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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Cape St. Mary's Lighthouse, Cape St. MAry's Newfoundland"

The day is September 27th, 2008 and I am looking at this lighthouse and the fog and wondering where all the birds are. It is my first time at "The Cape" and I couldn't even see the lighthouse when I was only 30 meters in front of it, I heard it loud and clear though. There is a sign posted indicating that the foghorn can damage your hearing. I understand why.

I attempted this morning to paddle out to The Cape from St. Bride's in Distress Cove. I was forced to turn back because of the thick fog that had rolled in only 1 and a half hours into my paddle. I just played around St. Bride's for a bit and decided to head for a community on the east side of the pennsula called Branch and on the way there I stopped at Cape St. Mary's Eclogical Bird Sanctuary to see if it was foggy there to...of course. Thicker than St. Bride's. All I could see was this lighthouse....once I tripped over it that is.

I left here and headed to Lance Cove where I paddled for about 3 hours and played in the surf and will post those pictures tomorrow. The sun came out in Lance Cove at about 1500h so I headed back to Cape St. Mary's and was able to take the following pictures. I was so gald to have made the decision to return to view "The Cape" on a sunny day. They say that if an eagle hoovers overhead you will be blessed with luck and so I was for the rest of my weekend journey.

"Cape St. Mary's Ecological Bird Sanctuary, Newfoundland"

Looking East to the cliffs in the distance you can see the white bird colonies of Gannets dominating the color of cliffs edges.

Located about 200 km southwest of St. John's, Cape St. Mary's Ecological Reserve also known as "the Cape" is one of Newfoundland and Labrador's major seabird colonies. During the breeding season, it is home to 24,000 Northern gannet, 20,000 black-legged kittiwake, 20,000 common murre, and 2,000 thick-billed murre. In addition, more than 100 pairs of razorbill, more than 60 pairs of black guillemot, plus double-crested and great cormorant, and Northern fulmar nest there.

You really do feel humbled by nature when you are able to experience first hand such a spectacular place on earth.

"Cape St. Mary's, Newfoundland"

Cape St. Mary's in Newfoundland is a most amazing and spectacular place to visit, especially when it is sunny. After about a 1.8km hike you can look back to the West and see The Cape St. Mary's Lighthouse standing unimposing on the edge of The Cape.

"The Gannet Colony"

Thousands of Gannets occupy the ecological bird sanctuary at Cape St. Mary's.

It is spectacular the view of the animals you receive on a sunny day at The Cape. The sounds of the birds are constant and loud as you watch them carry on their everyday lives. They can mesmerize you with their acrobatics in flight and you can sit and watch them for I did! I didn't make it to this area by boat today because of persistent fog in the am but the fog lifted at around 1430h and I drove to The Cape to enjoy the rest of the day there.

"Currents of Flight, Cape St. Mary's, Newfoundland"

The Gannets of this ecological reserve were in the thousands and it was difficult to isolate one to get a solitary shot. This gannet was having just the grandest time catching the warm air currents of The Cape on this Sept.27th day at Cape St. Mary's. It was just amazing to watch these birds at play on such a sunny day here. The Cape usually gets 200+ fog days a year. This gannet was flying high and just to the left of his white form you can see his dark shadow cast on the cliff as he soars by.

"High Perch"

This gull had found the perfect spot for viewing the action of the Gannets frolicking in the warm air currents of The Cape. The feeling of solitude is not easy to find in this area but this gull had achieved just that, perhaps taking a break from it's own flight through the cliff's crevices. You can understand why the birds feel so safe from prey when you look upon the immensity of the area.

"Free As A Bird Now"

This Eagle folowed me back to the parking lot from the cliffs of Cape St. Mary's and as I continued my walk I constantly looked up to see it there. I am not sure what interest it had in me but it was an amazing site to watch this bird as it so majestically made me very aware of it's presence. The sun was so bright I didn't know until the evening when I checked my pictures that I had even captured it in flight. As I neared the parking lot it flew off into the sun.

Monday, September 29, 2008

"Early Morning Pond in Placentia, NL"

Left St. John's this morning at 5am for a paddle from St. Bride's to Cape St. Mary's. The weather spoke for sun and temps hitting 21 degrees celsius. What beautiful scenery to start the day.

"St. Bride's and Distress Cove, Newfoundland"

This is a very picturesque area and a good put-in for a trip to Cape St. Mary's. It is a difficult area to paddle because of various weather conditions and their influences on the land and the waters in this area. Fog is very common and waves of all shapes and sizes predominate it's coast and changes to conditions can happen rapidly. Be prepared is the best advise.

"Island Head"

I put in at St. Bride's on a sunny morning of Sept. 27th, 2008 for a paddle I hoped would take me to Cape St. Mary's and bird sanctuary. Plans sometimes change quickly on the water. I putin at Distress Cove and was paddling pretty much south to Island Head when I saw the fog roll down from the head land. I knew that southerly winds down here bring fog so I knew there was much more to follow. Winds WSW with lots of "lop" had me turn back for Distress Cove because I figured not much to see paddling in tricky conditions in Placentia Bay and wide open ocean. Within five minutes of turning around I was completely engulfed in fog with visibility down front of my kayak. It was paddling on a compass heading back to my put-in.

"Going Out - Coming In, Distress Cove, St. Bride's, NL"

Going out of a harbour or coming into a harbour can be like night and day or like sun and fog as the case may be. Sometimes there are many shades of grey in between so honing and learning skills to accomodate different situations while paddling is crucial especially when paddling alone. Being able to read a compass, take bearings, plot a course and determine a heading will take you where you need to go. Referencing nautical charts at hand and /or a GPS will make your life much easier. Never depend on electronics to see you thur. Though they will a back up such as charts are indispensible when paddling near or offshore. I keep a spare set of batteries for my electronics close at hand in a water tight bag for use if current batteries die.

I find it amazing how the eyes constantly search for reference areas in the fog. When paddling near cliffs...everything looks like a cliff. You may catch a glimpse of a cliff and then loose it in the fog and when you look around you see that blasted cliff everywhere, even in the fog from seaward. The compass.....ever mariner's tool.

"Arriving Out Of The Fog"

It is sometimes a challenge paddling in fog when you are only paddling on a compass point. Not too bad when you are on an island because you just keep land to the right or left of you depending on your route. You still wonder in your mind however if that land mark or aid to navigation is going to be where you took your bearing from before you left the harbour. Something too look forward to on your return perhaps. Paddling too close to cliffs etc. in the fog is tricky at times especially if little outcrops of rocks or ledges appear out of the fog suddenly. You can listen to the waves crashing to let you know your proximity to shore as well as evaluating the waters you are currently in for refractory waves, clapotis from cliffs and ocean swells and wind waves. Confused seas are easy to detect when you near them obviously and all these clues are picked up easily and sometimes simultaneously when you paddle in dense fog and can see only meters in front of you.

"Blog Author"

Well as I was heated from the paddle in the Distress Cove and Island Head "Lop", I decided to snap a shot for prosperity I am pretty much soaked from saltwater spray, sweat and fog mist and all very refreshing on this warming day on September 27th, 2008.

"St. Bride's Harbour"

After my return from Island Head it was time to explore the Harbour of St. Bride's. The sun poked it's head out and allowed for a couple of fog/sun shots.

Friday, September 26, 2008

"Cod Jigs"

Hey Tony these are the Cod Jigs made by Wade Blagdon of Newfoundland Charters. Can't wait till we get a chance to use'em.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Syringe and Needle"

 Just a first impression from the inside of the Michener Institute in Toronto. Sept.23rd, 2008.
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"Changing Rivets"

 I always find it interesting sitting in the window seat of a plane. I do not like flying but try to keep myself engaged or should I say distracted and taking pictures can be a distraction. What I find kind of neat is how the plane shell changes color in various temperatures and lighting. This shot of the Jet Engine mount to the plane on the right wing and the horizon in the sky made it feel kind of surreal. None-the-less when I looked at the flight path and altitude on the TV thingy on the back of the seat in front of me we were at 38,869 ft travelling at 612 mph not that I was counting or anything but a long distance from the ground or the water for that matter and when we hit turbulence and the wing started to flex up and down I was hoping those rivets were nice and tight.
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"Above The Sky, Beneath The Wing"

 On the way home from Toronto yesterday the sunset was spectacular from the plane and you can see part of New Brunswick beneath the wing as we were heading for a stop-over in Nova Scotia before going on to Newfoundland.
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Friday, September 19, 2008

"Where The Wind Blows, Conception Bay Newfoundland"

 A light wind on Thursday Sept 18th, 2008 for about a two hour paddle in Conception Bay, and definitely a place where the wind blows.
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bell Island Practise"

Using Bell Island as a back drop a few paddlers, Tony and Brian, finish up a rescue. Thursday evening Sept.18th, 2008.
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"On The Horizon"

 Just the head and paddle of a paddler, made visible in this shot by the colorful sunset at about 1930h on Conception Bay during our Thursday paddle session out of ST. Phillips.
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"Diggin' In, Conception Bay Newfoundland"

 Steve diggin' in a trough of a beam sea. Nice play waves this evening, teasers really as their was nothing real big.
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"Kelly's Island"

 Barely visible to port is Kelly's Island that sits in Conception Bay just off Bell Island.
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 Cleaning in fresh water after a paddle outing the easiest way to wash off the salt of Conception Bay, NL.
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Sunday, September 14, 2008

"Point La Haye to Riverhead"

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"Point La Haye"

 Checking out the waters before we depart at Point La Haye. Excellent weather for a wind-in-the-back-paddle to Riverhead, Newfoundland. A short jaunt as we complete some of the coastline of our "Paddle the Avalon" KNL club paddle challenge.
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"The Crew"

 Tony, Isabelle, Steve Hollet, Steve Pye and Neil, a grea paddling group today.
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""Take-out In St. Mary's BAy, Newfoundland"

 Once we took head on the 20-25 knot winds leaving La Haye Point we paddled for about a half hour to our lunch spot some where around Island Cove Point, on St. MAry's BAy.
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"Frapeau Point"

 From our lunch spot you could see Frapeau Point that we paddled around at the beginning of the season. Nice sandy beach takeouts all along this paddle today. A nice westerly or south westerly blows you right down St. Mary's Bay.
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"St. Mary's Newfoundland"

 Paddling around Fort Point into the community of ST.Mary's, Newfoundland. Obviously once a thriving fishing community but the fish plants looked abandoned on this date.
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