Monday, March 28, 2016

If it looks familiar, its because it is

If these pictures look familiar its because we paddled the same coast as Friday three days ago but the pictures were from today.  Friday it was Dean, Tobias and myself.

Today, Monday, it was a five some of Brian, Cathy, Dean, Shane and myself.  We put-in about two hours before high tide so some spots were difficult to get through and ...

... there were some small waves that made it just interesting enough to make it fun along the coastline.

More rocks to paddle around.

The closer we got to Topsail Beach the rock cropping out from sea level gave way to boulders that had fallen from the higher cliffs above and rolled into the sea.  Some lurked just below the surface and could only be made out by watching were the small waves broke.

Arriving at Topsail Beach water was flowing through a gap from the pond behind the beach.  A vain attempt was made to play in it but there wasn't enough run off.

After a brief stop we retraced our path.  The wind did pick up a little making possible mini surf rides.  Along the cliffs and among the rocks the waves made for swashbuckling conditions.

Back near St. Philips Cathy and I paddled around "The Rock of Ages" as the others were detained behind us.  We carried on to paddle up ...

... the river to wash off in the fresh water.  Our route today was a familiar one but it seems that even with a small change in tide, waves and wind it presents a fresh face the most notable being the open flowing water of the river where Friday it was ...

... impossible to get through the hard frozen water.  It was cool today but at least it wasn't solid.

We all agreed we had an enjoyable paddle.  For Dean and Shane it was well worth taking the day off of work.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Best Friday paddle

Today is Good Friday.  Good Friday is a statutory holiday that most people get.  In my opinion, every Friday is good but when you have it off, its Best Friday.

The call to paddle went out.  Only Dean and Tobias answered the call.  The others were unable to attend for a number of reasons.

Today was also the first day we had calm winds all week.  The last three days we had Force 7 - 8 winds with gusts to 8 - 9.  At its peak the low pressure system had wind gusts at 60 knots.

In addition to the wind, it has been cold with wind chills near -20C.  The combination of wind and cold caused the salt spray to freeze to the rocks.

While the wind did drop, it was still cold.  Not too cold to paddle but my thumbs did protest.

The calendar says spring has arrived but Mother Nature failed to notice.  We've paddled all winter but Dean and I are in agreement that we're ready for some warmer weather.  Until that arrives we'll continue paddle in anticipation of balmier weather.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Paddling with the turtles

Friday it didn't look good wind wise for the weekend with winds between 20 - 25 knots gusting to 30.  I mailed around to gauge interest in a short paddle close by.  Brian. Dean, Derek and Neville were interested.

Once that was established I saw some mail going around started by Dean who asked if Brian and Neville were bringing their P & H Hammers.  They were.  Here Dean leads the small boat fleet in his Jackson Karma RG.

So it was just Derek and I in our long, faster boats.  The forecasters were wrong with the wind prediction and things were looking good.

The theme for the day was rock hopping.  It was near low tide so it was ideal for that but ...

 ... it also meant there were times when you're left high and dry.  No problem in a plastic kayak but unnerving in a fibreglass.  The trick I found was not to look panicked but to look casual and wait for a little swell for freedom.

I was undeterred.  I watched to see how the guys made out with the water to see if they touched and if not I followed if there was enough room to turn or a straight path through.

We made our way slowly down the shore, Derek and I occasionally waiting for the guys in short boats as they dallied in the rocks.  It was a bit like the tortoise and the hare but it delivered exactly what I wanted - a relaxed paddle and a paddle when I thought one would not develop.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Paddling in Cape Broyle with Snow White and some of the dwarfs (Part 2)

After we stopped for lunch at Church Cove we continued east a short distance to the entrance of Cathedral Cave.  It was snowing pretty good showing up as streaks but it ...

... wasn't snowing at the end of the cave which is some 30 - 40 meters deep with a ...

... big, wide open mouth.

Cathy (Snow White) continuing east under the stark, deeply carved cliffs.  The snow really accentuated the detail.

We explore another cave that was barely wider that out paddles.  Cathy backed in, I followed my nose.

Not long after we were at the entrance to Cape Broyle and facing the open North Atlantic at North Point.  We really felt the force of the wind but we ...

... poked our bows out till we could see the up and down the coast before ...

... high tailing it back into the protection of the harbour.

Cathy Shane and I paddled back along the shore whereas Derek and Gerard were well offshore and missed this and ...

... this.

Soon we were back in Lance Cove paddling by the seastack where we had earlier seen an eagle on top.  There was no sign of it this time.  Maybe it took cover from the snow that continued...

... to fall.

The tide had fallen since we went through this tunnel on the outward leg when gaining entrance was so much easier.  The exit with the lower tide was a bit more tricky.

The rest of the return to the cars was an uneventful relaxed paddle and as the battery in the camera had died, I didn't miss capturing much.  We changed out of our paddling clothes in the falling snow, packed it away and stopped for coffee and some food at the nearby restaurant mightily pleased with our day.

Cathy's Mom may have called her Snow White and the guys she paddles with, the dwarfs, but I think she might be Wonder Woman out for a paddle with the Fantastic Four.  At least it was a fantastic day.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Paddling in Cape Broyle with Snow White and some of the dwarfs (Part 1)

Last summer I met Cathy and her brother one evening when I was out by myself.  After that she joined us for our practices on Wednesday evenings and became one of the regulars in our group.  She told us today that her mother said he was Snow White and we, the guys, were the dwarfs.  She even had dwarf names for us.  

Today the dwarfs Derek, Gerard, Shane and I paddled in Cape Broyle with Snow White, a 75 km drive out of town.

We put in on the south side as where we usually put in was chocked with ice.  We crossed to the north side to check out the falls where the Horse Chops River meet the sea.

As we approached the falls we were thwarted by ice in the cove, ice formed from the fresh water floating on top of the heavier salty brine.  We had to bypass the falls and made small of it by saying there wasn't much water flowing.  It was a bit like the grapes that hung too high and therefore were probably too sour to eat anyway.

At the narrows we crossed over to the south side again and made our way east along the icicle festooned cliffs.

Winds were southeast and light snow was falling.  For the most part we were out of the wind but we couldn't avoid the snow that started to ...

... accumulate on the rocks.

Cathy checks out the "Devil's Nostrils".

Derek and Gerard seemed to be constantly ahead of Cathy, Shane and myself as we scooted through rocky openings taking our time to enjoy the time on the water.

Its been cold forming masses of icicles.  Here there was still some running water which we took advantage of to cool down *lol*

There were caves to explore and ...

... ice walls to admire.

Along the cliffs we were protected from the southeast winds for the most part.  As we entered Lance Cove we felt the wind and snow.  An eagle sitting atop this seastack was as undeterred by the weather as much as we were.  For a long time as we approached it didn't move but at one point we got too close and it took to wing as we watched in awe.

Normally we stop in Lance Cove for lunch.  Gerard suggested we carry on to Church Cove.  The snow continued to fall and really began to deck the rocks clinging to even the steepest cliffs.

Eventually we reached Church Cove where we ...

... took out to grab a bite to eat.  The cove was full of seals, well, there were a dozen or so, that came close to check us out.  Shane threw an apple into the water.  One seal played with it but wasn't interested in the fruit.

Church Cove wasn't the end of the line as after our break we'd be off to check out Cathedral Cave, which is aptly named.