Monday, December 8, 2014

Finishing the circumavigation of Bell Island

After completing just over half of our circumnavigation of Bell Island at the 19 km mark we stopped at Big Cove for lunch.  We were in the shade and it was cold so we only stopped 20 minutes before we got back on the water to finish our circumnavigation.  A large sea stack dominated the the north end of the cove as we exited.

Bell Island was at one time the largest underground iron mine in the world.  There are three main oolitic hematite beds contained in the Ordovician age sediments.  The first mining was a surface operation exploiting the bed known as the "Little-Upper" bed.  Because the sediments gently dip in a westerly direction, when the iron beds were followed they terminated at the shoreline.  The darker gaping holes where the miners emerged can be seen just above sea level.

The middle bed known as "Scotia" lay some perpendicular 60 feet below and the lowest bed, "Dominion", another 250 feet below that.  Mining of those beds was underground extending out under the sea and below our hulls as we paddled northerly.

The west side of the island was cloaked in shadow.  Another huge sea stack was silhouetted against the blue sky and stuck out like a sore thumb.

Finally the west shore came to an end, we paddled along the north side and we had to turn south.

The distinctive outline of "Long Harry Point" came into view.  The sun was so bright I had to duck under the cliff to get this shot.  The sun was directly in our eyes for the next 2.5 kms requiring me to squint to see the way until we reached ...

... "The Beach" close to where the ferry terminal is located.  Even then I had to get ahead of the guys to get the sun behind the camera for a decent shot.

A short paddle from the ferry terminal we arrived at Dominion Pier, the point from where we started our circumnavigation earlier that morning, four hours previous.  We got out for a short stretch and the call of nature before beginning the 5 km crossing back to ...

... St. Philips. The GSP read 35.8 kms.

It was the first time I've paddled around in a clockwise direction.  I enjoyed it tremendously seeing it from  different perspective.  The significant feature of Bell Island are the almost unbroken vertical cliffs that circle the island making for, in my mind anyway, stunning scenery.

Dean, Terry and I washed up in the fresh water running into the harbour, got chilled but warmed up with coffee at the restaurant.  Brian went home to clean and warm up.  It was a large day.

And the breadcrumbs:

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