Sunday, May 2, 2010

In the bay of bull birds

Stan paddles over HMS Sapphire site?

The winds today determined our paddle destination would be Bay Bulls. A paddle up the north side out of the northerly winds, across the harbour mouth to the south side and back is a paddle of about 14 kms. We'd add to that but more on that later.

A little history?

Bay Bulls is thought to be named after a bird known locally as a "bull bird". One of the first inhabitants was a dude named Thomas Cruise in 1635 - imagine! Must be a distant relative. Don't know if he was around in 1696 when the French raided the community. The English and French regularly raided each others settlements in those early years of colonization. The English scuttled the ship HMS Sapphire to prevent her falling into their hands and many years later, when excavated, her goods were sent to the Newfoundland Museum for safekeeping. I've seen some really cool wine bottles in the collection.

Leaving Bay Bulls, the community

The start of our paddle, when everyone is full of vim and vigour and a feeling of anticipation. I know Stan was anyway after not being able to get out for 2 weeks.

Leaving civilization

I'm sure the citizens of Bay Bulls find the community a very nice place to live but I'm not fond of paddling past houses crowding the shoreline. When we got past Bread and Cheese Point we saw less of civilization and more of the natural environment. There's something about that ... its like leaving all the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the endless "honey-do" list and stepping into unobstructed freedom. Like that pilot said "let slip the surly bonds of earth".

Into every nook and cranny

We hand-railed along the coast and savoured every nook and cranny. Here Dean leads Robert and myself.

Starting to feel the swell

We rounded Cape Boone and entered Useless Bay just before Columbine Point and North Head. Beyond North Head lay the open North Atlantic where the swell was running between 2M and occasionally 3 which we began to feel as we got closer. We poked our heads out a bit past North Head before crossing to the south.

A bit harsh I thought calling this place Useless Bay. We found it anything but and quite an interesting paddle.

Nordkapps lead the way

We crossed over from the north side to the south side of Bay Bulls in the following seas. I hardly paddled and yet I found myself putting some distance into most of the pack. Stan and Ralph, also in Nordkapps were with me. I'm no expert but I find the Nordkapp a boat apart in active water. I don't know what else compares and I suppose it doesn't matter as I'm a satisfied customer.

Incidentally, today marks the 1 year anniversary of Stan and I picking up our Nordkapps.

Checking for goodies

After paddling back into Bay Bulls we stopped on a small beach away from the town for a bite to eat. Some had store bought submarine sandwiches and other goodies. I had my usual homemade sandwich on bread I baked. Got to start thinking outside of the box and do a little prep for a more exciting lunch.

After lunch Stan and Robert headed home, the 5 remaining paddled back out the south side to bump the total distance to 20 kms.

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