Thursday, July 20, 2017

Isle Valen: I'm on the way!

In 2015 Dean, Hazen, Neville, Terry and I did a trip in Placentia Bay visiting abandoned communities from Clattice Harbour to Channels Harbour.  On the third day of the trip we paddled by Isle Valen on our way to St. Kyrans.  I wished afterwards we had gone to at least have a look while we were so close.

Fast forward to 2017.  I noticed a stable air mass had set in and mailed around to people who could go midweek.  Unfortunately I didn't get any favourable responses.  Ummm, I wondered would I go myself?  The answer was a resounding "yes".

On Monday I was off to Garden Cove to begin my four day trip to and from Isle Valen.

It was a beautiful calm day but Placentia Bay is famous for its foggy weather.  As I left Garden Cove I prepared to made my way over to Sound Island and I noticed fog in the distance but ...

... it was in the distance and on the west side of Sound Island the summer cabins were bathed in brilliant sunshine.  Well, that good weather came to an end as I passed Brimstone Point and ...

... fog was as thick as pea soup.  I hugged the shoreline identifying places on my map to keep track of where I was.

At Sound Island Point I spotted the lighthouse that was showing on my topo and entered Muddy Hole, a broad open cove at the southern end of the island and made the short crossing to Holletts Point on Woody Island, the home of ...

... Woody Island Resort which gives guests a taste of outport Newfoundland living.  The day's guests were standing around in Garden Cove waiting to depart in the vessel Merasheen looking inquisitively at what I was doing.  I departed as they started to board but they got here before me.

The fog that looked like it would persist completely evaporated and it got hot.  Where I had passed on the west side of Sound Island I elected to paddled down the east side of Woody Island and take the inside channel.  There was no wind as I entered Jean Cove with Creve Islets offshore.

Between Allens Point and Barrets Point on Woody Island the coast curves west and I followed the shore which guided me onwards to the Burin Peninsula on the mainland.  I entered La Plante Cove and thought it was a ...

... good place to stop for a bite to eat.  I chose the south side of a little beach that was in shadow and therefore a bit cooler.  From here I carried on south until I got to Gulch Head where the wind picked up a bit in the open two km crossing to Ship Island.  I had camped at Gulch Pond several times before but on this trip I opted for a beach om Ship Island that I knew was a good camping spot.

A bit of work getting to Ship Island but worth it.  I arrived at 2:30, changed out of my paddling gear, set up my tent and generally got the campsite organized, had a good long lay down looking down the water I had just come down and had supper.  Then it was time to ...

... pick up some wood for the night's campfire.  I might have been alone and would have to do all the collecting myself but there was going to be a fire!

With the firewood ready I occupied myself with leaving a legacy on Ship Island.  I don't think there many people who frequent this beach but anyone who does will wonder who TR is.  I made it up out of concrete slabs that were falling out of old decaying lobster pots.

It gets dark later this time of year and I had a long day ahead the next day to get into Isle Valen Harbour.  So, I started the fire just as he sun was about to set.

I knew I wouldn't see the fire in the dark.  I burned what wood I had collected as it got duckish and when it was burned out and ...

.. as the red in the sky deepened, I toddled off to bed.

It was a most satisfying day.  While I would have welcomed company, I was elated to be out by myself.  The trip got off to a wonderful start.

Here's a Google Earth screen shot of the day's Garmin track:

Distance of 24.7 kms for the day.


  1. Awesome first day Tony!!!! What a beautiful rewarding sunset and fire after the fog and slog!💪

    1. Thanks Cathy for your interest and support.

      No one will know that Cathy messaged me throughout which I was able to receive whenever I found a place with service. She wasn't able to be on the trip but shared it with me nonetheless!

  2. Very much looking forward to the next episode!

    1. Thanks, I hope you enjoy and I don't disappoint!