Saturday, July 30, 2016

Back in the saddle again

Its been two weeks since I had my bum in the kayak.  I've got a major home project underway that has kept me busy, exhausted and off the water.  But, Wednesday evening came along and our regular weekly get-together at St. Philips.  It was a beautiful evening without conditions so the group of 10 of us just went for a leisurely paddle.

The tide had been falling since 2:00 pm so by 5:00 there were places we couldn't get through unless in a plastic boat.  The glass kayaks had to detour around.


New to Wednesday evening was Bobbie in the center.  Always great to see new people show up.  We had 10 and could have set a record attendance if some of the guys studying for their Paddle Canada Level IV certification could have broken away from their research and study.

Some of the group backlit by the sun setting behind the billowing clouds.

Whoa!  Some waves rolled in as Brian and I were ready to scoot through between this rock and the hard place.  We ...

... waited patiently as water surged through the gap eventually making it through.

Turning back the sunlight cast a warm golden glow on the scene.

I'm still tied up with my longer term project but I was over the moon to be back in my kayak.  Paddling will be sporadic over the next month but I'll get out when I can, at least on Wednesday evenings after I've put in my day's work.  They don't pay me enough to work overtime. *lol*

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Too busy to paddle?

I didn't paddle last weekend and it doesn't look good for this weekend.  The last time I paddled was a Wednesday evening 10 days ago.

I'm tied up with a major project - re-shingling my roof.  The only opportunities I see until I get it finished is on an evening (that should be fun after being on the roof all day!) or on a heavy rain day when I won't work.

I'm just sayin' to let anyone dropping by know I have not given up paddling or posting, I've just faced up to reality and responsibility.  My posts until I'm done will be a bit hit or miss.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Big smiles in big swell

Cathy's daughter was coming for our Wednesday evening practice at St. Philips.  It blew pretty good all day.  I was apprehensive about a novice paddler coming out under those conditions but by evening the wind dropped   Then we had my favourite paddling conditions - big swell and no wind.  And by the smiles on Larina's face, her's too.

Eleven of us at times just hung around floating in the broad open swell in between ...

... paddling north into a swell of ...

... a meter to a meter and a half.  Jen in front of me in her sweet looking new Etain by Valley.  The black hull and white deck separated by a red line was very eye catching.

No wind meant it was just paddling into massive amounts of water without breaking waves.

Mother and daughter.  Impossible to tell who was the novice paddler!

The 11 of us paddled into the swell with the hopes of catching surf rides back but, without the wind, the waves didn't steepen making it difficult to drop in.  I felt lucky to catch two rides of any distance.

Back in the cove the moveable swell met the immovable rocky shoreline and ...

... exploded skywards.  Brian ...

... Neville and I hung out just on the periphery of the chaos practicing boat control in the confusion.

The evening ended with a little rescue practice and a game of frisbee after one of the gang found one floating in the water.

It was a fun evening with smiles all around, most notably by Larina and Cathy, happy to have her daughter share some time on the water.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Great Colinet Island (2016) Part 3

We arrived in Wild Cove on Great Colinet Island on Saturday for our one night club kayak camp trip.  Sunday morning it was time to pack up and head home.  Under cool, grey skies everyone had breakfast, well, most of us except the late sleepers and broke camp.

We paddled into Wild Cove on the east side where the rocks dipped to the west.  Leaving on the west side the rocks dipped to the east, which means???  Wild Cove sits in the axis of a syncline!

All along the west side the weaker sedimentary beds were eroded making passages to paddle through.

At South Point we paddled under massive cliffs that ...

... trailed off towards the west side of the island with little coves to investigate.

Rounding the last corner we were face into the wind.  The forecast for Sunday was an easterly wind which would have afforded the group protection until the crossing back to Admirals Beach.  It didn't quite work out that way as winds were more NNE so it was a little more of a workout than anticipated.

The husband and wife team of Brian and Sue.  The more experienced paddlers spaced themselves out among the group to make sure everyone was safe.

I looked across at Cathy and thought how the verdant hills matched the green of her kayak.  What a trooper paddling on without breakfast, well, a banana and a granola bar.

We had a tow to do in the wind.  I saw a rope in the water and realized Dean had a customer.  I called out I would hook on to him and we'd do a tandem tow.  After some time Hazen and Clyde took over and had a turn.  We rested in the protection of this small cove before ...

... Shane and Derek took a turn.

As we approached Back Cove we stopped and everyone took a breather.  I sampled some of Sarah's curry dip finding it went well with baby carrots, even watermellon and Cathy's brownies *lol*.  That and some of Shane's trail mix and I was good to go again.

The wind seemed to drop after our stop making the passage across Regina much easier dispensing with the need for the tow.  At, what I understood to be Mother-in-Law rock, we made the turn for Admirals Beach 1.5 kms across to the mainland.  The small wind waves on the beam made paddling easier for everyone having paid our dues earlier in the morning.

Back at Admirals Beach with Great Colinet Island in the background.  Dave the beluga was still hanging out in the harbour so some decided to have a swim with him while the rest of us unloaded our kayaks.

It was only a short one night trip but it was filled with adventure and a great bunch of 15 other adventurers.  Thanks to Dean and Hazen for organizing the trip.

You can catch another take on the trip at Shane's blog.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Great Colinet Island (2016) Part 2

After our tour of the resettled community of Mosquito on Great Colinet Island we got back in our kayaks and paddled south along the east shore.  Not long after leaving Mosquito the shoreline began to look more imposing.  Some of us paddled close to the cliffs where there was a little action created by the wind waves.

We passed by several caves.

Pushed by the wind it wasn't long before we were at the south end of the island and the entrance to Wild Cove where we would ...

... set up our tents and become ...

... the largest and only community on the island.

There is a good reason the place is called Wild Cove.  It is open to the south with unlimited fetch from the south.  Next stop south from here is Bermuda, if your lucky to hit it.  With that in mind we carried the kayaks well up onto the high beach plateau.

After the tents were set up and kayaks secured we went for a hike to the south headland we had passed to enter the cove.  All along the high ground the tuckamore was evidence of how strong the wind can get.  Tuckamore is a Newfoundland term for stunted fir and spruce trees that grow low to the ground and lean away from the direction of the wind.  The strong wind stunts their growth as can be seen from the thick trunk but its low height.

Near the headland and looking back into the cove where our tents stood the land was a sea of yellow buttercups and reddish sorrel.

Our group at the headland minus Rob who had gone earlier for a run.

Back from the headland in the distance, it was time to get supper going.

The sun began to set and it got noticeably cooler so we set about collecting some wood for our camp fire.  As the fire grew and the temperature fell the group ...

... crowded closer to the fire.

We took turns tending to the fire.  People drifted away to their tents as the night wore on bringing an end to our first day at Great Colinet Island.  It was good night Irene.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Great Colinet Island (2016) Part 1

Paddle Newfoundland and Labrador's introduction to kayak camping trip happened this past weekend (July 9 - 10) on Great Colinet Island.  We met at 9:00 to convoy out to Admirals Beach in St. Marys Bay where we carried the kayaks to the water's edge and began to fill them with the necessities for camping.

The weekend started off with a bang.  A beluga had been hanging out in the harbour for a couple of months.  As we got on the water and floated waiting for everyone to launch it swam around checking us out.  It wasn't chased or harried.  We shared a mutual curiosity about each other.

Finally, just after 11:30 a flotilla of 16 kayaks set off across on the short crossing to Great Colinet Island.

Dean and Hazen led the trip.  Our first port of call was the location of the resettled community of Regina (pronounced locally as Regeena) where, at 12:30, it was close enough to lunch time to have a bite to eat.

Leaving Regina the next destination was the resettled community of Mosquito.  We had a little wind and following sea that pushed us along under bright blue skies.

We had the good fortune to have Sarah as part of the group.  Some of Sarah's ancestors were from Mosquito so she was familiar with the history of the place.  She showed us around the cemetery and pointed out the location of the community church.  I had been here several times before and completely missed the outline of the former church hidden in the trees.

Now, Mosquito is the subject of one chapter in Scott Walden's book "Places Lost - In search of Newfoundland's resettled communities".  Here Sarah kneels next to the headstone of her great grandfather Casimir Doody.  I asked her to pose because I just thought it was appropriate and sort of a circle closed.  As chance would have it Walden has a picture of the same headstone of Casimir Doody on page 94 of his book but without the growth that surrounds it now.

The census of 1921 shows Casimir was born in 1897 and married to Sarah, living in the household of father Bernard with a 7 month old son Brenard (typo in census??).  So, Sarah, kneeling told us she was named for her great grandmother.

We walked through the heavily grown over graveyard reading the names and dates of death until we came to the old entrance.  When I was here previously I thought the stones set in the pillars were decorative but there was a significance to the design and placement.  Sarah explained there were 33 stones set in each face representing the age of Christ at the time of his crucifixion.

Walden's book has a picture of the entrance also on page 93 with the gate still hanging.  It is now unhinged and standing beside the pillar on the right.

The graveyard is on the hill behind us.  On our walk back to the beach where our kayaks were Sarah showed us the foundation of her grandparents' house.  The 1921 census lists 45 souls living in 11 households.  Casimir's family by 1935 had grown to 9 - 4 sons and 3 daughters (Eta, Agnes and Ellen).  One on them must have lived here.

The surprising thing about the resettled community is the amount of open space that had not been reclaimed by the trees.  Preparing to leave, I took a parting shot looking over the water towards Admirals Beach.  Again, I was in step with Walden as he has a similar picture of the same tree on page 101.

These resettled communities are a favourite kayak destination for me.  This time with Sarah whose explanations and comments put Mosquito in a new light.

Next stop, Wild Cove on the south side of the island where a city of 16 tents would spring up.