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Wednesday, May 27, 2009



If you are a guy you know what sheds are and the importance of the shed ritual. Now sheds are many thing to many people, but they are a cultural gathering unit no matter where you are. In Newfoundland one radio station has a small program called "In The Shed with Big Tom". Jokes, contests and lively banter are all centered around this shed phenomenon on the air. It is great fun. My shed is small by shed standards, but it is full to capacity. Tools, mufflers, old kayak racks, rope, tow rope, wood pieces, pipe pieces, deer antlers, tape, you know that grey kind, right out of "Red, Green" you might say ...and much, much more for such a little shed.

On a recent trip to Bonavista I met the shed of sheds and the proprietors. The "Byes!" On the first day I met them they didn't know me that well so I wasn't introduced to the shed. When I returned the second day and saw the Boys outside having a brewsky, I was invited into "THE SHED". As the picture is worth a thousand words, a picture of a shed must be worth at least a million. Imagine the stories that sheds have. These old timers had lots of stories for me. Fishing stories, Iceberg stories and the list went on. As Iceberg tours were sometimes initiated out of this shed there have been lots of shed visitors. On the walls literally everywhere were the names of those who had been invited into "The Shed" over the years. I was honored to be asked to sign my own John Hancock on any space if I could find one. It was difficult. The bottom level of this shed had the customary table for ashtrays, beer, and bits of food and perhaps a deck of cards. On the walls and benches around the table was everything a shed occupant could ever want at anytime of the year. I mean anything and everything. This shed had what Dan called The Twine Loft. I asked of course what a twine loft was. DAn said it was a place where fisherman went to mend their nets with the traditional fisher men's twine and forks and sit around all day and gab and solve most of the political problems of the world far and near. Certainly the ones related to fishing.

I was therefore surprised when asked if I wanted to have a look at the twine loft? Seen those before in Nova Scotia. My brother has one in his multitude of sheds, being a fisherman and all. Up I went to the twine loft and low and behold a bar, a pool table and a most coveted poker table I was told in full view but inconspicuously located out of the way of normal shed traffic. They've done it I thought. They've created the ultimate shed. I immediately had shed envy. I was tickled and charmed by the hospitality of these guys and their friendliness and willingness to share laughter and fun. I could have stayed and hung out there all day......I was invited after all. Thanks guys, the best shed in the world! What's in your shed? lol
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Monday, May 25, 2009

"The Dungeon"


It is what it is. An open sea cave in Bonnavista NL. Accessible and kind a neat to go through.
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Sunday, May 24, 2009

"Cape Spear Bound"


Leaving Quid Vidi today for Cape Spear. Sun was in our favor, winds were low going out a bit testy coming back in following seas. All in all a nice paddle to The Cape.
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"Fort Amherst, ST. John's Bay"


Passing Fort Amherst at the entrance to St. John's Harbour. The tide was ebbing so there was those characteristic choppy waves for the first stop at Freshwater Bay.
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"Cape Spear"


Our destination today from Quidi Vidi.
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"Deadman's Bay"


Sunny today and favourable winds to the Cape there and back. Tony leaving nothing behind but sunshine.
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"Freshwater Bay"


Looking North to St. John's from Freshwater Bay.
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"Under Cape Spear"


Many visit, few get under!
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"Nordkapp and A Cape"


Nordkapps are known for rounding Capes. No different today as Tony and and I rounded Cape Spear in Newfoundland. Beautiful paddle, beautiful day. The Nordkapps speak for themselves in terms of performance. Don't look too bad in the sun either. : )
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"From The Sea"


Tony entering Quid Vidi harbour from our paddle today.
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Saturday, May 23, 2009

"The Matthew: What's In A Name"

Lots if you ask me! John Cabot is said to have named his or should I say King Henry's boat after his wife 'Mattea'. This is a replica of "The Matthew" which is, docked in Bonnavista Newfoundland, whose name was found from older records of his explorations and journeys seeking the spices from the far east which also too helped him become a good navigator.

My son's name also is Matthew so it does hold some significance to me. I find it amazing being in places where old explorers have been and like to imagine what it must have been like seeing these lands for the first time. What a thrill and sense of accomplishment I presume, not to mention hopes of prosperity and wealth.
A year after his discovery of Bonnavista in NL Cabot set out on another journey but was never to return to his wife and three children. There is much speculation on what may have happened. Some say he was lost at sea, and others say he was killed by natives of the time while others say he just settled somewhere along his route. Whatever happened, he has left an indelible mark on the history of this province and this nation as a whole.
The MAtthew was a caravel, a small maneuverable, two or three masted lateen rigged (triangular sail)ship created and used by the Portugese and used as well by the Spanish for long voyages of explorartion in the 15th century. It was preferred because they could travel up river in shallow waters even at 50 tons as their load capacity was smaller than vessels like the (nau) or carrack which was bigger. Initially the Portugese used the carrack to explore the African coast and these full rigged square sailed ships could not always be sailed with precision needed for inshore navigable waters and navigating the waters around Bonnavista must have been a challenge for the sailors of The Matthew as the shoaling and reefs in the area could reek havoc from strong northerlies or easterlies and any combination thereof. Fun in a kayak though. ;-)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"The Color of Bergs"

Paddling near Icebergs and berg bits offers a myriad of possibilities for someone who likes pictures. I love pictures. I like looking at them as much as I like taking them and learning from them really. How to do it better next time and maybe a better angle which is always a bit of a challenge if you've taken photos from a kayak as obviously most kayak bloggers will attest to, but that is just part of the fun. Kayaking keeps me so engaged that I crave it's distraction ability and soak up "All" it has to offer when I am out there. Like Silbs said in his most recent post, "Some sit in meditation, some whittle or do some hobby, and some of us just float for a while with our paddles at rest", sooo true! It is good to just "be" indeed.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"SeaScapes: Melrose, Bonnavista, Port Union"

Port Union NL

Dungeon Provincial Park Bonnavista NL

Melrose NL

Melrose NL

Near "The Dungeon" Sea Cave Bonnavista

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"And They Come.....Down The Alley.."

Stealthily they come. Sometimes one by one, sometimes by twos and other times in packs. But they come. Using distant off shore fog, dusk and darkness, even sea stacks as their cover they sleek seemingly unheard or sensed...

..but something primordial tells you it is there...lurking, waiting .....choosing it's time, it's moment....

..pulling it's arches, it's age old frame as it draws as close as the bottom of the sea will allow it and even then it will heave and mend, and grind and belch until soon oh very soon you will know...everyone from far and wide will has arrived.

"A Worthy Adversary Indeed, White May"

By early Staurday morning there she was, hiding no more. A visible behemoth, a monolith of white frozen energy. White May! Her camaflouge, her cover...... discarded. Her true self revealed. What a journey for her, a challenge for me.

Even from a distance White May made sure you knew she was there. Initially trying to conceal her presence now announcing it in spectacular defience to the community of Melrose and beyond....I........have arrived!

It was still too windy on Saturday morning when I arrived after my three and a half hour paddle in Bonnavista to attempt to assail her. I waited about an hour then headed out of Melrose only to return at about 1530h to try and meet White May again. Dan, a local fisherman said she was about 2 miles off and even at 2 miles off she was larger than any structure in the community of Melrose...the biggest Berg I'd seen. The winds near shore were not bad so Pat and Dan helped me load up and I was off. Well I reached about a mile and a half off and the winds began to pick up. It was extremely difficult to manage beam seas that were intensifying and take pictures of that monstrousity I had travelled so far to paddle near. I had to concede, I had to turn around, I didn't feel safe at that distance by myself in worsening conditions. I felt deflated for not getting the shot I wanted but hey, there will be more and White May's journey had been much longer than mine. She sure was a beauty as I viewed the shots on Dan's camera he had taken from his fishing boat. He offered to take me out but it just didn't feel right, it just wasn't meant to be. I'll settle on her shots from a distance.

So life goes on in Melrose. Logs get split, Pat has a cold brewsky and whiles away a beautiful spring day seemingly oblivious to that towering monolith in the background but he knows as I know is there, you sense it, you can most certainly smell it mixed with the brine of the air, lingering waiting..........for replacements.

"Clouds Of The Ocean, Dungeon Provincial Park Bonavista Bay"

After paddling in the Dungeon Sea Cave on Saturday MAy 16th, it was time to head East into the ever rising sun and explore some Icebergs, albeit small ones, that were sitting in the Bay. Paddling past sea stacks along the way and noting the sea bottom as it was fairly visible for much of the paddle.

This Iceberg was located just outside Lance Cove and was grounded there in the shallow water.

Icebergs to me are the clouds of the ocean. They can at times drift with the wind and certainly contain their on micro climes in terms of temps and surrounding sea states. They can be dangerous as some clouds can and they can release a furry as wild and ferocious as any cloud when they calve or start to disintegrate. They can leave signs of their presence and sometimes their intentions. Clouds may use color and shape, bergs can use shape and sound, perhaps, color as well when sizing cracks and ice age. Icebergs however are not as predictable as clouds. There is very much of an iceberg we never get to see beneath the waters, maybe the same is true of clouds, but I suspect you see most of the cloud.

Also like clouds we sometimes see what we want to see. We give them names, we give them shapes and we relate them to other things they may look like. So too do we do this with Icebergs. "That one looks like a ....", and it goes on.They are dreamy and they are captivating. That is why I think I like them.

As much as clouds impart color to the ocean below and various shades of blue and green, icebergs seem to impart color to the ocean above in various shades of green and blues as well.

"What Do Little Kids and Little Icebergs Have In Common?"

When doing a "drive by iceberg". You get a bearing!

Line it up and go through! Careful now to observe all the melting formations on the berg sides as you pass by, quickly, listening for sounds you really don't want to hear, like cracks or "large popping" bubbles.

Then exit cleanly on the other side hoping the stern ender picture comes out and spectacular colors are captured as my black tail slithers by.

Take and under water shot because Tony and I forgot on our other Iceberg encounters to do this and notice the 10,000 year old air bubbles escaping....

Take another underwater shot and notice that this Iceberg looks like it has a tumour on it's underside, a bulbous like protrusion. Perhaps some form of melt formation and again notice more 10,000 year old bubbles escaping.

To get back to the original question, "What do little kids and little icebergs have in common?....They like to release air in their respective tubs!"LOL It's all a matter of perspective. ;-)

Monday, May 18, 2009

"Cape Bona Coastline"


Some of the coastline of Cape Bonavista and the interesting rock formations found in Dungeon Park. Cape Bonavista light is in the very distant headland of this image. It is very shallow all along this coastline and as a matter of fact you can see bottom and I am sure almost stand up in most spots even a ways from shore. This can present problems in windy conditions especially since the coast is rugged, ragged and jagged with shoals, reefs, sea stacks and rock outcroppings. Nice for rock hopping and meandering about. Oh yeah, for taking pictures too.
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"Dungeon Bound"


Waking up at dawn at Cape Bonavista and gearing up for my put-in.
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