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Monday, March 30, 2009

"Thanks To Barry"

Us heading out into St. John's Bay. You probably can't see us even when you click to enlarge, but we are there, heading out into the expanse of the ocean. Thanks Barry.

Passing through the Gut of Quidi Vidi on Sunday. Tony and I are captured. When we returned to Quidi Vidi after our paddle to St. John's harbour a note was left on my windshield. It indicated that pictures were taken of us and if we wanted to view them to contact the number on the note. So I did and Barry was kind enough to email them to me.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

"Near Distant St. John's"


Tony and I decided to have a paddle from Quidi Vidi to St. John's Harbour. ABout a twenty minute jaunt under good conditions each way. We had gusting winds but clear blue sky and had a great day on the water. It turned out to be some what of a boating exploration for me as I meandered aroud the boats docked in the harbour. Tony of course had his own perspective. Oh the joys of seeing things through different eyes.
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"Red Right Return"


No problem for me. Some of the boats from the paddle today however must have wondered how they were going to fit through. Most ikely not. They have the charts afterall. Oh yes, harbour pilots too.
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"The Fishing Boat: Downtown"


The beginning of a "boatiful" day.
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"OK, OK, .you get the right of way!"


You Betcha!!
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"The Great Swan"


It was truely a Big Boat day on our trip from Quidi Vidi to St. John's Harbour. I felt like a little kid playing around the big boats. Well maybe not but I did have fun zig-zagging in and around them and pddling up close to their rudders and bows and wondering what seas they would not be able to sail in.
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"A Russian Boat"


Not to sure on this on but the lettering on the side was indicative of some country from the Russian Federation. Probably just refueling before it goes to claim our Arctic. Lots of interest in that area as of late. Watched a program not long ago on the North West Passage being free of ice very, very soon year round. That is going to be a contentious area over the next few years probably after the economy rebounds and country's can afford to send navy vessels to claim their respective waters. Better send subs too. Ooooh that is what this boat does!! lol
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"The Sable Sea"


I guess if you are going to be an oil town, you have to have the means to transport it. I think this is a small tanker of some sort or maybe just a boat that carries waste from the rigs.
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"Canadian Coast Gaurd"


Usually very busy these boats have a lot of water to patrol and respond to for rescues and maintenace to Aids to NAvigation.
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"Who The Heck Is Woodward?"


Not sure but he does own a bunch of boats or at least has a floatilla of them named after him. I know I could find out if I goggled but I like the mystery. After all I am having a kind of boat day. I liked the reflection on the water from this one.
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Displaying the Innukshuk on it's side this boat from Nunavut must be loading for a trip home. No Greenpeace around so she can't be dropping of seal pelts.
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"Boats and Banks"


Well with the economy the way it is today you might just see more boats tying up to reduce costs. I guess if you do you might as well have a bank handy. Boats as big as banks, may even be worth more than them. Scotiabank however has feared quite well I believe.
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"Signal Hill, St. John's"


Looking to the harbour entrance and Signal Hill from within the confines of St. John's harbour. It was relaxing paddling in the polluted harbour today. The sun was bright the water ......scarey, but the colors from the downtown core and the boats at dock were with a quick jaunt around the harbour's edges.
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"Fort Amherst Light"


Tony's paddle blades reflect the sun as we leave St. John's Harbour for our return to Quidi Vidi.
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"Rock To The Core"


Much of what you see when you paddle the Avalon. Once on your journey you must be committed. Take-outs are few.
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

"The Stick"

What we call a paddle some look at this and say, "hey, a stick!" On first glance I can't help but agree. There is a picture of the loom enlarged on this paddle as well as a good section of the total length of the paddle which had to be about nine feet or more. As we know with Greenland type paddles, work more efficiently with many smaller bites than fewer larger bites. The cadence is easier to maintain, the length of the "stick" gives the surface area needed to go faster with greater efficiency. As Gerry David says, "Like paddling a bicycle up a hill in low gear". I know very little actually about such paddles but have tried them and know that it is a wet paddle environment so ya need a good spray skirt. This didn't bother early paddlers as they wore Tuliks, totally sealed off from water entering their coaming. This paddle is the actual paddle that was found with the kayak that follows.

"Seal Skins and A Craft"

A trip to "The Rooms" today, a museum and art gallery in downtown St. John's provided some fine nostalgia. This kayak secured from a village in Northern Labrador about some 100-120 years ago in the late 19th to early 20th century took me back to times where life and livelihood hung in the balance most days resting on the functionality and skill needed to utilize the characteristics that this craft could provide. Hanging foam the ceiling of a display room upside down, (I inverted all the images to appear right side up), this beautiful vessel hung, resonating years and years of craftsmanship and utilitarianism in a world of long ago where now it seems the craft is taking on new dimensions never dreamed possible when harpooning seals for food.
Whatever the importance of the vessel years ago there certainly has been a 180 degree shift in it's function, to provide a platform for hunting from. Most kayaks are used for paddling enjoyment in some recreational capacity or in exploring new waters and challenging ones self with crossings, circumnavigations or endurance trips of long duration or sometimes all of the above. We no longer hunt seals from these vessels as did our northern ancestors, but wait, there is undoubtedly a resurgence of using varied types of them as platforms for fishing from today. Usually the sit-on-top types are frequently stylized as the kayak of choice for this endeavour hooking a variety of species these days it seems.

I can only suggest that the diversity in kayak shapes, sizes and construction materials will undoubtedly lead to a diversity of uses. I am just glad that I am able to paddle one to enjoy that history and culture.

A couple things I liked about this kayak are the low deck profile which I am use to, and the striking similarity to the Nordkapp of which I am hoping to paddle this year when mine arrives. I can't wait to paddle that ancestor and be taken back to images of rougher times and necessary skills to lern to master some of that which is kayaking as they knew it then and we try to know it today.

"What We Come To Know"

Of course we know now the elegance and intricateness that is a kayak. I find it amazing that the design of years ago are designs of which we try to emulate today because of a better understanding I guess of what a kayak is designed to do and under what conditions it is seemingly able to do it. With a realization that the craft should be able to do one thing or a bunch of things, track, stable in rugh weather, light, waterproof etc and the "craftee" or "crafter" able to do another set, roll, hunt, dawn appropriate attire for conditions etc. Even this artifact of about 150-200 years embelishes all that is the complexity yet at first glance the simplicity and beauty that endures time and seemingly cultual transferance and even the old as pleasing to be gazed upon as the new.

"Sealing Cockpit"

The cockpit of this kayak from the Labrador province appears to have a "sealing", excuse the pun, element to it. It appears somewhat dried out around the coaming but what probably wouldn't after about 100-200 years.

"Nice To Imagine"

It was nice to imagine what it must have ben like to sit in this hunting vessel. These seal skins belong to the late 19th or early 20th century of Northern Labrador yet still very much in tack. This vessel, like many of it's time, was most likely sewn by the women of the band. The craftsmandship or perhaps it should be the "craftswomanship" is enviable.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"Colliers', Newfoundland: Reflections"


We are being blasted with a reminder of winter as I type, mercilessly shattering the quiet of a spring night, are the snow squalls and rain components of something more unseasonal than hail pellets on a warm August day. But we get those too. In this photo such are reflections of paddles in winter under quite gentle conditions if you will. The kind of conditions for taking pictures as you glide through the virgin waters of a crisp winter morning. Taking in reflections of the coming paddling season and reflections of light off objects such as ourselves and hills that slope endlessly to the sea entrance and to submersible points beyond. When spring comes to us again next week the excitement for the coming paddling year will no doubt build again. Highs and lows, like ebbs and flows, we ride knowing one is not right without the other.Tony on one gorgeous winter day.
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Friday, March 20, 2009

"Then There Was Three...."

As we turn into spring it becomes time to hit the water and "limber up". As I type most of the snow in St. John's is gone but there is a storm warning for 20-40 cm forecast. I am anxious to get out there and practise some strokes and shed some of the winter stiffness. Maybe lots of close to home paddles for warm ups I figure.

Monday, March 16, 2009

"Brandy & Riley:The East Coast Trail"

"The East Coast Trail"

Well Warming up to spring, you might say, so I took this afternoon off and did a hike on part of our Eastcoast Trail here in Newfoundland. It is a bit icey to say the least and trecherous in some places. I had to be extremely careful in a lot of spots but this is only due to the recent cold tempeatures we've been having. The dogs didn't seem to have any problem though. Most of the snow is gone so if we had just one warm day I am sure the rest would melt away. The scenery is always captivating along this trail and when the sun is shining, regardless of the cold, it just becomes refreshing.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Blackhead Cove, Newfoundland: 2007"

Remembering this day runs like cool spring water through my mind. As I was gearing up to make my first attempt to paddle near my first Iceberg since moving to Newfoundland in 2005 my heart began to race with anticipation. I longed for many years after many googles of icebergs to paddle near one some day. I am not going to get into the risk assessment and risk management thing here, suffice it to say I was going. I just had to paddle out there to greet it.

As I neared the monstrosity I thought I could smell it, wasn't sure if it was the Iceberg or fear. Didn't want the thing falling on me afterall. I could also hear it's presence which was becoming more evident with every stroke. The wind was picking up so slop was forming along with some white caps. I had to hurry to get shots. As I got near I could hear not only the ocean waves pounding against her but the sounds of the surf that was building and crashing between the two sections. These two sections were attached under water. The ocean water was dark blue that day but the water between the two pillars was a turquoise shade and beautiful to gaze upon. As we near that Iceberg season again in Newfoundland I can only hope that we are treated to a few coming down the alley. About 500 and some last year. Three or four would suit me fine as long as I could try and smell them again, they are truely the nectar of the ocean and when you hear the 10,000 year old air being released as large pops and cracks, you can't help but think about how clean the air must have been back then and when you realize that you are only seeing one tenth of the Berg you are instantly humbled by nature and thank all the nature gods that you were able to share that day with the elements

Saturday, March 07, 2009

"An Ice Roll, Kayaking Perspective"

May you never find yourself like this in ice cold frigid water. Our Search and Rescue crew had ice rescue training today on Long's Pond. About minus 10 Celsius with wind and snow. Excellent conditions.

If however you are paddling near ice and become one with the water here are a couple of tips. First off if you are paddling near ice you had better be dressed for it. Ice picks are a good safety tool. Two four-5 inch long wooden dowels with a nail in the ends of each will work fine as long as the tip is sharp, (pointed out). When you approach the edge of the ice sheet you will undoubtedly start breaking pieces away.

Continue what you are doing shoving pieces under the ice ahead of you or at the very least moving them out of your way. I actually was able to use broken pieces behind me to plant a foot on to give me that extra little boost to climb aboard the sheet. I wouldn't rely on that but it worked for me.

Getting on the ice sheet is a slippery endeavour to say the least.....after all it is ice! And wet ice! Don't despair you will be able to climb aboard just remember a most crucial thing, a most crucial self rescue technique, like the kayak roll is, when you have a good chunk of your upper body on the ice sheet "roll your body" away from the ice sheet edge. Once you have done this do a quick survey to see if standing is a safe option. If not by displaying and distributing your weight on the ice sheet you spread your body's surface area decreasing the chances of another break through. Wait for help or if safe shimmy to safety. You've just executed an "ice roll" and can now add another roll to your arsenal.