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

Monday, June 23, 2014

2014: Post 17 – Camping on Great Colinet Island

In 2011, Clyde, Tony, Hazen, and I did a day paddle around Great Colinet Island (click here for that trip).  During that day we had remarked that it would be a good place for an overnight camping trip.  This past weekend we finally got around to camping on Great Colinet Island and it was a fantastic destination for this years first kayak camping trip. 

Four of us headed over the highway Saturday morning for the one and a half hour drive to the put-in.  Old Wobbly had some things to occupy his morning and so he decided he would leave town later in the day and paddle by himself to the campsite.

Packing up in Admirals Beach

It wasn't very long and we were on the water and heading over to the island, only about two kilometres away...

Tony with Clyde and Brian ahead

We decided to paddle down the west side of Great Colinet Island to make the days paddle to the campsite at Wild Cove a little longer... paddling down the east side of the island would only be about nine kilometres to the campsite. 

Clyde rounding Bluff Head 

We paddled along Regina Cove and seen a few seals bobbing their heads above the water, watching us.  When we arrived before Dalton Point we were protected from the wind.  The wind had a little chill in it but where we sat it was calm, sunny, and warm.  We sat a while watched the dozen or so seals as they were watching us... 


A couple of the seals

We carried on down the outside of the island, in no particular hurry since we did not have too far to go to the camp site...  



As we got closer to the southern end of the island the wind picked up and we had a little bit of a slog for a couple kilometres.  I arrived at the end first and watched a couple bigger swells crash upon the shoreline and so I decided to swing wide of the rocks.  I looked back as the other three guys came into view.  Tony and Brian were swinging wide too, but Clyde was having some fun staying in a little closer...


From South Point it was just a couple kilometres to the campsite at Wild Cove and the wind in our backs pushed us along.

Brian with Wild Head in the background

We had a little surf landing without incident and the four of us carried the loaded boats up the beach, one at a time.

Looking back toward Wild Head

We had a little snack and a rest.  The rocks were warm in the sunshine and it didn't take too long for our drysuits to dry.

In no time the tents were up...

When I did my Level 2 kayaking course last year,  one of the first things that occurred was the erecting of a large community tarp when we we arrived at our campsites.  I found it very interesting how the big tarp gave people a place to naturally congregate together, which quickly fostered a camaraderie among the course participants.  

After the course was over I decided I would buy a community tarp for this years camping trips.   I purchased a  yellow 14x12.5 foot silnylon tarp from Custom Cook Sewing (see link at the right hand side under "Links to Web Sites").  So, after the tents were up Brian and I put up the community tarp, which I have named Big Yellow.  We put it up on a grassy spot between the tents and the kayaks.... it seemed like a good place...

Big Yellow's first set up

Then it was time to get a fire going.  There was lots of wood around further down the beach where there was also some protection from the wind.  We decided to go with a community supper and we brought along a duck to roast over the fire.  The duck had not completely thawed and so we laid it on a flat rock beside the fire while we waited for the wood to burn down to a good bed of coals....

After a little while Clyde and I pushed a stout sharpened stick though the duck and propped it over the heat... the roasting of the duck had begun...

While we were sitting around watching the duck and the fire Brian remarked that a better place for Big Yellow would be over by the fire.  So Brian, Tony, and I made quick work of  taking it down at the other end of the beach and putting it back up just up the hill from the fire.  Good thing we moved it because happy hour had just started ...

Here's to ya

We had a couple drinks while waiting for supper.  I think it was getting near 5:30 pm when someone decided  to go have a look to see if Hazen was in view.  Sure enough he had rounded Wild Head and was paddling toward the beach.  We had been in contact with him and he knew exactly where we were, and we knew he was paddling down Colinet Passage and would be relatively safe, but it was good to finally see him to know he was okay for sure.  

If you click on the pic to enlarge you will spot Old Wobbly

We all walked down along the beach to help Hazen land in the bit of surf.  He had a hip replaced a couple years ago and can't straddle the kayak when getting in and out of  it.  So we tend to give him a hand getting on and off beaches when the water is active....  

Old Wobbly and Miss PJ

We carried his loaded kayak higher up the beach and then we helped carry his gear to the tent site and proceeded to make quick work of helping him get set up.

One happy camper

By the time we had Hazen straightened away the fire had died down a little but the duck was still roasting away.  Brian said it wasn't that he did not have faith in our duck roasting abilities but he decided to cook up some hamburger paddies anyway....

We had another drink or two, and had a chat and some laughs while waiting for the duck to finish roasting.  I think it was Clyde and Tony that declared the duck was ready and so Hazen boiled up some water and we made  a pot of couscous and opened a can of peas.  

We figured old Wobbly was the best choice to do the carving since he had missed most of happy hour, and we had a pretty good meal under Big Yellow.

After supper we cleaned up and tossed the bones into the fire so it wouldn't attract wildlife.  It was unlikely there were bears on the island but there were plenty of gulls, and from the sign around we believed there were foxes as well.

Hazen produced a bottle of what he referred to as grog (compliments of a couple of German paddlers that had stayed with him for a couple days) and we all had a cup of grog tea around the fire that Tony had built up against the chilly air...

The water that you see in the pic above
is a pond on the inside of the beach

We spent a good bit of time under the tarp as it did a good job breaking the chilly wind that was blowing off the ocean...

After a while Brian decided to head off to bed.  Not too much longer and Clyde  and Tony called it a night as well.  But Old Wobbly and I figured we were only out for one night and decided to make the most of it. We stayed up for another while, fed the fire, had another drink, and a chat.   We checked the time; it was 12:15 am.  We decided another fifteen minutes and we would head off to bed.  

We went down by the fire and pushed the unburned ends of the sticks into the flames and chatted some more.  When we checked the time it was suddenly just before 1 am and decided it was really enough for one night.

I must have been tired; I slept uncharacteristically well during the night.  I woke up to gulls making a bit of a racket.  I checked my watch and it was past 5:30 am.  I was determined to stay in the tent until at least 7 am.  I dozed a little but did not really get back to sleep.  I checked my watch a couple more times and when it was 6:45  I just couldn't take it any more and decided to get up.  

I packed up my sleeping bag and the few  things I had in my tent and carried them down to the kayak.  Clyde was already up and was down at his kayak too.  Before long everyone else was up and then it was time for breakfast.

Tony making pancakes

With breakfast over we took our time cleaning up, taking down tents and packing the gear into the kayaks.  We did not have far to paddle back to the cars so there wasn't any hurry.

There was still a surf dumping on the beach and so we got Old Wobbly on the water first.  Brian was cleanly off the beach next.  Then Clyde and I got onto the water at the same time, paddling out with legs hanging over of the cockpit, getting away just before a wave steepened up and dumped onto Tony, who was just a second or so too late in getting away.  I didn't see it but I believe he got quite a salt water bathing... at least it was enough that he had to pump out his cockpit before getting underway.  

From Wild Beach it was only about nine kilometres to the cars.  We poked along, mostly following the shoreline and checking things out...

Brian had not been to Mosquito Cove before, so we pulled up on the beach when we arrived there and had a look around...

There wasn't anybody staying in the cabins that are all that are left of what was once a community long ago, where people lived all year round before re-settlement occurred. 

We paddled another couple kilomtres along the shore after leaving Mosquito Cove and then crossed the couple kilometres back to Admirals Beach for the take-out.  With kayaks unloaded and the gear packed into the cars we headed for home.  But of course we had to stop on the way and had a lunch of fish and chips at a restaurant on the way back to St. John's.

It was a short camping trip by the standard of distance paddled (under twenty five kilometres for the both days) but if you measure the trip in terms of the company and one tasty roasted duck then I would have to say it was another fantastically memorable trip.

Here's a link that may be of interest to reader's... click here

1 comment:

  1. Nice shots Dean and well written account of our trip.

    Tony :-)