Thursday, December 24, 2009

How Nice Was That???

We get our mail at an outdoor postal box setup - something new for this area, and not a terribly popular change from the boxes in the Needs store. This afternoon, I stopped  to check the mail one last time before Christmas. The postal workers were just sorting the mail and putting it in the boxes. "It'll be 10 minutes or so before we get to yours", the lady told me. So I sat in the car, and waited.

When they'd filled the section of the block ours is in, I checked again; nothing. "Just hoping there'd be a  notice in the mail, so I could go to the post office to get a parcel my wife's brother had sent from Ontario", I said to her. "No big deal - it'll be in next week,  I guess." And I added, as I started to walk away, "Thanks, and Merry Christmas..."

Back home,  Chris and Angelina were decorating the tree, when the dog let loose with a volley of "Come quick, there's people here" barks. Went to the door, and a woman said "I'm looking for a house number - what's this one?" "Number 32", I said. "Then this is yours", she said, handing me a small parcel, just as I recognized the now-out-of-uniform lady from Canada Post. After they'd finished loading the boxes, the package showed, and she and her co-worker had taken the trouble, on their own time, at 5:30p.m. on Christmas Eve, to deliver our Christmas parcel to our door.

Wow - just wow! How good are people, at all -  and a Very, Very  Merry Christmas to everyone....

Monday, November 9, 2009

How Good Does It Get?

Anyone who knows me can tell you I have four great loves - my wife, our two daughters, and boats . While paddlecraft are my special affliction, there's always a place in my heart for others - trim and tidy sailboats, and even the big power cruisers like Demissanne.

The past few weeks, I've been helping a friend who's made his living for the past 30 years  tending to various craft with haulout at at a local marina. The big boys come ashore via the travel lift, an amazing machine that can trundle a 10 tonner around like I handle my kayak. Grab the pressure washer, blast the slub off the bottom, get her cradled, climb aboard, coil up the lines and power cords at her berth,  clean out perishables,  tidy up the lines and fenders on deck, winterize the water systems and engines, chase the odd leak - lots and lots to do, all of it good and straightforward and

Weather's been fallish - temps in the low single digits, winds 80-100 kms/hr. NE to NW in off the bay most days - brisk and bracing, you might say. (I'm thoroughly enjoying it - dress right (lots of layers, poly and merino, with a good windblocking outer shell) and keep dry, and you'll stay warm as toast. Us North Atlantic kayakers know a thing or two about warm and dry...)

All in all, it's a good... no, make that a great - life - down by the water, with a multitude of boats to keep one amused and learning, and no shortage of 'air conditioning'. The folks around - owners, or others working on the boats - are , as you'd expect, the best kind - boats just naturally seem to attract people who can laugh, joke and help each other. There's worse things a man could be at, like trying to explain to an irate customer that the three-year warranty doesn't apply to the drill he bought last week;  having it crushed when he backed his pickup over it isn't really considered a defect in materials...

Here's a final view of the 'office'.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Codroy Valley

Located on the island's west coast, just a few kilometers from the Port aux Basques ferry, the Codroy Valley is one of the most spectacular and interesting places in Newfoundland.

The river runs between tall hills, wending it's way thru the range of mountains that form, amongst other things, the notorious Wreckhouse section the TCH, where tractor trailers are regularly blown over on their sides by the fierce wind gusts that barrel thru the gaps between the hills.

When we visited in early July, however, the weather cooperated, and our visitors - Michael, Gaetan and Helene - enjoyed civil breezes when they joined Chris and I for a  paddle on one of the most beautiful river estuaries Newfoundland has to offer.

The area isn't always so friendly, though. We took advantage of a  wait to get a table for an incredible  halibut dinner one evening to drive the few miles to Cape Anguille, where a  lighthouse overlooks the mouth of the Codroy.

With the wind in off the Gulf, it's a rough looking spot, where we had to lean into the wind to stay on our feet.

Definitely NOT the place a kayaker, or at least this kayaker, wants to be!!!

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Friday, October 16, 2009

We're Back, Yet Again

Procrastination is a wonderful thing.

It's been over a year since I lasted posted to Ballyhack Point, and the longer it is, the harder it seems to get to do it. So here's a first attempt at rejuvenating something that I've enjoyed doing in the past.

The year has been a great one, blessed with lots of family and friends and things to do. The summer was, to put it mildly, a blast, with lashings of visitors and new experiences, especially on the paddling scene. In the next few posts, I'll hit a few of the highlights, but for Chris and I, our first on-water visit to Dildo Run - yes, there is such a place - was surely a "Gotta go there again" sort of thing.

The Run, located in Notre Dame Bay, snakes its way thru islands, runs, reaches, and tickles, offering some of the most protected and diverse paddling waters you'll find around Newfoundland's coastline. You could spend a week exploring all the nooks and crannies, never be more than a few hundred yards offshore, and still not see it all.

Besides a wonderful provincial campground, there are endless places where you can pitch a tent amd enjoy an evening of solitude and beauty, in a place that's quiet and largely undisturbed. Of all the spots where we've wet a paddle, this is the #1 destination that, God willing, we'll be headed there for a much longer visit next summer.