm not sure if Nadine is smiling because she's on the water or she's thinking ahead to the gormet meal waiting in Tickles. Salmon with rice, gingered turnip, peas and carrots. Now that's what I call roughing it!

Jackie laat zien hoe het gedaan moeten worden. In Dutch for our common ancestry. In English, Jackie shows how its supposed to be done - putting the boat on edge that is.

Hazen paddling his Valley Aquanaut

Jackie and Herd in the frothy waters below the falls on Rocky River.

At work in Tickles

Some of us had more trouble getting our homesteads set up than others. Herb and Sue found out when they took their tent out that the tent poles were missing. Herb made it work with this ingenious improvisation. Apparently they had loaned the tent out and it came back without the poles.

The laundry hung out to dry! Chores have to be done even away from home.

We gathered a lot of wood from up and down the beach to use for our camp fire while Barb cooks supper.

Peter taking some of the larger logs from the woodpile to use as seating for around the fire.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Kayak camping in Tickles

On Saturday a group of Kayak Newfoundland and Labrador members met at Colinet in St. Mary's Bay to do a kayak camping trip at the abandoned community of Tickles. It was billed on the club's website as an introduction to kayak camping and a number of paddlers took advantage. The weather in St. John's was not great but we knew the weather in St. Mary's Bay is often better when there's a northeasterly wind. Tripleader Peter made a good call and when we got to Colinet the weather was beautiful while we had left the city in fog and drizzle.

13 singles and a double were loaded with all the camping necessities and shortly after 3:00 we were ready to put-in.

After a short 3.5 km paddle from Colinet down Colinet Harbour we ducked inside into Pinchgut Tickle.

There was a light breeze blowing from the northeast so we crossed over over the Tickle to get shelter from the mainland shore.

Tents set up at Tickles Point. Tickles is an abandoned community at the end of Pinchgut Tickle. One old house remains standing but its quickly returning to nature. There's still a grassy meadow to camp on and when we arrived Tickles lived again. There was a flurry of activity as people set-up tents and prepared supper.

After setting up the tents and eating Dean, Hazen, myself and others collected firewood for a campfire and to heat the rocks for our outdoor sauna. We needed a good fire to heat the rocks to place in the sauna. There's something about a fire that keeps you spelbound as the happy campers here were. The sauna is under the blue tarp behind the firepit.

Around ten we had the rocks glowing red-hot and we moved them into the sauna along with a bucket of seawater to pour on the rocks for steam. Peter. Dean, Barb. Hazen, Marie and I got in and the heat was unbelieveable. After about 30 minutes we ran into the cold waters of Pinchgut Tickle to cool off. Splashing around in the water, the sparks of bioluminescence danced on the water.

After breaking camp on Sunday morning we paddled towards Pinchgut Point with the plan to make a short 2 km crossing of Colinet Harbour to John's Pond if the conditions were good. When we got to the Point conditions were good with light tailing wind and everyone was comfortable with making the crossing.

After leaving John's Pond we paddled down the shore of Colinet Harbour to stop for lunch at Half Island and then towards the Rocky River estuary where we were going to check out the falls. I don't know what makes a "half" island but I believe its part of the mainland at low tide and its an island at low tide. Here trip leader Peter paddles along with Nadine. What luck we had with the weather, another beautiful sunny day

After paddling down the coast from John's Pond we paddled up Rocky River to have a look at the falls. I had been here before so I knew what to expect. Others hadn't and I could sense the anticipation as we paddled around the bend.

The must see falls under Rocky River bridge. This was the last stop of our trip before paddling back to Colinet to unload our boats and the 80 km drive home. All good things have to come to an end. When we got back to Colinet it was hard to believe that we had only put-in the day before because we had done so much in 1 day. It was a great experience with a great bunch of KNL members, thanks everyone!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Cowboy scramble

Thursday evening we were back at St. Philips for kayak practice. Again, we didn't get wind or waves; it was flat calm and warm.

There are all sorts of self-rescues. Peter can do them all: cowboy scramble (back deck scramble-on), wet re-entry and roll and paddle float rescue and various versions thereof.

The back deck scramble on rescue is a good thing to practice and I do. But I sometimes wonder how practical it is. Its one thing to do it in calm conditions but quite another in wind and waves.

The first choice self-rescue in most kayak rescue books is the wet re-entry and roll. If you have that rescue then that's probably the first option. I think the back deck scramble-on is still a good thing to practice but more from the point of improving sense of balance.

If you're doing a self-rescue then you're make a number of mistakes already - the first is paddling alone in conditions without the necessary skills.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cape Broyle - more pics

Stan checking out the small waterfall in Shore's Cove. The falls flow out of Horse Chops Pond; the people along the Southern Shore have a way with picking interesting names for different features.

Hard to believe that rocks can be bent but there's a small syncline in the rocks of the Conception Group that consist mainly of siltstones and sandstones. The rocks are thickly bedded and the bend around a central axis is clear to see.

Dick checking out a cave. These caves weren't very deep but just having all that rock hanging over your head can be a bit un-nerving. There's always a chance a rock could come down on your head.

Here Jamie takes a shower while Dave, Dick and myself wait a turn. It wasn't a hot day but a cooling shower was welcome and in the absence of a shower I kept myself cool by dipping my cap in the water from time to time. Helps if you enlarge the picture and you'll see the water falling on Jamie.

There were a few opportunities to rock hop and and paddle around sea stacks.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cape Broyle Fathers' Day paddle

On the beach at Cape Broyle getting ready to do Kayak Newfoundland and Labrador's Fathers' Day paddle, the first club paddle for the year. This is an annual paddle that's on KNL's Calendar of Events hosted by Alex every year. This year there were 22 paddlers who put-in at Cape Broyle. Neil and Ysabelle put-in in Brigus South and met us later at Lance Cove where we stopped for lunch for a total of 24. Alex has a reputation for hosting interesting paddles that usually includes a tow or a rescue. Not so this year as winds were light SE and a calm sea state, perfect for a level I paddle.

KNL paddles are what we call shared adventures where novice paddlers can get a paddle in the company and support of paddlers with a wider range of experience. KNL paddles are not guided and that sometimes can result in words when there's an incident.

Just a few pictures hitting on the usual scenic spots in Cape Broyle.

We paddled down the southside of the harbour and made our first stop at the falls. Its only a small cove so when 22 paddlers want a look we have to take turns. Its been a dry spring here this year and I wasn't expecting much of a show but it didn't disappoint.

Dick taking his turn at the falls.

After stopping at the waterfalls we carried on up the south side of Cape Broyle harbour until we reached the narrows where we crossed to the north side. This is standard procedure on this paddle.

My good friend Stan going through the field of view. I really enjoy paddling with Stan because we both like to paddle and take pictures. When he sees a picture opportunity I stop and we carry on after and vice versa. Sometimes when I paddle with people who don't stop to take pictures I find myself always playing catch up after I stop to take a picture. That wasn't the case today and I didn't see as much of Stan as normal because he was a designated sweep and he stuck to his task of keeping and eye on his charges.

Dave in the sea-arch. There was no passage through here on the outward paddle because of low water. On the way back the water had risen and a bunch of people were able to get through but it did require care or you were leaving paint on the rocks.

The beach at Lance Cove. This is the usual turnaround point for the Cape Broyle paddle where we stop for lunch.

Julie and Sue enjoying the day. Last year Sue participated in a rescue on the same paddle but there was no need this year; the conditions were perfect.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Another fruitful evening of kayak practice at St. Philips. Last evening 8 paddlers showed up for Thursday evening practice sessions. The idea is to practice paddling and rescues in realistic conditions. The hope is for wind and waves but we take whatever Mother Nature gives us. Even though it was pretty benign, as there wasn't much wind and very little active water, there's always something to practice in even these conditions. For me it was off-side rolls. Others just paddled around.

Here the kayak catches the setting sun back on the car, basking so to speak in the afterglow.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Kellys Island evening paddle

Monday evening, little wind, longer evenings ... a perfect evening for a paddle out to Kellys Island in Conception Bay. Dave joined me at the put-in in Long Pond for the paddle. We weren't alone on Conception Bay on our way over to Kellys Island. Here a Penney Ugland tanker waits its next assignment as its riding high and empty.

There was a bit of wind lop from where I don't know. There was very little wind, at most 10 km/hr.

There was a good swell (totally unexpected) on the south side of the island where the water was shoal.

Dave showing good form in planting the paddle in prep for a forward stroke. I've been reading Doug Alderson's book on Sea Kayak Strokes too much! I'm starting to sound like Doug.

And, we're round.

The orange and green reflected from the tanker on the water was striking.

Dwarfed by the Penney Ugland oil tanker, but we're both orange.

Blue line

Every year icebergs drift down to Newfoundland shores from Greenland. Last week Stan and myself paddled by this one in Bay Bulls. Its the first time I've seen a blue line like this in an iceberg and there was some question how it formed.

Icebergs are white because air gets trapped in the snow as it falls and remains trapped as the snow compresses under weight to form into ice. The air bubbles caught in the ice reflect white light.

I thought the blue line was formed by icewater refreezing in a fissure in the ice. The icewater contains less air like ice that forms on a pond or lake, which you can see through if its not too thick. Like an icecube. In any case it was pretty cool - literally and figuratively.

Tony :-)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

To ballast or not

Malcolm mailed me earlier in the week with a comment that I could benefit by ballasting my Nordkapp. He told me Doug Alderson felt all kayaks should be ballasted. Makes sense, as people of different body weights are paddling the same model of kayak.

At 65 kg, I don't carry enough weight to properly nest the boat in the water so some ballast is required to optomize handling. More weight - more stability, but also more water displacement and consquently more work to move the boat forward.

Its a balancing act and I think it depends on the individual. My friend Stan outweighs me by 25 kg and puts another 25 kg of gear in his Nordkapp. It sits considerably lower in the water. But if I added 50 kgs I'd be working way too hard just to keep up with him. The right amount seems to be somewhere about 10 kg for me. Now all I have to do is get the lead ballast and make up something to secure it behind the seat.

Thanks for your help with this Malcolm (above paddling with his new wing blade) and I always appreciate your advice on all things paddling.

Tony :-)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bergin' in Bay Bulls

Last Saturday Stan and myself paddled around Bay Bulls harbour when this berg was grounded. Its always a thrill to paddle close to a berg but also a risk. Its a gamble. I've paddled close but only just to paddle by and I don't linger close by too long. A group of paddlers were here a few hours after us and told us the berg calved a piece of ice the size of a city bus so in a sense, we dodged a bullet.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Theory of codes

Kayakers to the rescue. Looks like the fisher- man is helping us but looks are deceiving in this case.

There are codes for everything. Building codes, code of ethics for professionals and, aptly today a code for conduct at sea. As we paddled out of Bay Bulls this morning we came upon two fishermen whose boat was disabled by rope around the propeller. We stopped to ask if we could help but they only asked us to ask a zodiac, out by the berg we were going to, to come in and give him a tow. When we got out to the berg the guy in the zodiac took off so we had to double back to see what we could do again. Stan tried a call on the VHF radio and then a try with the cell phone. Eventually, someone did come out from Bay Bulls to give a tow and we went on our way.

Stan and myself were amazed that these guys weren't wearing PFDs and didn't have anyway to communicate with land if they had to. Not even a spare set of oars. We were in much smaller boats but much better prepared.

In any case, we did what we could and there's always something that can be done to help. Stan wondered if we could have towed him ourselves. I didn't think so but we lived up to the code of conduct at sea and we resumed our paddle.

Tony :-)

Stan paddling past the iceberg in Bay Bulls. He's further away from the berg than he looks. The berg has been around for a while and has been melting so its a candidate to roll. This was our third berg for the year, will we bag anymore?

Stan in happy salute to being on the water.

Making our way along the south side of Bay Bulls with the iceberg in the distance.

Stan exploring the south side of Bay Bulls. There were a lot of sea gulls perched on the cliffs behind him.

Stan paddling at South Head, the headland between Bay Bulls and Witless Bay. The rocks here are mainly red sandstones of the Signal Hill Formation. These rocks outcrop at Signal Hill (couldn't see that coming huh?) the type location for the Formation.

Stan at South Head with numerous sea stacks that makes it very scenic and a great place to paddle through.

Sea stack at South Head, a safe refuge always for birds of any species.