Current Time On The Rock

Saturday, January 31, 2009


 Looking for a put-in in Quidi Vidi Gut today as we set out on an early Saturday morning jaunt on January 31st, 2009. This site was used for the JAn. 1st paddle but we have since had a bit more snow.
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"Put-In, Quidi Vidi Newfoundland"

 This was obviously a much better put-in than our previous picture where we put-in on January 1st, 2009. It was a nice day to have a chance to finally beat some winter blues and hit the water, in some places it was literally with the ice. All totally avoidable though. A bit of fresh air after the old recirculated air that one tends to breath for a lot of the winter. Just part of our institutionalisation mentality I guess and a need to work so we can do more of this. If that is the case...I will work till I paddle.
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"Gut Return"

 We decided to return to the Gut and paddle around its' harbour for a bit, taking in the calmness and low temps for an early Saturday morning paddle on January 31st in the Newfoundland.
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"Outside The Gut, Of Quidi Vidi"

 Quidi Vidi, a Small village nestled in the heart of ST. John's offers up it's own brewery if you hit there when it is open. It also offers up some pretty interesting waters when you paddle outside her sheltered harbour into St. John's Bay. Today of course was no exception. There was little issue with paddling out of the harbour and we decided to take a peek. Rough water but typical for that area however there was some huge swell. We decided to tackle that closer to summer months when the waters get a trifle bit warmer should we decide to take unnecessary dunks.
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Quidi Vidi Ice"

 Since we are just pulling out of a cold snap that lasted for about a week and a half it is any reason that there is ice in the gut of Quid Vidi. Not enough to totally seal off the harbour from putting-in but some to let you know that the water is probably chilly. There was even this narrow channel to provide a route up the side of the dock.
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"Good Mooring"

 I guess some boats are still sailing in this area or just perhaps they weren't hauled-up. Whatever the case maybe this Saturday morning in Quidi Vidi Gut Jan 31st, was nice enough to be out in any boat. A bit more rough beyond the protection of the gut walls though. However if you are going to dock a boat....docking next to a brewery ain't so bad, especially when you have to while away those cold days.
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Friday, January 30, 2009

"Black Water"

Sometimes when you paddle you are exposed to various colors of water. Doesn't really matter much...or does it? If your were paddling in/on a beautiful turquoise ocean near land and enjoying the soothing sun would the water affect your mood. The color I mean? Well if you've been on the earth awhile I am sure you heard of mood rings and how they change color to reflect your mood based on body temperature. I am wondering if the reverse can be true by having the color of the water during a paddle affect to some extent your accompanying mood. What about a sky blue ocean, undulating, rolling, echoing the reflection of a fair weather cumulus sky, would that be somewhat relaxing? Now what about a dark or black ocean pitted with rain drops and rising constantly above the horizon in the distance would that be intimidating, soothing, relaxing, intense....frightening?

I am moved by the colors of water I believe. Perhaps it is because they represent or reflect, to some extent, what is going on in the environment around you at the time. When we add the color to the concept of wave we can even get another mood alteration or emotional switch.Water is water, it is still wet no matter the color, it will still freeze given the right temperature and depending on salinity. How does frozen water affect your mood? I enjoy all the colors of water I paddle in and I allow them to affect my mood and sometimes look forward to their colors and their ways because it is after all the medium for kayak travel and as much as we are enticed by the colors of our boats and our gear so too can we be moved by our travelling medium.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"Sea Ice Data.....Around Newfoundland"

More to ice than meets the eye may be an understatement. As I was reading up on sea ice I discovered new terminology and the "Egg Code" which is used to describe ice concentration, the stage of ice and the size of ice floes using coded numbers. At first I found it a bit difficult but wih some practise I was able to gain a very, very basic understanding of the concept. I found it an extremely interesting exercise none-the-less.

Sea-ice types
New: A general term for recently formed ice which includes frazil ice, grease ice, slush and shuga. These types of ice are composed of ice crystals which are only weakly frozen together (if at all) and have a definite form only while they are afloat.
Grey: Young ice 10-15 cm thick. Less elastic than nilas and breaks on swell. Usually rafts under pressure.
Grey-white: Young ice 15-30 cm thick. Under pressure it is more likely to ridge than to raft.
Thin first-year: First-year ice of not more than one winter's growth, 30-70 cm thick.
Medium first-year: First-year, ice 70-120 cm thick.
Thick first-year: First-year ice over 120 cm thick.
Old ice: Sea ice which has survived at least one summer's melt. Topographic features generally are smoother than first-year ice. May be subdivided into second-year ice and multi-year ice.
Second-year ice: Old ice which has survived only one summer's melt.
Multi-year ice: Old ice which has survived at least two summer's melt.
Lake-ice types

New: Recently formed ice less than 5 cm thick.
Thin: Ice of varying colours, 5-15 cm thick.
Medium: A further development of floes or fast ice, 15-30 cm thick.
Thick: Ice 30-70 cm thick.
Very Thick: Floes or fast ice developed to more than 70 cm thickness.
Arrangement of the ice

Ice drift: Caused by the combined action of the wind and water current's drag on the ice. Expressed in units of kilometres per day (km/d). Terms used are descriptive: slow or light, moderate, rapid, and variable.
Ice growth: Caused by the freezing of water by cold air, and its rate will depend on the air temperature, wind conditions, and water salinity. Terms used are descriptive: little or no ice growth, slow or light, moderate, and rapid.
Ice melt: Caused by the melting of ice by warm water or warm air. Terms used are descriptive: slow or light, moderate, and rapid.
Ice pressure: Caused by compaction of ice floes under the influence of wind or water currents, forming ice deformation of several forms (fractures, hummocks, ridges, rafting). Terms used are descriptive: light, moderate, strong.
Ice concentrations

The ratio expressed in tenths describing the amount of the water surface covered by ice as a fraction of the whole area.

Ice free: No ice present. If ice of any kind is present, this term shall not be used.
Open water: A large area of freely navigable water in which ice is present in concentrations less than 1/10. No ice of land origin is present.
Drift ice/Pack ice: Term used in a wide sense to include any area of ice, other than fast ice, no matter what form it takes, or how it is disposed. When concentrations are high, i.e., 7/10 or more, drift ice may be replaced by the term pack ice.
Very open drift: Ice in which the concentration is 1/10 to 3/10 and water dominates over ice.
Open drift: Floating ice in which the concentration is 4/10 to 6/10, with many leads and polynyas. Floes generally not in contact with one another.
Close pack: Floating ice in which the concentration is 7/10 to 8/10, composed of floes mostly in contact with one another.
Very close pack: Floating ice in which the concentration is 9/10 to less than 10/10.
Compact ice: Floating ice in which the concentration is 10/10 and no water is visible.
Consolidated ice: Floating ice in which the concentration is 10/10 and the floes are frozen together.
Ice distribution

The following terms are used in ice messages and forecasts to describe the distribution of ice in a given area.

Ice cake: Any relatively flat piece of ice less than 20 m across.
Ice Openings: Includes all forms of fractures and cracks.
Crack: Any fracture of fast ice, consolidated ice, or a single floe which may have been followed by separation ranging from a few centimetres to 1 m.
Strips: Long narrow area of drift ice, about 1 km or less in width, usually composed of small fragments detached from the main mass of ice, which run together under the influence of wind, swell or current.
Ice edge: The demarcation at any given time between the open water and sea, lake or river ice whether fast or drifting. May be termed compacted or diffuse.
Iceberg concentrations and limits

Isolated: No more than one iceberg per degree of latitude and longitude.
Scattered: Two to four icebergs per degree of latitude and longitude.
Many: Five to ten icebergs per degree of latitude and longitude.
Numerous: More than 10 icebergs per degree of latitude and longitude.
Limit of all known icebergs: The limit at any given time between iceberg infested waters (with or without sea ice) and ice-free waters.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Kayaking Dreamin'"

 Sometimes when ya can't get out you can only dream about it. Tomorrow night Malcolm, a respected paddler from our club will be giving a talk on forecasts and nautical charts. Malcolm's knowledge in this area is extensive and his presentations are always very educational and informative. The kinds of talks you don't want to miss if you are serious about paddling on the ocean. Of course the irony is, this picture is not too serious at all but it does make a point. It is crucial to check the forecast before you venture out anywhere in a kayak, simple yes, not always done however by novice paddlers. I'd like to thank the paddlers in this photo; Malcolm, Des, Linda and Tony. Glad you guys had your dry suits on! lol I think I got cabin fever already.
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Saturday, January 17, 2009

"The Girls Today"

 'Brandy and Riley'
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"Girls To The Park..."

I took the girls on a little hike today and then we went to the park. They played in the playground and even took a break and sat on the bench for a bit. The -21 degrees celsius didn't seem to bother them.They were happy to be out as it has been a few days since they had a decent walk. Along the trail Riley, the Australian Sheppard went into the water of a nearby stream and got wet so she was constantly chewing the frozen water of her paws and was anxious to be home. She is the oldest. Brandy the Snoodle, well she is just dumber than a bag of hammers, very loving and playful though and she knows how to make her own bed.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


 Obstacles are removeable. Obstacle is defined as something that impedes progress or achievement. They can be removed. We encounter them all the time. In our work place, in our fun place, in our sports, in our friendships, in our relationships with anyone or anything, in our down time or in our up time, in our paddling.....obstacles are just about everywhere. Some are big or small, some may not be noticeable at all.....maybe Dr.Seuss should be writing this. I guess my point is simply that we encounter these things all the time and are barely aware of how we deal with most of them. For instance when you cross a sidewalk and someone steps in front of you coming from the opposite direction you step aside to avoid hitting that person. The whole process is so benign and quick that you don't realise that you just avoided an obstacle and probably won't even think on it at all.

Some obstacles are big, really big they are hard to move or even avoid. So what do we do? What do you do when you face an obstacle? Do we think it through? Do we have time to think it through? Could we have minimized, prevented? When we kayak there are many obstacles. I am sure even that everyone would most likely deal with the same ones differently. Take for instance outfitting your kayak so that it is snug yet comfortable enough for you to roll. I garauntee everyone would have a spin on how it should be done, but the end result should be the same roll efficiently or in some cases just to roll, which is fine. What is the obstacle? The inabiltiy to outfit the cockpit porperly, inadequate learning, or maybe learning it wrong and it doesn't really matter because they are all obstacles to rolling.

I am under the impression that to be a decent paddler you have to over come so many obstacles and many created by our own course of actions or mind set perhaps. What if you were faced with the same obstacle everyday or on every paddle or on every adventure (maybe a mental obstacle)...what would you do? I would adapt. Like in this picture.....obviously I am not going through the rock......I will go around it. I will adapt my forwward progress. Should we train ourselves to adapt to obstacles or to avoid them? Or is it that black and white?
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Sunday, January 11, 2009

"Holyrood, Newfoundland"

Holyrood was once known as Holyrode in 1689. Hollyrode has been interpreted by historians as an old English name for "Holy Cross" from the ancient Anglo Saxon word "rode" meaning staff or cross. Many early settlers of Holyrood were of Irish Catholic descent. It is believed that many settlers relocated from Ireland during high immigration in the 1800's. Sir Albert Walsh, was the son of William P. and Sophia Butler Walsh, both of Holyrood. Sir Albert Walsh became the first Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland on April 1, 1949.

In 1969 the Town of Holyrood incorporated.

It was a nice place to paddle today in calm waters and a low wind. The water was 1 degree celsius and the air was about zero. A great paddle with my friend Tony on a Sunday morning. As David Francey says in one of his songs, "Way off in the distance there rang a bell and it rang for the Saints and the Sinners as well..."

"Frozen Steer head?"

Well that is what this frozen icicle looked like to me. You know those skeletal cow heads you see in the western movies next to rolling sage brush. At anyrate the image was as frozen in my mind as it was on this rock.

"The Very Rare.....The Ivory Gull"

On our paddle today we ran into a Biologist on a boat photographing what we thought was just another gull. Not so as it turns out. This gull was an Ivory Gull, very rare and perhaps blown of course by a storm the biologist thought. Pagophila eburnea, is the only all white gull with "black legs". The gull is pigeon sized with a dove like head; wings long and flight Tern like. The bill is black with a yellow tip. The range of this bird is the High Arctic; circumpolar. Breeds locally on Arctic islands of northernmost Canada (NWT). Winters from pack ice south of to Gulf of St. Lawrence and Newfoundland. So we were fortunate enough to witness this little fellow as he played along the shore and in no obvious hurry to continue on his journey.

"Into The Icey Jaws"

 Paddling under frozen and melting runoff on today's paddle. Cleaning the deck with fresh water but enjoying the sounds of the constant dripping and the sounds of the gentle sloshing of Conception Bay surges against old volcanic rock.
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"Milions and Millions and Millions...."

When you paddle with Tony you can be treated to his wisdom of rocks. Being a Geologist I can sometimes get cool info on the formation of some of the scenery we sometimes inadvertently glide past. Realizing that we are paddling where volcanoes once erupted and where they were feed by granite rock and spouted their molten regurgitation's millions and millions of years ago seems to echo our geologic past that we are dust and to dust we shall return!

"Chapel Cove"

 As good a place as any for a bite to eat and a bit of relief. Looking NE into Conception Bay Chapel Cove just below Hickey's Mountain.
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"Show Me The Way"

 Returning from the days paddle we were treated to some sun poking through. Joy's Point in the distance was indicating our near completion of the trip as we headed for the South Arm near Maloney's Beach for our take-out. A great day, a great paddle.
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Saturday, January 10, 2009

"Petty Harbour, Newfoundland"

Petty Harbour is over 200 years old and is the site of the first hydroelectric generating plant in Newfoundland. It is nestled deep in the heart of Motion Bay and Maddox Cove and is a most scenic community with a population of about 900. The waters around Petty Harbour always seem to be turbulant especially during changes in tides so kayaing is aways interesting there. Steve and I did some fishing here during the recreational cod fishery during the fall. The colors were spectacular on the rolling hills near by.

Petty Harbour also has some claim to fame in the film industry. Such movies as; "Hatching, Matching and Dispatching", "Orca", "A Whale Of A Tale", "Rare Birds", "John and THe Mrs", and parts of "The Terry Fox Story" have all had some involvement in this small friendly place you can access on the way to the Cape Spear Lighthouse, the most Eastern location in North America.

Alan Doyle of "Great Big Sea" a successful band from Newfoundland is from the Town of Petty Harbour.

It is hard not to be charmed by the community and even easier to enjoy a decent paddle just inside and outside the protecting walls of her harbour.

Friday, January 09, 2009

"Paddlin' Buds"

 Everyone has them. They are sometimes sparks that unite to form a flame. They seem to fade in and out of summer excursions. They come together in sharing a common bond...a common passion. They don't necessarily hang all the time but when they do the excitement is palpable. The anticipation sometimes is intense. The planning is essential. The timing is everything. The sharing of laughter and stories is a given. The introduction of a new piece of gear certainly possible. Learning of a new skill is hopeful as well is the sharing of one gladly given. Scouting of ones put-in a must. Helping with pre and post launch a for sure. A whisper of encouragement most times subtle. A compliment on technique grateful knowing hard work has paid. Readying for a roll probable knowing help is near by. Taking advice when it is offered. Being humbled by more skilled...always! Being part of something bigger than ones self.......PRICELESS! September at Point La Haye.
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Thursday, January 08, 2009

"Bay Bulls, Newfoundland"

Bay Bulls is often a place where Humpedback Whales can be viewed during the summer. The waters can be challenging just outside the harbour but manageable. Bay Bulls is the earliest known English place name in Newfoundland and Labrador. Some believe that the name "Bay Bulls" comes from the presenceof Bull Walruses or the common Dovekie "Bull Bird" which both use to frequent the area. Some also believe according to their web site that Bay Bulls is the french corruption of "Baie de Bois" or "The Wooded Bay". What ever the derivative it has had a colorful history of warfare for such a small community.

Warfare History:
In a 150 year span from about 1650 until 1800, Bay Bulls was the site of numerous conflicts between various European nations. In 1655, the tiny community was raided by Dutch sailors under Admiral De Ruyter and while the town was looted and pillaged, it was rebuilt almost immediately. In the 100 years between 1696 and 1796 Bay Bulls was attacked at least five times by the French military via land and sea. These attacks were often in conjunction with attacks on St. John's in part of the French effort in the early eighteenth century to drive the English out of Newfoundland.

Two of the more memorable battles took place in 1696 when Monbeton de St. Ovide de Brouillan, the governor of Placentia (another Newfoundland community), attacked Bay Bulls from the sea and in 1697 when Pierre Le Moyne d'lberville marched overland. In the first skirmish a British frigate, The HMS Sapphire, was scuttled in order to prevent the ship from falling into enemy hands. The Sapphire is now depicted in the official town logo and can still be seen in the harbour During periods of low tide. The site was declared Newfoundland and Labrador's first underwater marine historic site in 1975.

In 1705 an expedition of 90 Frenchmen and 100 Indians on its way from Placentia to attack St. John's, captured Bay Bulls. Once again the town was put to the torch before the French left. Two years later Bay Bulls was again captured by the French and this time there was no resistance from the settlers. The attack of 1707 was the last enemy evasion until June 24, 1762 when the French lead by Admiral De Terne, landed seven hundred men who occupied Bay Bulls and marched to St. John's. The French later left rather than fight the British forces sent against them, and Bay Bulls was rebuilt once again.

On September 29, 1796 Bay Bulls suffered its last invasion when an Admiral Richery attempted to storm St. John's but finding it well defended, attacked and burned Bay Bulls instead and took prisoners. He was eventually driven out as well and the community quickly recovered.

Reprinted from Bay Bulls website.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

"Sweet Product"

 I have to plug this product I bought at GAIA in Athens, TN. it is a waterproof waist pack called The Hipster. It has a roll down seal main pouch that is watertight when sealed and fastened. I thought at first that it may be too big and bulky when I ordered but was pleased when I got the product in the mail. I was always looking for a place to store my keys sense my keys were always the last thing out of my vehicle once everything else was out and packed. I have dry bags that I would stow but I just wanted something more accessible for when I got back and wanted to open my vehicle right away to get unloading again. Also for when I am walking round the beach on a rainy day (we get a few) or around camp you have a safe and accessible place for your cell phone, pager (I didn't say that), GPS, watch, matches, food whatever your heart desires. I can put all this in the main pouch plus a flash lite. There is a small zippered pouch on the front and on the lt. side for smaller items, and are not waterproof however. I keep a knife in one and waterproof lighter in the other. Even though they are not waterproof pouches like the main one is they are still pretty good at keeping water out. There is also a mesh pocket on the right side for a water bottle. A bit small I found for that purpose but fits my waterproof VHF just dandy that I put there when out of my boat. It also has been used to store my camera when on shore. I have found lots of uses for this product and it is easily stowed behind my kayak seat and I can use the waist belt to lock it to seat bungees in case I should have to bail and the boat tip over, wouldn't want to loose it now. The price is $38.74 American but I will not even get into the cost for duty at the boarder, taxes (CDN) etc. I highly recommend the product though and if you know someone down in the states who you could ship it to and have them send it to you as a gift you're laughing. Let me know too because in the spring I sure would like to get a Superior Greendland Paddle but not too excited about paying the horrendous extra charges and these costs are on products made in the USA. I have know idea what they mean by "free trade". It is sad really becasue we live right next door and American kayaking product from vendors such as GAIA, Primus, etc. is in my experience top notch and not always available from a vendor here in CAnada.
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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

"To Top It Off..."

 Tony and I paddled in some nasty conditions this summer and fall. Mostly just to see how we would perform , how our boats would perform and how our developed skills would work and just simply to try and foster new ones. Sometimes waves were insignificant and other times well they put you well above the horizon or in this case the shoreline. It is kind of a weird feeling when you are on a wave and get a feeling that you may be going backwards for a second or so when you should be going forward like maybe when you are at a 15-20 degree angle perpendicular. At least that what it felt like on this wave at one of our fav play spots.
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Sunday, January 04, 2009

"Newfoundland and Labrador"


I saw this on the way up Signal Hill today. Fresh Snow and Sunshine made these black statues of a Labrador Retriever and Newfoundland dog contrast nicely. Would have been a good few hours of sunshine for the water but I just got off work and decided on fastfood and dining at the top of Signal Hill for the view. There were low lying clouds raining off in St. John's Bay with the sun pouring down everywhere else. Also looked like huge swell out there. A beautiful day on the Island.
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"Gull Respite"

 Well I posted a moose picture earlier of an Albino moose my friends said they took a picture of, wasn't their picture just a joke, but keeping with the winter and animal theme I thought I'd continue to post my own. This is a walk at Quidi Vidi Lake today, downtown St. John's. Even gulls which are always in flight around here need a bit of a rest at times. I guess this is their idea of sun bathing because the sun has not been out for long lately. 'Tis the season.'
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