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Sunday, July 11, 2010

La Plante Harbour to Grand Bruit

A new day awaits

We awoke to glorious sunshine after camping in La Plante Harbour some 26 kms from the start of our journey in Harbour le Cou. There was still a bit of fog laying on the hills but we knew the bright sunshine would burn off any residual fog after breakfast.

We were taking our chances paddling this coast at this time of year but so far the gods were smiling on us.

In La Poile Bay

The plan on this day was to paddle into the bay to see the community of La Poile, cross over and paddle around in Roti Bay and into Grand Bruit.

La Poile

La Poile is a community of some 200 residents. Its isolated and serviced by the same ferry that serviced Grand Bruit. The ferry Marine Eagle can take 12 passengers; 4 seats reserved for Grand Bruit residents and 8 for La Poile. That results in some shoving and pushing to get on the ferry.

The brother of Ralph's partner taught here some 30 years ago and Ralph wanted to see the place. Turning away he said "Check that off the list".

Heading for Eastern Point

We had paddled some distance into La Poile Bay to see the community of La Poile. The original plan was to cross the Bay and up the eastern shore. Instead Stan picked a course directly aimed at Eastern Point so we did a diagonal crossing of about 6 kms.

Pit stop

Eastern Point at La Poile Bay is a headland where normally conditions deteriorate and they did slightly. It got a little bumpy but very manageable. Two hours into the day's paddle and we figured a stop was in order. We found this sheltered beach just before French Cove and opposite Jacques Island.

Inside Jacques Island

We had stopped for a break on the mainland in a passage between it and Jacques Island. To the right at the bottom of Jacques Island, Roti Bay opened up for our run into Grand Bruit.

In Roti Bay

Rounding the bottom of Jacques Island were were out in Roti Bay proper. Ahead of Ralph lay Gull Island and as we paddled along we could see the transmission tower on the hill by Grand Bruit. We were making good progress in the perfect paddling conditions.

Entering Grand Bruit

The sun was shining brightly as I entered Grand Bruit just after 1:30. It was hard for me to fathom that I was back already given the length of the ferry ride out. The saying "The longest journey starts with a first step" is so true. Almost 50 kms one paddle stroke at a time.

The building clouds foretold of changing conditions and we were onshore only a matter of an hour when the winds picked up. Out on the bay where we had just paddled the wind had created many whitecaps. We were done for the day.

Centerpiece

The church is the centerpiece of most Newfoundland communities. Its usually positioned on a higher piece of ground and acted as a beacon for fishermen returning from the fishing grounds.

Grand Bruit has two - the church and the falls.

The water of a freshwater lake behind the community spills over a ledge that's about 15 metres high. It and the church behind are an awesome spectacle to see as mariners enter the harbour.

Room at the Inn?
Ralph chats it up with Joe, proprietor of the Cramalott Inn. I don't know if he's trying to check in at the wharf but it turned out the three of us stayed in the community church for the night. We were in good hands! It was a unique opportunity and meant a lot of our gear could be left in the boats making for an early departure the next morning.

A shortish paddle of 22 kms on this day for total of 48 - almost half way.

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