Monday, October 21, 2019

Paddling in the lun

Sunday the forecast was windy; 17 knots west gusting to 23 knots.  We are blessed with outstanding ocean scenery but cursed by topography.  The prevailing winds are SW and W and with many of the bays facing east, it leaves few options.  One I considered was a paddle along the east side of Bell Island.  So, Sunday Jenn and I caught the 12:10 ferry to Bell Island from Portugal Cove. A short ride to the nearby beach and we were at the put in.

"Lun" is Newfoundland vocabulary for a quiet protected place.  It was where we were in the wind shadow under cliffs rising 75 - 100 meters above the sea here approaching Green Head.

Water trickled down in places; we passed by the one sea stack as we paddled northerly.

The distinctive cliffs at Long Harry.

Passing Polls Head we entered the wide sweeping cove with a good example of the structural geology of Bell Island.  Here a wide bed of brownish grey sandstone interbedded with darker shales shows the beds strike northerly and dip easterly.  That is to say, they slant from left to right and dip away from us.

Near Eastern Head we looked through this tunnel into a cove on the other side of the teardrop peninsula.  Jenn and I paddled a bit further past Eastern Head to stick out our noses where we felt the strength of the wind.  We decided to turn around here and ...

... head back in a southerly direction.  We passed by the beach where we put in as there was more protected coast to explore.  Here we were at Dominion Pier, one of two iron ore offloading locations.  Continuing on we reached the nearby ...

... Scotia Pier.  The oolitic hematite was first recognized as iron ore around 1892 though ships used the ore for ballast for the return voyage to Europe for decades.  The Nova Scotia Steel and Coal Company acquired mining rights shorty after 1892 and Dominion Iron and Steel Company in 1899.

The iron ore beds dip east with underground mining running some 3 kilometers offshore and 500 meters below sea level.  The mines produced 48 million long tons of ore before being closed down in the late '60s .  Estimates of 10 billion, yes, that is with a capital B, tons remain, however, the cheaper cost of surface mining at other locations makes it uneconomical to mine.

We carried on some more with an eye on the clock and the arrival times of the ferry for the return.  Here passing a waterfall and ...

... the ever present trees clinging somehow to the cliff faces, some in fall colours.

We agreed to paddle on another 15 minutes which put us close to Lance Cove where we turned around to catch the 5:30 ferry back to Portugal Cove.  I failed to conscript any of my paddling buddies but Jenn and I made the most of a questionable paddling day.  We were well protected from the wind which we did feel from time to time but nothing to cause us any difficulty.

Jenn is a visiting artist-in-residence from Nova Scotia.  We've managed four paddles in the six weeks before she leaves next weekend.  If this is the last paddle we do, I think it was a nice way to cap off her Newfoundland visit.

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