Monday, April 10, 2017

Ice, ice baby! (Part 1)

The last time I paddled was March 8th.  A few days after that I was stricken with shingles.  Anyone who knows anything about shingles knows I've had a good reason not to paddle.

Being mostly over that now, on Thursday I got out to check the ice condition in Conception Bay.  The bay was chocker blocked with ice at Topsail Beach.  Three days later a southerly wind loosened up the ice and ...

... there was open water to paddle in.

As I exited the harbour there were bits and pieces of ice at the leading edge of the ice pack.

I paddled on and was soon into the main field.  There were large pans and bits and pieces and narrow leads to paddle through.

The narrow leads and channels through the ice pack were fun and good practice for close boat control.  After some time I ran the kayak up onto a larger pan and got out for a break.  That was pretty cool to be able to get out of the kayak in the middle of the bay.

The ice moved constantly so I had to be aware not to get trapped where I couldn't find open water.  Some escapes were through the narrowest of passages.

It was a beautiful sunny day with net to no wind.  I took my time paddling along the edge of the ice pack doing bow rudders around free floating ice pans.

In places the wind that had driven the ice into the bay piled up ice pans on top of each other creating a jumble of ice.  Here I'm right in the thick of things.

Making my way along the edge of the ice I paddled into open "coves" and "bays" as I would if it were solid land.

Not quite 100% yet, I passed on other plans the guys had because I didn't know how comfortable I'd be and I didn't want to cramp their style.  So, all the pictures I took were shots of the ice except this lone paddler.

The last time the ice pack came in was in 2012 and before that it was 2009.  It doesn't come in every year being dependent on northerly winds to drive it into shore.  When it does come I like to take advantage of the unusual opportunity.  This was by far the most enjoyable day among the ice pans and I often stopped to drift and marvel at the different formations around me.

 I arrived at Portugal Cove.  Following the edge of the ice pack had me well offshore.

At Portugal Cove I floated for a while hoping to catch the ferry going to Bell Island making its way through the ice pack.  After a while I decided to paddle to shore for a closer look where some ice was lodged up on ...

... the rocks.  Driven up onto the rocks by the wind there were left high and dry when the main field got blown offshore.

But enough of the shoreline.  On this day it was all about the ice so I paddled back out to the ice pack to make my return to where I'd put in.  There was still more exploring to do.


  1. Awesome Tony. My last time paddling in pack ice was 2009. Really hoping to get out sometime this week!

    1. I hope you do get out Brian. Take the first opportunity as the ice could be blown offshore any day. Look forward to your posting!