Sunday, December 31, 2017

Top 10 paddles of 2017 - #1

Every year from 2009 to 2015 I've had a multi-day kayak camp trip, usually 5 - 6 days long.  Last year in 2016, one did not materialize.  We couldn't get everyone on the same page.  The same thing happened this year.  A trip was planned but the plans fell through.

However, I was determined.  I set off on a solo four day trip to Isle Valen in Placentia Bay from 17 July to the 20th.  The first day I padded from Garden Cove and found myself looking down the bay from Ship Island.  The day started in fog and which gave way after two hours to brilliant sunshine.

I wasn't my first solo trip.  I've had an extended solo trip in the back of my mind for some time.  To that end, in 2016 I did two one night solo trips.  The first was a close by location, the second was further away.  I wanted to see how I felt off on my own.  I was pleased to find I made good company for myself.

I awoke on day two to low hanging fog but no wind.  I had a longer day paddling from Ship Island to the former community of Isle Valen on Isle Valen Island.  As I rounded the south end of the island the wind picked up as did the sea state.  Nevertheless I found the entrance to the harbour, set up my tent and generally felt quite pleased with myself.

The wind continued to blow and the dense fog persisted.  I decided to hit the hay early with the intention of getting away early the next day.

On day three I was up early; 4:30!  The wind had dropped but the fog was as thick as pea soup.  I had packed everything except what I needed for the night to expedite my departure as early as possible.  I was on the water close on 5:00 paddling away on flat, calm water but only meters away from the shore so as not to get lost in the fog.

A short two kilometer paddle in fog had me back on the mainland shore.  I stopped on the first available beach to have breakfast and later stopped in Gulch Pond for lunch.

The end of day three had me at Browns Cove on Bar Haven Island after a long 42 km but satisfying day.

At Browns Cove at the end of day three I was only 17 kms from ending the trip.  I spent a pleasant evening with a decent camp fire and hit the hay.

I was in no hurry in the morning because I was so close to the end.  I took my time breaking camp and had a leisurely paddle up to Rattling Brook Falls where I got out of my paddling gear and had a swim in the hole above the falls.  Dried off and back in my drysuit I made the rest of the return to Garden Cove with the benefit of a tail wind and mini-surf rides.

I didn't get an extended kayak camp trip with the guys.  I would have preferred that but I was tickled pink that I had completed this trip on my own.  It was something of a voyage of discovery, that is learning something about myself.  I was alone but never lonely.

It was a trip I'll long cherish.  It wasn't hard making this my top paddle for the year.  This post was more of a look back, a birds eye view so to speak.  A complete summary with links to each day and more detail and pictures is here.


  1. This is beautiful Tony! I wish I was on that excursion with you!!! I wouldn't have wanted to do that crossing in the fog alone! The pix and the story... Awesome! :) Way to go! :)

    1. Thanks Cathy, its hard to put into words if there are even words that fit but this was one of the best things I've ever done adventure wise. If one word could sum it up is "fulfilling".