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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Ice Control Zone"

A couple things about this picture. The red light (red, right, return), harbor marker is on at five sec intervals. It was still a small challenge to coordinate the camera digital delay time with the Red 5 sec harbor light marker to get a shot with the red light in the picture. About four different tries.
Listening to the weather station on my VHF I am hearing and have been for some days now that St. John's Bay about 1.5miles give or take from shore is declared an "Ice Control Zone" this means that there are significantly sizable icebergs out there that post a hazard to mariner navigation. To top it all off there has been pea-soup thick fog whereby you can't even see St. John's Bay. The little Bergy Bit in this shot is at the entrance to St. John's harbour. Though this may not appear menacing to huge boats to the smaller boats like fishing vessels it could be hazardous if struck unexpected. It is cold this evening and thinking on the sinking of the Titanic in such cold waters and similar weather as this, sent chills down my spine, as I envisioned the passengers floundering for their lives in the black of night, in cold Atlantic waters. April 30th, 2008, the last day of my birth month.


Rain,Drizzle,Fog, is the order of this evening. An air heavy laden with RDF on the waterfront during twilight hours lead to an evening walk like the ambiance of a waterfront murder mystery. No murder, no mystery really other than the mystery of where spring is really hiding?
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"Maybe Go..Logo"

Well voting is ongoing for the new logo for the Newfoundland Kayak Club. It has generated needed debate. Our board is truely to be commended. It has been a pleasure working with such a caring and dedicated group. The KNL members are lucky to have the talents of such a crew.

Everyone must believe in something..................I believe I'll go kayaking!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

"A Flag Tree??"

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I was at our provincial Medical Radiation Technologist conference this weekend here in St. John's. At The Fairmont Hotel. It went very well. During one of our meals. in the hotel Atrium, I looked up and saw all these flags that looked to be draping from this huge Fig tree. The flag that stood out the most however amongst all the provincial flags, was the flag of Nunavut which is in the center of the tree. Now Nunavut is unique in our country because it breaks a precedent among Canadian provincial and territorial flags in that it does not make reference to British heraldry or any coat of arms.

The flag was proclaimed on April 1st, 1999 along with the territory of Nunavut. As you can see it features a red Inukshuk-an Inuit land marker- and a blue star which you cannot see in the flag in the tree and is to the right on the flag. The star represents both the Niqirtsuituq, the North Star and the leadership of elders in the community. The colors of yellow, red, white and blue represent the riches of the land, sea and the sky. It is a beautiful flag steeped in very old truly Canadian culture and history.

Inukshuks traditional in the territories are copied by many travellers all across our country. They stand to remind people of another people and the camaraderie that is exhibited by the adventurers that tread our soils and waters and the fragility of all our lands that so often travellers try to be "one" with in the course of their exploits. The Inukshuk in the bottom picture is one on Silver Fox Island, Indian Bay, NL.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

"Paddle Dog"

Riley is an Australian Sheppard and she loves the water. At least one of us made it there today. I took the dogs on an early walk this am along a trail across the street from us and on the way back Riley chased a few ducks in the little pond and of course indulged herself. No bergs from Signal Hill just small bits.
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Friday, April 25, 2008


Well it sure would be nice if that big "Blocky" Iceberg off St. John's Bay would work its' way closer to shore. I took a look at the AMEC Surface Winds Forecast for tomorrow and tonight and the winds are favorable to blow the thing closer but I believe some wave action and tides might help as well. I'll check from Signal Hill in the am tomorrow and decide if I'll be paddling Ocean or Lake I guess. There is 6o% Chance of flurries and winds maybe up to 30kn. Not nice for Ocean paddling and the berg most likely will be as far off as it was today or will have floated more to the south, past St. John's but might be able to reach near it on the South Shore. Very speculative at this point. The little red blip in the above diagram is about where she floats now. Oh yes, and you shouldn't paddle near them at any rate ; )
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"They're Backkkk!!!!"

Well I believe, by any recent indications, that this is going to be a very good year for viewing Icebergs in Newfoundland. Although these little chunks are just "bergy-bits" at Outer Cove on April 25th,2008, there are big bergs offshore and floating down the "IceBerg Alley". In particular there is one off Logy Bay probably about 15 km or so off. I could see it through binoculars and it looked massive. It is at 47.610792 Lat and -52.653694 Long it is identified by as #12361, Blocky and Larg.
There are three other smaller pieces identified,12364 is Pinnacle Shaped and small off Ferryland. There are two bergy-bits #'s 12363 and 12362 of Cape Broyle and are Tabular. You can actually track their progress at

Thursday, April 24, 2008

"Shoot'n By"

Well if they can digitally remaster music I figure we can give photography a go. So many pictures are "played with" now that we have digital photography and the processing software that is available to newbies and pros alike. I just enjoy sometimes seeing the different images that one can end upwith when you mess with a few things like increasing shadow, filling in light, sharpening the image, softening the image, tinting, filtering, warmifying or even mess'n with the saturation that can sometimes give you very extraordinary colors. I just use Picassa but there are much more powerful programs out there for sure.

I like this shot as it was sort of the last few strokes of the day.

"Snow Shadows"

I am happy to say that I am not sad to see the last of any kind of a snow shadow...from any kind of projecting object. It was okay to be able to have nice enough winter days to take some good shots though. I am quite prepared to be over-shadowed by spring and summer now, so that I can witness the reflection of my own shadow more from water. The bottom pic is a shot of the shadow of a pine tree branch in black and white.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sunday, April 20, 2008

"Time Out"

You can't have a successful and fun river play without a little break and energy reload session. April 2oth, 2008. Salmonier Bridge, Newfoundland. It was a great day and being somewhat inspired by the clips from the Reel Paddling Film Festival the night before it was only a major bonus to have the weather cooperate for us. Great outing Brian and Peter.

"Brian / Peter"

It was cool watching these guys hit it from on the Salmonier Bridge. It was a beautiful sunny day for a little jaunt to the watering hole.
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"In -The-Groove"

Peter Noel was a joy to watch as he caught the surf waves lots today. The river ws flowing nicely and the waves were a blast to fly on.
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Brian Duffet was looking to catch another run on a few of the good surfing waves that were at the Salmonier Bridge this Sunday. Picking his line as he was about to be snatched by the river.
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"Diggin' In"

Well most likely I overshot the nice surf wave but was persistant enough to catch whatever was behind. Such was the fun this Sunday April 2oth, 2008 at Salmonier Bridge. The weather was excellent which meant the sun was out all day with temps hoovering around 8 degrees celsius. Not bad for April runoff in NFLD.
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Thursday, April 17, 2008

"In The Beginning........"

Speaking of the Reel Paddling Film Festival World Tour....I'm sure someone was. There has to be a beginning if you believe in beginnings or maybe there doesn't. Fact is that sometimes things just are and sometimes they are because they were made that way. Such is the most times thankless task of volunteering. Some things just wouldn't be if there were no volunteers. Fire Departments, for example, rely heavily in some communities for donated time and sometimes expertise. Well organizing viewing of Film Festivals is no different especially when proceeds go to a worthy cause. The proceeds of the showing of the Reel Paddling Film Festival in St. John's Newfoundland on Saturday April 19th, 2008 at 7pm will be going towards a "Kids Paddle Day" sometime this summer. I look at youth as a beginning for a lot of things but lets face it, you are not going to be doing first descents at 65 yrs of age, well maybe,... if you are the first to exit a water slide in a pool in your kayak. At 45 I made my first descent that way. Getting of track though. My point is that youth are more likely to have the vitality sometimes called (balls) to do the things the older lot would not. Sometimes they need coaching, sometimes just plain ole inspiration and other times opportunity. Not many will be able to afford a nice shiny boat or a paddle for that matter but giving those that can't an opportunity at least for one measly day to say "hey, I tried that before", is worth every bit of non recognition you may receive from helping make it happen. To those like Ashley from The Outfitters, The Outfitters and KNL and those who sponsor them at times thank you for helping with a beginning and maybe the smiles on paddle day will be as shiny as the boats above. Oh yeah, and the smiles on John and Ashley. Thanks for the help guys!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"Blending Sculpture"

A neat sculpture reflected the light from a building beside it. There are obviously and maybe not so obviously lots of reflections of light on structures in a city where light is channelled, funnelled and sometimes sparse and a lot of what you see is actually superimposed and other times only noticed by its reflecting of another bent shape.

"High-Rise Melt-down"

As i saw the reflection of one highrise in another, the one being reflected looked as if it was kind of melting. Though it was a nice day in Toronto it wasn't that nice. About plus 2 degress celsius. I just finished a book by Ken Follett called Pillars of The Earth and of course the book is designed around the construction of Cathedrals and as I walked around down town Toronto I too became captivated in a diferent light and understanding of how the many different Cathedrals around there were constructed. Made for some entertaining walks in an otherwise concrete jungle. Made me appreciate being by the ocean that is for sure.

"Another Rock"

Well I guess Gene Simmons doesn't have much to do with kayaking but his guitar is seen here at the Hard Rock Cafe in Toronto where I ate on Tuesday night. I like eating at these cafes, music always sounds clearer for some reason in there. At anyrate Gene may not be a kayaker but his wife or should I say partner, (I don't think they are married) is a Newfoundlander. Little bit of "Rock Trivia".

Saturday, April 12, 2008

"Sue In The Blue"

Sue is certainly one of our "die-hard" paddlers. She can be seen at the pool twice a week in winter months honing her skills and she is a delight to watch as she methodically and eloquently executes her rolls and rescue techniques. Here she is on a group paddle to Belle Island , NL.
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Thursday, April 10, 2008

"Securite, Securite, Securite"

"Securite, Securite, Securite", "all stations, all stations, all sations", this is "ocean paddler one, ocean paddler one, ocean paddler one", switch to channel 06 ,safety message concerning Cape Spear Head to follow. Out. [Channel 06]"Securite, Securite, Securite", "all stations, all stations, all stations" this is "ocean paddler one, ocean paddler one, ocean paddler one",of Cape Spear Head, in reduced visibility, compass bearing 015 degrees, in transit to Cape Spear Parking Lot, ETA 60minutes. Ocean paddler one out.

Halfway thru the VHF course thought I'd practise in the fog so to speak. Cape Spear light is about 60 meters above sea level you can just see it to the right of the picture above. I guess I was about 60 minutes from the parking lot. This is what fog can be like along the coastline of NL.
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Monday, April 07, 2008

"...bravely serving the cause of the empire...."

I've thought about these words alot lately, not necessarily because this is the letter my Grandmother received when her husbands' ship was destroyed at sea during the second world war, but for these reasons; I was wondering where my love, my brothers' love, and my sons' love for water came from, I was thinking that sometimes you really have to know where you are coming from to get where you are going to, and was wondering how my life and my sons' life is going to change with his decision to enlist in the Canadian Forces. There are and were a few members of my family in the forces over the years and I've grown up listening to some interesting stories from my uncles and nephews and nieces. Gran gave me this letter out of shoe box where she stored mementos. I was about 12 I guess. It happened when I'd be washing her windows getting ready for spring and during a break she'd bring out this shoe box. It was her time capsule of sorts but to me it was a window to the past to history precious to her and our family, that I always was so intrigued with.

So maybe this has nothing to do with kayaking and maybe everything. Maybe the steps my son has yet to take will simply be in the ones of those lay ed down years ago and maybe our lives will be understood by the telling of our own history in our inadvertent quests for what we think may be right for each of us as individuals. I see no sense in war, but I am compelled to understand it. I was never asked how I serve my country, maybe we should all ask how we do that, I don't know, maybe it is not important but what I do know, is that to some, it is.

Saturday, April 05, 2008


The Motto of the 413 Squadron based out of Greenwood Nova Scotia is "We Watch The Waves" something I figure we as kayakers share with this group.
The Cormorant could be a kayakers best friend. These helicopters are amazing and they fly in just about any kind of weather. They have three Turbine engines that give the Search And Rescue machine a range of 1000km and a maximum lift off weight of up to 14,600kg. Based at 3 wings across Canada, the Cormorant fleet serves both the east and the west coast. Roughly 60% of the missions are marine SAR while the other 40% is land.

If you're looking at the under-belly of this thing you are probably in a situation you much rather not be in, if ya had a choice. Such was not my case as I left work on Friday afternoon and this SAR Helicopter was delivering a patient to the hospital. I'm sitting here tonight fiddling with my VHF and hoping I never have to use it to summon this sort of help but relieved knowing it is there. Getting ready to take the VHF course next week. In Canada you have to be licensed to operate one of these so I must take the course, good to have anyway. I shot the under-belly of the helicopter as it was lifting off the landing pad. You can really feel and hear the ripping raw power these things have.

Friday, April 04, 2008

"Sign Says, Ya Gotta Get A ...."

Kayak Club is looking forward to the upcoming Kids Day. Hoping to impart a day of fun and memory thru paddling.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

"No Turning Back"

Feeling my age a little today. Some kind of milestone it seems or at least feels. 45 years on this planet today and when I reflect on the changes I saw, well, I can only imagine where we'll end up.....I just hope we're not rushing to inhabit Mars because we are giving up on old Planet "Earth". I grew up in a small fishing community and I guess it was close to the edge or end of the world, maybe not that close, but sometimes we thought we could see it from there. There was no paved roads when I was a kid, no infrastructure in terms of water or sewage for that matter but I sure remember when they put all that in. I remember getting pavement for the first time on our street. I remember being the remote control for the black and white TV when we watched, because being the youngest you had to change the channel, we had two choices. I liked when the repair man game and I got to see behind the TV and was fascinated by the big tubes in the back that made it work.

Our phone number was 125 back then and yes you had to crank it to get the operator. It was one of those old phones with a mouth piece attached to a cord of wire that went to the base with the crank, that allowed you to reach the operator to connect your call. Well you can imagine my fascination when we went to one that actually had a handle and when we got the rotary phone even more amazement, touch tones were still distant for us. Now cellular! When I was watching Star Trek I always thought it would be neat to have one of those communicators, that's how I think of cell phones. So I've experienced a huge progression in communication. We even had Morris code units that my brother played with. I had no idea what that was all about at the time. I remember when computers were getting popular and encroachment on our analog world was slowly taking place. At university everyone was walking around with these punch cards and they didn't seem to be doing a whole lot of work. Computers as we know revolutionized our world and even blossomed communication further in many ways less personal and in others more. I now work with computers that image radioactive distribution once injected in a patient. Who'd a thought we'd be injecting radiation let alone imaging it with $800,000.00 cameras. This is a big step from the gramophone we use to play with in our attic. The song was "Impy Limp" by "Soderos Band" played on ceramic cylinders with the vinyl on the outside of the cylinder. You slid this on the gramophone and lowered the needle and cranked the thing. Cranking was big back then though I missed the cranking of the automobile. The case for the ceramic cylinder was made of a strong cardboard material and had a picture of Thomas Edison on it. Now the cameras at work I use are made by General Electric of which Thomas Edison was a precursor in a big way. Radios were super popular and ya know in some respects that is one thing that has remained fairly constant. Of course we can play them everywhere, on computers etc. even out kayaking!

Now there has been a whole whack of other changes over the years some you become part of voluntarily others you are just sucked right in to like The Maelstrom Vortex or something. I remember vaguely the landing on the moon on TV so much excitement. I remember hearing and being afraid of Al Capone and Tommy Guns the interesting thing about that is that I got to stay in a room close to the room Al Capone stayed in at the Drake hotel in Chicago for a week that was nice in retrospect, then again I was also in his cell on cell block "D" on Alcatraz. It just happened that way. I also stood on the site where they made the first atomic bomb under the stadium of Chicago University and now I work with medical radiation, in ways back then I am sure, they really never planned. Tomorrow I give a palliative dose of Strontium 89 to ten year old who has rabdomyosarcoma and metastasis everywhere a long ways from radiations intended use.

From moon landings, to in and out of space on shuttle craft, rovers on Mars, satelittes in distant recessses of space, to advances in the most deadly arsenal of weaponry known to mankind or any kind on this planet. From steam power, to diesel, gas, oil, hydrogen, electric maybe cold fusion in the future. If you had told people years ago before autos, that while moving in a 2 ton vehicle sitting on a very combustible 40 liters of fuel travelling at speeds of over 120 miles per hour on a road with many other combustibles beside you, passing you, in front of you and behind you, I wonder what they would have thought about the danger?

So why all know already! It is the simplicity, the silence, the human motor, the control, the mastery, the ability to go where many don't, the adventure, the escape, the yarning and ever so much with only a stick and a boat and most of all for will be something I can do forever. Paddle on, paddle safe........but paddle! The caption is of me on Charlie Lake BC,
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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

"Kayaking and Low Blood Pressure"

I am not sure if there is any scientific data out there, and I am not going to contribute any, but I think that when a person is in kayaking mode there may be an associated lowering of blood pressure. How did I get there? Well it is my experience that when most kayakers are kayaking, and I mean in the general sense, talking about it, actually doing it, telling a story, blogging, dreamin' bout it, plotting a course, plotting to get a new piece of gear without the spouce knowin' less of course she is a kayaker then ya need two, bailing, rolling, instructing anything associated with kayaking, a smile almost seems synonymous. I would think and this information does come from studies and that is laughing or making people smile is very therapeutic in extending the lives of people who are terminally sick, that guttural action and moving of membranes and connective tissues, viscera and muscles does wonders for those incapacitated or compromised in some way.

Much like they say that if you own a dog you can add about five years to your life, I figured we'd get two so I could have an extra ten, but I digress. It is also said that petting a dog can lower ones blood pressure by calculable measures and perhaps this is the relaxed content feeling that not only the dog has as this is performed, much like the sensation that I know most avid kayakers feel when they are "kayaking" in every sense of the word. Thus my deduction that maybe kayaking does lower one 's blood pressure just cause it makes ya feel so good.

Ralph and Dan in the above pictures I know love kayaking. Ralph I've paddled with on a number of occasions and Dan mostly during our pool sessions this winter but it always has been an enjoyable time. So when there is a "Kayak Journal of Health" I hope lowering blood pressures is a topic for discussion.