Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades

I read the news today, Oh boy (lol) not about a "lucky man who made the grade" but about the discovery of a hand grenade in the water of the St. Philips boat basin.  Coincidently, Derrick mailed me to see if I was interested in a paddle out of St. Philips.  Sounded good to me because I'd also be able to see what was going on with this potentially explosive development.

I arrived to see a police car with crime tape limiting access.  No problem.  I was putting in at the river.  I suspected the officer would be over soon to tell me I couldn't put-in there so, based on the principle "its better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission", I hastily got in the kayak.  Sure enough he came over as I was half way out but it was too late to turn me back.

Derrick had put-in on the slipway, away from where the grenade was found and together we paddled out of the harbour.  Derrick suggested a paddle to Brocks Pond Falls.  I had been there just over a week ago but that was good with me - it was a chance to catch up on last years mileage year to date.

It was just the two of us.  I hadn't paddled with Derrick in a while so we did a fair bit of yacking, except here where we paddled single file at Sailing Point.

The sun was forecasted to make an appearance but we didn't see any sign of it.

Nine kilometers later we were at Brocks Pond Falls where the waters of Brocks Pond cascade over cliffs 300 feet high.

As I did a week ago Sunday, I pulled the kayak up on the rocks to answer the call of nature while Derrick waits offshore.

I figured I may as well catch a shower while I was at it.

Water falling from 300 feet has  bit of a punch to it.

Back in the boat we made our way back to St Philips.  As we neared the harbour we talked strategy that would allow me to sprint back to the river before the police officer could stop me.  Sure enough I was hailed but I talked my way out of it and up the river for a wash up anyway.

We stopped for coffee and helped ourselves to refills.

The grenade you know about.  The horseshoe, well, that was just luck, lucky to have another day on the water.  Thanks Derrick, I would not have paddled otherwise.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Three Nordkapps around Cape St. Francis

The paddle today was a rounding of Cape St Francis.  Capes are always fun; this one is interesting because north of the cape is nothing but open water to Greenland.  Therefore, best done in an onshore wind *lol*.

Dean, Des and I met at Bauline to set up the car shuttle to Pouch Cove (pronounced "pooch").  From there we'd paddle north the seven kms to the cape and then south back to Bauline.

We arrived in Pouch Cove.  We had to use the new slipway which, if a person was afraid of heights, would not be a lot of fun.  The angle was all of 45 degrees.

Dean and Des seal launched.  Dean was ready with camera in case I flubbed it and flipped.  Regretfully, I could not amuse him and did an elegant seal launch myself.

The Ocean Wave Model indicated 1 - 2 meter swell.  As it reached near shore I expected it would kick up a bit.  Wind was northerly but barely perceptible so there were no wind waves.  We were not disappointed as we were met with regular 2 meter waves, the larger topping in at almost three.

We were cruising along picking through the swell and the clapotis and in short order we were are Biscayne Cove Islands.  There is a shallow between the islands and the coast but it did not cause problems today so we passed between them.

Funny how a desire to stay upright results in a skewed picture but still only 5 degrees tilted.

Seven kilometers on we were at the cape.  Swell that was on our fore starboard quarter paddling north was expected to be on our beam as we paddled across the headland but as we turned it came from astern giving us a nice push.

Conditions dictated we stay offshore.  The seven kilometers from Pouch Cove is what I call open ocean paddling.

After rounding the cape we were heading west across Cripple Cove.  Ahead, Dean and I kept an eye on Cripple Cove Rocks.  Between it and the headland the water burst upwards in millions of aerated drops of water.  We went around, sadly without pictorial evidence of the conditions.

I came as close as I dared teasing the waves and staying just out of reach.

We were around the cape and into the placid waters of Conception Bay.  There was still some minor swell but nothing like the confused state coming out of Pouch Cove.

Looking south down the cliffs of the volcanic rocks of the Harbour Main Group.  This would be the view for the next 10 kilometers until we reached Bauline.

By passing a chance for a shower.

Dean and I paddled along shore whereas Des paddled well offshore.  Difficult to see but he is there, just a speck on the horizon.

Paddling in a straight line offshore is exercise for me.  Near shore with the sights and sounds of the land - water interface is what I prefer.

Dean got out in this little cove to answer the call of nature.  I had my back to him when I heard  him call out and turned to see his kayak drifting away.  I retrieved it for him but afterwards thought maybe I should have had salvage rights to a boat floating abandoned at sea?  Ah, but I can only use one Nordkapp at a time.

The sun threatened to come out behind us but ahead it was still ominous looking.  As it turned out the sun came out as we came around the far point and ...

... paddled into Bauline harbour.

It was a nice piece of work today at 18 kilometers that felt longer due to, in the first instance, the confused sea state coming out of Pouch Cove and secondly, we had no opportunity to get out to stretch our legs.  Three hours straight made three stiff paddlers taking out in Bauline.

We completed the car shuttle and pick-up.  Dean and I went for coffee.  Here are the breadcrumbs:

Friday, August 22, 2014

Thursday evening shenanigans

Yesterday evening was the first evening we've had some conditions at St. Philips in a long time.  We meet every Thursday evening to practice rescues etc.  When its calm we'll do a few rolls and then go for a paddle up the coast.

We each took turns playing around this rock with breaking waves.

Then we took turns jumping out of our kayaks to do some self rescues.  After mastering the back deck scramble in calm water it must be mastered in waves; that is where the skill is most likely to be needed.

We did a few assisted rescues.  It was Sam's first evening out and he was more than eager to join in festivities.  Here he rescues Dean.  The camera as usual flattens the water.

Neville wanted to do a tow and who am I to turn down a free ride? *lol*

As the light began to fade we called it a night.

It was a most enjoyable and productive evening with some rolls and surf rides thrown in.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tarp set up practice

Some of Paddle Canada's courses contain what I call "boy scout" stuff like camp set up, assignment of duties in camp etc.  Its not something I've paid a lot of attention to before because I'm more interested in the nuts and bolts of paddling.

Last year Brian had a great set-up at Black Island where he put a tarp up over his tent.  It was wet in the morning and the tarp allowed him to take his tent down without getting it wet.  So, I got a tarp.

Never having set up a tarp by myself I thought it might be a good idea to practice it on a still day, all the while considering how I'd deal with wind.

My first set-up was a basic configuration.

Then I worked out changing the configuration without taking the tarp down.  I just moved the poles back one loop on each side of the tarp, one at a time.  I reasoned in wind it might be best to get a basic configuration up and then modify it to suit the conditions.  Maybe when I get more proficient I'll be able go right to a final product.

But, for now, once I figured out how I could make a small modification to a basic set-up, I changed it a number of times getting different configurations from each set-up all without collapsing the tarp.

This was all done in calm weather but I think I'll be able to cope with a bit of wind.  There is one caveat.  The ground was soft and readily accepted the spikes.  It could get more complicated where spikes can't be hammered into the ground.  Maybe I'll practice that sometime.

The thing is, I thought it wise to at least start a bit of practice before I had to do it for real.  Like most kayak stuff, better to practice before I really, really need to get it done.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Back - at last!

Some may have wondered where the blazes I've been.  Good point.

Since we returned from our week long trip in Fortune Bay on 18 July I've paddled a whopping 39 kms.  That's sad.  But, its not been paddling weather lately with, for me, unbearable heat.  Maybe I've lacked a bit of motivation also.  Nevertheless, today we got in a decent paddle.

Brian, Dean, Gary, Greg and I left St Philips destined for Brocks Pond Falls ...

... somewhere down there, in the distance.

It was almost high tide and many passages were open to us.

We were paddling along the cliffs formed by the Topsail Fault.  The fault must have moved over an extended time as evidenced by these felsic sheeted dikes seen on Brian's right.  The felsic (lighter) rocks are intruded as the fault opens and each time there is movement in the fault subsequently, another intrusion occurs.  Notice the vertical light and dark alternating bands of rock.

We paddled through rocks that have been left offshore through the erosion of the sea.  These are just slightly harder than the surrounding rocks to resist being washed away.

Arriving at the community of Portugal Cove, we paddled across its mouth because we were going further.

All along the way we were paddling by the oldest rocks on the Avalon Peninsula.  These date from the Paleoproterozoic (2,500 - 1,600 million years ago).

Nine kilometers later we were at Brocks Pond Falls tumbling over the 300 foot high cliffs.  This July was the hottest on record.  Possibly also the driest but August has given us lots of precipitation and the falls were at their best.

There's no place to "land" but the water was calm enough to climb out onto the rocks for a break.  Stardust clings precariously to the steep cliff.

Here's Dean's blog with video of our landings at the falls.

I don't think my exit sold my choice of place to get out so the guys managed a short distance away.  Tough place for fibreglass kayaks.  We joked we should get the guys in plastic kayaks to seal launch after the break.

We made our way back to St. Philips for a total distance of just over 19 kms.  Not a long paddle but at least its back in the saddle again.  Cooler weather and a return of desire will see me on the water regularly again.

Dean hasn't paddled much lately either.  He said that an extended absence only makes it feel better when you paddle again.  You know, he's right!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tent pole repair

On the second evening of our seven day Fortune Bay trip one of my tent poles broke.  It was a very disconcerting thing because it happened so early on the trip.

If you google "tent pole repair" most results will be tent pole replacement.  I didn't have that luxury because I couldn't get the 5/16 replacement poles in the right length.  Well, I could but it would have been just as cheap to replace the entire tent.

I bought some 5/16 fibreglass poles but they weren't the right length so I was forced to macgyver the repair.  The broken pole was in the middle of the string.  I swapped it with the piece at the end from which I cut the piece that rests on the ground (see last shot).  The repaired piece would then be put on the end as there is less bend there.

Here's how I went about it the repair.  I purchased some 3/8 OD (outside dimension) copper tubing cut off about 6 inches with my pipe cutter and put it into the vice.  I opened the tube up first with a 19/64 drill bit and then used the 5/16 bit.

I checked for fit with a test piece.  I found it tight at first but solved that by running the drill bit at high speed to heat and expand the tubing.  On cooling I had a snug fit so I carried on with the broken tent pole.

I used masking tape to mark off the depth the broken pole had to be inserted into the copper ferrule.  Then I laid out the six pole sections next to a good pole to get the length of the filler piece (grey piece next photo).

I cut and epoxied the grey filler piece into the copper tube and the end thing (? called).

I restrung the bungy chord through the poles and the repair was complete.  The repaired piece is longer than the original but because there is less bend where I placed it, its not an issue.

I'm good to go again and for pennies at that.

The field repair was a large nail retrieved from a burned log, held by gorilla tape.  I'll, however, be taking a few pieces of  PVC on future camp trips to make emergency field repairs.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Heat wave

The month of July was the hottest on record for St John's.  Luckily we had a week long trip in cooler conditions but we haven't done much paddling outside of that.  Many days it was around 30C and close to 40C with the humidex.  Too hot for me to paddle.

This morning Brian and I did get out for a short paddle early before it got too hot.  The paddle put me over 650 kms for the year and 50 ahead of the same point last year.  Last year I missed clocking 1,200 kms by a hair.  I just might make it this year.