Thursday, August 29, 2019

Burgeo Day 5 - Foggy post rain paddle

There was no paddling on day 4, Thursday, as we had strong winds and rain.  Rain wasn't the issue however because Brian, Hazen, Sue and I went for a walk along beaches from our campsites to Aaron Arm.  Overnight it poured rain but by morning the rain had stopped after 40 mm had fallen.  It was foggy and damp when we got up.

Nine of us started the week.  Wednesday Terry and Sharon left.  Thursday Clyde hit the road and Friday morning Brian, Neil, Sue and Ysabelle departed.  That left Hazen and myself to figure out what we'd do on our last day.

We opted to retrace the route of our Thursday beaches walk.  After leaving a car in Burgeo we drove to Aaron Arm to begin our paddle.

The fog persisted but there was no wind.  It was great paddling and soon we were at the tickle leading out of Aaron Arm.

We stopped at the beach that was the end point of Thursday's hike.  I got out to get a picture of ...

... the mineralization on the surface of the large boulder.  The surface was covered by huge crystals of quartz and orthoclase feldspar.

Sandbanks Provincial Park is aptly named.  Most of the coast we paddled by were high sandbanks and where eroded, sandy beaches.

I recognized the point where we walked out onto another beach on a trail bypassing a rocky headland.

We were told we could access this part of the coast from our campsites by hauling our kayaks to the swimming hole in the park and then to Heron Pond and thence via a small stream.  When we got to where the stream meets the ocean Hazen and I decided to see how far it was navigable.  We were on a rising tide and made considerable headway but not all the way.  We did however ...

... reach a bridge that the waking trail goes over.  The tide had not reached its highest point and had it done so we were convinced we cold have gotten into Heron Pond.

Not all of the coast was sandy beach.  Here at Grip Head the massive cliffs cut one beach off from the string of beaches.

Three hours after leaving Aaron Arm we caught sight of the first houses of Burgeo.  We continued our paddle within sight of the houses of Burgeo, made our way up short reach and ...

... had a short chat with two sailors from the Netherlands.  I had spotted the red, white and blue flag on the sailboat from the ferry to Ramea on Wednesday as it sailed west and wondered if I'd have a chance to meet it and get the story.  They had sailed the Atlantic and were on their way to Chesapeake Bay in the USA.

Several minutes of practicing my rusty Dutch, Hazen and I moved on and took out at the fish plant, stowed our gear, drove to Aaron Arm and picked up Hazen's car.  Here's the track for the day.

It was just Hazen and I by the fire on our last day at the park.  We burned all the remaining wood we had and had a few swallies.  Saturday morning I was up early to break camp, have breakfast and begin the 900 km drive home.

It was a super week doing something every day.  Thanks to Brian for instigating the trip and Clyde, Hazen, Neil, Sharon, Sue, Terry and Ysabelle for sharing the adventure.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Burgeo Day 3 - Ramea with a paddle chaser

The weather forecast wasn't favourable for a paddle so some of us decided for a ferry ride to the island of Ramea.  An hour and a half after leaving the dock in Burgeo we sailed into Ramea.

The ferry backed into the dock at Ramea and we started a walking tour of the town.

The end point of our walk was a lookout on one of the highest hills overlooking the town.

On the voyage back the predicted winds had not materialized so when we got back to Burgeo at 2:30 we decided ...

... on a paddle that would keep us in more or less sheltered waters if the wind did pick up.

Our route took us to Aldridge's Pond, the site of Farley Mowat's book "A Whale for the Killing" which I read a number of years ago.  The pond has a narrow entrance with a rocky ledge at the entrance.  An 80-ton fin whale chasing herring got into the pond on a high spring tide and then couldn't get out.  It was trapped and did not survive.

Aldridge's Pond was the feature of this paddle for me and I paid particular attention to the environs.  Paddling into the pond I noted the shallow ledge as I paddled in.

Neil and Ysabelle consult the map to establish location.

The exit at the the other end of the pond is only passable by kayak or small boat.

Leaving the pond we paddled towards the fjord of Bay de Loop.

We didn't make it into the dramatic fjord paddling to Buffets Island at the entrance instead before ...

... returning to the put-in ...

... as the light began to fade.

Wednesday, day 3, in Burgeo was a full day and we got a short paddle in regardless of the misleading forecast.  I had paddled in the area in 2010 but missed Aldridge's Pond.  I was happy to have been able to tick that off my list.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Burgeo Day 2 - Burgeo islands

South of Burgeo is an archipelago of islands.  Tuesday it took some time to settle on a paddle plan so it wasn't till after 2:00 we got our at together.  We decided to paddle out around the Burgeo islands.

There was no slipway at the chosen put-in location, it was a two foot step down into the kayak.

The islands beckoned in the short distance.

The first stop was Baggs Island with a narrow passageway.  We scoped it out and ...

... paddled thru.

Exiting the passage we faced a broad open swell.

Under sunny skies and a little chop.

The next destination was Rencontre Island.

There were a few paddle throughs on our way to the ...

... bowl shaped harbour on Rencontre Island.  I got out and climbed a hill to get a shot of my paddle buddies on the water below.

We hung out for a while before leaving through the narrow entrance.

We made one more island visit at Cuttail Island on our way back to Burgeo.

I had paddled around these islands in 2010 but missed Rencontre Island so I was glad to tick that off my list.

Our trip to Burgeo wasn't only about paddling.  After supper Brian, Hazen, Sue and I hiked to a lookout at the top of the hill overlooking the main beach at Sandbanks Provincial Park and ...

... descended to walk some of the beaches stopping at ...

... Potato Point.  The setting sun lit up the red granitic rocks and added a red hue.

We returned to our campsites, had a campfire and happy hour ensued.  It was a fine end to day two at Burgeo.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Burgeo Day 1 - Off to Norman Head

Earlier this year, in April I believe, Brian mailed about any interest in spending a week paddling in Burgeo.  I wasn't fussy about the long drive but mid-July I decided I was in and made my reservation at Sandbanks Provincial Park.

On Sunday I got in the car and drove the 900 kms from home (Starting location) to Burgeo (Red balloon) leaving at 7:00 am and arriving at 5:30.

Monday the rest of the gang arrived at different times and after much back and forth we decided ...

... to drive to Aaron Arm nearby for a paddle west to Norman Head.  There were six of us: Brian, Clyde, Hazen, Sue, Terry and myself.

After some time we were all on the water and looking out the Arm and paddled out where it ...

... opened up behind a two kilometer bar.

The tide was falling and the water got very shallow to the point where Terry got out to pull his kayak into water where his boat would float.  The rest of us knuckle walked our kayaks until we could paddle on.

Arriving at Norman Head.  Normally the Burgeo area is where Paddle Canada level IV courses are held as at Norman Head surfing conditions are fairly certain as is current.

I spotted where the action was and headed straight into the maw.  We played in the breaking waves for a while surfing.  The water was confused meaning some of the surfing was side surfing.

We didn't hang out long before returning to Aaron Arm.  It took a while to get things organized so it was only a short paddle of 10 kms but it was a good start to the first of five days in Burgeo.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Today was the Cathy show

Cathy invited me to ride our bikes up Signal Hill today.  Two issues: I didn't need the strenuous exercise after two weeks of hard labour and it was going to rain.  Cathy countered with lets do a paddle then because we'll be dressed for it.

We put in in the river down over a steep bank.

Cathy climbs own after catch me in my kayak.

Leaving the harbor on still water.

As it was only Cathy and myself, it was the Cathy show!

We took our time wending our way wherever possible through the rocks.  Here the tightest of passages.

More of Cathy!

We stopped at Topsail Beach for a short break when it started to rain fairly hard before we got underway again.  We retraced our track paddling around the Rock of Ages before grabbing  coffee on my part and a cup of tea for Cathy.

Lovely day on the water catching up on news.  Been too long.  Thanks Cathy!