Saturday, December 31, 2016

Top 10 paddles of 2016 - #1

On May 15th the club had a paddle in Chance Cove, an hour's drive out of the city.  I decided I'd bring my camping gear and stop in Fairhaven to paddle to Trinny Cove for the night rather than drive back the same day.  It was a test to see how I felt about camping alone and it was not a long paddle in case I wanted to bail.  I liked it and made plans for a solo one night trip a bit further afield.

So, on August 19th ...

... I drove across the barrens to Fairhaven, this time to ...

... paddle northerly to the abandoned community of LaManche.

Paddling solo is not recommended but I had no fears about that.  The only thing about a solo paddle is the challenge of getting interesting kayaking pictures without other people to put in the frame.Ahead I was about to enter Great Pinchgut.

At the bottom of Great Pinchgut it was time to stop for a bite to eat.  I had an earlier trip report to rely on in planning the adventure and ...

... had lunch on the very same piece of ground the earlier trailblazers had lunch (P. Delaney photo).  That was 12 years earlier!!!

The day that started under mostly sunny skies went south as northwest wind blew in with a steady rain.  I didn't curse the weather.  Sometimes I relish the weather the worse it gets.  Maybe a tinge of masochism showing?  I paddled with determination across the mouth of Little Harbour East and stopped on a ...

... small beach near the community to answer the call of nature.  I as close to LaManche so the benefit of the stop also gave me a break to harness my energy for the rest of the paddle.

About to enter LaManche Bay.  I went around the point and stopped to talk to a fisherman.  He said he saw me beating across Little Harbour East and wondered about my kayak ... again, you're going where in that?

I got into LaManche a the rain began to abate though it was still coming down.  I found a sheltered spot and strung my tarp as best I could to put the tent up under it.  This was what I call the "boy scout" part kayaking skills.

I had a good spot near the trees which gave me protection from the pecking rain an a place to cook supper.

After setting up the tent I carried all the gear I needed to cook, and for the night, up from the beach.  It was a little hike and after several trips I carried the kayak off the beach where it would be safe for the night.

With supper cooked and the rain essentially stopped it was time to explore.  The choice of LaManche was made on purpose because nearby is the site of an old lead mine.  I was there over 40 years ago on a geology field trip so I knew where it was though I didn't remember it looking as I found it present day.

There was no "happy hour" on this trip.  I didn't need it; besides drinking alone has its own connotations.  I had a beautiful perch above the beach looking down over Placentia Bay as the day came to an end.

The next day I was rewarded with a beautiful day to the return.  While I handrailed the coast on the way to LaManche (for 30 kms) I made shorter work of it returning to Fairhaven crossing directly across Great Pinchgut and other small coves for a total of 23 kms.

I was alone but not lonely.  It was a good feeling finding out I'm good company for myself.  I greatly enjoy the company of my paddling colleagues but this solo trip was good for the soul.  The unmitigated joy I felt made me feel refreshed when I returned.

It was further afield than my first solo trip to Trinny Cove in May and only one night but it laid the base for further solo multi-day adventures in the new year.

I'm only scratching the surface but more pix and detail in the original posts:


  1. Congrats Tony.... To have a solo paddle top your list!!!
    Happy paddles for 2017!!!

    1. Thanks Cathy! I suppose every paddle is memorable and picking a list is relative but this one was a voyage of discovery in a way so I made it #1.

  2. A great series Tony - thanks for the tour!

    A very happy New Year to you - here's to 2017....

    1. Thanks Ian! I didn't paddle as much in 2016 s usual but still a good year. Its nice to look back and take stock.

      A very happy New Year to you also :)