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 21c – Long Island Trip – Day 3

I suggest you read entry 21a first, then entry 21b prior to reading this entry....

We awake at about 5:45 am on our last morning (Monday).  We were fogged in.  We couldn’t even see across Haystack Harbour to where the cabins were.  We had our breakfast and for the last time on this trip we broke down our camp and packed up our kayaks. 

Getting ready to leave Haysack Harbour
Leaving Haystack Harbour in the fog....



It was a leisurely paddle in the heavy fog.  Again the water was flat calm with no wind.  At one point along the way a crow took to wing from the cliffs in front of me and dropped something that landed about 6 meters off my bow and a little to the starboard.  I originally thought it was trying to poop on me and chuckled a little to myself after saying “you missed me.”   But the plop on the water surface was too pronounced.  I veered over a little and seen a small crab sinking down in the clear water. 

I paddled into one little cove while the guys crossed
its mouth.  It would not be hard to get lost in
the fog if you strayed too far from each other...

A short paddle of about 9 km brought us up to the east side of the same beach of where we had stopped for our first break after crossing from Arnolds Cove to Long island.  We hit the beach before too long about a kilometer from Long Island Point.  This would be the last place to have a break before the crossing in the fog.  I believe Tony has named this spot Welcome Cove.  Almost exactly two days earlier at about the same time in the morning we were taking a break on this beach on the west side after crossing from Bordeaux Island.

The last place to get off the water for a break
before getting back to Long Island point and
then the crossing back toward Arnolds Cove
With our last break over we got back on the water and paddled to the end of Long Island.  We paddled around a rock that is there to ensure it was a true circumnavigation and then turned kayaks into the fog.  Earlier, Hazen had taken a bearing from Long Island Point to the left side of Bordeaux Island.  It is about a 6 km crossing on a magnetic bearing of approximately 58 degrees, and we anticipated it would take us about 50 minutes (as a group we were generally paddling around 7 km an hour on flat calm water) if we stayed on our bearing to hit Bordeaux island.  We decided we would not use our GPS’s to make the crossing for the practice.  As long as we stayed more or less on our bearing we would hit land somewhere.  If after one hour of paddling we had not hit land we would then consult our GPS’s to see where we were and then make corrections as needed.

We took turns leading.  It was my first crossing in fog and was an interesting experience.  When I was leading I stayed on our chosen bearing but I kept wondering if I was actually going straight.  I had the sensation I was going in a curve and wanted to follow my instinct to veer to the right or left, but I stayed on the bearing…  ‘trust the compass’ Tony had said somewhere along the way.  In less than an hour the side of Bordeaux Island suddenly loomed out of the fog.  We had hit our target about as dead on as you can in the time expected.  I checked my GPS and found that our track was laid directly on top of the track of when we crossed on Saturday morning when we were able to see.  About another 4 km and we would be back where we had started in Arnolds Cove.

The guys inside Arnold's Cove...
not far to the starting point now...

I think we were all glad to hit the beach, I know I was, it had been a long weekend. 

Hazen hits the beach...
... then Clyde,
... and then Tony.

I checked my GPS for the last time and we had paddled 21.3 km for the day; a short paddle only when compared to the distance covered on each of the last two days.   Per my GPS we had covered 93.13 km over the last three days.  We unpacked, loaded the gear back into the cars, and then loaded the kayaks onto the roof racks.  We took the short drive to Megans Restaurant on the highway and had a wonderful lunch of fish and chips and then took the sleepy 1.5 hour drive back home to St. John’s.

My final thoughts on this trip:

This island is a great destination for a kayak trip, but because of the required crossing it becomes a multi-day camping trip, otherwise you cannot see much of the island.  Although we did a circumnavigation and crossing over and back (totaling 93 km) in three days, I would have preferred to have had another day or even two.  A couple more days on the trip would allow the daily paddling lengths to be shortened, allow more time to explore in more detail the sheltered coves of Buffet Harbour and Port Royal Arm, and maybe even visit the little islands nearby.  A night camping in Harbour Buffet would have been nice, or even to be able to spend a half day wondering around there would be great.  We did a good job in covering the coast line and coves of Long Island, but we had a couple of long paddling days to do it. 

During our trip we saw eagles, caribou, caplin, otters, a horse, sheep, and even three dogs belonging to cabin owners.  Anybody you might encounter staying there are very friendly and genuinely excited about having kayakers visit them.  There are many beaches to put-in on for breaks and a lot of them will allow for camping sites.  There are small brooks flowing to the shore here and there that will allow you to obtain freshwater, although I would recommend treating it for the sake of good health.

Of course, like any multi-day kayaking trip, you need to be sure of the weather forecast before you go and get it if you can during the trip.  We were not able to get the weather on VHF radio when we tried, but cell phone coverage was achievable in the locations that were tried, namely in Port Royal Cove and Haystack Harbor, where our campsites were located, as well as Harbour Buffet... so you can make a phone call home and to get weather updates.

I definitely would rate this destination 5 out of 5 Greenland paddles.


  1. Right on all counts Dean, it was a wonderful trip. Certainly 2 more days would have allowed for a more relaxed pace and a bit more exploring. I'd rate the overall trip at 6 out of 5!

    Tony :-)

  2. ah, Tony, but your rating of 6 are no doubt Euro-bladed paddles, so you do have to add an extra one... it was just a friggin' awesome weekend!!!