Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Greg Stamer has finished his circumnavigation of Newfoundland this evening in Quidi Vidi harbour. There were people on hand to great him and share in his accomplishment. Newfoundland in 43 days. Just friggin' amazing. At dinner with Greg and some Kayak Newfoundland Club Members it was interesting to hear the highlights of his trip and the details of his long crossings in sometimes near treacherous conditions. Gerg was more than happy to finally be able to chow down on some green colored food namely a salad after many moose meals. The unfortunate thing for me is that my camera battery died just as he was entering the harbour wall of Quidi Vidi. So much for photo op. Gregs accomplishment puts him well ahead in the fastest kayaking time around the rock. Can't wait to see some of his shots.
When you paddle at sunset there is a tremendous feeling of peacefulness to me. Perhaps because a day , good or bad, is on it's way out and in that transition from a beautiful intense sky to darkness is tranquility and peace in my soul. I had to see a sunset today and thanks Tony for the paddling company and as usual always great to paddle with ya. St. Phillips has extremely beautiful sunsets and anyone who has seen them has looked upon a wonder of the this world.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Nothing like warm air currents to keep you afloat. At least afloat in this para-sailing duo. Tony and I were out for a late evening paddle as the sun was setting and these people looked to be having the flight of their life I would think, 26 degrees, light wind and nothing but a setting sun. Good to be afloat on the water as well. St. Phillips and Portugal Cove NL, always have the best sunsets. July 28th, 2008.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
I probably will never forget this name after today...."Redcliff Hd". Redcliff head is about 4 and a 1/4 nautical Miles from the entrance of St. John's harbor, due north. It was about 23-26 degrees when we put in at Quidi Vidi today a most spectacular weather day for paddling on the ocean. The four of us were delighted to be there and hopeful anticipation of finding whales today was thick with crisp strokes.
Low tide gave us ample opportunity for some rock hoping and some cliff hugging which along this stretch of coastline on most days fishermen say can be treacherous. Today though the kayaking gods were watching over us and particularly me. I believe I saw the largest whale of my life today, a Fin Whale, as we followed the sound of the blow we could see the monstrous shape glide effortlessly though the water as it slightly broached and dove again and it seemed like you were watching the body for minutes, that's how long it was but in reality it was merely seconds. Huge!! We saw another huge whale of some sort and were even speculating that it might have been a Blue Whale totally unbelievable paddling near these humongous creatures. We made Robin Hood Bay,Sugar loaf Head, Logy Bay(Saw Fin Whale here)the headed for Redcliff Head. As we neared you could see that there was an arch that cut through under Redcliff as you could see light shine through from the other side even from the substantial distance we were at now. Stopped for a cliff bar and some water as I was getting hot from the sun and our moderate pace. Enjoying every minute of it.
When we approached the arch and from the outside it sure looked innocuous enough and one of our group went on to investigate with me of course following fairly close behind. I could see waves coming from the other side but the entrance and exit looked passable and I believe they are under the right circumstances. As I shot a few pictures I realized that I was rising substantially about 1/4 of the way in which must have been about 15-20 yards.I could see that Alex ahead of me was well navigating thru but I could tell it wasn't a clear run. I didn't hear him either when he yelled not to follow. By this time I had just finished tucking the camera away when I saw this huge wave coming at me as I readied to brace I could feel myself being lifted up but the arch ceiling was high so I felt a bit of temporary relief. When that wave passed I felt my stern being lifted slightly and I began to surf in semi darkness and as I picked up speed employing a left stern rudder I could see uncovered rocks in the middle of the arch now exposed so I dug in with a firmer rudder and felt the boat respond and I altered left and was picking up speed even more and narrowly missed the rocks and was instantly gratified and felt good about my rudder when I looked behind and saw this huge wave right behind me and when I turned forward again I was headed straight for the right side of the arch wall now a little more than half way in through the arch under Redcliff Head. I hit the wall and as the wave beneath me started to rise it scrapped me against the wall of the arch tipping my boat to the left and then the wave dumped and over I went. By now Alex had made it through and may or may not have know at that point that I was in side the arch at this time. Slightly before the wave crashed the side of the arch had tipped me over. I felt water crashing all around me, rolled up then over again, I tried a pallata roll this time and the instant my head was above the water I saw a wave coming from the other direction my paddle separated and over again and now confused underwater I had to bail. As the waves passed and I had a brief lull I hung on to my boat my half paddle and tried quickly to assess my situation, which wasn't pretty in the half dark and try to see how the waves were coming ...no time they were just coming from both directions, I never even thought of a re enter and roll, only had half a blade at any rate, because of the waves coming constantly from both directions I didn't even have time to put my spare paddle together. I didn't want to loose it in the quick confusion and have nothing. Because it was still low tide I was able to get periodic footing on some of the rocks there but the ensuing waves would flush me off quickly, paddle float reentry would have just seen me slam more into the arch walls. The cockpit was totally full of water and wouldn't stay righted at this point. It was me in the water with my boat and I realised I had to kick my way towards the entrance in between brief lulls and hope that one of the surges would flush me out to more stable water. By now Alex and Neil were deciding what to do. I tried with all my strength to keep the kayak in the center of the arch and kick, kick, kick to the entrance. I was having some degree of success but tiring quickly as my semi-dry suit was now full with water. My legs felt like metal poles as I tried to direct my boat from the stern forward. In retrospect they may have even helped with the weight in them to keep me in a straighter line heading out.Neil Came in helped me in the boat but with only half a blade and now extremely tired and with cold hands and a cockpit full of water, another wave ...I went back over. Strangely enough at that moment we realised the safest place was out of the boat. Neil hooked on to the bow I went to the stern again and kicked with what energy I had left and we made it to the arch entrance under Redcliff head. I hiked above these cliffs last year and when I looked down I remember saying how steep they were and how rough the water must be down there, little did I think I would be swallowed by the damn think I was standing on at that time. So much for irony.
I got back in my boat with Neil's help of course. We first drained it using a T-rescue. I put the spare paddle together and paddled out towards further safety. The spray skirt had been difficult to attach with cold hands but I got it on , got further out and pumped out the boat some more then headed on our way somewhat shaken to say the least and whales still popping up in the distance.
We paddled to Torbay Point and when we neared the wind was just howling and I was still a little drained but as I paddled round the head after Alex we were lambasted by high winds and wind waves blowing southwesterly to the right beam as we headed into Outer Cove our take out. The winds were about25 knots and confused around us and as I heard Neil yell ,"paddle Stan" I dug in and never looked back until I hit the beach some twenty -thirty minutes later. I enjoyed the paddle in but I was dead, literally dead tired when I stepped out of my kayak .....laid on my back and looked up at the blue sky and felt the warm winds blow over my body. I helped the others land and we loaded up, Alex and I went for an iced cappuccino at Tim Horton's and then went on to kid's day to help out with some kayaking being done on the pond. I learned a lot, got a sore rib, broken pride because of failed rolls and such and because I had to put other people in a daring rescue situation. Neil is a kayaking instructor and I was lucky to have his skill to get me out. Alex retrieved my other half of my Ikelos paddle which flushed out and I still don't know how or why it came apart. However I suspect when I was trying a Pallata roll I might have grabbed the middle of the paddle and pushed on the button and released the paddle parts.I continue to be grateful.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Well I believe I will be going on the Ireland's Eye club paddle this year weather permitting. Thought I'd do some planning and preparation before the trip on Saturday. Should be not too bad as far as weather is concerned, light rain with approx. 20km-30km winds(beaufort 4).
The more you paddle ..hopefully the better you get. Keeping in mind that practise can sometimes make permanent good or bad experience acquired. Also paddling more with the same people allows you to prosper as a unit because you get to know the abilities of others and they yours so that when /if occurrences,unexpected or otherwise arise you are better able to deal with them and perhaps even appropriately delegate the proper response based on knowing the skills of fellow paddlers......much like triaging in emergency rooms or at least this is my take.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
This neat littl Salt Box in Tors Cove has the most spectacular view. Though this is a summer home I can't help but think of the wondrful times that were most likely had within its' walls. A little hike today in Tors Cove provided a refreshing break as I was looking for whales, namely Humpbacks to paddle near. Lots have already had wicked encounters and displays of playfulness from them. I believe after talking with an old skipper that their bellies are now full of capelin and they are swimming further offshore.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
As usual I got here with my paddling partner Tony and we took some time to check out the area on land, I like to do this before every paddle, to get a feel for the place and the people. It makes paddling more complete for me. Tony Too.
Well before we even started it was lunch time as we prepared to paddle up Mall Bay on our way to Admiral's Beach. The kayaking club has a paddlers challenge to paddle all the Avalon Peninsula cumulatively and today's route was to complete a part no one has paddled for the challenge yet. I don't have that many km in the challenge tallied as I arrived late to the club but some members have logged hundreds of km.