Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Paddling in iceberg alley

From my vantage point at home I could see icebergs on the other side of Conception Bay 35 kms away.  Mind you, I had to use binoculars.  Hazen had driven out last week to have a look and confirmed there were bergs.  Yesterday Hazen and I drove the hour and a half to Blackhead to put-in and get up close to some huge bergs.

One waits our visit just off the point where were were putting in.

We set out under bright but cloudy skies.

This one wasn't all that large but was interesting with two towers.  The lighter blue water indicates underwater ice.

The wind began to freshen as forecasted.  We looked north where ...

... our next candidate lay 6 kms away in Western Bay.  The bright sunny but cloudy sky gave way to a general overcast sky accompanied by 15 knot winds gusting to near 20.  Seas built and it was a bit of a slog but we arrived an hour and a half later.

As we circled the berg it became more interesting.  There was one massive tower with two smaller ones.  One mushroom shaped and one needle shaped.  Were bobbed for a while in the active water around the berg before ...

... striking off NNE just over two kms to our third iceberg for the day.  It was so windy Hazen couldn't keep his hat on though the picture lies.

This one was massive as Hazen is dwarfed.

As we again circled it became apparent this one had two massive towers.  Hazen and I agreed it was probably 10 stories high above the waterline.  It was hugely overpowering so we kept a healthy distance away from this one.  We paddled around the right side in clapotis as wind waves rebounded.

We had gone as far as we wanted so we turned to return where there was one more berg we could visit without going too far out of our way.

This one was lower but also cleaved open in the middle.

We were in the kayaks for a straight 3.5 hours in very bouncy water.  We were both incredulous as to the time and needed a stretch and snack.  We looked for a take-out in Western Bay but not so far in that we'd have to paddle all the way out again.  Hazen spotted a narrow slot that led to this protected beach.

After a snack we paddled out of our protected hideaway and directly across ...

... the mouth of Western Bay.  There were several other bergs deep in the bay but it was getting late so we paddle back to Blackhead pushed along a bit by the quartering sea.

I arrived first as Hazen straggles into Blackhead.  As he landed he explained he was slowed by a painful lower back which began to feel better compared to the pain in his hip.

I began to feel guilty because I persuaded him to put in at Blackhead versus Western Bay which turned out to be closer to the larger bergs.  Instead of just a tour of icebergs we had a respectable paddle of 23 kms.  Hope you're feeling better today Hazen and remember that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

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