Sunday, December 22, 2013

Top 10 paddles of 2013 - #10

Winter paddles in general make my list at #10 this year and specifically a paddle Dean and I completed yesterday.  Five - 10 centimeters of snow was forecasted with easterly winds strengthening as the morning wore on.  The temperature at put-in was -7C.  Balmy in comparison with our coldest paddle on 27 January earlier this year.  Then it it was -9C but the wind chill made it feel like -15.  We were covered in ice.

Snow started to accumulate on my foredeck  The water in the harbour was a mass of slushy icepans.

Dean and I headed north towards Portugal Cove.  Fine snow was falling that gave everything in the distance a hazy look.

Icicles hung from the cliffs and snow settled on the trees like icing sugar.

My thumbs felt the sting of the cold mostly but they warmed in the exertion of paddling.

Dean wore his cag and, surprisingly, had to take it easy to avoid overheating.  I wore my usual gear with a fleece under my drysuit.  It looks cold but I was perfectly comfortable.  In many ways, more comfortable than in a drysuit in the heat of summer.

Dean is not hard to spot paddling through the channel at Sailing Point.

As we rounded Wester Point and entered Portugal Cove we were greeted by easterly winds and blowing snow in our faces.  Refreshing!

After paddling across the cove were were under the sheltering hills again.

We continued north still under the imposing cliffs until we reached ...

... Brocks Pond Falls.  Four of us paddled up here earlier this past summer and had a lovely cool down in the fresh water.  On this day the water was still running but under a frozen layer of ice.  We hung out for a bit before returning to St. Philips where we feasted on a meal of fish & chips.  A great way to finish off the day.

Winter paddling looks daunting but is most enjoyable with some fine tuning.  I really enjoy it and therefore I'm putting it on my list of top paddles for the year.

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