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

Thursday, May 25, 2017

2017: Post 8 – More fun in our short boats

On Saturday past some of us spent the day at the Ruins (see previous post).  We had a lot of fun.  At last night's Wednesday evening practice, Shane, Brian and I got back in our short boats for some more fun at St. Philips...

Some pics and video clips to share...















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We all enjoy doing a little rock-hopping in our long kayaks, but in these short boats the maneuverability just makes the experience so much more fun... 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

2017: Post 7 – The other kind of whitewater

I don't think anyone in my kayak circle of friends considers themselves to be a 'whitewater kayaker' but a lot of us tend to seek out the ocean whitewater spots when sea kayaking... and so, over the last couple years, some of us have bought crossover kayaks so we can have more fun in the ocean whitewater.  Now and then we do decide to get on the river to have some fun in the "other kind of whitewater" and to get a truer whitewater experience.  Yesterday was one of those days...

The clubs annual retreat is occurring this weekend and three of my buddies (Shane, Clyde, and Hazen) decided to sign up to take advantage of the instruction on the Terra Nova River near the Ruins... none of them have spent time on a river before, although they've spent plenty of time in ocean current and rock gardens.

Brian and I figured it would be fun to watch our buddies on the river for the first time, and so we decided to drive out and spend the day on the river.   

There were fifteen boats, with several canoes in the mix, and a full range of whitewater skills.  Personally, my whitewater skills are on the low end, but I think the time I have spent, and instruction I have received, on the river have helped to make me a better sea kayaker...

Anyway, I didn't really take a lot of pictures or video clips, but here are a few to share...







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A couple of the 'real' whitewater guys ran 'The Ledge', making it look too easy...


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I would have liked to have ran the ledge but I just don't have enough skill, or confidence in the little bit of skill I have, and so I remained content to watch the guys who know what they are doing... 

Although my buddy Shane would have loved to take a run at the ledge, he had to be content with a much safer alternative...


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So what kind of day did we have yesterday?  I think this pic of Shane answers that question...



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Here's a pic Hazen took that he named "River Boys".... 

Clyde, me, Shane, and Brian


Sunday, April 30, 2017

2017: Post 6 – The Young and the Wobbly

Shane, Hazen and I did a little paddle in the relative safety of Conception Harbour.  I checked Shane's blog this morning and he has already posted his pictures and account of the day. Here is a link to his blog entry... click HERE.

Here's a few of my own pics to add to Shane's...

Getting ready at the slipway

The Young (Shane) and the Wobbly (Hazen) getting out
for a stretch after only a couple kilometres.
(both of these guys are having sciatic issues)

Just before we got to Salmon Cove Point I had to pee (I really should give up drinking coffee before paddles).  I found a little nook and didn't want Jenny bouncing around on the rocks as the water was ebbing and flowing.  So I pushed Jenny out for Shane to hold on to her for me.  I took a little video of how well he was taking care of 'ol Jenny...

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Shane

Hazen

Sometimes there just aren't any
pretty, sandy beaches to take out on...

Our lunch spot

Da boys having a chat... probably about their ailments!!

Conception Harbour might not have towering cliffs and an abundance of wildlife to look at when paddling, and it is a little bit of a drive out and back from town.  However, I always seem to enjoy whenever we do a paddle there.  Thanks to Shane for organizing and leading yesterday's paddle.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

2017: Post 5 – Still some ice around

On Sunday past a few of us met at St. Philips to do a little paddling with the ice that is still hanging around. 

We spent some time paddling around the ice right in the cove at St. Philips....







Eventually we decided to head to Portugal Cove and see what ice there was to see along the way...



When we arrived at Portugal Cove we were stymied by a little field of ice...




We could have paddled around the ice field to get into the cove but instead decided to float there for a while before heading back to St. Philips...

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It was just another short paddle but it was a good to get out with my kayaking buddies again.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

2017: Post 4 – Off the Kayak Wagon!!

I've been on the kayakoholic wagon for just over two months.  The last time I paddled was Feb 12th!!  Every night since then I have been attending meetings trying to get the paddle monkey off my back...

"Hi.  My name is Dean and I am a kayakoholic..."
"Hi Dean!"
"For me, it all started back in June of 2008..." (sniff, sniff, sob)
"It's okay Dean.  You're among friends here.  Take your time."

This morning I put my garbage out and it was quite chilly.  I went out to my shed and got the city-imposed mandatory net to put over the garbage at then end of the driveway.  There was Jenny.  I swear she winked at me.  I avoided eye contact and went back in the house. 

I figured I'd have a cup of tea and find my sweater.  Surf the internet; check my e-mails.  Then the desire began to come over me.  Poor thing; out in the shed half the winter... I knew I should not have glanced at her when I was out there.  Temptress.

I could go for just one little paddle.  Just one won't hurt a bit.

I e-mailed a couple of the guys to let them know I was gonna be at St. Philips in an hour's time if anyone was interested.  Only Terry showed up.  

We had a good bit of pack ice around the last while.  Most of it is gone now, but there were enough remnants of it left around between St. Philips and Portugal Cove to make the paddle enjoyable.

Some pics...









... and a little video clip...


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Well, what can I say about this little stumble on my road to kayak sobriety?  I guess I'll start going to meetings again and start all over.  See if it sticks this time.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

2017: Post 3 – We have all become complacent!

Recently, at my place of work we had to do three manditory safety courses - WHMIS, office safety, and site safety.  I've done these in the past, but it has been a while.  I am glad I had to re-do these courses... it has got me thinking about our safety as kayakers.

When I paddle I do try to make it a point to take mental notes in terms of my own safety and the safety of others in my group.  [In particular I am discussing gear in this blog post, but non-gear safety needs to be thought about as well, perhaps this will be a future post]. I will watch people getting ready and start to make my notes... Who has a proper and quickly accessible sea kayaking tow rope and spare paddle.  Who has a map, GPS, and compass?  Who is wearing a one piece dry suit, or just pants and jacket, or a wetsuit?  Does everyone have a pump and a whistle?   Are PFD's zipped up?  I'll wonder if people have spare clothes in case they take a swim and get wet (zippers do sometimes get left unzipped) or will they need to use someone else's?  Within the group do we have the proper gear if someone gets hypothermia?

I've noticed complacency in both myself and in my paddling partners on day trips.  Have we gained so much kayaking experience that we no longer need to carry the 'just in case' gear?  I admit on day trips we don't really need a map if we are paddling an area we have paddled 20 times already.  But a tarp can come in real handy if something goes awry and we end up on a beach someplace.

As for my own complacency... Here are a couple examples.  I used to carry my VHF radio on a regular basis, but I only seem to carry it on camping trips now.  I used to carry a ditch-kit that included a little tarp and a fleece sleeping blanket that can be zipped up like a sleeping bag - but these things seem to have found their way out of my kit...  

Here is just one recent example of how complacency could evolve into a situation.... 

On open crossings I will often paddle ahead of my paddle partners to get the crossing over with; I don't like open crossings so much.  During our last paddle we were doing a crossing of only about two kilometres - not a big deal.   The sea state was benign and my own complacency kicked in.  Wanting to get the crossing over with I had started paddling ahead.  As I was paddling I was thinking about tow ropes.  I checked my mental notes and realized that I was in possession of one of the only two sea kayaking tow ropes within my group, and I was paddling away from my partners with this very important piece of sea kayaking gear.  What if something happened back there and someone needed to be towed?  Only one person had the ability to do a proper tow.  Yes, the tow rope could be handed off to someone else, but it would be far easier and better to get a tandem tow going.

We are kayakers.  But we are humans first and therefore subject to the human condition, complacency being one of them.  As we gain more experience and skill in our kayaking ventures it seems we tend to let things slide.  The tow rope we used to take, and have readily accessible, is left at home, in our car, or tucked away in our hatch.  We never had to pull out that tarp for an emergency so it sits on the shelf in our basement now.  We lose our whistle one day and don't make it a point to go and pick one up before the next paddle.  

I believe most of us kayak for its pure enjoyment, and we don't want to always have to be thinking about gear and safety.  But vigilance is the price we have to pay to keep ourselves and our paddling partners safer when we are out there enjoying ourselves.

Personally, I see that I have to try to do better and make the effort to get out of my own complacent behavior.   In her awe inspiring beauty,  we forget that Mother Nature is extremely cold hearted... She couldn't care less if my paddling partners or I freeze or drawn out on the ocean... she will not cradle us and make it all better.  And every time we go for one more paddle we add to the chance that we are gonna get a good sized chunk of the left cheek of our derriere bitten off.  So it just makes sense that we try to be a little better equipped in gear and in skill to deal with situations that might arise in our pursuits of the great outdoors.






We have all become complacent.  We all have to try to be better.  After all, we are all in this thing together.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

2017: Post 2 – La Manche by Land and by Sea

La Manche by Land

Yesterday (Saturday), Derek sent me a text to see if I wanted to go for a hike at La Manche.  He picked me up and off we went.  We parked at the trail-head, put on our crampons, donned our packs, and made our way down to the suspension bridge.  



We decided we would cross over the bridge and head towards Bauline East since neither of us had done this section of the trail before.


When we arrived above Doctor's Cove we took a little detour down to have a look at the cove.   We've paddled past here before and it was interesting to get the perspective from the shore.



We carried on toward the community of Bauline East until the trail turned into a gravel road.  We walked a little way down the road and Derek decided to check the map.    We discovered the rest of the trail to Bauline East was on the road and neither of us held  enthusiasm about hiking along a road, and so we turned back.



We crossed back over the bridge and I snapped a shot of the river that flows into The Quarry (this is the name of the cove at La Manche).




We decided we would hike along the trail around the cove until we found a spot in the trees that was sheltered from the wind where we boiled up some water and had a cup of tea with our lunch.

Derek took this pic of me with the suspension bridge in the background...



La Manche by Sea

Shane had sent out an e-mail to see if anyone was interested in a paddle today (Sunday).  There were several places offered, but in the end Shane decided on Tors Cove.  I was car-less again today and I told him I could go if he could pick me up.  We met Tony, Cathy, and Gary in Bay Bulls this morning and then we drove down to Tors Cove.  

We paddled on the outside of Fox Island and then made our way over to Ship Island.  From there we crossed over to Great Island, paddling on the outside.  

We checked out the caves at Great Island...










When we rounded Great Island I was informed we would cross over and go to La Manche.  Good call, I thought to myself... I would have lunch in La Manche for the second day in a row.

When we arrived I paddled into the bottom of the cove to get a picture of the river to compliment the one I had taken from the bridge above on the previous day...




The tide was low so it was easy to take out on the little beach and we had our lunch...





When we got back on the water I snapped a pic of Shane under the suspension bridge.  Roughly twenty-four hours before I was walking over the bridge looking down on the cove where we now sat in our kayaks.




When everyone was back on the water we headed back to Tors Cove.  It was a chilly day on the water and we all went for a welcomed cup of coffee before heading back to town.

It was interesting to have hiked and paddled to La Manche this weekend, and to of had my lunch there both days... interesting in that it was not a planned event to do this weekend... it just happened that way.