Sunday, January 22, 2017

Solo, yet so high

Friday night through Saturday we had a blizzard dumping 30 cms snow whipped around by wind gusts at 100 kms/hr.  Today, Sunday, it was supposed to still be windy so there didn't look to be an opportunity to paddle this weekend.  Wrong!!!  After clearing away the snow I made note of the fact there was imperceptible wind.  Ummm.... will I or won't I.  The choice was clear.

I was by myself so I decided on something close to home not only for that but time was scarce after a morning spent shoveling snow.  I left St. Philips where the effects of the blizzard were obvious.

I left with the temperature -5C with a windchill of -12C.  I think they lied because without the wind it did not feel cold, though tell that to the icicles.

Inside the cove it was calm but as I made my way towards Portugal Cove the remnant swell from the weekend storm began to assert itself and where it met the immovable rocks it ...

... went skywards.

As I got close to Portugal Cove it got very interesting at Dreadnaught Rock (OK, I'm christening it!) as the two meter swell swept over the top.  I stayed offshore a bit as I didn't want to get caught there by myself and I also wanted to stay clear of the one meter clapotis that was rebounding off the cliffs.

I turned the corner and paddled into Portugal Cove where I ...

... got out for a bit.  Not that I needed it but paddling into this little beach added three kilometers to a shortish paddle making it more worthwhile.

After a short stay I got back in the kayak knowing I'd have the swell behind me on the way back to St. Philips.  I overdressed a bit and started to overheat so I took my time going back, which turned out to be a good thing.  To port the swell continued to cannon off the cliffs, I felt comfortable and going slow extended my time on the water.  I felt in control even though some of the clapotis was close to a meter and when they were they washed across the foredeck and sprayskirt.

Back at St. Philips I paddled up the river running into the harbour because, well, it was a river ;);) (Cathy if you're reading).  A river with fresh water ;);) to wash the salty brine off of my gear.

Paddling solo is not encouraged though I have no hesitation on calm water.  Today it was far from that but I felt qualified.  It was a bit of risk - reward.  It was a super paddle.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Blowin' in the wind

With 30 cms snow down being driven around by 60 kms/hr winds, gusting to 100 kms/hr a paddle this weekend doesn't look to be happening.  The storm started overnight and rages still and will do so into the next day.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

South Coast 2010: The Summary

In a bit of housekeeping, here's a summary of a trip along the South Coast from Harbour Le Cou to Burgeo that Ralph, Stan and I completed in June/July 2010.

The plan was to take the coastal ferry from Burgeo to Rose Blanche and take four days to paddle back, all around the resettlement of the community of Grand Bruit.  We arrived in Burgeo two days before the ferry departure date.

I should point out the ferry does not take this run anymore so a long car shuttle or other arrangements have to be made to cover this coastline.

June 26th: Driving from St. John's to Burgeo.  Link

June 27th: Day paddle from Burgeo to Red Island.  Link

June 28th: Day paddle out of Burgeo around the Burgeo islands.  Link

June 29 & 30th: Taking the ferry to Grand Bruit, overnight in Grand Bruit and deposited in Harbour Le Cou.  Link

July 1st: Paddle from Harbour Le Cou to LaPlante Harbour.  Link

July 2nd: Paddle from LaPlante Harbour to Grand Bruit.  Link
                 Walk about in Grand Bruit.  Link

July 3rd: Paddle from Grand Bruit to Wreck Island.  Link

July 4th: Return to Burgeo.  Link

July 5th: Drive home.  No pix!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Bay Bulls - Down the south side

After paddling up the north side of Bay Bulls and crossing to the south side, Gerard, Hazen and I arrive at South Head.  We paddled on to ...

... Red Rock Cove with a good swell running into the constricted cove.  It was only large swell and no breaking waves so we ...

... paddled in and around the rock perched in the cove.  We hung around for a bit before padding uphill over the incoming swell and making our way ...

... through some rough water to ...

... Baboul Rocks, a collection of massive sea stacks.

Making our way between and through the stacks.

Back in the harbour of Bay Bulls we no longer had the swell from the southeast.  We picked our way back paddling into coves dominated by red sandstone cliffs draped with masses of white and ruddy icicles.

It was a marvelous day even under the grey skies that only got better as the promised sun began to make an appearance and patches of blue sky opened up.

The south side has a number of caves.  This one is my favourite.  There's a narrow entrance with barely room to get through until the inside is gained where it opens up.  Gerard and I sat looking out at the world beyond obscured regularly by one meter swell trying to get into the cave with us.

Gerard held his position whereas I let the incoming swell drive me back to get a side shot of him in front of the opening.

The rest of the day was uneventful making our way back to the put-in.  We made a fine choice of day and well content with ourselves as we sipped on coffee before heading home.  Thanks guys!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Bay Bulls - Up the north side

Every Monday I start to look at the long range forecast for the next weekend whether it will cooperate for a paddle.  Thursday caught my eye with light southerly winds so I mailed some of the guys who can paddle mid-week.  Gerard, Hazen and Pete were in so we met at Bay Bulls to put in.

After some discussion we decided on a paddle up the north side, a crossing to the south side and return down the south side.

Inside the harbour it was dead calm but as we made our way along the shore we felt a bit more action.

Gerard making his way along side the gently dipping rocks on the west limb of a gigantic syncline.

The previous two days were bitterly cold freezing masses of ice on cliff faces.  It was considerably warmer for us as the temperature hovered near 0 C.

Paddling into Useless Bay the southeast swell washed up on the sloping rocks.

Gerard goes to check out a passage hammered out by the sea.  I ...

... followed knowing there was room for both of us.

Near North Head we stopped briefly in this small cove protected from the swell.  Pete started to feel the effects of the cold and decided he had to head back.  I thought we should also retreat but he assured us he would be fine.  Inwardly I was concerned he would lose dexterity in his hands but he insisted we carry on so with some reluctance Gerard, Hazen and I ...

... paddled on to North Head and out into the open ocean and bobbed around before ...

... setting out across the harbour entrance towards the south side.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Pool nights are back

January 10th and pool nights are on again at the Aquarena.  It was bitterly cold outside but inside the weather was delightful.

I've captured some video from several evenings and edited a composite which I've uploaded to YouTube.  Its not worth putting on Blogger because of the degradation in quality and some quality is lost on YouTube but its acceptable.

Here's a link to the video: Pool Night

The contrast between the temperature outside and inside is easy to see as a fog developed on the pool waters as kayaks were carried in.  No complaints about the music - its free *lol*

Monday, January 2, 2017

Taking stock of 2016

January 1st and the year got off to a good start.  Hopefully a good omen for 2017.

2016 was a less productive year than most and the least productive since 2012 when my paddling was curtailed by a rotator cuff injury and only made 636 kms.  2016 was a year plagued *lol* with home projects and I made just 829 total kilometers for the year.

I did 23 convenience paddles out of St. Philips and made 21 evening practices there on Wednesday evenings.  Not exciting but time spent on the water in any event.

Every year since 2009 I have done a decent kayak camp trip, some up to a week long.  A long trip did not happen in 2016 which was very disappointing for me.  I did manage 4 one night trips, 2 of which were solo.  The other saving grace trip wise was our camp trip to Kellys Island.  We've talked about doing that for years and nothing came of it until this past year.  Sometimes it takes a little effort to bring things to fruition, or the right catalyst.

I'm determined to get an extended trip again this year and I intend to build on my solo trips and do a longer, two or three night, solo trip.

So then there are a few more New Year resolutions.

We have been to most destinations on the Avalon Peninsula that are a respectable driving distance from home.  There are a few though that I have in mind that are  stretch to do in one day so maybe they will turn out to be one night camp trips.

We tend to descend on St. Philips for a bounce or surfing when the conditions don't allow a day paddle.  I'd like to spread our wings a bit more.  One possible play spot is the rock at the entrance to Bauline East.

We've gotten somewhat complacent at Wednesday evening practices, often going for paddles rather than practice rescues and other skills.  We've talked about identifying a skill for each evening to practice to make them more structured.

So, another year lays ahead full of promise, hopefully not only for kayaking but for every facet of life.  And that goes for everyone reading.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Ho, Ho, Ho, jingle all the way

Since 2009 (with one year missed due to weather) a few of us have met at St. Philips for a Christmas paddle or bounce depending on the sea state.  2016 was no exception.

Of course Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer was there.

There was a dusting of snow on the trees and a fine skim of ice on the water in the harbour.

There was a surprising amount of chop as we made our way north ...

... but not enough to keep us from making passages through the rocks.

Here the passage was well protected.

At Beachy Cove we stopped to float around a bit before ...

... carrying on the last short distance to Portugal Cove.

Almost there.

And we arrive to ...

... raft up.  Poor Rudolph's antlers started the paddle standing proud but the water took its toll making them droop.

It was a great way to lead into the Christmas season earning a few calorie credits before the feasting began.