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

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2011: Post 21a – Long Island Trip – Day 1

Last weekend Clyde, Tony, Hazen, and I circumnavigated Great Colinet Island (see Post 20).  Little did we know it would be a precursor for the following weekend to take on a much larger island.  Early in the week the possibility of a camping trip to Long Island in Placentia Bay came up, with the intention to circumnavigate it. 

Long Island in Placentia Bay

This island is approximately 60 km around, not including paddling around all the coves that it has. You can easily add on 10 or 15 km to that distance, depending on how deep you decide to go into the coves.  We ended up with the same four guys committing to this trip.

The original intention was to drive to Arnold’s Cove on Friday June 24th, do the 10 km crossing to Long Island, paddle another 5 km to Spencer’s Cove and set up camp.  Then we would have Saturday, Sunday, and Monday to paddle the additional 60 km around the island, and the 10 km crossing back to the put-in.  But three of the four of us work and we all just could not get away early enough on Friday.  So it seemed like we may not have enough time to actually circumnavigate but we decided to go for the weekend and at least get to the island and get in some paddling and camping for the 3-day long weekend.

Friday after work Clyde picked me up, and Hazen picked up Tony.  We all met at the Irving on the TCH about 6 pm.  We drove the short 1.5 hours to Arnold’s Cove and scouted around for possible campsite for the night and a put-in location for Saturday morning.  We ended up camping off the highway for the night. I did not take any pictures on Friday night as I wanted to save my battery life for the paddling trip. 

We were up about 5:30 am Saturday morning.  We were no longer on the clock and took our time with breakfast and breaking camp and headed back to Arnold’s Cove.  By 8:30ish the boats were packed and we left the beach.

Arnolds Cove put-in
Looking toward Long Island just after the put-in

We paddled to Bordeaux Island and, as it was a nice calm morning, we decided to do a straight crossing to Long Island Point instead of by way of Bread and Cheese Islands off the north end of Long Island. 

Arriving at Long Island Point

After the crossing we headed into Central Channel, paddled another kilometer and had our first rest stop.  The plan was to paddle as far as Hennesy Cove, about 15 km from Long Island Point, giving us a daily total of about 25 km.  Then we would assess and decide how much farther we would go for the day, but we talked about going as far as the resettled community of Kingwell.

Our first rest stop.
This side of the beach faces Merasheen Island.  If you walk
a few meters east you will be looking across Eastern Channel.

Continuing southward from our first rest spot we paddled into Spensers Cove and encountered a few cabins on the site of the resettled community.  There once were fishing settlements on Long Island, but they were resettled many years ago.  Some people maintain cabins here and there on the island, generally in the old community sites, and some still use these areas as a base for their commercial fishing operations (I think mainly, perhaps only, lobster fishing).   

The guys talking to people in Spencers Cove

We paddled farther and by the time we had paddled 19 km since leaving Arnolds cove it was lunch time and we decided to stop and refuel.

Lunch stop

After lunch we paddled onward.  It was such a calm, beautiful day.  We were lucky and it was easy paddling and we made good time.  In one of the coves (I believe it was Hennesy Cove) that we saw four or five caribou. That was an unexpected treat. They were too fast retreating into the trees and I didn’t get a picture.  All along the way we would see eagles but I did not get any shots of them either.  The next day a fellow in Harbour Buffet told us that Merasheen Island had been populated with caribou some time ago and some eventually swam over to Long Island; there were even licenses available to hunt them on both of the islands!  Also, he said that the island was a prime place to see lots of eagles.

Along the way there we many things to take pictures of, but with limited battery life you had to choose your subject matter.  But we did encounter a square-ish hole in the cliffs that I thought was interesting. 

It's a little hard to see at first glance but
there is as square hole in the rocks...

A little farther along I was in closer to shore and came across a group of four otters that were hanging out on the shore.  Only one decided to pose for me by the time I got my camera out, turned on, and zoomed in. 

Here is one of the four otters I saw

About 7 km past Hennesy Cove we turned the point and headed another kilometer north to the community of Kingwell.  We floated for a few minutes talking to a lady staying in a cabin there.   She asked where we had come from and was awed to hear we had paddled from Arnold’s Cove that morning. It was about 4 pm at that point and we were ready to find a place to set up camp and have supper.  We paddled around a little island near her cabin so we could at least have a look up the cove and then we headed south again toward Port Royal.  We pulled up in a little cove to scout out a campsite.  We climbed up a steep bank and then walked a hundred meters or so and were able to see into a cove on the other side (named Port Royal Cove on my map).  It was a much better spot to stop for the night and we jumped into our kayaks and paddled the extra kilometer.

...looking down from our contemplated campsite.
You can see a couple of the small islands between
Port Royal Arm and Central Channel with Merasheen
Island in the background.

We could see a horse a little farther down the beach from where we intended to land; there isn’t just wild life on this island...  It was somewhere around 5 pm or so when we hit the beach, we had paddled 37.2 km that day (per my GPS), and I was glad to be done.  Prior to this day my daily personal best was a 30 km paddle.  

We set up camp and got supper on the go.  Hazen decided he would go for a walk to visit Harbour Buffet (directly across on the other side of where we were camping) and the rest of us combed the beach for fuel for our campfire that night. 

Supper time in Port Royal Cove

It became clear to me that Tony’s policy regarding campfires is that ‘if you are going to spend the time and effort to gather up the firewood it was going to be burned.’  We started the fire just before Hazen came back from his visit and had a fine blaze to enjoy along with a couple drinks.

A fine campfire, compliments of Tony's efforts 

Like during the day, there was no wind and the water remained very calm.  A southwest wind was supposed to come up by noon on Sunday.  We made the decision that the next day we would continue around the island with the intention to paddle as far as Haystack Harbor.  By noon we would be well on our way up the other side of the island and a southwest wind would be in our back to push us along.  We turned into our tents after the fire burned down and said our good nights to John-boy, Grandpa, and Mary Ellen…

1 comment:

  1. Excellent account and pictures of the first day. Awesome indeed!

    Tony :-)