Sunday, July 23, 2017

Isle Valen: Thank you

I got into Isle Valen on Tuesday and discovered there was no cell phone service.  I was concerned that if I had to wait a few days to get out my wife would be worried I hadn't made contact.

With that weighing on my mind I decided to pack everything I didn't need for the night stay, hit the hay early and planned as early a morning departure as possible.  The wind continued to buffet the tent and sometime overnight the wind dropped.

I awoke at 4:30, packed my sleeping bag, air mattress and tent, put on my kayak gear and Stardust was ready to face the day.  It was foggy!

At 5:10 I was on my way wondering about sea state.  Near the entrance it seemed the fog was even thicker.  I knew I wouldn't be losing touch with the shoreline and luckily the sea was flat calm making that possible.

I decided on following the south shore of Isle Valen east and then north.  I knew I was going to have to make a blind crossing back to the Burin Peninsula in fog.  I had a map and a bearing to get to Deep Cove but I liked the comfort of knowing near the end of the island it bent in the direction I wanted to go so all I had to do was depart on the same bearing I held on the last bit of coast.

At Beachy Cove Head almost an hour after leaving the fog seem to lift a bit as entered Pete Cove.

The fog lifted further until I got to the northern tip of the island and beyond the fog thickened.  I launched out ...

... into the soup trusting my compass and I also had a backstop to rely on.  It was a 2 km crossing so I knew that if I didn't make landfall at the end of 20 - 25 minutes I had better take a more aggressive track to port.

Twenty minutes after leaving Isle Valen I could hear birds singing but still couldn't see land.  I paddled a bit further and it loomed out of the fog.

At 8:10 I had been on the water for 3 hours and I had not yet eaten breakfast.  Ladder Cove offered one of only a few places to get off of the water along the coast.  Just on speculation I took out my cell phone and on this isolated beach remarkably I managed to place a phone call.  That was a relief!  Then I set about cooking up some ...

... seaweed stew!!!  Just kidding.  I had porridge and a cup of tea and cleaned my pot with seaweed.  Refueled and ready to carry on I continued on along the fog shrouded coast maintaining close contact with just shadows at times until ...

... a couple of boats loomed out of the fog in Davis Cove which confirmed where I was.  I kept track of where I was by counting off the blocks on my topo by 10 minute, 1 km, intervals for 12 kms after making landfall.

Four kilometers on the fog dissipated at Great Sandy Harbour so I could made the crossing across the mouth of the harbour before landing at Gulch Pond and lunch time.

Reinvigorated after a good meal and a cup of tea I crossed over to Bar Haven Island and my paddling day ended after 42 kms at Browns Cove.

The day brightened with off and on sunshine.  I set up my tent and collected some ...

... firewood.  There was lots on the beach so I collected enough to start a fire and add more as the fire was burning.

After eating supper, which I did in a bit of drizzle every now and then, I got the festivities underway.  Oh ya, entertainment for the night.

I burned quite a lot of wood, some of it big sticks so I stopped piling on more wood and let it burn down to die before I hit the sleeping bag.

The day that started out with some trepidation resolved into a day of fulfillment unlike any I've had in a kayak up to then.  I felt great and the song "Thank You" by Alanis Morissette came to mind:

"Thank you India
Thank you terror
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you frailty
Thank you consequence
Thank you thank you silence"

 I sang it but substituted "Isle Valen" for "India".

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