Sunday, October 26, 2014

Happy in my kayak

Facebook friend Tess recently posted the Jack Kerouac quote "Happiness consists in realizing it is all a great strange dream."  He has a point if the dream is falling off of a cliff but ...

... he's obviously wrong when the experience is paddling in confused seas ...

... with salt spray pouring over the deck and myself and the drizzle build up on my glasses that feels like I'm looking through sandblasted glasses.

I think happiness is the feeling of being alive that today certainly could not have been a dream, the real experience  verified by corroborative evidence from Brian and Hazen when we had coffee afterwards.  Surely we didn't all have the same dream.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Getting out before Gonzalo

This morning hurricane Gonzalo was just leaving Bermuda as I left home and it had the Avalon Peninsula in its sights next.  The leading edge of the hurricane had winds forecasted to be close to 35 kms with gusts to 50ish.  It seemed wise to stay close so the invite went out for a bounce in the cove at St Philips.

Only Terry was able to paddle so it was just the two of us.  It was blowing alright but nothing challenging in the cove so I suggested we paddle up the coast a bit and if the wind intensified we'd turn and be blown back.

There was very active water along the coast which made for some interesting paddling and exercise of judgement.

We paddled the 6 kms to Topsail Beach where we got out to stretch our legs.  The wind wasn't what it was supposed to be; blowing maybe 25 kms with gusts to 35.  Meh!

On the way back though it picked up close to 35 kms and gusting to 50.  The sea quickly picked up in size making it a fun ride back along side the cliffs.

As we neared St. Philips we were elated that we had decided to take a paddle away from the cove.

However when I got home I was massively disappointed to find the video I thought I was shooting wasn't on the camera.  Drats, I had put to sea without checking the battery which, it turns out, was out of charge.  The stills I was taking I knew wouldn't do justice to the sea state so I thought some video would.  Unfortunately I left some really good video out there.

That's a lesson for the next time.  Anyway, I was happy to get out for a paddle before hurricane Gonzalo arrives and the poo hits the fan.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The season ends for St. Philips practices

Thursday evening was our last practice/paddle/social for the year.  We've been meeting every Thursday evening since early April to practice various rescues, paddle strokes etc but on calm evenings we've usually gone for a short paddle.

The evenings in October are getting very short with it pretty much dark at 7:00 so then we call it quits.

On our last evening there were just three of us.  This was Sean.

We left the cove at 6:00 and paddled half an hour up the coast before turning around to put us back in the cove as darkness falls.  The light was failing even as we left the cove.  This was Reha.

While there were only three of us on the final evening, we've averaged between 6 - 7 per evening over the season and I believe the record for 2014 was 12.  Most are regulars but we did have several come out for the first time and I know they benefited from the opportunity to paddle with more experienced paddlers.

An half hour up the coast followed by a wind and mini-surf assisted push back put us in the boat basin at St. Philips at 6:50 in darkening skies.

I'll miss Thursday evenings now because it was a go every Thursday unless it conditions were truly attrocious.  Rain, sun, wind or calm it went ahead.  Thanks to everyone who participated this year.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Tracing the Topsail fault to Bauline

The Topsail fault is a prominent feature along the east side of Conception Bay.  It separates Harbour Main volcanic rocks from Cambrian and Ordovician age rocks, where discernible, that is, not under water.  All long the east side of the fault the hills rise vertically from the sea so much so that we are in shade at Portugal Cove as we ready to put in.

Once out on the water and out of the shadow of the bald hill overlooking the cove our foursome of Dean, Hazen, Lev and myself were in brilliant sunshine.

Soon we are under the hills again and the early sun hasn't had time to creep high enough in the sky to win the battle over shade.

The rocks along here are the oldest on the Avalon Peninsula dating from the Paleoproterozoic, that is, older than 1.5 billion, with a capital B, years old.

An hour later we were at Brocks Pond falls where the outflow of Brocks Pond tumbles over the 100 meter cliffs.  The sun slowly crept into the sky and I had to shield the camera lens from the sun with my cap, oops just visible.

To the west lay the Ordovician rocks of Bell Island isolated from everything else.

It seemed the closer we got to Bauline the more imposing the cliffs got.  The cliff highlighted by the sun rose a further 100 meters above the prevailing landscape to reach 200 meters.

Two hours later and 12 kilometers on we reached the community of Bauline clinging on to a notch in the long march of cliffs.

We stopped for a bite to eat in Bauline.  While we had lunch a van full of tourists arrived in the harbour.  They were lucky with the weather for Bauline would not look so quaint in rain and fog.  It would look more like the land god gave to Cain.

Finished our lunch I had the feeling our foursome was more of a draw than the scenery as we left the harbour to return to Portugal Cove.

Thanks guys for a most enjoyable day on the water.

Here's a link to Dean's blog for his take on the day.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Penultimate Thursday

There were five of us on the next to last Thursday evening at St. Philips.  It gets dark early this time of year so we only went for a short paddle as far as Beachy Cove.  And, it was cool.  My hands started t lose their dexterity so I had to don neoprene mitts for the first time.  In the west the sun was going down.  In the east ...

... the moon was rising over reddish cliffs bathed in the red glow of the setting sun.

As the evening wore on even the water seemed to be on fire.