Friday, March 31, 2017

On the road to recovery

So, I haven't paddled in 3 weeks but I have a good excuse.  I've come down with something medical, nothing serious, that has kept me off the water.  The condition makes it uncomfortable to do anything let alone paddle.  But, its getting better every day and I'm thinking I'll soon get back to paddling.  And, just in time!

Every year at this time I start looking at the sea ice cover and the wind direction.  I'm checking where the sea ice is relative to where I live.  Four days ago the sea ice was north of my position:

It looked promising if the wind direction would be predominantly north or northeast as it would drive the ice down to us on the Avalon Peninsula.  So far we've had a long stretch of northerly winds and today's sea ice cover shows it has blown our way as the following picture shows:

This sea ice is first year pan ice that freezes north of us every year and is only about a meter thick.  Many years the predominant southwest winds blow it too far offshore for us to get to.  But, when its accessible its a lot of fun paddling around and through channels in the ice.

One memorable day I spent in the sea ice was way back on 27 March 2009 when I paddled in Torbay.  It was a super day of paddling topped off with lunch on an ice pan after I ran the kayak up onto it.  I was still paddling my Necky Looksha IV.  Check it out here from an old post.

I think it might happen again this year if the wind would sit down for a day.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Trip 2017

Since 2010 I've done an extended kayak camp trip, except last year.  I'm determined not to let that happen in 2017 so we are looking at the Conaigre Peninsula at the head of Fortune Bay.  In particular, at paddle from Harbour Breton at the lower left to Pools Cove upper middle.  The coastline is better seen by clicking to enlarge.

This year it looks like we'll have a change in personnel as Neville can't make it and Dean looks to be doubtful.

Hazen and I identified the target location but we'll need to get together with the other guys to may more definitive plans so that everyone is happy with the plan.

One of the features on the area are the three resettled communities in the bay namely: Little Bay West, Miller's Passage and Red Cove.  Visiting these resettled communities is a key interest of mine because I am interested in seeing these isolated places and marveling at the resourcefulness of the people who survived there.

This is an aerial shot of Miller's Passage from the Memorial University of Newfoundland resettlement website.  Not great quality but a not so bad representation of where 138 to 153 people lived between 1921 and 1945.

This picture from Google Earth by "2rabbits" shows the area near Miller's Passage.  Catching a day like this on our trip would be a bonus.

Looking in the direction of Red Cove by Terry Clarke posted on Google Earth.  Looks like spectacular scenery.

After getting around the more exposed coastline we'll be paddling by occupied communities connected by road to the outside world.  This an island off of St. Jacques by Mikhail-Kolnik.

Further along past Belleoram we'll pass by the imposing hill called Iron Skull Mountain, picture by 3Neurons.

The trip will finish at Pools Cove which happens to be the beginning point of our trip in 2014 so we'll be closing part of a circle.

It looks like a trip to look forward to.  The planning by filling in the details adds to the excitement and anticipation.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Winnie the Pooh and the blustery day

Here's a screen shot of an NTV webcam overlooking Bell Island Tickle on this past Saturday.  Sustained winds, at their height, were at 106 kms/hr (58 knots) and a maximum wind gust recorded of 159 kms/hr (87 knots).  The wind whipped the water up into a frenzy with horizontal streams of water as it blew the tops of the waves.

Needless to say there was no paddling.

It knocked out power to 20,000 homes, mine included, for 2 and 1/2 days.  With temperatures outside of -10C it became a little bit of an inconvenience as temperatures in the house dropped accordingly.  But, its never so bad that it can't get worse as two of my neighbours found out.  The wind took their roof shingles and tossed them to the wind.

So, without power I was forced to camp in the house.  My MSR Dragonfly stove performed yeoman's service as did some of my other camping stuff.  Finally we have out power back and I have internet access again to explain my absence.

Some of us have talked for some time about winter camping.  After this recent experience I think I will need some convincing.  Maybe next year.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Blue sky day at Brocks Pond Falls

After a gut busting workout at the gym I passed on the cardio there and decided I'd beat it home, get the kayak out and do my cardio outside.  What to do?  It was still winter as the buoys were wearing their icy caps but spring is not far off.  I thought of Brocks Pond Falls which would be frozen now but not for much longer.  So, its decided, Brocks it was.

The icicles hanging off the cliffs are still spectacular but nothing like I expected the falls to be.

Making my way north Brocks Head appeared in the distance.  It was a ways off but under crystal clear blue skies and no wind it was a glorious day on the water.  It was about the journey, not the destination.

My favourite channel to paddle through.

At Portugal Cove the ferry was just leaving for Bell Island.  Perfect timing for it meant I could just paddle across the mouth of the cove without having to paddle in and around to avoid getting caught by it in mid-channel.

Past Portugal Cove the cliffs dropped straight down to the sea and then straight on down to the depths.  They are the hard rocks of the Harbour Main volcanics and the oldest rocks of the Avalon Peninsula.

Brocks Head in the distance but just around the nearest point, Hag Nose Head, I knew I was getting very close to ...

... the target for the day.  The water coming out of Brocks Pond up on the plateau falls over 100 meters here to reah the sea.  It was mostly a mass of frozen water but there was visible water running and also under the ice.

The falls are a spectacular sight in summer but more so in winter I find.  Especially on a sunny blue sky day which made the ice and snow seem that much more white.  Content, I retraced my paddle strokes and as I approahed Portugal Cove again I ran into ...

... the leading edge of the low pressure system forecasted to bring freezing rain and rain the next day.  While the day didn't end under clear blue skies, I had gotten the best of it.  The way the weather has been lately its best to take advantage of every opportunity.  Awesome day!!!