Monday, February 13, 2017

Island Hopping

Shane came up with the paddle plan for Sunday.  It was a trip to Tors Cove where we would check out the islands on our way to LaManche.  Here, we're looking out across the water towards the islands and ...

... here's a Google Earth overhead shot of the islands of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve.

It was overcast when we arrived.  Leaving Tors cove we paddled past Fox Island to get to ...

... the east side and open water where a bit of swell was running.

From Fox Island we made for Ship Island and thence to Great Island, here in front of our bows.

Finishing the short crossing we arrived at Great Island, the largest of the group.

Cathy making her way to paddle between this sea stack and the island.

These islands of the Ecological Reserve are home to tens of thousands of sea birds that come in from the open ocean in the spring to nest.  The effects of the birds can be seen as Dean and Shane paddle past massive sandstone cliffs covered in guano.  As its winter, the birds weren't home but were at sea.

These thick sedimentary beds are the west limb of a south plunging syncline.  Each bed represents a change in environment where either there's a change in ocean depth or an interruption in the delivery of sediments.  Dean and I went to get a closer look entering the cave but avoiding paddling under the icicles hanging in the ceiling.

In the next cove we got into this larger cave.  The interesting feature in this cave were ripples in the sand of the sea floor that were preserved in the rocks.  In the roof rocks on the right were casts of the ripples in the overlaying bed and on the left we could see ripples right side up.  These rocks are undated from the Pre-Cambrian because they do not contain fossils but are in excess of 542 million years old.  So, we were looking at very ancient sea floor.

Further along we came to the Great Slot where the sea had eroded a bed that was made up of weaker sandstone.  Dean, Shane and I had a look but decided the swell made it too dicey to try to get through.

I've only managed to make one passage in the few times I've been here and that was in 2013 when Tobias recorded some video on a less dramatic day.

So, the three of us paddled around to look through the slot from south to north.

Having reached the south end of Great Island we turned east to make the short crossing to return to the mainland.  From there the plan was to stop at the resettled community of LaManche which is now part of the East Coast Trail dominated by ...

... this impressive suspension bridge.

Here we stopped for lunch protected from a light northeasterly breeze under clearing sunny skies.

The rest of the paddle was uneventful returning to Tors Cove where we packed up and stopped for coffee on the way home.  Cathy Gary and I were in LaManche on November 11th last year.  We've pretty much been everywhere in our area so some places take on an air of sameness.  This day's paddle, while it ended up in the same place, was different because we hopped from island to island to get here rather than handrail the shoreline as we did the last visit.


  1. Great to finally get out again. Great pics Tony as always!

    1. Ya Shane, you, and Cathy, have been missed. Always great to be on the water with you.