There was a club paddle scheduled today in Conception Harbour. Normally we would partake in a club paddle; after all we are club members... But the weatherman said it would be a stupendous day and so Tony and I decided we would paddle from Quidi Vidi to Cape Spear and we managed to entice Gary to join us as well.
I have been paddling for over three years now and today was the first time I have paddled to the Cape. A few of the guys did this paddle earlier this year but I was not feeling well and did not go. Tony and Gary have both paddled this area before. Today I finally saw what I had missed.
Each year on the first of January KNL club members go to Quidi Vidi and welcome in the New Year by having a little club paddle. It’s more of a ‘get the kayak wet’ than an actual paddle… sometimes you cannot even get out of the little harbour due to wave and swell. I have attended this ritual the last two consecutive New Year’s Day, but have never paddled from this location in the summer.
We left the sheltered harbor of Quidi Vidi and had no trouble on this day paddling through the narrow entrance.
As we passed Cuckolds Cove I could see the Cabot Tower up on Signal Hill and thought of the times I had been up there looking down onto the water where I now paddled. It was interesting seeing Cabot Tower and Fort Amherst while sitting in my kayak in the middle of the The Narrows (the entrance to St. John’s Harbour).
From my vantage point in The Narrows I could see a lot of the buildings along the harbor front where I have walked and driven many times…
We continued handrailing along the shore into Freshwater Bay where a fellow was in a rowboat. He began to row away from us as we moved closer into the bay. I thought I might eventually get close enough to get a picture; nowadays you do not see many people rowing boats anymore. But this fellow must have been shy of strangers because he kept moving away from us…. Today was the first day of the ‘food fishery’ and maybe he thought we were Kayak Fishery Officers… anyway I never did get my picture.
We kept on paddling the shore up the other side of Freshwater Bay and around Spriggs Point and then down toward Deadman’s Bay. There was a whale off to our left and Tony and Gary veered toward it, trying for a good picture, no doubt. I kept on handrailing the shore and stopped to talk to a family in a motorized boat while the guys chased the whale. They had not caught any fish but were very interested to see kayakers.
The mother was concerned about the stability of these 'little' kayaks and what happens if they tipped. I assured her it was a stable craft and did a few braces to show her how easy it was to stay upright. The two young boys asked about what happens if I tipped over so I did a roll to show them what we do if they tipped over. They were quite pleased with that. Maybe I squashed some fears the mother had about these kayaks and maybe one day those two little boys will have their own and join our club…
Tony and Gary caught up and we continued on and came to a cave that was big enough for the three of us.
In the bottom of Deadman’s Bay there was a waterfall. We decided we would have lunch there and we cooled off in the fresh water before eating.
|Gary passing the falls|
|Very refreshing on a warm, sunny day|
After lunch we continued along the shore into Blackhead Bay. There wasn’t much to see there but someone had a horse that looked to be a good size from where we were sitting. We carried on and then finally, as we passed Hole in the Head, Murphy’s Gulch, and into Cape Bay I was able to get a good look at Cape Spear from the seat of my kayak.
|Gary getting a look at Cape Spear from Cape Bay side|
We rounded the cape for good measure, hung around for a while, looking at the tourists and sightseers who were looking at us, and then we headed back to Quidi Vidi.
|Watching eyes at Cape Spear...|
I always say that kayaking is a spectator sport,
but am I glad I stopped being one of the spectators...
The guys at Cape Spear….
What a great day. What a great paddle. Thanks guys.
[Don't forget to check out Tony's pics of this paddle on his blog, titled In search of Bjarni Herjolfsson]