Monday, August 3, 2015

First look for whales

I hadn't heard anything about whales being around but thought we might get lucky in Tors Cove.  Off shore sit the islands of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve and I figured even if we didn't see any whales we'd be among the thousands of sea birds that nest there.  I joined Clyde, Dave, Derek, Gary, Hazen and Shane to make it a group of seven.

It was going to be a warm day with little wind.  We left the beach and paddled outside of Fox Island where we were greeted by the ocean swell.

Outside of the islands we were in the open ocean and headed for Great Island to the left.

Any crossing seems to take forever.  I think because sights are set on the target.  My strategy is to enjoy the open space and just paddle.  We close in and ...

... arrive.  The colours on the rocks in the first cove caught my eye.

While the rest of the gang paddled offshore, Clyde and I explored the coves of Great Island.

Water crashed in over the rocks at the entrance of the cove by "The Great Cleft".  Clyde and I approached but decided against paddling through.  The first key to safety is good judgement, though sometimes it is tempting.

Emerging at the south end of Great Island we crossed back over to the mainland making for the abandoned community of LaManche now dominated by the impressive suspension bridge on the East Coast Trail.

We hauled out on the rocks s there is no beach in the tiny cove.  The weather was superb drawing out dozens of hikers on the trail as we watched a steady stream of people crossing the bridge.

After lunch break Gary and I paddled to the head of the cove where the LaManche River tumbles into the sea while the rest were getting back into their kayaks.

Again Clyde and I handrailed the shore paddling through gaps where they existed.  It was fun paddling right on the edge of where the swell broke.

Clyde and I emerged from LaManche Bay catching up with Gary was the islands again came into view

I continued to handrail.  Tors Cove came into view as I rounded Bauline Point.  I checked my GPS for the distance paddled and estimated the distance to Tors Cove.  It looked like I wouldn't make the 20 km mark so rather than go directly to the takeout I made the short 1 km crossing back to Fox Island.  I was drawn by the mass of white seagulls.  They took flight as I approached.

It was a lucky decision for as I reached the south end of the island I heard the distinctive "whoosh" of a whales breath.  I looked around and waited.  A minute later I saw a minke whale surface about 100 meters away swimming away from me.  There'd be no pictures of a whale for me but I did just break 20 kms as I landed on the shore in Tors Cove.

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