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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: Post 61 – Last Post for the year

Well, this kayaking year is over.  In 2013 I decided to just paddle whenever I was able and ended up with my best year of kayaking since I began paddling in June of 2008.

After consulting my log book, I found that I have paddled forty-four weekends during the year, and fourteen of those I paddled on both Saturday and Sunday.  The rest of my day paddles occurred on weekdays…  And of course there were plenty of St. Philips Thursday evening practices, some pool sessions, and the Level Two Safe Kayaking Course in September.  Here is my tally for this year:

69 day paddles on the ocean (totaling 1190 kilometers)
20 Thursday practice sessions at St. Philips
9 Tuesday pool sessions
5 days for the Level Two Kayaking Course


There were four camping trips this year which accounted for fourteen of my day paddles. The first trip was a circumnavigation around New World Island and Twillingate at the end of June, which was followed by an overnight club camping trip to Pinchgut in early July.  In August a few of us went on a one-way, four day club camping trip in Trinity Bay. The forth trip for the year occurred during the Thanksgiving weekend at Gulch Pond.  The second weekend of the level two course comprised of a two night camping trip at the end of September, but I did not count the distance covered or the days on the water in my day paddle tally. 

My Nordkapp arrived in early June, so I was in it for about two-thirds of my day paddles, about half of my Thursday practices, and I used it during the level two course.  I have spent enough time in it to say it is a great kayak; I have not been disappointed with my decision to purchase it. 

I only remember capsizing two times, but did not swim, and only did two solo paddles this year.  I do not paddle alone very often, but I do like the ability to paddle at my own pace when I do decide to paddle by myself. 

I made my first all-cedar Greenland paddle this year, complete with plastic tips for protection, but I have not paddled with it yet.  I am not completely happy with the thickness of the blades so I will have to reshape it a little before putting finish on it.  I also added plastic tips to one of my existing, well-used paddles which will increase its lifespan... the ends were quite frayed from use. 

Oh yeah, I also sold my Current Designs Sirocco.  I did not have any misgivings about selling it, even though it was my first kayak and it is what I paddled and learned in for the first five years of my kayaking life.  It served me well and the new owner has an appreciation of the Sirocco, so that made it very easy to let it go.  

The group of people that I regularly paddle with are a great bunch of paddlers.  If I start listing off names I am sure to leave someone out... they know who they are.  And whether they paddled with me just once or fifty times in 2013 they have all contributed to some great experiences on the water this year.  I’ve also met a few new paddlers this year and I have been watching to see what type of paddlers they will become… perhaps we will have a few more kayakoholics among us...

Well, I do hope any avid readers of my blog have enjoyed taking the kayaking journey with me this past year.  I know I've enjoyed this year’s journey immensely. 

I wonder what paddling adventures will come my way in 2014…


Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013: Post 60 – Paddling each side of Christmas Day

On Tuesday (Christmas Eve), Brian, Tony, and I got together for a short paddle from St. Philips to Portugal Cove.  

The cold is hard on my camera battery and so I have not been taking many pictures... I have to tuck my camera inside my cag to let it warm up and then I take it out now and then to snap a picture here and there.   I also find it difficult to use the camera with my neoprene mitts on, especially in more bouncy waters... But here area few pics from Tuesdays paddle...







We had a good bit of snow on Christmas Day to add to the usual festivities.  I wish I had taken a picture in the morning of the clean, white snow that had fallen.  But anyway...

I woke up this morning (Boxing Day) and looked out the window.  It was a clear sunny day. I had my breakfast and checked the weather forecast on my computer.  Not too much wind called for and it was supposed to drop a bit in the afternoon.  I piddled around in the basement at this and that and then looked at my kayaking gear that was hung up.  I decided I wanted to be on the water.  

So I went out and loaded my kayak on the car.  It was a chilly morning and I decided I would slip a plastic bag over the car seat so when I got off the water I wouldn't have to take off my drysuit in the cold, and could just jump aboard and drive home.   Then I came inside and put on my drysuit, neoprene boots, and skirt, and even my tow bag.  I threw the rest of my gear in my plastic tub and headed for St. Philips.

Once there it was just a matter of unloading the kayak, grab my paddles, pull on my skull cap and cag, lock the car, pull on my neoprene mitts and hit the water.  I paddled out of the cove and turned toward Topsail Beach (it has been almost a month since I have paddled up to TB).

Again, it was a chilly day, and a little bouncy in places, and so I did not take too many pics;   here are almost all the the ones I took.... 









When I got back to St. Philips it was just a simple matter of pulling off my ice-clad cag, take off my fairly dry PFD, skirt, and tow-bag (kept dry by my cag), and toss my other gear in the car.  No need to take off the drysuit in the chilly air with the plastic bag on the seat... 

But before loading the kayak on the roof I noticed someone had placed a knob of snow on top of my foam saddle; I thought it was an odd thing for someone to do.  Then as I was attaching my bow line I noticed someone had written a message on my windshield, which simply said "Sneaky. I knew it".  I am pretty sure I know who the author was, and I had a little chuckle to myself.  Then I hopped in the driver's seat and headed for home.  

How chilly was it?  Well, here is a pic I took of some knobs of ice still clinging to the sleeve of my cag hung up in my warm basement....





I wonder if this will be my last paddle for this year... the weather forecast is calling for some wind over the next few days...



Saturday, December 21, 2013

2013: Post 59 – Winter Solstice paddle

Tony and I paddled today; others were busy.  We did not really have any set plan other to meet at St. Philips in the morning and paddle in the falling snow that was promised to us by the weather people.

The wind was forecasted to be from the east (15 km in the morning and 35 km in the afternoon) so we decided to paddle up to Portugal Cove.  When we arrived there Tony suggested we continue up the shoreline to Brocks Pond Falls.   The last time we were there was in August with Hazen and Clyde; it was a nice warm day then... click here to see the pics from that day.  

Since the wind was supposed to pick up in the afternoon, I suggested we paddle towards the falls and if we did not get all the way it would not matter... so we carried on up the shore.  Before long we were at the falls, hung around for a little bit, and then paddled back to St. Philips.

Here's a few pics to share...












The higher wind called for in the afternoon never did materialize and we ended up having a spectacular Winter Solstice paddle... and the fish and chips we had at the nearby restaurant was a great way to finish off the paddle...  

Thanks Tony, for the paddle and for the lunch.



Sunday, December 15, 2013

2013: Post 58 – One hundred

Today Tony and I paddled from St. Philips to Bell Island.  It was the one hundredth time that I sat in my kayak(s) this calender year, which includes day paddles, pool sessions, camping trips, practice days, and the kayaking course I did in September...   

Anyway, Tony has his blog entry written up so be sure to check it out (click here).  I did not take a lot of pictures but here are a few to share... 


Ice pans at St. Philips

Looking back at St. Philips from Dominion Pier


Tony paddling along some big icicles


There were some good sized swells coming in and crashing
into the cliffs causing spray to reach some pretty good heights

Heading back to The Beach to have some lunch

The river at St. Philips

Well, there are just a couple more weeks left to paddle in this calender year...


Saturday, December 7, 2013

2013: Post 57 – Avondale

Tony and I had been thinking of the same destination for today... but too much exposure to the open ocean with sizable swells from the north caused prudence in judgement and we would have to save it for another day... So instead we decided on Avondale...  




The Plan:  Put-in at the river in Avondale, paddle to the shipwrecks in Conception Harbour, then carry on up to Bacon Cove, and on to Collier's Point.  Then back to Bacon Cove, cross over to Salmon Cove Point, and follow the shore back to Avondale. 


Tony sent out an invite and we ended up with six eager paddlers...

Gearing up at the put-in

On the way to Conception Harbour...

Tony, Greg, and Brian

Neville and Hazen

At the shipwreck in Conception Harbour....


Hazen, Greg, Neville

Tony

Neville
Heading on up to Bacon Cove... 


Tony

Brian




Take-out at Bacon Cove for lunch...


Greg

Hazen

Neville

Da boys

I didn't take any more pics until I arrived at Colliers Point...




And from Colliers Point to Avondale I didn't take any pics at all.  But on the way back to Bacon Cove there were some decent swells crashing on the shore.  So I shot a little video, but it just doesn't look quite as impressive as sitting on the water watching it with your own eyes.... 

video


We followed 'The Plan' and crossed from Bacon Cove to Salmon Cove Point, and then followed the shore back to Avondale where I caught the sun setting under the bridge....




It was just another glorious day on the water... Thanks to Neville, Hazen, Tony, Brian, and Greg for sharing this large day... I think it's one of those paddling days we'll remember for a while.



Saturday, November 23, 2013

2013: Post 56 – Paddling attentively

This morning Tony and I decided to meet at St. Philips.  Tony had initially suggested it would be a good day to play around the cove, but I was in more of a mood to do some paddling.

I woke before my alarm clock went off and had arrived at St. Philips almost a half hour before our meeting time.  So I got ready and paddled into the cove.  The waves were crashing at Wester Point and North West Point.  I decided I would have time to paddle over to, and back from, North West Point before Tony arrived.

While there I sat and waited for the chance to paddle between the shoreline and the rock that is there.  Once through I turned around and could see Tony pulling into the parking lot.  I turned to face the rock again and took a picture... 




Just as I took the picture a wave tried to knock me over and I had to drop my camera and grab up my paddle to brace.  I pulled on the tether and my camera came out of the water. Then I tried to get another picture of the waves spraying up as they hit the rocky shoreline and had to drop my camera and grab my paddle for another brace... 



I figured I better stop fooling with my camera before I finally did get knocked over and head back to the slipway.  Tony was nearly ready when I got there.  



I told him it was gonna be a bumpy paddle up to Topsail Beach.  So off we went.  I wasn't wrong.  In fact it was so bumpy I didn't take any more pictures until we reached Topsail Beach, although I did see Tony take a few...  I think he is more comfortable than I am sitting in gnarly waters taking pictures.  

At one point I took my camera out and was attempting to turn it on, but the clapitus was bouncing me around and I remembered almost being knocked over back at North West Point... so I pushed my camera back into my PDF and put both hands on the paddle. Today was not the day or place to get knocked over and blow a roll.  With just the two of us on this paddle, a swimmer meant there was only one person left to do a rescue.  

It was so bouncy in the waves, swell, and clapitus that at about halfway we questioned whether to continue or pull the plug on going all the way to Topsail Beach.  We had been paddling mostly one in front of each other and it was difficult for the guy in front to have to turn his head around to make sure the one following was upright.  

Tony suggested we paddle more side-by-side so we could keep an eye on each other.  We also moved further away from shore to get out of the rebounding waves.  We decided we would paddle in this way until one of us decided we had gone far enough.  But when we got a little further, and were out of the worst of the clapitus, things settled down more and we were able to find a better rhythm to the paddling.  It also seemed that the wind had dropped a little as well. And so we were able to go all the way to our desired destination.

Tony got ready to go into the beach while I waited with my camera.  He sat for while, letting a few waves pass...




... then he saw his chance and paddled on the back face of a wave....



... then hoped out and walked his kayak in...



My landing wasn't quite as neat as Tony's.  I ended up getting broached and landed parallel to the shoreline, with Tony grabbing my stern to steady my kayak as I got out.

Since we had been here last the beach had taken a pounding, widening the river where it dumps into the ocean, leaving a little bit of an island...




We each had a granola bar and had a chat before getting back on the water for the return trip.




But this time we paddled farther away form the shoreline to avoid most of the clapitus, mostly paddling across from one another so we could monitor each other's progress...





When we got back to the cove Tony checked his watch and it only took us about three-quarter's of an hour to get back...  




The trip back was a little easier, since we stayed away from the shore and we were getting a push, and there was less wind.  But we still had to throw in a cautionary brace now and then whenever a bigger wave came along...  

Once back at St. Philips, we both agreed we were glad to be back in the cove, but were both happy we had decided to continue all the way to Topsail Beach... Sometimes you just gotta push things a little bit... you know, paddle a little above the comfort zone.

The coffee afterwards was greatly appreciated.