Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Long Island - are we there yet?

Long Island

Clyde called early last week to see if I was interested in a kayak camp trip upcoming weekend. Absolutely I said. Being five days before the weekend, we agreed to mail around for interest and prepare as if it was a go with a final decision once the forecast became clearer.

As mail flew back and forth over the electronic highway, we settled on a crossing to Long Island in Placentia Bay. Details to be worked out on the fly.

Thursday arrived with a favourable long range forecast so Clyde, Dean, Hazen and I left Friday for Arnolds Cove where we would do the crossing to Long Island. We camped in a clearing off the highway, lit a fire, had a swally and hit the hay ready for a Saturday morning crossing.

Loading the kayaks

Up at the crack of dawn we had breakfast, broke camp and drove the short distance into Arnolds Cove. We found an easy access to the beach where we stuffed all our gear into our kayaks. I believe I saw Clyde use his boots a few times to force it all in.

Leaving Arnolds Cove

It was dead calm in the harbour as Dean and Hazen head for the north shore. In the distance between the darker landmass lay our destination of Long Island.

Clyde in stride

Clyde glides past Bodeaux Island, the last piece of security provided by the mainland before we hit the open water. The crossing from Bordeaux to Long Island Point is a few hundred meters over 6 kms.


Bread and Cheese Islands on starboard. It felt good to be on the open ocean and underway.

Long Island Point

Dean arrives at Long Island Point. We proceeded down the inside channel between Long Island and Merasheen Island.

Long Island landing

One kilometer south of Long Island Point we had our first stop; not because we were tired but more to savour the success of reaching our destination and drink it all in. At this spot Long Island pinches in to no more than 30 meters wide with a similar beach mirrored on the other side. I'll name it Welcome Cove.

Merasheen Island in the distance with White Island off its north end.

Sun, sun, sun

We had a typical sunny day in Placentia Bay *lol*; just kidding. Anyone familiar with Placentia Bay knows its notorious for its foggy dreary weather that can last for days this time of year.

Entering Spencers Cove

The site of the former community of Spencers Cove (spelled variably with a "s") lies nestled under the rolling hills of Long Island 3.5 kms from the Point.

Spencers Cove was settled in 1850 and resettled in 1966. In 1857 the population was 87; 1941 - 119 and 1961 - 163. A sizeable community in rural Newfoundland by even today's standard.

The predominant family names include Slade, Hollett, Boutcher and Peach. Oddly, there are no "Spencers" listed; I wonder then how it came by its name. Maybe that information has been lost in time? The rest of the 1935 census can be found here if interested.


Dean surveys the shoreline where a concrete foundation of an abandoned building was visible.

Hazen and Clyde chat it up

While Spencers Cove was resettled in 1966, the former inhabitants still come back to spend time in cabins they have built since abandonment. By the looks of their boats they haven't done too badly! These guys were only children when they left with their families but as they say here "you can take the boy out of the bay, but you can't take the bay out of the boy".

We had a grand chat with them before leaving to proceed further down the shore for lunch and to find our campsite for Saturday night.

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