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

Sunday, August 30, 2015

2015: Post 39 – Great Colinet Island... It will change your life!

About the middle of last week I checked the forecast... looked like a good weekend coming up.  The weatherman promised clear skies, warms days and nights, and low wind, and there would be a full moon Saturday night as well.  I got it in my mind to do an overnight kayak camp trip.  I had a few places in mind but decided on Great Colinet Island. 

My initial plan was to do it as a solo trip, but then decided to invite a few people.  On Thursday morning I sent out an e-mail and, given the short notice, I was surprised when six others accepted the invitation.  

I picked up Shane Saturday morning and we headed to the TCH Irving Station to meet the other guys and we all headed down the highway.  We were in the lead car and talking all things kayaks, and I missed our exit off the highway, and so we had to take the scenic route, go a little farther, and then take the next exit to swing back around.  No matter... we didn't have too far to drive and nobody razzed me about it after.

We made it to the put-in at Admirals Beach and started the kayak packing process.

The crossing to Great Colinet Island is only a couple kilometres and nobody was in any particular hurry.



When we reached the far side of Regina Cove, at the north end of the island,  it was just about noon.  I was the only person in the group who had paddled around the island before and, other than Back Cove (about a half kilometre farther), I could not remember there being anywhere else to stop for lunch until we reached our campsite.  Derek voted we have lunch right where we were and we all followed him to the beach.

The campsite was only about eleven kilomtres from our lunch stop location but since it was such a nice day on the water we took our sweet time and did a little poking and prodding along the way.




As we paddled along the south end of the island we were treated to a small bunch of seals bobbing around.  A little further and we could see our destination for the night... Wild Cove...

Derek and Shane were at the ready to give
Tina a hand with her kayak when she landed.

All hands had made it safely ashore....

It was a hot day and some of the guys had worn their drysuits.  Tina decided to cool off in the ocean, and Gary followed soon after.

Shane and I brought our hammocks  and we had to do a little bit of limb and brush clearing before setting them up.

My hammock

Shane finishing up his set up

When we had our hammocks set up to our satisfaction we walked out of the woods and the other guys had their tents up along the shore.  They razzed us about how long it took to set up the hammocks compared to how long it took them to set up their tents.  But we are both new to hammock camping and I think we did more gabbing about hammocking then the actual brush-clearing and hammock set up. 


We relaxed in the warm, sunny afternoon..

Gary and Dale

Derek and Tina

I watched as Julie got out a can of beer and popped it open.  She said it was happy hour and so I dug out my rum and coke and joined in.  After happy hour was over we all got our suppers on the go.

Supper dishes were cleared away and we walked down the beach a little way where Derek had already piled up some wood and had started the campfire.  A few of us picked up some more wood along the beach to add to the pile and then happy second-hour began.

We had a few drinks and a few laughs and after a while I looked behind me and Julie was lying down on the beach.  She claimed she was trying to get a good picture of the full moon rising but I am not completely convinced...  Now, Julie had had her beer, and a glass or two of wine, and I think she also might of had a hot toddy by this time as well.  She did have her camera in her hands but I'll wait to see evidence of pictures of the moon from her before I buy her story...  

A little while later and Shane was lying on the beach too... again the story was about taking pictures of the moon but again I'll be waiting for pictorial evidence....

We had a few more drinks and a lot of laughs as we fed the fire.  At one point Shane proceeded to explain the best way to cook a steak.  I don't remember his method but at the end of his explanation he says "... try it. It will change your life!"  Well, we all got a good kick out of that...

I have to say I slept pretty well in my hammock, but it was a warm night and I woke up several times sweating. I awoke around 6 am but was quite comfortable and so I lay in the hammock looking out through the mesh and listening to a few birds.  After a while I could hear someone walking along the beach and so I got up and packed up my sleeping accommodations before heading down to the beach.  

The morning was overcast and the winds, as promised, were low.  We all took our time with our breakfast and packing up our kayaks.  

I am always amazed at how much gear
Julie is able to pack into her little NDK Pilgrim

Before long people were getting on the water...

 Dale decided to do a seal launch...

From the campsite in Wild Cove to the cars in Admirals Beach is only about ten kilometres by way of Colinet Passage, and so we were in no hurry and took our time paddling up the east side of the island.

When we arrived at Mosquito Cove (about half way back) we decided to stop and take-out on the beach for a little while.  It was a warm morning and Derek decided to cool off.

As we were sitting on the beach we watched the fog roll in.  It was thick enough that we could not see the land only a couple kilometres away on the other side of Colinet Passage. 

A short paddle along the rest of Great Colinet Island put us back to the spot where we had come to the island the day before.

The fog had lifted since leaving Mosquito Cove and it was clear paddling back across the passage.

About twenty five hours after leaving the put-in beach the day before, we all landed safely back at Admirals Beach...

Looking back I have to admit I was glad I decided not to do this trip by myself.  It was such a nice weekend, and this is such a nice little trip, that it would have been quite selfish of me to not share the adventure.  Thanks to Shane, Tina, Julie, Derek, Gary, and Dale for coming along... not sure if it changed my life, but it was certainly a great bit of fun to have all you guys along...

Monday, August 17, 2015

2015: Post 38 – Harbour Grace to Salmon Cove

On Saturday past a bunch of us got together for a one-way paddle.  We drove to Harbour Grace where a few of us stayed with the kayaks while the rest of the guys drove the cars to take-out location at Salmon Cove.

Some pics to share...

I think the pictures kind of speak as to the kind of day we had... what else really is there to say?

Monday, August 10, 2015

2015: Post 37 – Another kayak camp trip

There was supposed to be a club kayak camp trip from August 6th to the 9th.  Drat... it was cancelled!!!  Oh well, what are you gonna do?  The answer is just go on a kayak camping trip regardless....

Day One - August 6

Old Wobbly picked my up about 6:30 am on Thursday past.  We made quick work of loading up my kayak and gear and headed off to meet the other guys at the Irving Station on the Trans Canada Highway, just outside of town.

It was about a three hour drive to the put-in at Burnside, plus a stop for coffee about an hour before we arrived.

Before noon we were packed up and on the water, heading west toward Long Reach. 

Our first stop was at Bloody Point, a protected archaeological site.  

Tony, Ron L. Hazen, Dale, and Terry decided to hike up to the top of the hill, but Derek, Shane, Ron S, and I decided to stay with the kayaks.  

After about an hour or so we decided that the guys shouldn't be too much longer and we decided to get back on the water.  They emerged from the trees just as we we getting in our kayaks.

A short crossing later and we were paddling our way between Broad Island and Card Island, and then around the south end of Martin Island.

We made another short crossing and pulled up on the shore near Beaches Cove, our home for the night.  Minutes after hitting the beach the wind picked up and the sky had that ominous look to it. The forecast earlier in the day had called for possible thundershowers, and we all instinctively started setting up our shelters for the night.  

Shane and I had brought hammocks, which neither of us had tried before.  We each selected our trees and fiddled with setting them up.

There was a little pick of rain but nothing really to speak much of, and the wind didn't last long either.  Next thing we knew, it was a sunny and very pleasant evening.

Derek had busted a wrist gasket in his drysuit at the beach in Burnside and we made an attempt to temporarily fix it with Aquaseal UV, but it didn't hold.

Some of the guys gathered up some wood and we had a BBQ for supper.

Then it was Happy Hour and therefor time to relax and have a couple drinks.

We fed the fire into the night and then let it burn down to coals.  The last of us finally went to our tents and hammocks, contented with the very good start to our trip.

Day Two - Aug 7

Friday morning was clear and sunny.  People busied themselves with getting breakfast and packing up their kayaks.

I think we left the beach at about 8:30 am or so.  The plan for the day was to paddle all the way to Flat Islands.

We crossed over to Cottel Island and turned our bows up Cottel Reach, heading for St. Brendon's.  We made good time with the wind in our backs...

When we came around Hare Cut Point we had to paddle into a bit of a headwind into the beach at St. Brendon's.

I though it was a bit on the early side but I seen Tony heading off with his stove and gear and the other guys started in on their lunches as well.  So I figured I would make like I was in Rome and dug out my lunch fixin's as well.

It was cool on the beach with the wind blowing toward us across the water.  It also rained a little while we were eating.  After lunch we gathered around and consulted the map, deciding on our path from St. Brendan's.  The wind had dropped and also changed direction while we were on the beach and it would now be behind us for the rest of the day's paddle.

We paddled along the shore, passing Hayward's Cove and then Dock Cove, and then followed the shore for couple more kilometers before we turned to head across to Flat Islands.

At one spot I was just ahead of the other guys and came across a little group of otters.  They immediately took to the water as soon as they seen me but I managed to get a pick of a bobbing head...

Tony, Terry, and Ron L. had gone on ahead of the rest of us and had scoped out our campsite.  About another kilometer or so from where we seen the otters we pulled up on the beach, joining the other guys.  

The first order of business was to get our tents up.  There weren't any trees in the area (unless we walked well away from the camp-site) and so Shane and I couldn't have another sleep in our hammocks.  I had brought my Tarptent and pitched it near Old Wobbly.  Shane would bunk in with Derek for the night...

Per usual camp life, there was some relaxing and then people got their supper when they felt the need.

After a while I walked up the hill above our campsite to take in the view...

Looking out across Flat Islands

Looking toward Salvage

Shane decided it was time to get a lesson on how to take a bearing off a map, and Old Wobbly was quite happy to pass on some of his knowledge...

There wasn't much wood around but enough was scrounged up to have a pretty decent fire to have a few drinks and a few laughs beside.

Day Three - Aug 8

I found it rather cool during the night in my tent; whenever I woke up I found myself wishing I had brought my warmer -7 C down sleeping bag, instead of the 0 C synthetic one that I had brought.  In the morning I lay awake for a long time until I heard someone stirring around on the beach, and then I could hear Old Wobbly (whose tent was near mine) coming to life.

We were only about a twenty kilometre paddle from where we were in the Flat Islands to the cars.  So the plan was to leave the tents up where we were for the next night, and do a relaxed day paddle. 

Some of us stopped at an old graveyard the day before, but because Tony had been ahead of us he missed it.  Tony has a keen interest in the old graveyards that we come across on our kayak camping trips, and so Derek and I went to have another look with Tony while the other guys paddled on by... 

Once we were back on the water we all regrouped and carried on, taking our time, passing along a bunch of the smaller islands that make up The Flat Islands.

Eventually we crossed over and took a break on the nearby, and much larger, Willis Island.  

Further down the shore we came across some mussel beds and some of the guys hopped out of their kayaks and waded around, gathering up a bunch to have with lunch.

Some fellows go to greater depths when mussel picking.... 

We found a lovely little beach on Willis island to pull up on to have lunch.  

After lunch a couple of the guys got busy boiling water to cook the mussels.  A large percentage of the mussels did not open in the boiling water though, and the safer approach was taken and they were discarded.

When we were back on the water we followed the shoreline of Willis Island for just another little bit and then turned back toward Bessy Island.  We passed Fuzz and Shell Islands and then made the short crossing back to Flat Islands, and then made out way over to, and around Puffin Island.

On the way back to our campsite we came across a very nice sheltered cove that was close to our camp.  the water was shallow and warm, and so i took the opportunity to wash my greasy hair with Sea Suds.

It was mid afternoon when we arrived back at the campsite.  Someone suggested we take a walk around the relatively small island, and visit another couple graveyards we had seen on our paddle back from Willis Island.  One of the headstones we seen was dated 1866, but I believe there was one dated 1860 in the other graveyard.  People lived on these little islands well over a century and a half ago.

Once back at camp supper meals were cooked, and then some more wood was scrounged up for another campfire.

Hazen kind of goofed up his previous  attempt at making Jiffy Pop Popcorn over the campfire (see post 32) and so he got fired up his stove and did a bang-up job if making some popcorn.

Later on Derek  put a few potatoes in the coals to roast, which he shared around.

With bellies full of snacks, and a few drinks put away to guard against the cool night air, we let the fire burn down and then headed off to our tents.

Day Four - Aug 9

The last day of a camping trip always has a different feel to it.  I usually get a different vibe from people, generally one of lesser enthusiasm...  

We had decided the night before that we would leave the beach and head for the cars at 8 am, the intention being to be back at the take-out at lunch time.  I woke early and rolled up my sleeping bag, air mattress, and the other few odds and ends I had in my tent before I unzipped the entrance.

Before long people were up and were getting their breakfast on the beach.

There was some wind blowing toward us this morning and I decided to sit at my tent entrance to prepare my breakfast, shielded from the wind by the vestibule, instead of on the beach with the other guys.  The lack of sleep over the last three nights had me feeling somewhat anti-social this morning and I enjoyed my breakfast in relative solitude.

From my vantage point I watched Derek breaking camp up on the hill.

After I finished my breakfast I carried some of my gear to my kayak and watched Dale taking his tent down as I walked along the beach.

It wasn't long before everybody was busy packing their kayaks.

I think it was about 8:10 or so when we left the beach and started our twenty kilometre paddle back to the cars. 

Our route took us past Bessy Island and then along the south side of Willis Island.  Near Upper Gander Cove (marked as Barracks Cove on another map) we crossed over to Varket Islet and then over to Morris Island.

We stopped in a little sheltered cove on Morris Island for a break...

... and then made the crossing over to Squid Island.

About another kilometre's paddle put us back at the cars.

Final thoughts

Discounting the club's Introduction to Kayak Camping trips, this is the largest group of kayakers I have camped with.  My paddling buddies and I keep our non-club camping trips to four or five people.  Small groups are much more manageable... larger groups tend to string out and separate on the water as some people have faster, sleeker kayaks, and some have developed better forward paddling techniques then others.  With larger groups there is also the concern about adequate space for tents when we are not familiar with the area's camping spots.  

For this particular trip Hazen took it upon himself to talk to three different people who were very familiar with the area and we chose campsites that could easily accommodate our larger group. 

In the end it all worked out well with the larger group of paddlers on this trip.  Group dynamics were excellent both on and off the water.  The weather was very cooperative; when there was wind it was almost always behind us, and there was no rain except for the the very little bit when we arrived at the campsite on the first day. 

There is a lot of this particular area that we could not explore during our four day trip.... but I have a feeling some of us will being doing more trips in the St. Brendon's area in the future...