Friday, June 19, 2015

Wetting my feet in whitewater

Brian suggested a trip out to the Terra Nova River in Glovertown at the site of a former papermill locally called "The Ruins" for some whitewater paddling.  I had never done any and was a bit apprehensive but said yes anyway.  Brian fitted me out with a Pyranha Micro240, a skirt, paddle and floatation.

On Saturday, June 13th, Dean, Gary and I convoyed out for the three hour drive where we met Brian and Pete.

We didn't jump into our boats right away though  With a lot of rain in the forecast we set the tents and tarp up first.  Then we got dressed at The Ruins which have been ...

... decorated by local artists.

Then the moment of truth.  We got on the water to play.  The water was fairly low which suited me just fine.  The first skill I got to work on was peeling out of the eddy.  I was tentative and taking the wrong angle so at first I had very little success.  Eventually, as I got more comfortable with the current, I began to paddle over the eddy line with some authority and edge correctly as the current grabbed the kayak.

Gary, on the right, an accomplished WW paddler sits on a small standing wave while Dean powers his Karma RG up through the meat of the current.  So, the next thing I was encouraged to do was paddle up to and get on the standing wave myself.  Not very big, but still enough water running to give a newbie pause for thought.  I managed a couple of times to ride it for short periods being careful to edge correctly to avoid flipping when pushed off of it.

Brian and Pete both experienced WW guys provided guidance and encouragement.  Thanks guys, it made the day more enjoyable for me.

Look Ma, no hands *lol*.  Some guys make it look so simple, like Brian, and Gary who made it not only look awfully simple but effortless.

I went on to practice some ferrying across the river.  Some went very well; some not so elegant.  When I lost the correct angle I just reverse swept to reacquire the angle and continued my ferry.  The nice thing about being a novice you can do that!

After a couple of hours fooling around in eddies and current Brian suggested we do figure eights.  We started in an eddy on the left side of the river, peeled out, paddled downstream to peel in to the eddy on the low side of this old concrete abutment, ferry back and repeat.  I got a few nice peel ins, at least enough to make me happy.

A bit later we drifted down to The Bench where the water falls over a ledge and got out to ...

... survey the situation.  I hobbled around on the rocks on a sore hip after three hours too long in the kayak. 

It was decided it would not be run on the day so instead we dropped into the river on the left over the concrete works.  I paddled close to have a look at the drop before committing and plopped upright below the something like 4 foot drop glad not to be providing entertainment for the guys.

We paddled downriver to the bridge where we got out and brought the kayaks back to the campsite.  End of my first whitewater experience.  I was happy.  Happy with the day but mot happy I didn't get knocked over or swim.  Phew!

Back at camp it was time to grab some supper and after supper it was ...

... time for a fire and happy hour.

Dean and I watched the fire dwindle in the darkness before deciding it was time to hit the hay.

The guys had some more water time Sunday morning.  My hip dictated I sty on shore so after loading the car up I hit the highway for White Bay where I intended to wet the hull of my Nordkapp.  That is nother story.

Thanks to Brian for initiating the trip and every one of the guys for making it a most enjoyable first time in current.  Check out Dean's blog for his perspective.


  1. nice honest post Tony. great environment as usual but didnt you miss dodging the icebergs? :-)

  2. Well Tess, wait for the next post where I have a close encounter with one iceberg. Haven't seen as many bergs as last year but this one will be memorable.

    Tony :-)