Sunday, August 8, 2010

A yaffle of whales

Torbay Beach

The community of Torbay is located about 1o kilometres from downtown St. John's. It used to be primarily a fishing and farming community. Torbay fishermen were good oarsmen in their day but not as good as those in Outer Cove where I grew up!

Anyway, today most residents work in the big city but the sea is still there and it called us on this day. Its a spectacular paddle and so close at hand. But, it is not to be paddled on just any day. The waters of Tor Bay can get gnarly so you have to pick the right day. Clyde, Dean, Gary, Sean and I took advantage and had a very enjoyable day paddling to Flatrock and back.

Leaving Torbay

Leaving Torbay and heading for any number of coves. Any little indentation in the shoreline deserves a name and so we paddled along Gallows Cove, Cow Cove, Herring Cove. That's just the names that fit on the map. I'm sure local fishermen have many other quaint names that I'll never know.

One of many whales in the bay

Paddling north from Torbay towards Flatrock we saw 3 plumes of spray. Then, we heard more behinds us at about 4 o'clock. There were whales and plenty of them. I can't say how many in total but we were in the right place on this day.

We got relatively close in a few instances with numerous display of flukes but they weren't sociable today. They seemed intent on feeding and didn't really pay us much heed. Still, the presence of so many whales added to the anticipation and excitement. After a while we decided to let the whales be and paddled on.

Massive slabs of rock

The sedimentary rock beds are massive but persistence by the sea over eons have found a weakness to carve out a cave. Clyde provides perspective for this huge cave as he floats on turquoise waters.

The sun split the rocks

It was a cloudless day with bright sunshine. The sun behind us reflected off of the grey coloured sandstones that really made the etching in the rocks stand out.

The cliffs were imposing

The cliffs rose straight out of the water. Thousands and thousands of birds were nesting on the ledges and flying all around us overhead. Don't look up!!!

A fine layer of guano has built up on some cliff surfaces which added to the aroma of sea air.

Flatrock Point

On a map Flatrock Point is not very imposing but the cliffs were impressive. Inside lay the community of Flatrock and our lunch stop.

Going to check out another cave

I was the only one in the group who had paddled in Flatrock before (I believe) and I had seen the cave hence. That meant we had to go have a look before stopping for lunch.

Hauled out for lunch

Caving done, we opted for a take-out just outside the community where the rocks dipped gently into the sea. The rocks were covered in kelp which made for an easy run up onto the rocks even in a fibreglass boat.

After lunch Clyde and I jumped into the salt water and then went to shower in the fresh water falls in the picture.

Fed and cooled down we were ready to head back to Torbay. We did so but in a roundabout way. Trying to engage more whales, with some success.

An amazing place to paddle that's right on our doorstep but so rarely taken advantage of.

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