Current Time On The Rock

Friday, February 29, 2008

"Early In The Morning......"

Buoys are useful for many things and though this is a mooring buoy it could otherwise have been used to indicate the direction of current flow or even to calculate the current speed. This day though there is zero current and actually there is at most times in the Avalon Peninsula area of NFLD, little current to paddle in. Tide differences from high to low is about 0-1 meter. Though currents can be useful, (horizontal coastal currents) for moving you along, in wind, against you, they can be a pain in the ......kayak seat. This was an early morning paddle at about 8 am in early Feb. 2008. This shot is around Blow Me Down, NFLD looking across Conception Bay to St. Thomas....Portugal Cove due East, about 24km the Gull flies!

"......Early In The Evening...."

Paddling in the early evening shadows can be exhilarting. It is relaxing to paddle in and out of changes in lighting especially from dark to bright , as well you get to feel the minor tempeature changes as you leave the coolness of the shadows to the warmth of the evening and setting sun. This shot was taken around Hibb's Cove and Lears Cove, NFLD.

"....and Early At Supper-Time..."

Camping near Trepassy at Chance Cove last year. When it comes time for food nothing better than eating in the out-of-doors. More this year for sure.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"The Girls"

Originally I had a post today of just one of our dogs, the little one, called Brandy. I felt kind of guilty for not including our other one who we love as much and who is more likely to accompany me on my hikes. Brandy is not a good listener which I am sure stems from my inability to properly control her. Riley the Australian Sheppard with the one blue eye in this picture, is very obedient or at the very least, has me trained well into thinking she is very obedient, either way I accept her behavior. She is quite smart and I can trust her in many circumstances. She loves to eat so that is a trait we share. This photo was after one of our hikes this past summer. It is very difficult taking them out in the winter but they have been snowshoeing on a couple occaisons.

I look forward to some new adventures in the coming months but I am getting very impatient for spring. Our retreat is coming in may. We have Bryan Smith of Pacific Horizons fame coming for that, something to look forward to. As a kayaking club we are looking at tweeking our logo. I will post the old and new eventually and see what ya all think. We have hired someone professional to help us with this. So that is exciting. As a club board member and on our safety committee we are planning some water outings and safety days so that is becoming interesting. I am also helping to put a calendar together for next year so we have a whole year to collect some neat shots, so that should be fun. I'm just about talked out of the winter blues. Oh yes we have started a Newfoundland Kayaking Club Ambassador Program whereby we hope to be able to provide kayakers new to our area, visitors, tourists or newbies a kayaking companion/contact(s) to make them aware of our focus on safety, good spots to paddle, kayakers to paddle with, access to skills training, boat rentals, boat selection, paddle selection, and whatever other info they may require, no costs involved just a sharing of a passion. Alex McGruger one of our more seasoned paddlers (I mean this in the kindest of ways Alex) will be heading the program but already we have numerous volunteers to assist. This is a very exciting project we hope to get going in the spring. We are also hoping to make available club SWAG for purchase so we can get our new logo out there and club visibility on the Island. Our central and western chapter are also planning a retreat later in the year so that is something new we are all hoping to attend and now I have talked myself out of the winter blues into a fruitful paddling season ahead.
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Monday, February 25, 2008

"Iceberg Alley"

Berg watchers come in many forms. The Iceberg season has begun according to the International Ice Patrol and US Coast Gaurd , which monitors and continues its annual hunt for ocean going glaciers, through Iceberg Alley off Newfoundland. This all started 95 years ago with the sinking of the Titanic in April of 1912, about 500 miles south of St. John's. Navy ships originally started the patrolling and then it was switched to air reconnaisance in 1946. More than 15 countries contribute to the cost of this endeavour including Canada, US, UK, and France. Over 500,000 square miles of the North Atlantic are patrolled , looking for icebergs in shipping lanes that may pose a threat to navigation.

In 1993, 1700 icebergs were tracked. The Patrols Mission is to track and chart icebergs drifting between the northern lattitude of48 degrees and 40 degrees. On average, the ice patrol expects 250 icebergs to cross the 48th, parrallel each season.

In both 2003 and 2004, the patrol tracked an average of 900 icebergs. The following two years, a combined total of just 11 icebergs were spotted south of the 48th parrallel.

Icebergs can take two to three years to drift south, once they calve off the West Greenland ice sheet. From Baffin Bay gradually heading south in the Labrador Current. From here to the Grand Banks or grounding in shallow waters off Newfoundland, and when they do, photgraphers will be ready, and there will likely be more shutters shuttering than at any other time of the year.

Please note that these are personal views and that my desires to paddle near or around icebergs is of my own undertaking , accepting the responsibilities and associated risks, I do not however recommend this for novice paddlers or for any paddler not versed in kayaking or boating safety, which may not be of any help if thousands of tons of ice should land on you during an iceberg calving or rolling. I would also like to stipulate that though I am a member of kayak NFLD Club and on its board this blog is in no way associated with Kayak Newfoundland Kayaking Club and is for my own enjoyment and for those who wish to visit my site. I take kayak safety seriously and on every kayaking journey evaluate the risks I am willing to take.

Bottom photo and data NL Telegram. The Photo at the top I took of Coukold's Cove, NL. Last Year.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

"Signal Hill Trail"


I was walking this trail this past Autumn and just wanted to close out my posting on a bit warmer feel tonight. The colors of the foilage on this massive rock if you've ever been or perhaps may be one day are spectacular in the fall. The trail meanders all the way along the coast and offers excellent photo opportunites throughout most of its course.
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"A Stream Runs Under It"


As I was walking along this path today I spotted this little Ravine that I had to jump down into to take this shot. Pretty much a head first splat into the snowy carpet below. The sun was allowing for lots of interesting shadows to be cast on the snow today. Wishing my skills were better but enjoying totally the solitude and scenery at every step.
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"Gallow's Cove"

Or there abouts. This picture is colder looking than the tempeature of the day. As I look to the south east I am reminded that soon we'll be on these very waters.
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"Soaking Sun"

Nice sunny day for a hike in the snow. This little more than a sapling seems to be doing fine in the rigors of our weather. The little squirt to his left did not fair so well. Such is survival of the fittest. Such are the blue skies and floating clouds, brisk cool winds and whisping snow drifts, slippery slopes and pleasant snow walks in fields lain barren in winter slumber.
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Saturday, February 23, 2008

"It's Hit"

Well as I leave work and approach my vehicle the snow is just a bit thick. The makings of an inside day. Oops, there goes my pager, well off to work again. Snow or not. Just supposed to be a quick dumping and back to calmer weather.
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Friday, February 22, 2008

"Bloggin' Full"

I like to cook.I'm no chef but I am willing to put in the effort sometimes. I guess I've been a bachelor alot of my life so cooking for myself was inevitable. Tonight a surprise meal for my partner. She does most of the cooking and I sort of help on the fringes. Tonight all me and my own creations.

Got off work early to hit the grocery. Decided to be carniverous this evening. Steak prepared they way we like, medium rare seared in butter and blackened with a bit of cajun and greek spice. Turned out not bad.

Red baby Potatoes from Prince Edward Island that I baked in the oven first, then cut in halves and seared cut side down in cajun spice a bit of butter and tablespoon of olive oil. When crispy mixed thoroughly in the seasonings and then put in oven to finish cooking.

The veggy would be asparagus steamed crisp and topped with granny smith apple chunks and avacado sauteed in a small bit of butter. Once the apple is slightly brown and soft add a bit of Maple Syrup from Nova Scotia and carmelize until a bit of the sugar starts to burn off then serve over the asparagus, topped with seasoned pine nuts.

For an appetizer crab stuffed mushrooms. Bore out some fresh white mushrooms and ready for stuffing which would consist of local Newfoundland crab, red onion (finely chopped), dill herb, finely grated Monterey Jack cheese, and a dob of miracle whip and mixed to a creamy consistency then stuffed in the mushroom caps. Place a little butter in base of appetizer tray and grated parmean on the tops of the stuffed mushrooms and bake in the oven with the potaoes already in there cooking away. When parmesan starts to brown put oven on broil to really heat tops and melt parmesan cheese and brown...not too brown. Put it all together and voila, dinner and a movie me thinks....enjoy! And I have to scan people tomorrow for Ischemic heart disease from hardening of the arteries. The heck with that storm on it's way to hit us and to heck with winter. Chicken soup and salad all next week for sure. Heh! Heh!
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Thursday, February 21, 2008

"Kayak Tow"

Sometimes trying something out of the norm could be the road to invention......or stupidity, either way nothing ventured nothing gained.

"Winter: States"

Winter, state of mind and states of water, water on the mind and mind on the waters. Just call me waterhead I guess. I'd sooner have water on the kayak.

"The Sprout"

I was thinking of this "sprout" , as I was hoping for signs of spring, waiting for spring to sprout. One of our favourite haunts is this quaint little restauraunt on Duckworth Street downtown St. John's. They are a vegetarian outfit and the food is very tastey , the service friendly, and the clientele layeed back and all the menu items homemade including their dressings. The Meso soup is wicked, and the avacado, fried marinade, tofu burger is scrumpous. I'm a meat eater but this haunt rocks. Kind of a rastafarian, bohemian and eclectic feel and a must if ever in the city.

"Cape Spear Light-Night"

Cape Spear tonight before the Lunar Eclipse. We had such a bash of unusual weather lately. Yesterday it was 10 degrees celsius with gale force winds and rain so alot of the snow was washed away. Still a bit left to go but there is snow forecast for the weekend. It seems like it has been a long winter and where the heck is spring already? .
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"Lunar Eclipse"

The best I could do with my tripod that decided to crater on me this evening. I was out at Cape Spear this evening at about 10:30 pm thinking I was gonna get the shot......the Lunar Shot...well this is all. The Lunar Eclipse was fascinating to watch though, and as I type this, the moon is a rusty-orange color with a bright star at 10 o'clock and at 1 o'clock. A very celestial look to the sky. A milestone in the heavens. My fingers are just now thawing.
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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"Paddling The Peace"

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The Peace River in Northern BC, which is backed up by the WAC Bennett Dam, is typically a lazy river but when the flood gates are open during repair which is not very often the flow can increase to 60,000 cfs and higher. The standing waves in the background were fun to surf and pound thru. Luke and I were newbies pretty much in this shot but we swallowed our collective anxiety and played here for awhile. Just a few years ago. I remember the excitement I felt when this shot was taken and now I sit today nursing s shoulder injury from trying to do a "back deck roll" at the pool session last evening. They looked pretty mangeable on "U-tube". Ha. Oh. that U-Tube. Thanks for the tips Brian. I did manage a few attempts before the injury and was successful on two occaissons. Need lots of fine tuning yet. I must say it is good to see the talent that does come out to the pool though and hear the stories. Especially Darrin's whirlpool capture in Chile. Maybe my shoulder ain't so bad afterall.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

"Stirrup Re-entry"

Although it looks like alot is going on in this picture, a stirrup re-entry is being executed by the Derek on the right in green. Mark during Friday evening's workshop, on assisted capsize re-entry, demonstarted his use of the webbing stirrup to KNL members to assist a bailed kayaker. His "no-tie knot" attached to the rescuer's deckline and held in place with one hand and then web loop thrown over the foredeck/combing of the rescuee's kayak for him to step in. One of the great successes with this "no-tie knot" is that it was so easy to adjust on the fly that paddlers of all leg lengths and shapes could easily be accommodated. We soon discovered as Mark pointed out that it is a more stable arrangement to have the webbing attached to the rescuers deck line and not to the decklines of the rescuee's boat, which we tried. Lelsie and Sue performed most of the capsizes and rescues and they tried a number of them, including the scoop, T-rescue, and so on but it was pretty much unanimous by workshop end that the most practical for many situations would be, the stirrup rescue with Mark's "no-tie knot" securing the stirrup.
Assisting in the rescue also was Dwayne holding on to Mark's boat and Tony, Des and Brian wanting a good angle on the securing technique.
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Friday, February 15, 2008

"Round An Old Cedar Tree"

I agree with most bloggers I guess that this medium is a sure fire way to organise and categorize ones thoughts and life for that matter. A place to get lost in, and a place to let ones thoughts old and new be recorded for anyone interested to view and read. I 've been using my blog for that as of late. Recording old trips that I occaissionally talked about to a few or transferring old images that were part of my enjoyment in the outdoors. Having a blog allows for an organized presentation not only for others but for oneself to reinforce the feelings of freedom and adventure that is always available when one takes time to enjoy them.

This picture is a trip I made to Tofino, British Columbia, before I had a digital, so it is a photo of a photo. I made this trip to Vancouver Island to storm watch on the Pacific West Coast of Canada, in the Pacific Rim National Park area. This was in December of 2000 I think when adverse winter storms are supposed to pound the west coast shores and make for spectacular sea states. The trip was beautiful but this was a winter that was more mild than most. The hikes in the old growth rain forest with old growth "humungus" cedars more than made up for the absence of treacherous weather. This tree is one of many that line the coastline of that area.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"Kayak Sailing"

I always wanted to sail. I was only ever on three sail boats that were actually under sail, The Bluenose ll a schooner from Nova Scotia, an old friends uncle's yacht (beautiful boat), and the Scademia here in NL all of which were being sailed with no help from me. Good thing too for what would I know. I still do have a desire to learn but that will have to wait for now. I decided however to try sailing in a kayak. The first kayak I sold years ago was a Klepper with all the rigging for sailing. It is a beautiful boat. I had never put one of these together before and the first time I tried it took me about an hour and a half. German engineering is the greatest. I actually hoisted it above my booth at a trade show with sail set full and got runner up as best display. Only because the town saw fit to loan me a lift to hang it from the arena ceiling.
The sail above I bought from Deluge and have used it on a few occaissons. It is a down wind sail and attaches to a harness on the foredeck just in front of the cockpit. There are two lines (leashes), one attached on either side of the top of the sail and the other ends secure to the paddle with velcro just above the drip rings at either end. You use the rudder on your kayak to steer and manipulate the paddle connected to the sail by leashes to catch the wind. It does work nicely and the sail is very light made of nylon. The poles are foldable and made of graphite and very light as well. The whole contraption can be taken apart and folded under the bungees of the kayak deck in less than five minutes and put up in about the same amount of time. The tricky part however is once the sail is up and if it lands in the water, getting it out. The suction created from trying to pull the sail out of the water could tip you over if not careful and with all the lines and such could make for a difficult roll. But once you get the knack of lifting the sail out of the water, if it should go there, the reward is thrilling and exciting.
For more on kayak sailing...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Prehistoric Seabeds"

Part of the kayaking experience for me is discovering my kayaking environment even if I've paddled it before, because the environment is always changing especially on a micro level. This means sometimes you may have to look harder to see new changes or to appreciate changes from the last time you were there. Of course macro changes from floatsam, driftwood, erosion, human encroachment, or pollution allow for very instantaneous recognition of changes in your kayaking environment.

Just beachcombing after a long days paddle or going for a few short hikes when taking a paddling break are great ways to discover little treasures that nature and man has to offer or has left behind in the execution of living and dying.

Here are just a few treasures I've collected on various paddling trips. Some are harvests of the land and others are harvests of the ocean. From prehistoric times to modern, the earth and it's "scapes" have many tales to relate and some can only be discovered by the kayak that takes you there.

The fossils in the images above were found on numerous paddles on lakes and rivers of north eastern British Columbia. Some of these areas are very rich in fossil remains such as Williston lake and Dinosaur lake and the Peace and Beatton Rivers. Soon as you step out of your kayak it is likely that your foot will disrupt a fossil of some sort.

The bottom image is of vertebrae found on a beach on a NL paddle. They are not prehistoric more modern I'd say. They reminded me of dogs and so I put them on a piece of driftwood to reinforce the image I had.


The image above is an Innukshuk I made from pieces of worn fiberglass fragments I found at a beach landing on one of my kayaking paddles. The fragments were smoothed by the abraison of being whisped by tides and winds only known to those shards. Where they came from, I've no idea, but my mind was set to wonder on my return paddle home.
The bottom picture is of two wolf paw-nails and a bear's tooth. These treasures were found on different kayak trips but during hikes after paddling for sometime. I find walking and hiking after a long paddle an excellent way to restore energy to my body and a chance to get in touch with my environment.

"Beach Debris"

Part of paddling for me is combing the shorelines whether on an ocean or inland waters of lakes or rivers. Some students did a study in Canada to see how the currents flowed around the oceans. They sealed messages in watertight containers with contact instructions when found and all the containers were released by a Canadian Coast Gaurd Boat. When I saw this study on TV I was amazed at how far some of these containers had actually travelled and in such short times. Some ended up in the Indian Ocean, the Pacific, Caribbean etc. So when you find your next beach treasure it may very well be from a foreign land and though garbage too most there is a tale hidden in there some where. Unlock that tale and you are on the path to your next discovery.

My plan is to use some of my discoveries in making picture frames out of driftwood for some of my kayaking shots. Later though, when I've nothing better to do.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

"Don't Despair"

Winter, I'm going paddling anyways. I was quite surprised to find that I could actually manouver quite well with the paddle. Sometimes there is only one way to heal those winter blues.
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"Paddle To A Cure"


Well sometimes because I enjoy paddling so much I feel I should be doing something else with it. Sharing it with others in different ways. In August of 2001 there was an expedition to be held by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation of Ontario in British Columbia. It was called Journeys of Hope. The goal was to raise $500,000.00. There was a total of 7 journeys 6 on the Great LAkes and Georgian Bay and 1 in British Columbia. Working with breast cancer patients most of my life I thought this would be an opportunity for a couple of women I knew that were in a local pallitive care support group to try kayaking and further their support with other women across the country. Only ten participants were selected to be in each group after submission of an essay as to why you wanted to participate. You had to raise at least $2500.00 once selected. I approached the two ladies I knew and asked them if they would be interested.They thought about it for a week as neither had kayaked before, I told them I would teach them before the trip, they agreed. They later confessed to me that it was one of the most amazing experiences of their life. Of course both were selected to go and they suggested that I submit my name, something I had not thought of until then, I did, we wrote our letters and were all selected to participate. We raised our money, the ladies took their lessons gallantly, one was still very sick, and we prepared ourselves for a week long paddle in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia.

There is so much to tell of this trip the bravery (one of the ladies I had taught was still injecting experimental drugs for her cancer during the trip), comradery, understanding, unselfishness, compassion, insight, friendships and I could go on. My goal was to understand how women dealt with their cancer on a daily basis and thru our evening healing rings where we all held hands during a setting sun we connected in caring,healing circle of hope and I took home more of an experience than I could ever have envisioned possible. The brave paddlers above (I exclude myself here) are the epitomy of strength under circumstances I hope you may never find yourself, and that is to be affected with any cancer. The paddle was a mere detraction, but a needed one, from the more pronounced demands of their daily routine back home. Not all had breast cancer, it wasn't a requirement, you had to be touched by it in some way to participate. I heard all their stories and shared tears of hope and of joy with these wonderful people and without them as it sometimes turned out. I was touched I must say and I have looked upon every cancer patient since in a new light of understanding and compassion that far exceeds what would have been possible without this new private and very personal experience. The lady that was part of the Fort St. John group that I was from, passed away three months after the trip. When she came to me for bone scans she always remarked how happy she was to have participated and so was I.
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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

"Adopted Killer"

Tonight our Kayaking Club hosted a talk by Dr. Jack Lawson, a research scientist at DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans), on whales and how we as kayakers should or should not interect with these mammals and how we can also help with regards to "Codes of Conduct" and reporting sitings especially with photographs. The talk covered most whales that frequent our waters in the North Atlantic at different times of the year. The talk was very informative and of course Dr. Lawson very knowledgeable. New insight about whales, their feeding, mating and communication behaviors was gained.
I've always had an interest in them and in 2002 I adopted one in a program out of the Vancouver Museum in Britih Columbia whose monies were used to help fund research and such for the West Coast Transients and Resident Killer Whales.

The whale I adopted at the time name was Nimpkish(A33),named after the Nimpkish River, which flows into the Johnston Strait of Port McNeill, is an adult male killer whale thought to have been born in 1971. He's the son of Scimitar(A12), and has a younger sister, Simoom(A34). An older brother, Putteney (A31), died in 1997. Nimpkish is an uncle to Somoonm's four calves: nephew Echo(A55), born in 1990, nieces Misty(A62), born in 1993, and Eclipse(A67), born in 1996, and new baby Stormy(A74), born in late 2000.

The photo above is off Nimpkishs' dorsal fin that is used to identify killer whales, it is the pic they send you when you adopt.
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Saturday, February 02, 2008

"Oh Yes You Can!!!"

I guess kayaking may not be considered mainstream for the handicapped or perhaps the "kayak challenged", and perhaps kayaking may not be considered mainstream period, but I never believe for a minute that you cannot do it. Like most challenges you have to want it bad enough. I was inspired one summer in 2004 when a hearing impaired 14 year old called Lynn wanted to learn to roll. I had given her and her sister a kayaking lesson a year before and apparantly they had continued to paddle. I was delighted but not surprised because it is my experience that most who take the time to get a lesson, stick with the sport in some way. I asked Lynn's Mom if she was committed to do this. You betcha! I gave Lynnn 8 hrs of my time that summer, it turned out to be some of the best hours I'd given anyone or anything.
I figured I'm being challenged too. I asked her mother if there was a sign book I could borrow, so that I could learn some sign, and of course there was and I think Lynn saw this as a connecting gesture on my part and her conrtibutions were relentless. My progress signing was on par with hers rolling. We started slow but finished big. Never did she sign "I can't or let's quit" it wasn't in her sign vocabulary, if that makes sense.
What turned out to be her last lesson, started with her mom wheeling her dad on the dock as he was a parapalegic from an accident and her sister hoping in her boat and with Lynn in hers I told her today we will do some warm-ups which consisted of me holding on her blade, slighlty while she rolled up, we were stuck at this impasse. So I decided on the second warm up to release my hold on the blade and hold my hands in the air. When Lynn rolled up and saw my hands she realized what she had done, she had rolled, the look on her face was, well....priceless. She had the biggest smile I had ever seen on anyone, all she could think to do was to sign thank you. Her family was elated,as her dad sat weeping from the dock I knew how special it had been for all of them. She was going to be instructed by a real instructor the rest of that year in the lower mainland of British Columbia while attending school. Apparantly there is an Olympics for people challenged in various ways and it was Lynn's dream to participate. I was but a mere spoke of many in the wheel she had yet to complete.
But when my friend said the other day at age forty, he was too old to paddle, I said, "Oh yes you can!"
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