Sunday, April 2, 2023

Ice, ice baby!

First paddle of 2023!  Pack ice drifted into Conception Bay for the first time in years so it was a have to paddle.

The ice was close to shore but further up along the coast.  I passed the first piece of floating ice on my way to the ice front.

A more substantial piece had floated into this small indent in the cliffs where water froze into a wall of icicles.

I carried on and met the main field and paddled northerly along its edge.

 It was pretty well all packed closely together with no way through.  I had to accept that my paddle would have to be along its outside edge which I ...

... did and close to Sailing Point I could see that the pack was drifting closer to shore the further north I went.  I was concerned that if I went further my retreat may be cut off so ...

... I had a peek inside Sailing Point where a small bergy bit floated.

There was no going further so content with my first paddle of 2023 I turned south to return.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Woody Island; what a difference a day makes


Here's the track to our camp site on Saturday, July16.  We had a look out at the top of Woody Island and opted the route on the outside and had a peek again when we reached Little Woody Island.  We turned back and found ...

... this lovely protected campsite.  We woke up early in the morning and the water was ...

... dead calm.  Crazy the day before wind waves washed over the fore deck and spray skirt.  A few hours later it was ...

... fair weather paddling.

We had a relaxed paddle along forested hills that came down to the water level.  Paddling north on the west side of Woody Island we reached ...

... the site of the former community also named Woody Island.  There's no information on the date the island was settled but the population was 93 in 1836 so likely early 1800's or late 1700's.  From 1836 it grew to 138 in 1884 and crossed over 200 in 1901 with a population of 237.  The population peaked at 298 in 1945 but times were changing.  What was a community sustained by the fishery couldn't hold on to its members as isolation took its toll.  In the 1960's the community succumbed to resettlement pressures with people moving to communities where modern services could be accessed on the mainland.

We left what was now a cabin community and began our paddle across to the Burin Peninsula.

We made our way along an again nondescript coastline until we reached Rattling Brook Falls that tumbled some 5 meters to the sea.  We were able to get out of our kayaks and follow a path up to the top of the falls to find ...

... what in effect was an infinity pool as the pool waters seemed to merge with the salt waters of Placentia Bay.

I was well aware of this spot as I had been here several times before so I came prepared with swimming apparel.  The other guys climbed up to ...

...  second higher pool where Clyde took a picture of the swimmer below.

After our stop at the falls we crossed over to Sound Island and made our return to Garden Cove where we had parked our cars.

It was only one night out but its made a number of memories not the least were the windy paddling of the previous day, the fine camp site, the camp fire and beers and the companionship of great friends.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Woody Island one night stand

No kayak camp trip last so when Clyde mailed about a one night trip to Carroll Point on Bar Haven Island Brian, Hazen and I accepted the invitation from him and Dean.  We met at 8:00 for the two hour plus ride to Garden Cove in Placentia Bay where we loaded up the kayaks to paddle the top of Sound Island on choppy waters.

Dean and I were first to reach Bloody Point at the top of Sound Island where ...

 ... we were joined by Brian, Clyde and Hazen and entered the channel between the island and the mainland and headed south.

Sticking close to shore we paddled through numerous kelp beds.

Two hours later we reached the bottom of Sound Island and paddled into Muddy Hole where we stopped at this beach for a short break.

The idea was to continue down the same channel to the west of Woody Island but after crossing Muddy Hole and reaching Otter Point we had a change of heart.  The forecasted wind arrived early with lots of whitecaps whipped up by gusts between 20 and 25 knots.  I suggested to Dean we paddle down the east side as we would be protected from the wind and he sold it to the others.

I knew the east side was more appealing having paddled there before and it did not disappoint with offshore rocks to navigate through.

Looking across Placentia Bay that was dead calm it was a complete contrast to the other side of the island.

So, the plan was to evaluate conditions once we lost the protection of Woody Island.  We had discussed the possibility of having protection at Little Woody Island .8 km across windswept water.  After crossing and seeing the frenzied sea towards Bar Haven we decided to retrace out steps and search out a camping spot along the shore just paddled.

Brian and I made note on one location on the way down.  Returning we got out to scope the spot and all agreed it fit the bill.  After setting up the tents and furnishing with sleeping arrangements we started happy hour leading into supper.

As the evening wore on there was talk of a camp fire.  There wasn't much wood but most of it was big logs.  Scraping up small sticks there was just enough kindling to make a worthwhile fire.  The bar was opened again as we enjoyed some beer and conversation as the light faded.  Darkness enveloped us and the stars came out with some 8 satellites to track as they sped through the sky.

Time came to hit the sack.  We were content with the 18.5 km paddling effort in the windy sections and especially the judgement to change plans to fit the circumstances.  

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Baptism by Fire

I haven't paddled much of late.  So, when Shane proposed a paddle I jumped at the chance.  It looked a good day for it; it was sunny and very little wind.  When we left the harbour we got a bit of a surprise.  A significant ...

... wind event was to the east of us and sending significant swell our way that, rebounding off the cliffs made things chaotic with clapotis on top of the swell.

Both Dean and I hadn't done much paddling and both of us were a little uncomfortable requiring close attention to what we were doing.

There were times distant hills disappeared behind the 1.5 meter swell but finally we made our way into Portugal Cove where we got out to stretch our legs.

In the past when we were paddling regularly these conditions were meh!  It will take a few paddles before we're back there but there's nothing like out of the frying pan and into the fire.  Baptism by fire!

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Looking at the sea from two sides

Hard to believe but I might be back to some kind of regular paddling; twice inside of two weeks!  Dean mailed the usual suspects and I was the only positive reply.  We met at Long Pond in Conception Bay for a paddle over to and around Kellys Island.

We left the confines of the harbour and began our 3 km crossing to Kellys Island in the distance.

Thirty minutes later we were across and under the imposing 50 meter high cliffs.

 The water was calm between Kelly Island and the mainland and we were taking our time getting a little push from the flood tide.

 As we approached the southwest end of the island we began to notice the waves were bashing pretty well against the cliffs caused by ...

 ... the swell running over a shallow underwater bench.  Given the calm state of the sea before reaching this point, it was a bit of a surprise.  As we rounded and began our paddle north could see waves crashing all up the coast.

We felt it prudent to stay well off the coast as rebounding waves, clapotis, was mixing with the incoming swell.  There was no wind to contend with so it made for a comfortable paddle allowing the boat to sway back and forth under me.  A few times we noticed the crashing waves reached the full 15 meter height of the cliffs on this side.

 As we were well off shore there wasn't much to photograph.  We returned to the point where me made landfall on the crossing over before returning across the bay to Long Pond.  Here, passing to the left of the red buoy; red, right, return!

After stowing our gear we went for a coffee and a catch-up chat.  We agreed we should at least try to get a paddle in every two weeks to mix them in with either our hiking or biking adventures.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Looking for my MoJo

This has the feel of a confession. The last time I paddled was May 30th!  I can't explain it but I've lost my mojo.  I lost my enthusiasm for paddling.  Maybe yesterday's paddle is the start of the way back?  Dean mailed the usual suspects for a paddle out of Conception Harbour.  I considered a bike ride but I hadn't seen Dean in a while so I appreciated the nudge.

There was a breeze blowing from the north barely evident in the harbour but I could see whitecaps in the distance.  It felt good to be back in the kayak.  Before long Dean and Brian and I ...

... were making our way past the houses of the community.

Clear of spectators we were along the rugged cliffs of Gasters Bay.

It didn't take long to recapture the feeling of the kayak under me.  When I got home I checked Stardust's log.  The high point was in 2011 when I had 126 days in the kayak.  That includes pool sessions but in any event, it was an incredible number.

The further north we went the more we felt the breeze.  Looking across the bay towards Salmon Cove Point we could see there was good action as the waves hit the rocks.

Referring again to ship's log, as late as 2016 I still had 76 days in the boat!  In 2017 I was still making entries in the log but bike rides started to creep into the log.  It was the sharp edge of the wedge.

The bike took over and each year from 2018 the kilometers on the bike increased to over 3,000 kms in 2020.  The Nordkapp began to collect dust.

We began feeling the wind more and the waves became steeper.  One more headland I thought and we'd be in Bacon Cove.  We got there but alas there was one more.  This was to be an easy ease-back paddle so we decided we had enough and turned to return with the wind.

At one point Dean was in front of me and I thought about the winter of 2013 when we both paddled every weekend of that winter.  Hard to believe it was almost 9 years ago.

Back in Conception Harbour we checked out one of the whaling boats that were left to find their watery graves.

Taking out and putting our gear away there was talk of a more frequent return to paddling.  Not necessarily to reach the same numbers of earlier days but for a minimum of two days a month.  More between biking days and hiking days would be a bonus.

In closing, I'm not the only one who seems to have lost my mojo but I am lucky to have friends with a mutual desire to spend more time kayaking.