Sunday, June 5, 2011

Witless about bull birds


Most of the guys were unavailable for a paddle today but Clyde finished his chores Saturday to make himself free to join Hazen and myself for a paddle from Bay Bulls to Witless Bay.

One story has it that Bay Bulls was named for what the early settlers called "bull birds". Maybe. I'm sure the other versions are just as valid.

We handrailed along the south shore, rounded the headland and had lunch in Witless Bay before returning to cross to the north side for the run in, a distance of almost 20 kms.

Leaving Bay Bulls

The fog hung low and there was a light drizzle today for our paddle. Funny, but on days like that I find the smell of the sea is more pronounced as I breath in the air. There was also no need to drink bottled water today as there was enough moisture in the air to quench my thirst.

The rocky rocks

South Head is exposed to the North Atlantic as are all the headlands down the Southern Shore of the Avalon Peninsula. Here thought, there are a number of sea stacks and rocks that make for interesting paddling as the swell surges between it all.

Massive cliffs

The sandstones that make up the rocks in Bay Bulls harbour turned from greenish grey to red at South Head. The sea was getting shallower as the sandstones were being deposited in an increasingly oxidizing environment. That is, the hematite (iron) in the rocks began to rust as there is more oxygen in shallow water as opposed to deep water.

An interesting landing site

We stopped for lunch on a little beach outside of the community of Witless Bay so we could be free of prying eyes. My landing wasn't very elegant. My put-in was better but could be done more authoritatively. The other two in plastic boats just ran up on the beach and later, seal launched, sheesh!

My landing and launching in surf needs more practice.

Water beads

We sat eating our lunch oblivious to the steady drizzle that was falling. It was quite noticeable when I got ready to put-in again. It looked like rain beading up on a newly waxed car.

Returning around South Head

It was still as foggy as ever when we returned from Witless Bay. Boats offering whale and puffin tours pass by here frequently in and out of their base at Bay Bulls. We were in the right place as we evaded one on her way back in as we crossed the mouth of the inlet. This can be a dangerous area in heavy fog because we're not that easy to see but we made it to the north side and paddled back to the slipway. An average day distance wise of 19.7 kms.

Clyde joked we should have paddled around a bit before taking out to make it 20 even.

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