Friday, December 28, 2012

Top 10 paddles of 2012 - #4

Some of us have talked for some time about paddling around Bell Island, the long way around.  Most who paddle around the island take the ferry over, do the circumnavigation and take the ferry back.  We intended to paddle over, around and back.

On September 22nd, Brian, Dean, Hazen and I put the plan in motion.  We left St Philips and made for Bell Island.

We arrived at Dominion Pier after the 5.5 km crossing in perfect conditions.

A short paddle north and we turned our bows south along the western side of the island.  The island is almost 10 kms long but bends in the coastline prevent us from a straight line of sight to the bottom.

Paddling through some impressive cliffs.

I ran my kayak up on the slippery slope to check out some mine workings.  Most of the iron mining was done underground and all the way out under the sea.  Here, the iron beds were some 8-10 feet thick.

"The Bell", Bell Island's signature sea stack signaled we were near the bottom of the island.

At Front Bell Cove we got out for lunch.  From here we were within 9 kms of competing our circling of the island.

We passed the jumbled ruins of Scotia Pier on our way back to Dominion Pier.  Both of these piers served as loading points for the iron ore mined on the island.  The red hematite stained rocks are a hint that there's iron ore in "them thar rocks".

Back at Dominion Pier where we had landed in the morning.  We had paddled 30 kms and had a 5.5 km crossing back to St. Philips left to complete our project.  The wind kicked up making the return crossing a bit of work but back at St. Philips we were pleased to cross this off of our paddling bucket list.

Bell Island is always a super, scenic paddle.  Doing it the long way around made it special and that's why its one of my top 10 paddles of the year.

The start of three original postings can be found here.

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