If you just go for a paddle than you can stop thinking about wanting to go for a paddle.

Monday, April 22, 2019

2019 - Post 3 - Chocolate Chip Cookies...

I paddled three times in January.  I intended to paddle more this winter/spring but it seemed whenever the weekend came it was either too windy for sensible paddling, or there was something that kept me off the water.  Between paddles though I have done seventeen day hikes and five bike rides to date, so I am keeping on the move... However, I paddled the last two weekends in a row! 

On April 13, I picked up Clyde and we drove out to Avondale to paddle with Tony, Brian, and Sue... We unloaded the kayaks and when I went to suit up I realized I had forgotten my drysuit!!  Doh!  Well shit happens now and then.  So Clyde and I loaded our kayaks back on the car and drove to my house and then we went out to St. Philips for a run down to Topsail Beach... I just couldn't fathom driving back out to Avondale... There were no pics from that day as I also forgot my camera.  Seems the lack of paddling had caused me to forget how to put all my paddling gear together.

On Saturday past (April 20) I woke up, checked the weather and emailed a few people to see if anyone wanted to paddle... I was going regardless but company is always good.  Hazen and Terry showed up at St. Philips and we made for Topsail Beach...

A few pics to share....









Per usual, we pulled up on Topsail Beach for a little break...



... and were treated to some home made cookies that Terry's wife (Sharon) sent along for us...




Geeze they were good!  Thanks Sharon; keep that up and you may become Julie's replacement... Julie, if you are reading this, you are still missed but have yet to be replaced by anyone yet, however, now and then, we end up with a treat but haven't seen a big tray of gooey brownies magically appear from the hatch of any kayaks.... hint, hint to all the paddling bakers out there...



Calm wind, good buddies, and home-made cookies... just about as perfect a day as you could want on the water.

Monday, January 28, 2019

2019 - Post 2 - Tors Cove to LaManche

Last weekend I sent an email to see if anyone wanted to paddle or hike... Cathy begged to go paddling and so we plied the waters from St. Philips to Portugal Cove and back. I didn't take any pictures though.

This past weekend Tony sent out an email saying that "it was time that (he) got back in his kayak..."  So four of us - Stan, Tony, Cathy, and I - paddled out of Tors Cove, brushing by Fox and Great Islands, then heading back to Bauline East, and then making our way to LaManche... 

The last time we paddled to LaManche (April 28, 2018) one of our paddling partners slipped and hurt his shoulder on the shore, causing us to put our towing skills into action and tow him back to the put-in.  No such incidents yesterday though...

Here's a few pics to share.... 












Last year in January I had only paddled once!  This year in January I have done three paddles.  The wind is cooperating so far in 2019... 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019 - Post 1 - Starting off the paddling year

Generally, on the first day of the New Year, our local paddling club does their first years club event by meeting at Quidi Vidi Harbour for a little social float.  I did not see it advertised on the Calendar of Events, nor did I see it posted to the local paddling newsgroup.  However, yesterday Shane sent an email saying he was gonna paddle out of St. Philips at noon for the first day of the New Year in the afternoon and was looking for company.  Later he also suggested to meet at Pippy Park at 9:30 am for a little bike ride before the paddle...  A full day of things to do on the first day of the 2019...

We met at Pippy Park and Shane said he wasn't gonna paddle in the afternoon (it was a chilly day and he has issues with cold feet).  Hmm.. Psych me up and then let me down! 

After about an hour and a half of peddling around, we had enough and went for a coffee to warm up.  It was such a nice day - the sun was up and the wind was low - and I told Shane he probably would be sorry if he didn't paddle this afternoon.  He goes back to work the day after tomorrow, and tomorrow is gonna be a windy day and he would not be able to get out to paddle... The seed was planted and he finally came around.  The power of suggestion sometimes works very well.

Ashleigh was also interested in paddling but couldn't get free until 2 pm. So that gave us enough time to get home, get the gear ready, and head out to St. Philips.

I don't have any pics from our bike ride, but here's a few from this afternoon's little paddle...

Ashleigh's very first winter paddle


Shane

By the time we got back to St. Philips, Ashleigh had little icicles formed on the front of her cockpit...



Back at the slipway we had to re-negotiate the ice pans still hanging around in the boat basin...




After loading up our gear, Shane admitted that he was very happy he changed his mind and paddled.  Ashleigh said she had a great time paddling in the colder season.... And I was feeling quite contented, having spent the day doing a couple of activities I enjoy.  The only way to have made this day any better would have been to go for a little hike as well... but then there are 364 more days left in 2019...

Hope everyone else had a great first day of this New Year.

Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 - Post 3 - Seals in Bay Bulls

On Dec 29th, Shane and I did a short paddle in Bay Bulls.  When we arrived we discovered  a couple furry spectator's at the put-in....








It's always a treat to encounter wildlife of any kind when we adventure outdoors....


Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018 - Post 2 - Cape St. Mary's Trip in July


Per my last, and only, post for 2018, I promised to post the article I had written for the Ebb and Flow after it came out.  However, there has been an issue and the publication has been delayed!  So I have decided to go ahead and post the article on my blog now since it was a trip that happened in 2018 and I want it to be posted in 2018... 


Part One:  The Trip
(Pics courtesy of da guys... I forgot my camera)

On July 20, Brian, Clyde, Hazen and I drove out to Point Lance in the morning.  We unloaded and packed the kayaks, and then Brian and Clyde drove to the planned take-out at St. Brides, left a vehicle, and returned to the put-in. 

There was surf dumping on the beach at Point Lance as we each made our getaway.  




Hazen was the last one to leave the beach.  From my vantage point beyond the waves he looked like he had the worst of it.  At one point I could not see him at all for a little while and then his bow came over the last wave and he was out in the open sea with the rest of us.

There was little wind but there was swell, causing us to paddle out from the shoreline as we paddled toward the Cape.  When I was able to paddle closer to the cliffs I felt rather dwarfed by the height of them, but when I was further away I could take in the riveting panorama of the coastline. 





We followed the coast until we arrived at Golden Bay, where we would camp for the night.  The tide was getting close to high tide and there was far less surf than at Point Lance a couple hours earlier, and so the landing was fairly easy as long we watched the waves nearer the beach and timed our landing.

Drysuits and gear were laid out in the sun to dry, and our tents went up quickly in the field above the beach.  We set up our camp chairs on the beach and re-hydrated with cold beer that Clyde had packed in a soft cooler.   Life was good.  After a while Clyde and I got a cooking fire started, and we had another cold beer.  






With supper finished and dishes cleared, there was nothing left to do but keep the fire fed with the nearby abundance of driftwood, sit around chatting, and taking in the view. 

As the evening progressed, we noted how the waves increased in frequency and height as the tide lowered… much more intense then when we had landed at closer to high tide.  





We would be leaving the beach roughly twelve hours later and wondered if we would face the same waves in the morning that we were watching that evening.





Morning came and morning activities followed; have breakfast, clear up, brush teeth, take down the tents…   After the kayaks were loaded we left the beach one by one, having to paddle out through the surf.  Hazen was the first one out with a little help from Clyde.  I was the second one out and made it past the surf zone without incident.  




We sat waiting for the other two guys to paddle out. 

As we were waiting I think we might have drifted in closer to shore a little.  Brian was the next one out and paddled to where Hazen and I were.  




When Clyde left the beach I turned my bow outwards and could see a bigger wave coming.  I paddled to it and got over before it broke.  But right behind it was a much larger wave bearing down.  I dug in and paddled hard directly toward it.  Brian and Hazen were to my left but were further ahead.  The wave steepened and I knew I wasn’t going to make it.  It broke on me and pretty much stopped my forward motion.  “Shit, that was hard,” was the thought in my mind.  All I could see was the white of the churning water and, feeling the kayak rolling to port, I had to brace with intent.  Then the turmoil settled and I dug in to get myself moving to get myself further out.  I glanced down at my foredeck and noticed half my spare Euro paddle was missing and the other half was hanging on by one end under the bungee cord.  My pump was hanging over the other side of the kayak, with only the handle end nearest me under the bungee.  Then I noticed my apple, a fruit cup, and 2 bottles of water were no longer under my deck netting, and my GPS was poking halfway out of the net.  I called to Hazen to come over and had him secure the far end of the half paddle I still had, and the pump, as I could not reach forward far enough to secure them under the bungee myself. 

We hung around outside the surf zone, trying to see if we could see my half paddle floating around, but it was nowhere to be seen.  My initial instinct was to head back to the beach and wait for my half of paddle to wash ashore, but I began to reason the situation out in my mind. 

If I made a run to shore and got on the wrong side of one of the bigger waves near the shore I could damage my kayak or hurt myself.  One of the guys could hook on to my kayak to help prevent me from getting surfed in but with only a fifty foot tow rope that would put them right in the surf zone with me once I got to shore… but then several tow ropes could be secured together…

If I made it to shore safely, how long would I have to wait for the paddle to wash in?  Would it be there when I got there, or would it be an hour?  Two hours?  We had twenty kilometres to paddle to the take-out, plus the more than three hour drive home, plus time to get the vehicle at Lance Cove, and a stop to eat…  How long do I wait on the beach for it?  The tide would be dropping for another couple hours and these waves would likely intensify. 

Assuming I landed without incident, and found my half of paddle fairly quickly, then I would have to get back off the beach, running the risk of getting nailed by another wave, maybe loosing gear again, taking a swim, or dislocating a shoulder...  We were all currently sitting safely outside the surf, so why start taking chances.  Going back to the beach just might turn into one of those first of several cascading mistake’s leading to something much more severe than a piece of lost gear.   I decided that ‘Avoidance’ was the best tool at my disposal, given the conditions! 

My half of paddle wasn’t the only casualty of our trip.  Both Brian and Hazen were missing their watches, but were not certain if it they were lost while paddling out or if they forgot them on the shore, but it was not appealing to them either to land to look for a watch on the beach… We carried on...

It was a lovely day.  There was no wind and lots of birds to mesmerize us as we rounded the headland at Cape St. Mary’s.  





The sky seemed to be filled with birds and they seemed to be bothered by something.  As we were rounding the Cape, Brian said that it wouldn’t be a long walk from the Interpretation Centre to our campsite to have a look for the lost paddle.  The wheels started turning in my mind…  Further along we landed at Lears Cove on a rocky beach for a little stretch and a snack before continuing along the coast to the take-out location in St. Brides.

At St. Brides we unloaded the kayaks and piled gear and boats onto Brian’s trailer and drove back to Point lance to pick up Clyde’s truck, and then headed to Branch to have supper before driving back to town.



Part Two: The Rescue Mission
(Sorry, no pics for this portion)

I watched the weather during the week.  There weren’t any storms, nor was there any significant wind.  If my half of Euro paddle made it back on shore, and got pushed high enough up the beach it might be possible it would sit there for a while, waiting for someone to come along…  The weather for Cape St. Mary’s on Saturday called for sun and cloud, with a chance of showers.  I checked the tide for the area and low tide would be shortly after 3 pm.  Saturday would be a good day for a rescue mission.

I e-mailed the guys and told them I was planning on driving out to walk in to see if, per chance, my paddle was sitting pretty on the beach.  Brian replied that he was wondering if a “rescue mission” was gonna happen.  He said if I wanted the company he would like to go to see if his watch was left on the beach.  On the morning of July 28, a full week after we left the beach in Golden Bay, we headed back down the highway…

We arrived at Cape St. Mary’s in a blanket of drizzly fog.  It was supposed to have been sunny with clouds by then.  We donned our rain clothes and stretched rain covers over our day packs.  We thought it prudent to go into the Interpretation Centre to let them know what we were up to.  One of the staff workers said, “Oh, you’re the kayakers we seen last weekend…”  then she proceeded to tell us how the birds didn’t seem to be bothered by the motorized boats when they were near, but for some unknown reason they would take to wing and act up whenever kayakers were near the Cape…

A couple of the staff adamantly advised against us going to Golden Bay with the wet and foggy conditions of the day… “It’s best to come back tomorrow when the weather improves” they told us.  Part of the trail along the shoreline had been lost to erosion and we would have to bushwhack through the Tuckamore, and with the fog we could get ourselves lost since we had not done the trip before and did not know the way.  To hear them talk it was a ‘Mission: Impossible’ scenario.  I looked at Brian and told him I was fine with going and he said he was as well.  The staff said they could not prevent us from going but if we did they would surely end up calling in the search and rescue to come looking for us later that evening...  We let them know we were equipped with GPS, maps and compass, and had an InReach so we could contact someone if there was an issue.  And so, against the advice of the staff, we set off.

The assumed two-hour maximum hike to our campsite took us longer than anticipated.  Most of the trail is in the open and easy enough to follow if you pay attention.  At one point though the trail seemed to just go over the cliff where we assumed was where the shore had fallen away like the staff member had told us.  We had to push our way through the dense Tuckamore around this area, which really slowed down our progress.

We stopped a few times in the trees when there was an opening, and checked where we were relative to our anticipated path and we would adjust our direction to try to get back to it but the trees were so dense we just sort of meandered through what seemed to be the easiest parts in the general direction we wanted to go.  Sometimes we had to get on our knees and crawl close to the ground, and sometimes we just had to make like a moose and just force our bodies through.  At one point we were separated by only about eight feet but we could not see each other…  Finally we broke out to an open area above where the beach was and picked up a trail over the bog that seemed to go in the direction we needed to go.  Then we were back into the Tuckamore once again, and made a final push to get to the open field along the beach to the west of where we had camped. 

The tide was receding, as predicted, and so a lot of the beach was exposed.  If my paddle was here it should not be hard to spot as the blade has an amber colour.  At the beach where we had broken out of the trees Brian walked down onto the beach.  I stayed up on the field above so as to have a higher vantage point…  So as we walked along we were able to scan from both high and low as we ambled toward where we had landed and camped the week before.

Near the spot where we had launched our kayaks, I stopped and scanned the beach, and I spotted the amber of my paddle blade and called out to Brian and pointed to it… from his vantage he did not readily see it, but then did, and walked over and picket it up.  It was fully intact, no worse for wear.  Then he walked directly toward the beach and stooped over and picked up his missing watch!  He had obviously left it on a log when he was getting ready.  We walked around the beach and the tent site to see if we could find Hazen’s missing watch but it was nowhere to be seen, so we figured it must have been lost as he paddled out through the surf.  We even found one of my bottles of water… it would have been funny if we found my fruit cup and apple too!  With my half of paddle in hand, and the watch on the wrist of its owner, it went from a ‘Mission: Impossible’ scenario to a ‘Mission: Possible’ situation… all we had to do was hike back out without incident, but not before having some lunch…

We found a little spot out of the wind and ate, quite pleased with ourselves for finding our gear. We would have another story to add to our paddling adventures.  We didn’t hang around too long though as it was still a dank and foggy day, and we were wet form the hike in.  We packed up and walked back along the open grassy field to where we had come out of the Tuckamore.  There was a trail on the other side of where we had come out and decided we would follow this to see if it would by-pass some of the trees and save us some time bush-whacking. 

The new-to-us trail did indeed save bush-whacking time, but in places it ran dangerously close to the edge of the cliff.  The grass was wet and at times the terrain sloped toward the cliff… if one of us slipped there was absolutely nothing to stop us form a long fall down to the rocks or water below.  We had to be extra cautious along these areas, and eventually came out to where we had started our bush-whacking on the hike in.  The rest of the walk back to the Interpretation Centre was easy over the open bog and fields.

When we were close to the Interpretation Centre, Brian, who now had a watch again, checked and said it only took us an hour and a half coming back.  Later, at the car, I checked the total distance on my GPS:  the total distance there and back was 10.9 km, and to the lunch spot was 6.3 km, making the distance back out just 4.6 km.   The bush-whacking on the way in had really slowed us down!

We went directly into the Interpretation Centre to inform the staff that we were back, with our salvaged gear, and they would not have to send in the search teams to rescue us!   Back at the car we changed out of our wet clothes and had an uneventful drive back home, stopping at Fola’s Restaurant on Salmonier Line for supper.  With both of us back at home, safe and sound, I mused to myself that the rescue went from ‘Mission: Impossible’ at the Interpretation Centre, to ‘Mission: Possible’ sitting on the beach with our gear, to finally a ‘Mission: Accomplished’ standing in my basement with both halves of my Werner Shuna paddle in my hands.



Sunday, November 18, 2018

2018 - Post 1 – Holy Crap...

... it's been just about a year since I last posted!  My lack of posting has been mostly intentional, but not completely.

After my late November camp trip last year (see Post 20 of 2017), I intentionally decided to stop posting most of my kayak trips.  The reason:  Since I have so few readers of this blog, and since I was infrequently paddling in NEW places, I figured that I just didn't need to keep posting pictures and blogging about the same old, same old, and people just didn't need to keep reading about the same old, same old... and so I decided I would only add entries if I paddled someplace new... or if I did a paddle in a place that I had paddled before but something unique happened that I felt I wanted to share.

Well, I have been paddling in 2018, although not as much as some of my previous years; it seems we have had a lot of windy weekends again this year, and a lot of my regular paddling buddies have been spending more and more time on their fatbikes...  I have a fatbike as well, and do enjoy it, but I have taken to it much less than the others, meaning I have not gone OCD with that activity like I did when I took up kayaking...

My first kayak paddle this year was on Jan 20, and my last paddle to date was September 9... But I've had my butt in my kayaks thirty times between those dates.  That's actually pretty much the same as last year, but about ten times less than 2016, for the same period of time... Since my last paddle in September, I was on vacation for a month, then rolled my ankle on a hike the third week of October (limped around on it for nearly three weeks), and have had one of those hanger-on cold/flu's.  So I've been away from my outdoor pursuits for a while... 

Between my paddling activity, from January 1 to September 2, I have been on my fatbike twenty-seven times... To put that into perspective, in the month of January, one of my kayak/fatbike buddies nearly rode his bike that many times just during the month of January!!!  I did do another short ride on my fatbike a few days ago to see how my ankle felt... still a bit of discomfort, and pain when pushing harder like on an up-grade... so still gonna take a little more time to heal.  From January 11 to October 21, I have spent forty-five days hiking (as well as an additional eight times doing quasi-hikes while I was away on vacation).  I've also managed to fit in sixteen camping trips between January 13 and October 21; these have been a combination of hiking (8), paddling(3), biking (1), and car (4) camping trips...  I can add one more if I count driving out to my buddy's and sleeping in his camper...  

My buddy Shane issued a challenge earlier this year... I call it the 3-3-100 Challenge.  Over three consecutive days, in any order, do one activity per day - hike, bike, paddle - so that the total distance covered equals at least 100 km.  He set minimums for each activity.. 50 km on the fatbike, 30 km in the kayak, and 20 km hiking.  I decided to take on his challenge at the end of June.  On Day 1 I biked 51.4 km, Day 2 I hiked 26.6 km, and Day 3 I paddled 32.3 km.  I reported my challenge results to Shane and our other buddies in hopes to motivate others to do the challenge... but nobody else did - not even Shane!  It's not a competition of time, but rather a challenge to get active, but I am still waiting to get some type of reward as the only one to actually take on Shane's challenge in 2018!!!  Of course, we still have time left in the year for others to add their names to the list of 2018 participants.

So I have been very busy this year... 

Now getting back on topic of kayaking... In July, four of us did an overnight trip from Point Lance to St. Brides.  This is the only place this year that I have paddled that was new for me!  I wrote up a blog entry and was going to post it, but our local kayaking magazine (Ebb and Flow) put out a call for articles and I decided to submit it to them instead of posting it right away.  I have been waiting for this falls magazine to come out, and then I will post the article on my blog so that anyone who does not receive our publication will be able to read about the little adventure... Anyway, here's a pic from that trip... 




As soon as the Ebb and Flow comes out I will post my article along with some pics....


Monday, November 27, 2017

2017 - Post 20 – A late year kayak camp trip

Kayak camp trips this year have been few.   So Shane and I decided to get in one last trip, despite the wind that was forecast.  We managed to entice Terry to come along.

We drove out to Admirals Beach on Saturday morning for the put-in...

Shane has been taking every opportunity to seal launch lately...


... he has ordered a new fiberglass kayak and figures his seal launching days will be over when it arrives next year.

From the put-in we paddled over to Great Colinet Island.  We had the southerly wind in our face, which required a little bit of slogging as we followed the shoreline down the bay. 




The hope during the planning was to camp at Wild Cove if the conditions would allow.  But before we got to Mosquito Cove we decided that with the increasing south wind the landing at Wild Cove could be dicey, and the wind was forecasted to increase during the evening and even more overnight.  

Wild Cove is open to the South, with virtually unlimited fetch.  We are not paddling fools and so we opted for the safer Mosquito Cove as our destination for the night.  When we arrived we pulled up on the beach and got out to look around for a campsite. 




With our site selected, we got back in our kayaks and moved further down the cove.  We pulled up on the beach and contemplated going for a little paddle down the shore after we set up camp.  It was close to 1 pm by then and we decided by the time we had camp set up, paddled, then came back and collected firewood we would be eating in the dark.  And we had not had lunch either.

We peeled off the drysuits and proceeded to set up camp.





We all pitched in and made quick work of gathering up some firewood.  The first order of business was to get a cooking fire on the go.  Sweet potatoes went on the grille first...




We cut up moose sausage links, 



grilled them,

and then ate them as a pre-supper snack... we figured we needed sustenance to be able to consume our forthcoming supper. 



When our salmon steaks were cooked we ate our supper...



and then boiled the kettle for tea and had pumpkin cake to top off our meal.  It was getting near dark by then and so we moved our evening fire further down the beach and settled in for a chilly evening.



The evenings are long now and so by 10:30 pm Shane and I were in our hammocks and Terry was in his tent.  Minutes later I heard Shane declare "there's something running around under my hammock... I think it's a #$@^ rat!."   I laughed to myself... thinking it was more likely a rabbit as there were runs around.   

As was forecast, the wind picked up during the night and I slept very little.  When I crawled out of my hammock in the morning I walked around a little and then went down to check on the kayaks and gear on the beach.  Terry was up and cooking scrambled eggs and toast for everybody.  I ate mine and then rousted Shane out of his hammock to get his.  Then we had oatmeal to chase the eggs and toast down.

We broke camp after we straightened away breakfast dishes...




... and packed up the kayaks.



I think it was about 9:15 am when we launched.



We decided to paddle a little way south down the island before crossing over.  I didn't take any pictures during the crossing.  It was windy and bumpy and about halfway over I discovered just how out of paddling shape I have become this year. I was getting tired and my shoulder was bothering me.  I decided to turn on the autopilot, letting the wind and waves push me north as I completed the crossing... 

I was happy to reach the other side where we had protection from the southeast wind.  I took a little video of Shane trying to get a good picture of the waves crashing against the shore.






We only had about a kilometer or so to paddle to reach Admirals Beach.  When we arrived I headed for the beach and pulled my kayak up to the car. I could see Terry and Shane playing in the bit of waves to the left of the take-out.  I had some of my gear unloaded as they came in.  

This is the latest in the year that I've kayak camped.  This time of year the days are short and the evenings are long, and the nights are chilly.  It just might be the last camping trip of any kind for this year... but we shall see.