Sunday, February 21, 2010

A winter respite

The group leaving O'Donnells

We picked St. Mary's Bay for a paddle on Saturday, mainly due to the forecasted winds. Stan also had in mind to possibly paddle a bit up the Salmonier River. So, we met at a gas station in Donovans where we carpooled for our 45 minute drive.

When we reached St. Catherine's at the the head of Salmonier Arm we were thwarted by the entire Arm being frozen over. We drove southwest for 10 kms and it was still frozen. The fresh water flowing out onto the seawater was frozen solid.

After a few stops we decided to just keep driving until the water was no longer frozen. We put in at O'Donnells and paddled SW to Admirals Beach.

There's not much snow left here

Where Salmonier Arm was frozen from St. Catherine's down to St. Joseph's there wasn't much of a sign here that it was still winter. There wasn't any snow in between the trees, only just patches here and there along the shore.

Rock formation

There are some places where we paddle that aren't very dramatic with high imposing cliffs. That is the case along the eastern shoreline of St Mary's Bay. Its a bit of a challenge then to compose shots that have some interest. I saw this rock formation up ahead, put on a burst of speed and laid in wait for Stan to paddle by.

Not all rocks were visable

The coastline along this part of St. Mary's Bay is not very exciting but it fit the bill for the day as it gave us protection from the forecasted 15 - 20 knot SE winds. There were a few rocks to paddle around but some were hidden just below the surface. They could be spotted by looking for the seaweed that grows on top floating on the water.

Great Colinet Island in the background

Sean had his newly minted Greenland paddle out for a spin today. He hollowed out the loom to make it ultralight so wanted to try it out for strength. Its a sweet looking paddle with white tinted epoxy tips that make it look like an authentic bone tipped GP.

We carried on a bit further to Admiral's Beach where we crossed over to Great Colinet Island just above the stern of Sean's boat.

Stopped for lunch

9 kms down the eastern shore from O'Donnells is the community of Admiral's Beach. The community is named for the custom, dating back to the 15 and 16 hundreds, whereby the first sailing captain in port for the summer fishing season was the "admiral" or authority in the community.

We remarked how mild it was for this time of year as we didn't need to wear gloves while stopped for lunch.

Where once they stood

After we arrived at Admiral's Beach we looked at each other as if to say "what now"? I suggested a crossing to Great Colinet Island in the middle of St. Mary's Bay. Its only a couple of kilometres across and we made landfall after a 15 minute paddle. This site was where the resettled (repeating theme in Newfoundland) community of Reginaville stood. We didn't stay long as the wind threatened to pick up so we headed back and took our time paddling back to O'Donnells for a paddling distance of almost 25 kms.

Note to self: This would be a great camping spot enroute to a full crossing of St. Mary's Bay and onwards to Cape St. Mary's seabird sanctuary.


  1. Fun to read your and Stan's trip report........

  2. Great stuff Tony. Thans for the paddle.


  3. Thanks Cowboygrrl, its fun to be able to share the pictures with fellow kayakers. Thank you also Stsn for both the paddle and our usual chat where we solve all the world's problems!

    Tony :-)