Monday, May 31, 2021

Arr ... be there pirates?

Sunday was a perfect day for a paddle over to Kellys Island.  Its a 3 km crossing from Long Pond were we assembled for the put-in.

Once we were all on the water we paddled out through the pond and made for the exit into Conception Bay.

Thirty minutes later we were along the shore of Kellys Island and making our way in a southerly direction.

As we pulled into one of the few places to take out I noticed someone on the cliffs above with a metal detector.  I don't think the person was going to find Peter Easton's pirate treasure rumoured to be burried on the island.

We got out for a stop and ...

Scaled the steep path to the top of the island where we had a spectacular view of Conception Bay and looked down upon our ...

... matchstick sized kayaks below.

We got under way to complete our circumnavigation of the island.

The rocks of Kellys Island are are fossiliferous shales and sandstones of the Ordovician period.  Here we passed under sandstone beds topped by darker beds of shale.  The change from sandstone to shale is evidence of a sudden change in depositional environment when the sea level rose preciptiously.

The beds strike northeasterly and dip to the northwest.  They disappear under the bay and reappear on Bell Island where the rocks are younger.  The estimated thickness for the sequence of rocks is some 8,000 feet.

The cliffs were just as imposing on the west side as we made our way around.  Once around we sat in our boats for a few minutes before crossing back to ...

... Long Pond where it was red, right, return.

It was a fine day with a great bunch and the promise of warmer weather in the air.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Practice revival


In August 2009 Graham O posted a message on the then kayak message board inviting paddlers to practice skills in St. Philips.  He opened it to Paddle Canada level II certified paddlers.  I had no certification, and still don't today, but that wasn't going to stop me.  I went demonstrated a roll and I was in.  There were four of us the first night.

Graham moved and in 2010 I thought the 2009 sessions were so beneficial I thought to continue the practices which did so until 2017.  By then they started to fizzle out as attendance dropped to a few every evening.

In 2020 there were a few session and it looked to have gained new momentum with Sean organizing.  Last evening there were 15 eager newer paddlers and some old hands.

People showed up over time as the early arrivals paddled around the cove at St. Philips knocking the rust off of different paddle strokes and a few rolls.  With everyone on the water various rescues were practiced, here an assisted rescue as Dean scrambles back into his kayak.

Johnny doing a back deck scramble on self rescue.

Sean showing of his sculling brace in his Greenland style Black Pearl.

Cathy jumped into the water to teach newer paddler Kelly how to complete an assisted rescue.

Dean being the rescue subject of an injured paddler doing a scoop rescue with Brian and Florence assisting.

The sea was calm making it an ideal first evening.  Over the summer I hope Thursday evening practices will continue.  The sea state will not always be as calm but that is the point of practice - rescue competence when it is needed and where everyone in the group has a role whether someone takes charge and directs the rescue or completes the rescue.

A fine start and a welcome infusion of newer paddlers bringing vigour, passion and excitement!

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Livin' in a fog

Spring is here and after a winter of fatbiking in the snow it was time to get some paddling in.  At home is was pea soup thick fog but at water level the fog wasn't an issue.  Higher up on Bell Island five kilometers away the fog also hung high on the land.

Sailing Point, my favorite channel to paddle through.  The water was pretty calm.

At Beachy Cove I stopped to check out the exposed sheeted dikes.  I was paddling along the fault line of the Topsail fault.  The friction of the rocks moving past each other melted them and injected the molten material into the fissures created in the faulting.

This rocky spire stood out against the grey sky.

As I began to leave the protection of the cliffs to starboard I could see the top of the hill overlooking Portugal Cove was also shrouded in fog.  As I passed through the channel I thought I should name the rocks to port.  The reminded me of one of Kayak Bill's painting.  Henceforth I will call them Kayak Bill.

I had been paddling under the cliffs and free from the easterly wind but when I paddled frther to look into Portugal Cove I was hit with the wind gusting to 40 kms.  I waited for the Bell Island ferry approaching until it crossed in front to grab this picture.

In only my second paddle of the year I felt like it wouldn't take me long to get into paddle shape.  I let the wind blow the bow downwind to return to the put-in.  I was glad I went.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas Eve paddle revival

The first Christmas Eve paddle happened in 2009.  There were five of us: Dean, Derrick, Sean, Stan and myself.  As is evident in the picture, it was also a green Christmas year.  Since then they haven't all been green.  Some were of the more ...

... of the wild and wooly kind as in 2012 when Brian's son caught Brian, Sean and myself out for a bounce.  Brian (left) and Sean (right) in the closest and myself barely visible in the distant waves.  We've put these Christmas Eve paddles of in seven of the last 12 years.  A few years weather intervened; obviously, worse than in 2012.  They haven't happened since the bounce in 2017 until this year when Sean go the ball rolling again.

It was a fine turnout.  I counted 16 but I could be mistaken as I didn't do a careful count.  As it turns out three of us from the initial Christmas Eve paddle were on hand again: Derrick, Sean and myself.

We set off towards Portugal Cove under ...

... cheerful sunny blue skies.

Shane in his beautiful Nordkapp.  We missed Dean in his as he recently had a mishap and dislocated his shoulder.  The Nordkapp has such fine lines!


Here's Sean, one of the originals, in his Black Pearl.  Glad to see him back on the water but also disappointed cause I claimed first dibs on his kayak should he decide to sell it *lol*

As we made our way northwards it became evident the swell running in from the northwest began to get bigger.  Some of us stayed a bit off the coast while some flirted with the waves crashing on the rocks beyond ...

... Cathy just past Beachy Cove.

Near Portugal Cove these rocks stand in front of a neat passage but not to be ventured on this day.  The swell rushed in to cover the rocks and when pulled back it dropped three meters.  Here Matt tickles the belly of the beast where in 2014 Dean tempted fate and managed to get through unscathed.

We paddled around and into Portugal Cove to float before heading back to St. Philips under a blinding sun.  Thanks to Sean for reviving the tradition and everyone for coming out, half of whom I had not met before but expect to in 2021.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Finding my sea legs again


Well, I've finally managed to get my ass off the bike and into my kayak.  Sad to say it took three months.  Nevertheless, I'm back and intend to do things with a bit more balance.

Today Brian, Cathy, Gary, Hazen and I took advantage of the December weather to get out for a paddle from St. Philips.  It was a warm day for December with light winds; a perfect day to confirm to myself I still knew how to paddle.

We headed up the shore towards Portugal Cove which I believe is a more scenic and interesting shore to paddle because ...

... there are more passages to paddle through as Brian leads.

Cathy making her way through Sailing Point.


We made a short stop at Beachy Cove.  I went over to check out the sheeted dikes inserted into the rocks on account of heating and melting during movement in the Topsail Fault.

Making our way through the last passage before entering Portugal Cove.

After hanging out in Portugal Cove for a raft-up and chat we headed back to St. Philips, at first under glaring sun reflecting off of the water and mercifully later under overcast skies making it easier to see.

It was a fine first paddle after three months.  I didn't realize how much I missed it.  Next time won't take me so long.  Thanks to the gang for sharing the day.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Hummel sets sail

 Somewhere about 55 years ago my friend Louis and I decided we were going to build a raft.  We cut down some trees and pitched the logs down over the 30 meter cliff at Middle Cove Beach and lashed them together.  To our dismay the green sticks provided very little flotation and wisely for our ages, abandoned the project.

Zooming ahead 45 years I had purchased my kayak and started my kayak adventures.  A couple of years ago Louis bought a sailboat to start his aquatic adventures.  Sunday I accompanied him to Conception Harbour to witness the maiden voyage and take some pictures.

While they were getting the boat ready I paddled around close by checking out this abandoned whaling ship.

It was taking some time as would any first time so I went to check out the smell of oil coming from this containment boom.  The smell was pretty strong and maybe coming from one of the other submerged whaling ships that were left here.

Eventually I noticed some movement as the sailboat was backed up down the slipway to taste its first sip of salt water.

The mast was up but the boom still had to be inserted and sails fixed.

And there goes "Hummel" for her maiden voyage, first motoring out to catch the breeze.

Off they go the crew of four.  Makes a pretty sight with the orange mainsail and the start of a love affair with the sea!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Staycation 2020 - Little Bay Islands; Early wrap

On day four of our trip to Little Bay Island and area we had a decision to make.  What was the plan for the day?  One suggestion was to leave the tents up for another day and head west to explore headlands, peninsulas and arms.  It was then mentioned one of our colleagues had informed of a campsite at Haywards Bight near Pilley's Island.  That would give us other options on day five.  It was settled then, we'd pack up and paddle to Copper Island and the peninsula beyond.

We left Copper Island behind and paddled down the peninsula on the west side of Halls Bay until we reached the narrowest point for a crossover to Sunday Cove Island.

Along the way the smallest of trickles caught Brian's attention for a water resupply.  Trying to direct a wavering trickle into the narrow neck of a bottle was a feat of patience repeated a number of times until everyone was satisfied they had enough.

The shore was interesting enough with a few rocks to paddle around and ...

... massive cliffs of sedimentary rocks that have been tilted at about a 45 degree angle.

At Indian Beach we started our 3 km crossing of Halls Bay heading to a beach just northeast of China Head on Sunday Cove Island.  The beach invited us for lunch and as it was approaching 12:30 we accepted, taking our time to take in the view and the marvelous weather.

In time we continued down the southeast side of Sunday Cove Island, rounded the southwest end and proceeded up Sunday Cove Tickle where we faced a bit of a breeze.

The shoreline was a disappointment with its forested slopes falling all the way to the water line.  It was then just a paddle to get to Haywards Bight to check out the proposed campsite.  When we got there it became apparent we had been mislead.  True, we could have camped there in an emergency but it did not appeal due to its low profile, boggy pond and grass that was sure to launch a torrent of flies.  We went further past Charlie's Cove and into Moorey Cove hoping for something, anything.

It was not to be.  The decision was made to go back to Miles Cove where our vehicles were and conclude the trip a day early.  The other guys grabbed a bite to eat and I eventually started to Miles Cove at an easy pace allowing the rest to catch up.

We unloaded the kayaks and scored a fine campsite at an old ballpark.  One day short we had an enjoyable evening but forced to taste test four beers, versus two, on the last night.

The next morning the five of us had a cooked breakfast at Eddy's Restaurant on the Trans Canad Highway.  I drove west to see my sister in White Bay while the other guys drove home.  I was disappointed to have see the trip cut short but the disappointment was short lived with a two day visit to Woodstock in view.  There, under clear dark skies we had a great view of comet Neowise to top off the week.

The trail of 36 kms of breadcrumbs.