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Thursday, November 27, 2008

"Canadian Coast Guard, St. John's Newfoundland"

Well what respect you have to have for the Coast Guard that monitor our coastlines and assist in rescues. I shot this vessel leaving St. John's harbour. I just completed my VHF course and now am legally able to operate one. During the course however we were taken on a tour of the Coast Guard command and rescue center which is housed above in the building the course was in. We were treated to a Mayday scenario and saw first hand the station implications and how it would unfold to CG personnel. I must say this was a very interesting tour. They are tracking boats wanting access to Canadian waters around the world not to mention local traffic and such. Monitors, radios, satellites communications, real time everything, weather reports, waiting transmissions and much more going on in such a calm organized fashion. A marine information junkie's dream come true. Well worth the course in itself.

I also learned today from another student of the course, about the extreme toxicity of the waters inside and outside the harbour of St. John's. Himself being involved with sampling, etc. He was asking me if I was afraid of the water. I responded that we practise for some conditions and mostly rely on our awareness of skill levels and kayaking experience to guide us and make appropriate decisions. Not what he was talking about. He was asking if i would be afraid to be in the toxic water. There is a bubble inside the harbour of St. John's where untreated waste has been bubbling for years. They have since built a treatment facility that is not in operation quite yet, so the flow continues unabated. Now this may sound ludicrous in this day and age but Victoria in Beautiful British Columbia had a very similar situation years ago which I think they fixed as well but I am not totally sure on that one. Joe, I will call him as I forget his real name, proceeded to tell me about this huge ball of mercury that exists off one of the Coves on the way to Cape Spear and other foul human waste as well which made me think more about what would be the effects of immersion for any length of time in those waters. Awaiting rescue from the coast guard and hypothermia may well be the last thing to worry about. AT any rate he definitely did not make light of the situation but I guess, even though I knew about the harmful harbour bubble, that somehow the dilution factor of the outside ocean would dissipate .........the toxins....none-da! Those are known toxic waters to most but we as a club rarely if ever make reference to the foul conditions that exist in that vicinity and really do we actually know how far that vicinity actually goes and is it a vicinity or a huge friggin' area? As boaters (kayakers 3 feet above the water) are there things we should know? I know there are things I like to know now. Well the hazards to navigation has just increased in this area for me and to think that so many whales and other fish swim out of there and that I was actually going to participate in the food fishery about less than a mile away yet I know people have. WOW!
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Brian Newhook said...

Time to move away from the city Stan! There are still pondside lots available out here in Whitbourne :-)

All jokes aside, it is a serious issue and I'll be happy when that treatment facility is finally open and doing its job.


Stan Mac Kenzie said...

ACTUALLY BRIAN I've driven DOWN THAT WAY A COUPLE OF TIMES THIS YEAR AND i LOVE THAT AREA of Whitbourne. As for St. John's ya know I will still paddle out in that area but I'll certainly be more diligent about washing my boat afterwards and trying like hell to avoid immersion. As for the bubble I think the whole city will be happy when that goes ..for sure.

Silbs said...

...and that is just one such area amongst others all over the world. The diluting ability of the ocean is not infinite...and the band plays on.