Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 10 paddles of 2011 - #4

Poking in

On 11 November 2008 Stan and I paddled around Cape St. Francis putting in at Pouch Cove and taking out at Bauline. On April 30 Stan and I were part of a larger group that make the trip in the other direction.

We put-in at Bauline and headed north towards the cape in flat conditions. We took our time to explore various nooks and crannies.

Rocky shores

Skies were overcast as we paddled along the rocky shores.

Hanging fog

As we got closer to the cape, fog started to roll in over the hills.

Running water

There was running water everywhere.

Cripple Rocks

We arrived at the cape and played a bit in the swell before ...

Rounding the cape

... carrying on around. Cape St. Francis is an exposed cape. The next landfall north of the cape is Greenland.

Wet stop

On the east side of the peninsula it was foggy and wet. We stopped at Biscayne Cove for lunch but it was a short stop. There was a wharf but it had not been kept up in years which made landing less than ideal.


After lunch we made our way towards Pouch Cove stopping for a while at this deep narrow cleft in the rocks.

Cape Francis is not often paddled and that makes it a special place. When Stan and I did it in 2008 it was just the two of us. This year there were eight. For both of those reasons this is my top 4 paddle of the year.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top 10 paddles of 2011 - # 5

Quidi Vidi

Back to the countdown after our icicles paddle in Middle Cove.

On July 23 Dean, Gary and I had a paddle out to Cape Spear. Not a lot of people get out to Cape Spear because its exposed and the water there is usually very active even without wind. The main feature about Cape Spear is that its the most easterly point on the North American continent. The original post has other shots of the paddle.

We left from the small fishing village of Quidi Vidi.

Fort Amherst

Leaving the protected harbour of Quidi Vidi and heading south we approach the entrance to St. John's Harbour. The harbour was protected at various times by Fort Amherst, identified by the luster of buildings clinging to the cliff.

Freshwater Bay

We handrailed along the shore down into Freshwater Bay. We could have made a direct crossing, it would have been shorter, but we were out to also enjoy the scenery.

At Blackhead

Near Cape Spear we paddle into a cove containing the community of Blackhead, named after a prominent headland in St. John's Bay.

Cape Spear

Arrived at the Cape. We paddled east of the Cape to be able to look south down the coast. Next stop east of the Cape is Ireland. We did a couple of rolls for the tourists before heading back.

Heading back

We decided to skirt along the mouths of Blackhead Bay, Deadmans Bay and Freshwater Bay on our return. See original post.

Fog rolled in

When we arrived at the mouth of St. John's Harbour the fog started to roll in. A few boats were at the entrance to Quidi Vidi engaging in what is known as the "food fishery". Newfoundlanders historically had a right to fish cod for food anytime in the year. Now, with the collapse of the cod fishery we're allowed to catch cod for food two weeks in the year.

Back to Quidi Vidi

Back from the Cape we entered Quidi Vidi Harbour with whisps of fog in the air. It was a fine paddle. Cape Spear is a special place. Paddling out there is not done lightheartedly. Careful attention to forecast and picking the right day is a must. On this day we had the best of it and therefore its on my list of top ten paddles.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Icicles paddle

Ice wall

Dean, Neville and I met at Middle Cove at 9:30 for a paddle. The theme for the day would be icicles. Lots of icicles.

Neville got ready to put-in while Dean and I checked out this wall of icicles that was in full sunlight. When he joined us we were ready.

Lets go check out some caves

The east side of Middle Cove has numerous caves and today, also considerable iciciles hung onto the cliffs. As we paddled over we lost the sun behind the 200 foot tall cliffs.

Checking out a low cave

It was near high tide and only a foot or two of the cave was out of the water. The cave is hard to see at high tide but at low tide its possible to stand up in it.

Look up

We surveyed the tall cliffs as we passed by.

In "The Molar"

Some of the caves were protected today by hanging sheets of icicles. We didn't enter them all as we didn't want to chance being speared by the daggers of ice should they let go. The cave known as "The Molar" was safe to check out.

Ship Cove

At Ship Cove there were more icicles but we were still in shade, though the top of the cliff was in sunlight.

Entering Outer Cove

Leaving Ship Cove we entered Outer Cove and into the sunlight. The cliffs along the cove aren't as tall as in Middle Cove but they were almost totally covered with ice.


Neville is dwarfed by the wall of ice.

Rounding Torbay Point

On the west side of the Rocky Hills it was shady but after rounding Torbay Point we were in brilliant sunshine.

Into the sunshine

Paddling southerly into the sun made it hard to see where we were going as the sun was bright, as was the reflection off of the water.


We went south for a couple of kilometers to Shooting Point Cove where we sat for a few minutes before turning north again towards Torbay Point because Dean had to be home early.

Middle Cove return

Back in Middle Cove we were in the shade again but the beach was in full sunshine. A few people were on the beach. I wondered what they were thinking as we paddled up to the beach to take out. I wasn't concerned. It was cold but I felt toasty warm. I thought to myself they didn't know what they were missing.

The last paddle of the year for 2011. The year ended on a good note.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Top 10 paddles of 2011 - #6

Admirals Beach

On June 18th Clyde, Dean, Hazen and I had a paddle in St. Mary's Bay, paddling around Great Colinet Island. It was a beautiful, calm, sunshiny day. It was one of those days to paddle along leisurely and smell the roses so-to-speak. More shots from the day on the original post.

We put-in at Admirals Beach.

Perfectly clear

Its only a short crossing to the island. The bright sunshine coupled with the clear salt water made it look like Hazen was floating, suspended above the sea bottom.

Concrete pillars

Not long into our paddle we arrived at the abandoned community of Mosquito, one of two on the island. What was a thriving community is now overgrown by tall grasses, shrubs and weeds. Only the occasional concrete post remains to poke above the overgrowth.

Placid seas

We continued on taking our time paddling along the east side of the island.

South end

As we reached the south end of the island I was struck by the verdant colours of the grass carpeting the rocky ground. We explored a few caves there before rounding to turn north up the west side.

Westside story

Whereas we were sheltered on the east side, the wind picked up slightly from the south as we headed up the west side of the island.

Fishplant remains

Back in calmer water under the protection of the land we entered the cove where the abandoned community of Reginaville was located. Again concrete pillars foundations and cement slabs were all that was left of the former community.

We stopped here for a break before taking the short crossing back to Admirals Beach and the end to a perfect day on the water. It was another rounding on an island and a visit to two resettled communities and that's why its on my list of top 10 paddles for the year.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Top 10 paddles of 2011 - #7

Leaving Gooseberry Cove

On Thanksgiving weekend, 8 - 10 October Brian, Hazen, Pete and I did a 3-day kayak camp trip to the abandoned community of St. Jones Without. Its located on the west side of Trinity Bay and a good part of the coast provides very few bailouts.

The paddle down to St. Jones Without was scenic but the area beyond towards Deer Harbour is not so much. Still, it was an excellent weekend with fine company and Irish coffee. That lands it at #7 on my list of top paddles.

The first day, original post, part 1 and part 2 (links provided to the original posts), we paddled down to St. Jones Without.

Rest stop

We left Gooseberry Cove in a bit of rain and wind but as we went on it stopped raining. Still paddling along in a light wind we'd stop for a break where we could.

St. Jones Without harbour

We arrived at the entrance to St. Jones Without harbour that's a 5 km fjord-like finger of the sea poking into the proterozoic rocks of the Musgravetown Group.

"Campsite", first night

We had little choice but to camp on the front lawn of this cabin at the bottom of the fjord. There was very little flat, dry ground in the harbour.

Entering Deer Harbour

Day 2 we paddle back up the 5 kms to go to Deer Harbour. We packed all the gear into the kayaks with the intention of campinng there but there was no suitable ground. So, we did a sweep of the harbour and returned to a fine camp spot at the entrance to St. Jones Without.

A better campsite

This is the place to camp at St. Jones Without. We didn't the first night because it was too late to make our way out of the bottom of the harbour.

Sweet paddling

Day three in the kayaks was a return to Gooseberry Cove and the end of the trip. The return paddle was very pleasant under interesting skies in a bit of a following sea.


As we approached the end of our trip the skies brightened as the sun came out.

Return to Gooseberry Cove

This was an excellent trip and I have to confess, putting it at #7 is a bit arbitrary. I very much enjoyed the whole weekend but I have to slot it in somewhere to make room for other experiences.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Chrismas Eve paddle

Christmas Eve 2009 four of us met at St. Philips for a short stint on the water before the festivities began. Last year it wasn't safe to launch. This year we managed on cold -7C but bright day to sweep the cobwebs away after hectic days preparing for the arrival of Santa Claus. Alexandr, Dean and Sean arrived and we put in. Later Lee emerged from the harbour.

It wasn't anything big but we paddled around trying to catch small surf waves. It didn't matter; we were just happy to be out in the fresh air.

A picture of each of the guys follow.





Almost an hour and half later we had satisfied our paddle urge and we left for home.

Merry Christmas to all the people I've paddled with this year and all the people who, I hope, have enjoyed checking out the pictures on my blog.