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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"The Modern Cape Spear Light"

Still using the Dioptric lens from Inchkeith Scotland in 1955 the lighthouse above was built at Cape Spear to replace the the old one. It was built of concrete when it was constructed and stands 75 meters I believe above sea level and after consulting the Iceberg finder data, from that elevation you could see out to the horizon at 31.2249...kms. Not a bad vantage point for looking at icebergs. If only you were allowed up in the new light. During the war years from 1941-1945 there were big guns implanted into the red sandstone cliffs. Two to be exact that fired 600 lb shells and could reach 6 miles out to sea. They were part of a defense system to protect against German U-boats that patrolled the area lurking for convoys heading over to Europe. No guns were fired in defense of the bay it was protecting, but three soldiers died here during the period. Two in swimming accidents and one on board a military ship that ran smuck into the cliffs right below the lighthouse during a cold black night. The 103rd Coastal Defense Battery of the Royal Canadian Artillery were stationed at Cape Spear during this period.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"Old Cape Lighthouse"

Since the mid 1800's the light at Cape Spear has vigilantly guarded the eastern Avalon Peninsula. As one of two lights at that time, the other at Fort Amherst, at the entrance to St. John's harbour strangely enough were the only two lights considering the Island had been populated for two centuries.

The original light, the one above, is a square two storey structure. The light for the tower was not new when it was constructed. It came from Scotland and had been in use there since 1815 at the east coast lighthouse of Inchkeith. Curved reflectors concentrated and intensified the light rays from seven Argand burners, named for their Swiss inventor. The movement of the light was controlled by a clock work mechanism. The last of the lights in the old lighthouse above was a glass dioptric system installed in 1912. First lit by oil, acetylene was adopted in 1916, and electricity in 1930. In 1955 the dioptric system was removed from the old to the new tower not far from the original light(in the header).

The old light has been restored to its' original appearance and is well worth a tour if you visit. I thought them quite inviting and quaint living accommodations considering the time and location of dwelling. I often thought of how cozy it must have been nestled in the inner chambers of its warmth during a treacherous and snowy nor-east er bearing down on you like a buzzard on a carcass. Probably not as romantic a thought when you had to escape to the tower to do maintenance or check on the light at such a time. This light is directly at cliffs edge and I can also imagine that one would be hoping the foundation would hold, anchoring during any storm.

Monday, March 29, 2010

"Skinning A Cat"

You must have heard the expression, "How many ways can ya skin a cat?" Well I'm gonna skin a LightHouse. POst a new image of the Cape Spear Light in my header for the next week and then archive the previous days' in a post. Yeah, I'll be kayaking soon. Kinda related ain't it?

Friday, March 26, 2010

"Wings In The Wind""

I've been kind of sick for two weeks. Cold in the head and in the lungs. I was once diagnosed with emphysema. Apparently I don't have that but whatever I have when I now get a cold it lingers hard. Nothing to do with kayaking other than I haven't been getting out there. I just don't feel that well and even getting to the gym, when I do is a chore. Really tired. Blah, Blah, So I haven't been posting. But I do love my water and I miss it I guess.

The pictures I took of these swans inspired me to post. I was thinking, where do they go when they get sick? Do they leave the water? Do they just cuddle and float? They probably would like that. I studied these birds for a few hours one day. They are so graceful, intelligent I think, and very beautiful. What intrigued me in one instance, I photographed in the header, as a small breeze sprang up the swans reacted by opening their wings enough to catch the wind to propel them along the water. They did this numerous times and to me appeared to be using their wings like sails. It was captivating and intriguing at the same time. It was also very effortless and it helped them maneuver against the current of the stream. I was likening their responses to efficient paddling strokes. Ones executed that from practise have become instinct and unnoticed to the average Joe I guess, unless you were a paddler of course. Much like the efficiency of the moving swans, if one didn't take the time to notice you would probably miss what they were doing with their wings in the wind. Taking time to, "stop and smell the Rhino poo", a friend of mine use to say. Being sick has a tendency to make you reflect.

I've decided also that these birds could maintain composure when the world around them became chaotic. Well of course I likened this to maintaining your cool in a rough kayaking situation. While everyone is in a frenzy around you, you do not have to opt for that group mentality of thrashing about. Maintaining your cool will help get what you want, whether it is to safety in a kayak or to your feeding ground as was the case in the picture above and below the header photo, as the park attendant was feeding all the birds and the ducks were thrashing ravenously. The experience on a whole was and excellent two hours spent watching and photogrpahing the birds. But like some kayakers, they are shy and challenging to keep up with, as they do not stay in one place for very long.

Maybe this weekend will bring water time for me as well. Of course I'll still shower, not the same!!! Being on it like the swans seems to be most enjoyable. I'll keep that in mind. I may get a chance to use my Greenland paddle(only tried it once) again but now my thoughts may be drifting to avian propulsion......the winged blade...or maybe I am just deliriously sick again. I do loves me water though!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"Within The Darkness"

Even in darkness there is adventure to be discovered. This is how it is with sea caves. There are many areas along the Avalon Peninsula that offer opportunities to paddle in and around these interesting structures.

"Diminishing Return"

Though the size of the kayakers is diminished next to the cliff, the return for being on the water, is what most of our trips tend to be about.

Monday, March 15, 2010

"Cape Broyle"

Tony heading out of Cape Broyle Habour on Sunday past. Clyde, Tony, Sean, Dean, Gerard and myself went for an excellent paddle from Cape Broyle to Brigus South and back, about 22km I guess.

"Salt Ice"

Heading out of Cape Broyle we met with a bit of surface ice on the way to some falls on the northside of the harbour.

"Good To Be There"

Not hard to tell Clyde was happy to be on the water on Sunday Mach 14th, 2010 in Cape Broyle.

"NorthSide FAlls"

Northside falls at Cape Broye were inviting in the late morning sun.

"Northside Cape Broyle"

Cape Broye is normally KNL's father's day paddle. It is always an interesting paddle when ever you go there. Just something that can offer alot to a diverse group. This is a little cove where the north side falls pound fresh water into the sea.

"Superior and Greenland"

Greenland paddles are well much more than I could have thought. Got a Superior Greenland PAddle last week and tried it in the pool on Saturday and then at Cape Broyle on Sunday. I guess I am hooked you might say. Thoroughly enjoyed its' feel and the lightness of carbon fiber. I was using an Ikelos Werner carbon fiber paddle because I like the power it affords me, not necessarily the effort, but the power. With the Superior GP I may be a bit slow out of the shoot but certainly can maintain a powerful stroke with....ease. I really, really like that. The Nordkapp a Greenland modelled boat and now my GP, I do feel that they really fit together and I can only look forward to exploiting their union in the comng paddling days. For a two piece paddle it is rock solid. I still have much to learn for sure but I am so looking forward to it. Gordon Brown do you do instruction on Greenland Techniques? lol

"Caves, Arches and Things..."

Waterfalls, frozen waterfalls, sea caves, arches, sandy beaches and lots of sunshine. Good ingredients for a paddle. Both sides of Cape Broyle Harbour has much to offer but the south side has more caves for exploring but the tide needs to be low and the wather calm for getting in and out...safely and if you haven't been, it will be a treat.

"Winter After All"

Well it is still winter here in Newfoundland but certainly unlike most for paddling conditions and spring like weather. At least around here. Bonavista on the western edge was suffereing power outages and massive silver thaw damage as iced power lines were down and snapping power poles like tooth picks. On the southern shore of the Avalon Peninsula it was 4 degrees celsius and a good day to be sharing the water with friends.

"Through The Rough"

Gerard pokes through an interesting rock section where timing was everything.

"Golden Cove"

OUr Scenic Lunch Stop on Sunday.

"Falls Of Light"

Sean enjoying a moment of Zen while listening to the falls cascade to the ocean below their long perch. The south side of Cape Broyle.

"To Cape Broyle"

After returning from a lunch brake at South Brigus we head back to our put-in site at Cape Broyle. Neville here is looking ahead at the distant community.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

"Red, Right, Return"

I bet all who use some form of nautical navigation will recognise what this means. Taking the Red buoy on the starboardside returning from ocean. Of course red buoys being taken normally on the Port, Port, left, Red(short words). Starboard, right, green(long words).

Today some KNL members, Dan and Pete gave an interesting talk on basic navigation and GPS navigation. No matter how often you attend these sessions you always seem to take something away and I guess that is what it is all about. So this year it will be emphasis of fog navigation and nighttime navigation. Always soemthing to hone in on in paddlin. In the above shot Pete is demonstarting the use of the parallel ruler in assisting with plotting a course as Ralph andDean look on.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

"Common Guts"

Sometimes "Guts" are innocuous, that is, you can get through them without too much difficulty. A "gut" is a narrow passage or waterway. On the Southern Shore of the Avalon Peninsula about 30 mins from St. John's Newfoundland you will find the Tors Cove "Gut" between mainland Tors Cove and Fox Island. In St. John's itself you will find Quidi Vidi "Gut" which exits the small community of Quidi Vidi to St. John's Bay. Two "Guts" and sometimes, 'no guts, no glory', for different reasons.

The Quidi Vidi Gut is a send off rendezvous for trips to Freshwater Bay, St. John's Harbour and The Cape Spear Light. It opens to the open ocean and the waters sometimes there are treacherous and not without some thrill getting in and out, even on seemingly calm days. This is where we also have our annual January 1st New Year's Day paddle. You can see a video of one of those on YouTube under XM64842. Tony in the bottom image is looking from the ocean into The Gut at Quidi Vidi.

The Gut in Tors Cove is there if you want to go through it. Unlike Quidi Vidi you do not have to go through it to get to open ocean. Tors' Gut is variable depending on tide levels and ocean conditions of course. More exposed and jagged rocks during ebb tides. The waves that can flow through here in various conditions can make for some fun kayak surfing. Can also make for some interesting rescues. I lost a digital camera to the salt here. Pete is looking in from the ocean throught The Gut at Tors Cove in the Top Image.Tors Cove can also be a launch site to Ship Island, Pee Pee Island, Great Island and points beyond but it is always fun on a return paddle or trip to play in The Gut at Tors Cove. Also a nice spot when the Icebergs are Floating down Ice Berg Alley.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


It is miserable weather here in St. John's Newfoundland. A time I figure for reflection, to break the Hoo Humm and monotony of a stretch of cold rain, fog ,drizzle with some strong winds. You might as well be inside which I am but thinking on other days past and resorting to my pictures for restitution of thoughts on finer days and basically just passing the time. I'm actually thinking too about chicken wings, I do that some times, but I don't have pictures of those.
Tony and I enjoy paddling near icebergs and it is getting close to that time of year again when they begin to make their sojourn from distant blocks and ice sheets to the waters off Newfoundland. Carried in the cold current of The Labrador they stealthily saunter in the night and day. One night you can go to bed with no sighting and the next, there they are, like out of no where. Realizing though, probably just "out of the fog".