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

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: Post 30 – Last post for the year

The 2016 paddling season is now closed. It has been open for 365 days.  I've had a very good paddling year and have added a new activity to compliment my kayaking life..

If you look at the numbers,this year I only managed 44 days on the ocean totaling 736 kilometres, with another 10 days at St. Philips, the pool, river, and pond.  My numbers are down when compared to previous years.  Last year my butt was in my kayak 61 days, totaling 1018 kilometres.  In 2014 I totaled 921 kilometres over 53 days, and 2013 had me at 1190 kilometres in 69 days.  There were another 53 days spread out over 2013, 2014, and 2015 that were spent in the kayak for practice, river, pool or pond days, plus more days while I completed the Safe Kayaking Level 2 course in 2013.  So yeah, compared to other years my numbers are down. 

On the other hand, I got in six kayak camping trips this year; five of them were over-nighters, and one was a four day trip in July.  This is the highest number of kayak camping trips so far in a year since I started kayaking.

I successfully passed the Safe Kayaking Level 3 Assessment that was offered in early July, which allowed me to do the Level 4 course during the first week of August...  We camped for five days in the area of Burgeo, Newfoundland, where the course took place, adding another camping trip to my tally this year.  [If interested, click HERE for my post on that trip.]  

In late 2015 I decided that I just wasn't doing enough walking, and so I took up hiking this past year.  I have found hiking to be a very good compliment to paddling; on days that are too windy for sensible paddling, or if I just feel a need to get out and get my legs moving, I take to the trails.  My first hike this year was on February 27, and my last hike was on December 29.  My hiking tally has come to 292 kilometres over 29 days, which included four overnight camping trips. 

A couple pics of me... 

A hike day

A paddle day

If I add my kayaking days on the ocean and days on the trails together, I have paddled and walked 1028 kilometres over 73 days during the year, and got in 11 camping trips.   But those are just numbers to tally up and do percentages with.  What these numbers really mean to me are many fun days on the water and the trails, and lots of nights around campfires, shared with some good friends.  

Thanks to all those that have paddled and hiked with me this year; we've had some fun trips in 2016.  And I especially want to thank those that picked me up so I could get on some of the paddles, hikes, and camping trips that I would have otherwise missed... I've been car-less on a lot of weekends this past year, and would have missed some really good times if it were not for them. I'd name names but am apt to leave someone out... but they know who they are, and I really appreciate them going out of their way for me.

So that's it then. Another year is in the books.  I hope everyone reading this has had an enjoyable year in their outdoor pursuits.  Be safe out there on the water in 2017, and on the hiking trails too... and do always try to remember that we are all in this thing together when we are out there...

Happy New Year  

Sunday, December 4, 2016

2016: Post 29 – Here in the real world...

Shane sent out an e-mail looking for people to go to St. Philips to play. The forecast for the weekend called for Level 4 + wind from the north and he wanted to get into some more intense conditions.  

Six of us met at the slipway in St. Philips this morning....

Shane and Cathy admitted to me that they were apprehensive about the conditions, especially getting out through the channel.  But all went well and once out into the cove we paddled into the wind and waves for a while.  

A few of the bigger waves were as much as three metres from trough to crest and after a little while we turned around and surfed back into the cove for a little break.

After some more paddling around, Brian and I decided it would be good for Cathy to do a rescue " here in the real world."  I gave Shane my camera to get a few pics, but discovered he had taken a little video of the rescue as well.  Cathy had a bit of trouble getting hold of my kayak and it finally got away from her in the wind...  

She sent Brian to retrieve my kayak while I hung on to her bow.  I was dressed for immersion and the water wasn't as cold a I thought it might be.  While we bobbed in the waves, waiting for my kayak, we had a little discussion about how a rescue 'out here' was not like doing rescues in the pool or on the pond, and that this is where people really need to learn to do rescues... 

Before too long Brian was back with Jenny and once I was safely back in the cockpit we had a little discussion, as usual, about what we might have done better or different...

We paddled some more into the wind and waves, turning around and trying to catch surf rides back into the cove.

I followed Shane and got a couple pics of him rolling in the waves... 

I took a little video to try to capture the sea state...

After a while we figured Cathy should have another go at doing a rescue, but this time Shane was the swimmer.  I think this rescue went smoother.  We had pre-discussed things and decided Shane should flip his kayak upright so it would be easier for Cathy to get a hold of it in the waves...

I was taking a few pics of the rescue and the wind gusted and blew me transverse to the waves.  I picked up my paddle and as I tried to turn myself into the gusty wind I pushed hard on the upside of my paddle and snapped it in two, almost putting myself over in the process!!  I had one piece in my hand and had to retrieve the other as it tried to float away from me.  I got the pieces stowed under the bungees and pulled my spare off my deck.  

By this time a couple hours had passed and the wind has picked up a little more.  We decided it was time to call it a day and we headed back into the marina.  We had to time the entry into the channel as some of the waves were bigger, some actually a little higher than the wharf itself.  

One by one we entered and as I came in I noticed an elderly couple standing on the wharf watching us.  The lady was pointing to each of us, and I could see her mouthing the words... "one, two, three..."  I guess they must of been watching us and she wanted to make sure we all made it back in...

With the kayaks loaded up we all went for coffee and conversation at the nearby restaurant.  I was watching Shane and he couldn't wipe the grin off his face the whole time.  I think the morning's fun just may have changed his life...

It was fun.  It's been a while since we played in the wind... 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

2016: Post 28 – RDF in Cape Broyle

Cape Broyle is a fantastic place to paddle but it is a bit of a drive... about 150 kms there and back... and so we don't seem to paddle there as much as places that are closer.

Some of us had paddled in Cape Broyle in June past but not Shane; he had not been there since last year and was itching to get back.  He tried to get it on the roster last weekend but there were no takers.  So he tried again for this weekend. 

The forecast was for rain all day.  No matter.  The wind was to be only 15 km in the morning and then increase to 20 km in the afternoon.  It would be from the east all day, which meant the further out the harbour we went the more interesting things would become.

Yesterday morning I picked up Shane.  We gassed up and then got some breakfast at Tim Horton's and headed to the meeting place in Bay Bulls.  Only Tony showed up and the three of us drove down to Cape Broyle.

The first thing we did was to put on our drysuits... Tony had put his on at home.  We unloaded the kayaks and gear.  Shane and I just geared up near the car and carried the loaded kayaks down to the beach.

It didn't take us too long to get ready and we were heading down the shoreline.

With all the rain we had been having lately we knew the several waterfalls in the area would be flowing quite nicely.  We were not disappointed... 

It was a mausey day... one of those Rain, Drizzle, Fog (RDF) type days.  But we were all smiles and laughter as we paddled along.

The further we paddled away from the bottom of the harbour the more lively the water became.

When we arrived at Church Cove it was time for lunch. Shane brought his chair... I guess he figured he would be tired...

Tony and I made due by sitting on the rocks...

After lunch we got back on the water.  Shane seemed to be pointed back the way we came, and so I simply said "follow Tony," who had his bow pointed to carry on further out the harbour.  We almost always go to visit Cathedral Cave, and often go to North Point (the headland) for a look-see down the coastline.

By this time the easterly wind had picked up and the waves were interesting at the headland.  Some of them were as much as two metres as they neared the shore and some were pretty steep... we were able to run up the face and crash our bows down with a 'thunk' as we came over the crest.  

We hung around at the headland for a while and then had a fun following sea chase us back into the harbour for several kilometers.... Shane wouldn't stop grinning until the water significantly calmed somewhere abreast of Admiral's Cove...



It was a great paddle.  The only issue I see is that it was such a great day that Shane is going to want to keep going back more often.  Well, maybe we will just have to give in... it is a great place to kayak and we really should try to get there a little more often.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

2016: Post 27 – Night Paddle

November 14th was the full moon in our area; actually it was a super moon!!  Last night was calling for very low wind and so ten of us met at St. Philips at 6:30 pm for a moonlight paddle.  I think we were on the water by 7 pmish and we paddled up to Topsail Beach. 

Most people brought a few bits of dry wood from home so we could have a little fire on the beach.  I got ready in a bit of a hurry and neglected to grab a few bits of wood I have lying around in my shed...

The ten of us huddled around the fire on the beach and we had a few good laughs.  It's always a fun time when this group gets together for kayaking adventures.  

I took a few pictures during the paddle with hopes to get a few that might turn out, but except for the ones I took near the fire, they were all just mostly darkness... 

Thanks to Tony for organizing this night paddle, and thanks to those who came along to share the experience.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

2016: Post 26 – Colliers to Brigus

On Saturday past we paddled from Colliers to Brigus and back...  I hiked today and just got around to looking at my pictures from the paddle, and then discovered that Tony has already posted his perspective of the paddle.  Here's a link to his entry - click here.  Thanks Tony, 'ol buddy!!! You've saved me time to have to do a write up...

So here's a pictorial of some of my pics to add to Tony's pics and write-up of the day.... 

The put-in at Colliers


The guys waiting for us stragglers... 



Cathy and Terry



Brian and Derrick


A whale!! Actually we were pretty
sure there were a couple in the area


Derrick and Terry

Gary and Terry

Back at Colliers... 
This shoreline was new to (I think) everyone except Shane.  Another great day on the water... Thanks guys for sharing it.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

2016: Post 25 – Slow paddlin', tardiness, and onion rings

Since we did our overnight kayak camping trip  on the 1st and 2nd of October it has been windy on weekends, and so I've been getting in some hiking trips instead.  I've managed six day hikes in October!

This past weekend the forecast was calling for more wind but there was a lull for Saturday morning.  Tony and I met at St. Philips before 9 am with hopes to get in a short morning paddle before the wind picked up after lunch.  Cathy and Gary said they would be there but they hadn't showed up. We decided they must have changed their minds and so we headed out of the marina and turned our bows toward Topsail Beach.  

Tony at Wester Point

There was little wind but a bit of swell that made things a little fun along the way.

We weren't in any particular hurry and were just sort of poking our way along.  We were a few kilometers down the shore and happened to look behind us and there was Cathy, clipping right along.  She said she had pulled into the parking lot just as we were rounding Wester Point.  She quickly geared up and picked up her pace to catch up to us.

Tony and I have done a lot of paddling in the past with just the two of us, but we prefer to have company...  besides, three kayakers are far better and safer then just two...  

The three of carried on towards Topsail Beach...

When we got to Topsail Beach we kept on going another kilometer or so along the beach before finally stopping.  We rafted up and chatted for a while and then decided it was time head back.

Cathy passing through the outfall from Topsail Bight

We took our time paddling back to St. Philips.  Once there we rinsed off in the fresh water of Broad Cove River and then headed to the nearby restaurant for coffee and conversation.  Cathy also treated us to a big basket of very good-tasting onion rings...  yep, we sure were glad she showed up for the paddle...

Friday, October 7, 2016

2016: Post 24 – Back to Bull Arm

On the first weekend of September (see previous post) some of us spent a night in Bull Arm.  Tony was busy with house repairs and would not take the time off to do the trip. 

This past weekend (Oct 1 and 2) Tony suggested a night in Bull Arm so he could go have a look at the Hebron GBS in Mosquito Cove....

Tony had not been on the water much lately due to house
repairs and was the first one on the water at Chance Cove... 



We did not have far to paddle to the proposed camp site near Masters Head.  I was going to suggest we carry on up to Stock Cove to camp (where Clyde, Derek, Shane, and I had camped in September) but decided to not try to change Tony's plan.

The camp site

When we got to the campsite we pitched our tents and then it was time to have some lunch.  Cathy had recently obtained her Level 2 Sea kayaking certification and I had e-mailed her before the trip and teased her about how it would be good expedition behavior for her to feed me on this trip... just so she could have the practice.  Well, she took me up on it and made me a couple wraps for my lunch.  They were so good and I was so happy to allow her to practice her new skills...

After lunch Tony, Cathy, and Hazen got into their kayaks and paddled up to Mosquito Cove.  
Gary, Derek, and I had decided to stay at the camp site.  It was such a beautiful day and at this time of year the evenings are short and if we paddled up to Mosquito Cove I knew it would be supper time before we got back to camp.  Nope.. wasn't gonna do it.... I decided to just relax and enjoy the day in the sunshine.  I told Cathy we would collect up some wood for the evening fire and keep an eye on things while they were gone.

We fully enjoyed the afternoon. The first order of business was to relax and have a beer...



After a while Derek and I  got our saws and work gloves and proceeded to collect up some wood for the evening fire.  Gary decided he would lay down in the grass and take a nap.

There was very little wood on the beach and so Derek and I took to the woods.  There was a lot of dead trees that had blown over and plenty of dead standing ones as well.  

We spent a couple hours sawing up firewood and dragging it out of the woods.  It was a warm day and we had to stop a couple times to have a beer-break.

Once we were satisfied with the wood pile we lounged around the beach, waiting for the other half of our group to come back from the sea.  We watched a Minke whale that was quite close to the shore, and we watched the boat traffic coming and going.

I believe it was shortly after 5 pm when the seafarers came back to camp.  They had a long days paddle.  

Cathy was cooking salmon over the fire for her and Gary's supper and so Derek got the fire going.  I had already had my supper but she shared some salmon with me.... yep her expedition behavior skills are coming along quite nicely.

It wasn't long and the sun disappeared behind the hill and then darkness crept in on us.  We had a decent pile of firewood and Derek piled it all on at one point and it burned until about midnight when the last of us went off to our tents.

I was fully awake before 6 am.  I tried to go back to sleep but it wasn't going to happen and so I crawled out of my tent before 6:30 and had the beach to myself.  I watched a Minke whale swim along the shoreline, surfacing three times.

There was a skim of ice on my front hatch cover... a sign of the changing season.

While I was eating my breakfast I noticed a chair was floating in the water near the shore.  I retrieved it and realized it was Derek's.  I could not figure out how it got into the water as Derek had put it up by his kayak (well away from the waters edge) and there wasn't any wind during the night to have blown it down the beach.  Perhaps Goldilocks was around during the night and, finding that the chair was either too big or too small, she hurled it into the sea!!!

The rest of the guys began stirring and breakfasts were made and camp was broken.

The plan for the day was to handrail Rantem Cove back to the cars in Chance Cove...  

Not too far into the paddle I had to stop and re-adjust one of my foot pegs.  It had been moved 3 or 4 notches forward... I could not figure this one out... perhaps Goldilocks tried my kayak during the night and she has one leg shorter than the other!!!  





 We all arrived safe and sound back at Chance Cove...

For me it was a fantastically relaxed trip... just what I needed.  Thanks to Tony, Cathy, Hazen, Derek, and Gary for another fun time.