Sunday, December 3, 2017

Glacial ghosts at Harbour Main

Saturday the weather cooperated for a paddle though is was cool and there was a chance of drizzle.  We decided to do a paddle from Holyrood to Harbour Main.  Cathy, Gary, Shane, Terry and I left from the Holyrood Marina and ...

... explored the Holyrood Marine Base of the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfundland while we waited for Jenn and Max to join us.

When Jenn and Max joined up with us we began or paddle out the bay.

We arrived at the 75 meter high Blow Me Down Bluff.

At Mackays Point we took turns beating the bit of swell there was to scoot through the rocks at the point.

Inside the cove at Chapel Cove Point we stopped to check out the bit of swell breaking over some rocks.

At Red Rock cove the colour of the rocks change from dark grey to reddish brown.  Here these sedimentary rocks of Cambrian age are juxtaposed against the darker volcanic rocks of the Harbour Main Group, brought here by faulting.

Terry gets a closer look.

Rounding Harbour Main Point we paddled south and not far from Faheys Cove we crossed over to a beach at Moores Head.  Before taking out for lunch I checked out ...

... these sediments deposited during the Gaskiers Glaciation that occurred some 579 million years go during the Ediacaran Period.  These deposits are sometimes referred to as diamictites (though there is disagreement on the use of the term) that are formed when rocks embedded in the bottom of a glacier melt out and fall onto the sea floor.  The red oval contains one such cobble and one which has weathered out and left only a hole in the finer matrix.

I find it just humbling thinking about the huge time gap between the period of Snowball Earth and me floating in my kayak.  I felt very small in the grand scheme of things.

I came back to reality and joined the rest of the gang for a lunch stop before retracing our steps back to Holyrood to end another fine day in the kayak.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Brocks by water

On July 9th Cathy, Gary and I hiked from Bauline to Portugal Cove to see Brocks Pond Falls from the top of the falls.  Friends Brian and Sue walked from Portugal Cove to meet up at the falls.  Saturday the same three of us left St. Philips to paddle to the falls to see it for the first time this year from sea level.  We thought Brian may join us but he didn't show so we went on.

It was an overcast day with a hanging fog ...

... which usually means no wind.  It was cool but comfortable for so late into November.

Passing through and into Portugal Cove where we ...

... waited to let the ferry from Bell Island cross rather than take a chance of getting caught mid-channel.

The fog hanging over the land also hung over Bell Island to port as we crossed the harbour of Portual Cove.

The shore towards Brocks Pond Falls is dominated by high hills and the Topsail Fault which mangled the rocks as the two land masses ground past each other.

We reached the 100 meter high falls with a much diminished water flow than we've seen it in the past.  Still, we were happy to tick it off of the to--do list for the year.

We didn't stay long and lo and behold as we paddled south we spotted a kayak coming toward us and who should it be but ...

... Brian and Sue in their double.  In July, as I said, when we did the hike Cathy, Gary and I started the hike in Bauline and hiked south.  Brian and Sue started in Portugal Cove and hiked north planning to meet at the falls.  In an unexpected coincidence we more or less did the same thing by water.

Back at St Philips an invite to have coffee or tea and sweets at Brian and Sue's was gratefully accepted.  It was a fine way to put the cherry on top of another great day on the water.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Return of an old friend

The weather hasn't been great the last little while so the paddling has been sporadic at best.  Monday the weather cooperated with cool temperatures but no wind to speak of.  The call went out with six replies from Brian, Cathy, Dean, Gary, Hazen and Shane.  We met at Bay Bulls.

I was happy to have calm conditions for the paddle; I wasn't looking for a workout.  The conditions also suited Dean who banged up his shoulder earlier this year when he got windowshaded and dragged upside down across a cobble beach.  Dean hasn't paddled much since but this day fit the bill.

A drill ship had been moored at the mouth of Bay Bulls for some time.  We've seen this before when West Hercules was here so I thought it was her again.

We, here Cathy, made our way east along the north shore of Bay Bulls.

Dean looks like his shoulder is doing just fine.

The north side of Bay Bulls offers a couple of places to paddle around sea stacks.  They are not places to get caught in with a big swell running but on this day ...

... it was a piece of cake.  Bran was the first to disappear and emerge out the other side.

Under clear blue skies and brilliant sunshine.

The second opportunity to check out the space behind the sea stacks towering above our heads.


As we reached North Head at the entrance to Bay Bulls I asked if we'd paddle a short distance north up the coast to Freshwater Cove.  So, that's what we did.  Here Hazen paddles under the North Head lighthouse.

Its rained a lot lately supplying this waterfall pouring into Freshwater Cove.

We hung out in the cove for a while and then exited to return to Bay Bulls where we ...

... paddled on the rig's blind side to get close.  As I approached I made out the rigs name - West Aquarius!  It was a reunion of sorts for me.  On January 14th of 2013 I paid it a visit while it was in Conception Bay.  At that time I approached it from the control room side and as I closed on it I was warned off of coming too close.  It was hard to believe it was almost five years ago.

On the west side we were in shade as the low sun hid behind the hills.  It was an uneventful relaxing paddle back to the take out, capped off with a coffee and a few laughs.  It was great to be back on the water with these familiar faces.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Cape Broyle shows her raw side

I got a message earlier in the week that two kayak enthusiasts would be visiting over the weekend.  Between Alex, Hazen and myself we managed to get them outfitted.  I then got most of the gang together to accompany them for a paddle in Cape Broyle.

There are places on drive to Cape Broyle with a view of the sea.  I could see that a sizeable swell was running and smashing up the rocks where it met the coast, but not here as we started the paddle to ...

... the first attraction in Cape Broyle - Horsechops Falls.

We dwelled in the still waters of the small cove checking out the falls.

The usual tour of Cape Broyle proceeds up the north shore from the falls up to The Narrows where we usually cross to the south side.  In the more open crossing we got our first hint of the swell that ...

... really bashed ashore.  Paddling well offshore was not challenging but handrailing most of the way east was a blast paddling in the swell and clapotis.

While it was fun paddling in the conditions, it was disappointing that the caves along the way were not accessible.  So, we had to content ourselves with the conditions, here paddling behind the signature sea stack in Lance Cove.

The original plan was to stop for lunch at Church Cove but we felt Lance Cove offered a safer option to get off the water.  I made a perfect surf landing which immediately got less elegant as I wasn't quick enough to haul the kayak out of surf reach.  The kayak pulled out of my hand in the retreating wave, flipped on the next wave, filled with sand and water, washed up on the rocks but was no worse for wear and tear when safely pulled ashore.

We all got back on the water without incident to continue east to check out Cathedral Cave.  As we approached I watched to see what the swell was doing at the mouth of the cave.  It was ...

... doable.  It was a good swell but no breaking waves.  I entered as deeply as I dared with the sound of water booming at the rear of the cave, turned and got some shots of the crew outside.

Satisfied we turned back impressed with the conditions along the shore and the ...

... geology, here where Eleanor checked out this downward bending anticline in the rocks.

We stopped for a coffee and a bite to eat at the restaurant where we pulled tables together for 11 bodies.  Our visitors Eleanor and Monica thoroughly enjoyed their day which I gathered from their constantly beaming smiles.  They just fit in seamlessly with the group as if we had known them forever.  It was an awesome day but the best part was, I've got two new friends.

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Painted Fish gets a geology lesson

My friend Neville spent the best part of a year building a bread and breakfast in Hatchet Cove called "The Painted Fish".  Its a 4-star establishment with 5-star amenities.  Not only is it a B&B (airbnb) but they also offer kayak tours.

Neville told me he gets a lot of questions about the geology on the tours so I joined him to give him a rudimentary geology class.  It was foggy but started to clear once we got on the water.

It was a spectacular day weather wise but also scenery wise.  The fall colours were on vivid display as we left Hatchet Cove.

The water was dead calm and reflected the scenery in immaculate detail.  One of the first questions Neville had was what type of rocks were these and what processes tipped them at these angles that in the reflected water looked like arrows pointing the way.

I explained the three basic rock types.  Igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic.  These were sedimentary siltstones that were once part of the ancient continent of Gondwana (current continents of South America, Africa, Australia and Antarctica).  These rocks were sent adrift across the Iapetus Ocean (pre-Atlantic Ocean) after the micro-continent of Avalonia was rafted off of  Gondwana.

Across the strait fog still lingered while we were in sunshine.  Back to Geology 101.

Across the Iapetus Ocean lay Laurentia (currently North America).  During the Cambrian Period (between 542 - 488 million years ago) the Iapetus Ocean began to close as Gondwana and Laurentia began to drift together sweeping up Avalonia and volcanic island arcs along the way.  Between the Ordovicin an Silurian periods the Iapetus Ocean closed and Avalonia was appended to what would become North America.

Tremendous forces of collision forced flat laying sediments to be tipped at various angles we saw along the shore.

The next query was "What are these rocks and what makes them red?"  Siltstones are not the only rocks in Northwest Arm.  These were interbedded sandstones and conglomerates that were deposited in shallow waters.  Deep water in anoxic (oxygen poor) whereas shallow water is well oxygenated that oxidized (rusted) the hematite (iron) in the sediments.

The tremendous forces of collision are evident in this small tightly folded siltstone and ...

... if not convinced, more evidence the deformation the collision caused.

We paddled up to the entrance of St. Jones Within before turning back so I could head for home early enough to avoid driving in the dark.  Driving in the dark around here is risky with the possibility of moose collisions.

Again, the still water captured the hilly scenery in exquisite detail.

We arrived back in Hatchet Cove an the red roofed Painted Fish with its waterfront views.

It was the first time I paddled in the area and won't be the last.