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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Great Escape


Tuesday was another calm, bright day and the ice was still in Conception Bay.  It was a day too good to not be paddling so I called Brian to see if he was interested.  The answer was yes so he, sue and I met at St. Philips to spend a couple of hours paddling around the ice.


The ice was scattered as we made our way out of the cove ...


... at first sticking close to the shore.


Before long we were in among the floating ice pans.  Everything was either bright white or blue or shades of blue.


We wondered whether this was an iceberg.  When we got closer it was apparent it was probably just a jumble of ice pans that were thrown together and on top of each other.  In front of the thing it was open water but behind our progress came to an end as the ice was tightly packed.

We had to turn around.  We noticed the bigger mass stood relatively still compared to the rest of the ice pack which was slipping past at a good clip.  I didn't immediately appreciate the implications of that until we ...


... began to have trouble finding a way through.  At times the pans were only the width of a kayak apart allowing us to squeeze through.


We wove back and forth through the ice craning our necks to find open water and the way forward.


It was slow progress picking our way along.  Often we had to be patient waiting for the pans of ice to move opening up to allow us through until ...


... we were stymied and held like trapped animals.


It was like "What do we do now"?


We waited to see if the pans would move.  They did.  I was between two large ones comfortable enough until they started to drift together threatening to crush me.  As the space contracted I put my hand on the large pan on my left waiting for the crunch but as the right one came in I got my hand on it pushed down on both and lifted the kayak above the disappearing gap.  Next I was on top of the ice and out of danger.  Phew!!!


Here's what I mean.  Brian got this shot of me pushing myself up from between the impending crunch and sitting on top of the pan.

I got out and pulled Sue and Brian up also by the toggles, pushed the kayaks across and ...


... seal launched into open water and freedom on the other side.

The ice we had seen moving, probably without realizing the implications at the time, had almost closed the avenue of escape.  When we got back in the cove Sue said it was The Great Escape.  I thought to myself "That would be a good title for a blog post".

What looked like an innocuous day paddling in the ice turned out to be an adventure.  We were never in danger because at the worst we would have had to keep pulling the kayaks over the ice pans until we were clear.  But, it did add a little spice to our paddle.  It sure was a change from the same old, same old.  Years from now we'll say "Remember the day we almost got caught in the ice"?  If its memorable it has to be good.

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