Saturday, February 18, 2017

Whitewater, the frozen kind

With high winds and low expectations of a paddle I proposed getting out in our short boats and use them for some childhood fun - sliding.

Shane and I met at the concert venue in Paradise where the hill was covered in crusty snow.

The crusty snow made for some speedy runs down the hill and ...

... had us suckin' for air pulling the kayaks back up the hill.

It was a hoot.  I could not stop laughing.

The icy crust on the snow made it precarious getting in and getting set up, maintaining position without setting off when not quite ready.  Steering was also an issue as the paddle skimmed over the surface without being able to place a stern rudder.

The ride downhill was at breakneck speed with the kayak spinning around to all points on the compass and out of control.

After an hour the biting wind drove us off the hill and to the coffee shop.  We'll do that again hoping we've sold the rest of the gang on how much fun it was.


 Shane recorded some video of the festivities  which is more indicative of the hoot we had.  Here's a link to the YouTube clip.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Island Hopping

Shane came up with the paddle plan for Sunday.  It was a trip to Tors Cove where we would check out the islands on our way to LaManche.  Here, we're looking out across the water towards the islands and ...

... here's a Google Earth overhead shot of the islands of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve.

It was overcast when we arrived.  Leaving Tors cove we paddled past Fox Island to get to ...

... the east side and open water where a bit of swell was running.

From Fox Island we made for Ship Island and thence to Great Island, here in front of our bows.

Finishing the short crossing we arrived at Great Island, the largest of the group.

Cathy making her way to paddle between this sea stack and the island.

These islands of the Ecological Reserve are home to tens of thousands of sea birds that come in from the open ocean in the spring to nest.  The effects of the birds can be seen as Dean and Shane paddle past massive sandstone cliffs covered in guano.  As its winter, the birds weren't home but were at sea.

These thick sedimentary beds are the west limb of a south plunging syncline.  Each bed represents a change in environment where either there's a change in ocean depth or an interruption in the delivery of sediments.  Dean and I went to get a closer look entering the cave but avoiding paddling under the icicles hanging in the ceiling.

In the next cove we got into this larger cave.  The interesting feature in this cave were ripples in the sand of the sea floor that were preserved in the rocks.  In the roof rocks on the right were casts of the ripples in the overlaying bed and on the left we could see ripples right side up.  These rocks are undated from the Pre-Cambrian because they do not contain fossils but are in excess of 542 million years old.  So, we were looking at very ancient sea floor.

Further along we came to the Great Slot where the sea had eroded a bed that was made up of weaker sandstone.  Dean, Shane and I had a look but decided the swell made it too dicey to try to get through.

I've only managed to make one passage in the few times I've been here and that was in 2013 when Tobias recorded some video on a less dramatic day.

So, the three of us paddled around to look through the slot from south to north.

Having reached the south end of Great Island we turned east to make the short crossing to return to the mainland.  From there the plan was to stop at the resettled community of LaManche which is now part of the East Coast Trail dominated by ...

... this impressive suspension bridge.

Here we stopped for lunch protected from a light northeasterly breeze under clearing sunny skies.

The rest of the paddle was uneventful returning to Tors Cove where we packed up and stopped for coffee on the way home.  Cathy Gary and I were in LaManche on November 11th last year.  We've pretty much been everywhere in our area so some places take on an air of sameness.  This day's paddle, while it ended up in the same place, was different because we hopped from island to island to get here rather than handrail the shoreline as we did the last visit.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Hobbit Home

Its -13C outside and the WNW wind blowing at 50 kms/hr, gusting to 65, is driving the temperature down to -26.  So, I'm chillaxing waiting to throw the kayak in the car to go to the pool when I came across this video uploaded to YouTube yesterday on 6 February.

In a nutshell, its a video of Canadian whitewater kayaker Ben Hayward's quest to make it to the Olympics.  To get there he has to travel in Europe to get first class competition.  That can be costly so he decides to buy a flatbed truck and build a 72 square foot unique mobile home on its chassis.

I thought is was too cool a story not to share so here's the YouTube link with the 15:45 video and more detail linking the original press release.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Icicles, counting inventory

This morning it was -10C and -19 with the windchill.  I proposed a paddle later in the day when things warmed up a little but none of my paddle buddies were able to free themselves.

At 1:00 it had warmed up *lol* to -9C and -17 with the windchill.  I decided I'd go anyway.  There were pans of ice on the harbour I had to break through to get to ...

... open water.  The salt water was frozen to both piers of the channel and a bit of wind was blowing with some considerable bite to it.

Salt water spray froze to the Rock of Ages but only above the high water line.

I passed along cliffs covered in ice until I came to my first rack of icicles.  While it was bitterly cold I took my time paddling easily lest I overheated ;)

Ice started to build up on the kayak, the paddle and myself.  Every now and then I had to plunge the paddle into the salt water to dislodge the ice making it difficult to grip the paddle.  The ice build up on my mitts made operating the camera difficult as well causing me to take pictures I didn't intend while pressing the power button.  Here's one of the skirt icing up.

Icicles draped over a small overhang.  Some were tinged brown where the water picked up dirt in the runoff.

Some ice build up on the captain at Topsail Beach where I floated for a bit before heading back.

Back at the river in St. Philips the kayak had a thick layer of ice as did the paddle. 

I usually wash up my gear in fresh water where I can to save doing it at home.  This time I thought better of it remembering a time a few years ago when the fresh water froze my day hatch shut.  Only Brian happening upon Dean and myself saved the day by getting a bucket of hot water and freeing the hatch cover so I could get the car keys out.

I changed out of my drysuit behind an open car door that gave me some protection from the wind.  I tried to beat some of the ice off of the kayak before hoisting it on the roof rack without much success.  The ice added considerable weight, especially on the foredeck, making it a bit of a weightlifting exercise to get it loaded.

Was I happy I went?  Yes but it took a few hot drinks home before I felt warm again.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Solo, yet so high

Friday night through Saturday we had a blizzard dumping 30 cms snow whipped around by wind gusts at 100 kms/hr.  Today, Sunday, it was supposed to still be windy so there didn't look to be an opportunity to paddle this weekend.  Wrong!!!  After clearing away the snow I made note of the fact there was imperceptible wind.  Ummm.... will I or won't I.  The choice was clear.

I was by myself so I decided on something close to home not only for that but time was scarce after a morning spent shoveling snow.  I left St. Philips where the effects of the blizzard were obvious.

I left with the temperature -5C with a windchill of -12C.  I think they lied because without the wind it did not feel cold, though tell that to the icicles.

Inside the cove it was calm but as I made my way towards Portugal Cove the remnant swell from the weekend storm began to assert itself and where it met the immovable rocks it ...

... went skywards.

As I got close to Portugal Cove it got very interesting at Dreadnaught Rock (OK, I'm christening it!) as the two meter swell swept over the top.  I stayed offshore a bit as I didn't want to get caught there by myself and I also wanted to stay clear of the one meter clapotis that was rebounding off the cliffs.

I turned the corner and paddled into Portugal Cove where I ...

... got out for a bit.  Not that I needed it but paddling into this little beach added three kilometers to a shortish paddle making it more worthwhile.

After a short stay I got back in the kayak knowing I'd have the swell behind me on the way back to St. Philips.  I overdressed a bit and started to overheat so I took my time going back, which turned out to be a good thing.  To port the swell continued to cannon off the cliffs, I felt comfortable and going slow extended my time on the water.  I felt in control even though some of the clapotis was close to a meter and when they were they washed across the foredeck and sprayskirt.

Back at St. Philips I paddled up the river running into the harbour because, well, it was a river ;);) (Cathy if you're reading).  A river with fresh water ;);) to wash the salty brine off of my gear.

Paddling solo is not encouraged though I have no hesitation on calm water.  Today it was far from that but I felt qualified.  It was a bit of risk - reward.  It was a super paddle.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Blowin' in the wind


With 30 cms snow down being driven around by 60 kms/hr winds, gusting to 100 kms/hr a paddle this weekend doesn't look to be happening.  The storm started overnight and rages still and will do so into the next day.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

South Coast 2010: The Summary

In a bit of housekeeping, here's a summary of a trip along the South Coast from Harbour Le Cou to Burgeo that Ralph, Stan and I completed in June/July 2010.

The plan was to take the coastal ferry from Burgeo to Rose Blanche and take four days to paddle back, all around the resettlement of the community of Grand Bruit.  We arrived in Burgeo two days before the ferry departure date.

I should point out the ferry does not take this run anymore so a long car shuttle or other arrangements have to be made to cover this coastline.

June 26th: Driving from St. John's to Burgeo.  Link

June 27th: Day paddle from Burgeo to Red Island.  Link

June 28th: Day paddle out of Burgeo around the Burgeo islands.  Link

June 29 & 30th: Taking the ferry to Grand Bruit, overnight in Grand Bruit and deposited in Harbour Le Cou.  Link

July 1st: Paddle from Harbour Le Cou to LaPlante Harbour.  Link

July 2nd: Paddle from LaPlante Harbour to Grand Bruit.  Link
                 Walk about in Grand Bruit.  Link

July 3rd: Paddle from Grand Bruit to Wreck Island.  Link

July 4th: Return to Burgeo.  Link

July 5th: Drive home.  No pix!