Friday, August 31, 2007

The Nearshore Zone

The ocean is a marvelous place, full of prolific and wonderous life of many kinds. For us, the littoral zone, where the land meets the water, has always held a special fascination. A very high percentage of the creatures and plants that inhabit our waters lives there, and it's mostly shallow enough to be observed closely from a kayak, or even while wading ankle-deep along the shore. Sea urchins, crabs, starfish, jellyfish, razor clams, and seaweeds to numerous to mention - no wonder we spend so much time paddling alongshore!

'Fessing Up Re Pix

Since I'm new to this blogging bit (like three days!), I don't know the protocol re photos - I've just been using whatever I find on the hard drive that I believe was taken by either myself or my wife. If I inadvertently use something belong to anyone else that's on my HD, my apologies; I'd gladly add a photo credit IF I can figure out how to do that.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Putting In... St. Chad's, a tiny community on the Eastport Peninsula. Just outside the harbour, there's a string of small islands, absolutely perfect for an afternoon island hopping, as there's always shelter in their lee if the wind pipes up. Steep shingle beaches on the seaward sides, however, attest to the fact the onshore winds could make this a pretty inhospitable place for small vessels.

Boiling Up

What's the point of a paddle, or even a day berry picking or hiking, without a boilup? Winter, spring, summer or fall, the old piper kettle has a way of sneaking into the gear bag and unto the fire.

The kettle was made by an uncle as a wedding present for my parents, who dearly loved salmon fishing and spent a lot of time in the woods, in the late 1930's. Solid copper, it's been silver- soldered around the spout a few times over the years, but is still amazingly otherwise leak free. Definitely one of our family treasures, and still the quickest boiling kettke I've ever seen.

Long Weekend's Coming...

...and so are the winds.

If the early-bird weather lads have it right, there's gonna be wind - gusts to 83 kms. Saturday, and still strongish Sunday. Just in case it's been awhile since your last blast, here's a shot taken on a breezy day in Burnside. Too much like work for me...

The Best of Buddies

Of the things I love about paddling, here's one the best - the sight of my wife's Cape Horn nestling with my VOLKSKAYAK atop the Sidekick. After over thirty years of being married and paddling together, it's really odd to see one of us on the water without the other. By now we both pretty well know what level of risk (there's always some!) each of us finds comfortable and how the other will react in given situations. We even agree on lunches - large and frequent, with nice warm tea to wash it down. Lucky me.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sailor's Island

Located near Salvage, Bonavista Bay, Sailors Island is just a short paddle from the launch site at Wild Cove Park. There's an excellent small harbour with a good landing beach at the far end of the island. A short walk around will soon show signs of earlier days when the island was inhabited - rocks walls formed as people broke new land, and tress that aren't native to Newfoundland's wilderness. Today, however, only a few fuzzy and curious friends remain.

Tickles, Islands, Sounds and Runs

That's our Newfoundland coastline - nooks and crannies galore, a folded and convoluted interface between land and sea. Harsh, yes, in some ways - but very, very beautiful, in a way that binds some of us to it so strongly that living anywhere else seems unimagineable. Kayaks, of course, are the perfect vehicle for exploring these alongshore waters, as this scene just out St. Chad's on the Eastport Peninsula shows.

Rigged For Wreckhouse

Wreckhouse, located on the island's west coast near the Codroy Valley, is notorious for the very strong winds created as they are funneled between two mountain ranges. In days past, the railway had an employee and his family living in a house in the pass whose job it was to warn trains when the winds were too strong to go thru; his wife continued in this role after his death.

While the trains are gone, the winds remain; today, flashing lights on the Trans Canada Highway alert tractor trailers that they're likely to be blown off the road when the wind's up. Even on a 'civil' day, kayakers are well advised to make sure everything is well lashed down as they go thru Wreckhouse.