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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

“On Deck In Newfoundland"

Like any deck of any vessel the deck is an important aspect of craft construction. Also like most water craft    operators they like to keep the deck as clean or clear as possible. I guess we all have our reasons. I like my fore deck (in front of me) functional. I like my rear deck clear and free because that is where most of my roll terminations are. Therefore having anything impeding my roll to the back deck is a hinderance for me. Now I don’t have to do a roll that ends on my rear deck , that is what I prefer. For some following reasons.

I know there are those staunch purists that like a crisp and clear  fore deck. Not me. Gerard here likes his fore deck clear but I think he would put the right deckbag there if he was so inclined. We had a discussion about that on our last paddle. Some like it simple for navigation items like compass, map case, GPS etc. Some like to have ease of access for a spear paddle unhindered by objects such as deck bags or other paraphernalia. Some will argue that it is simply aesthetically pleasing to the eye and curves of the kayak. Some just think there is not the right conforming deckbag out there suitable for or to its function. Some just want a water bottle on deck, all they need.

I can only report from my personal experience. I love my deck bag where I put it on the deck before every outing. It has become to me as routine as putting on my PFD.  I like the low profile of the one made by Northwater. It is the smaller peaked and wedge shaped one and I have been using  for 5 years now. It straps on with four individual lashings. Two at the front and two at the back. Easily put on and taken off in all conditions. It has two side mesh external pockets that run length wise to the bag itself. In there I keep my GPS tethered to the deckbag of course. I also keep my homemade hatch cover remover (made out of a paint can lid remover) in the side pouch as well as a floating pair of hard plastic pliers, lip balm, nose plugs????? (I think I put them there when surfing one time), and I plastic sealable bag for camera or whatever.

On the top of the deckbag are crisscrossing bungees where I tether things like my GPS, my Greenland paddle wrench (because if I don’t I forget it), and sometimes my waterproof camera all of which will fit nicely in the side pouches. The bungees also serve to secure my OP hat, my noeprene gloves or mitts and on occasion my shades (i’d be very careful about putting those there though because a wave of most any size capable of washing your deck will also wash away your shades). I know.

This particular deckbag opens in the front via a horizontal zipper and the bag is NOT waterproof and is made out of a strong Cordura fabric that so far as proven it’s worth in gold. Inside in plastic baggies are two handheld flares, a lighter and matches, two cliff bars always, my flare gun and cartridge, and my camera from time to time as well as a dry cloth in a bag for wiping sunglasses and camera (very important to me) as long as I can remember to bring a dry one each time : ). Gerard had a micro fleece cloth that was the cats meow and very absorbant so I’ll be getting one of those for next outing I think. 

Also most important to me is the usefulness of an elevated attachment point for my compass. The Nordkapp has ones you can get installed but are so far forward that I cannot see or read the damn thing in bad light or bad weather and it means having a clear viewing area in between so you can see the thing. Not always practical for me because I like having my spare paddle on the fore deck for easy access and because I like my back deck clear for rolling. I know , I know have a few rolls besides the back deck roll because you shouldn’t rely on just one. But if you only have one keep the area clear where you will most likely be forced to go I guess. 

Having a clear back deck also makes rescuing operations and re-entering in assisted rescues easier. Maybe having two clear decks is what you like, and good for you on that. 

Having access to my gadgets, a place for my camera, my snacks and other odds and ends has just proved so utilitarian with this deckbag that it has become one of my favourite purchases to date. Also of note when used during surfing or rolling it has never filled with water. But keeping things in water proof bags will eliminate any problems with that. 

Overall this bag is very aesthetic and streamlined for a Nordkapp deck because of its peak and wedge shape. Provides easy access to essentials at least what I consider essentials and certainly was reasonably priced.

If I’m worried about maps or map bags when on a trip, the deckbag provides excellent attachment points for a map case that allows the map case to sit and fit nicely on the front portion of my sprayskirt for easy viewing. Easy to see compass and easy to see maps, what more do you need?………The Deck Bag!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

“Getting To Lunch -Cape Broyle"

Map of Cape Broyle below.

So of course paddling along the south shore for a bit we stated to get hungry or at least I did. So many distractions though to suppress that growling gut.

Lots of Coves along this short stretch about 10-12 km long depending on how many coves you explore. Costelio Cove Is the first you pass and I also believe there is a rock there of the same name and may be the one below Gerard is paddling near.

Right beside Gallows Cove is Gentleman’s Cove. I guess they thought years ago if you are going to hang someone you can at least be a gentleman about it.

Once past Freshwater Cove you encounter the longest stretch of beach at Lance Cove where some of the more dramatic  frozen waterfalls were clinging to the face of the cliff. Church Cove was lunch stop just before the final tour at The Cathedral sea cave just before Cape Broyle Head on the South side. I love eating outside and when the weather is as nice as it was last Saturday it is as enjoyable as if it were a warm summer day. Gerard had tea and I brought some hot chocolate just to keep the chill at bay.

The Cathedral is huge. Hard to believe you can miss it when paddling though as rock strata can become very familiar or not as you look for an opening that could be shaded as if it were just another small inlet from a small ways off. The header above on my blog shows a frost line on the right wall of the cave as you enter and the icicles hanging from the ceiling so you can feel the temperature shift as you enter much like you would in the warmer months just cooler.

It goes back a fair ways and you could easily fit a huge number of boaters in here at one time therefore a great place to take a touring group.

There were many boats that sailed the water we were playing around in and I guess they took on many shapes and over the years evolved from paddling, to wind, to steam, to diesel and back to paddling again. I love it. Nothing like a 22km paddle to have an excuse for another feed. So we stopped at the delightful restaurant just up the road when we landed.

They had also a model of the RMS Titanic that was intriguing and spooky. Her resting spot and grave not far from the shores we paddled. Well that is a bit of an exaggeration but she rests in the cold Atlantic.

Much to my delight was a small replica of my favourite schooner The Bluenose of Nova Scotia what a fine looking and sailing craft. I was on the Bluenose 11 a few times and sailed on a tour out of Halifax harbour once and what a treat indeed. Bluenose was famous for her speed and dominated the New England coast with her racing times that no one could beat. Actually if you cut the bottom off below the white line of the hull, you are kind of left with the shape of a kayak.

A wonderful place for very generous portions and the best chicken wings with their own secret sauce you will ever have. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

“I Heard There Was A Secret Chord…."

This is the opening to Leonard Cohen’s song “Hal lehuja” and man that’s what I was humming as I was paddling along. Not so much as any religious inspiration or anything like that but kind of an epiphany that this little paddle destination like so many around the world felt like my own little secret today. Only two of us on that open atlantic waterway in Cape Broyle enjoying the crispness and bite of the air and cold slicing spray of the salty brine. This paddle was my secret chord in the harmony of life on this day.

Nothing too much is free in life anymore and I guess it is debatable about seakayaking and all the gear, the travel to and from take outs and put ins and the like. But I’ll tell you nothing feels as good and free as that extra ummphhh you get when you ride those small waves from the rebound and freed suction of the tide once it is released from the grip of a clump of rocks or ledge of a cliff and you are pushed along cutting through the various sized ripples of rebound as you are further propelled along your route. Sticking close to lands edge has that benefit sometimes. Letting the water do the work to gain whatever efficiency is to be had.

Gerard warming up to one of his own here.

Quiet reflection and trying to avoid that snappin' ass picture taker! lol

Love the rocker on the Nordkapp and really liked the black sand on this beach and the textures and lines the waves and wash made in the sand. Was feeling patriotic and thankful for how lucky I am to the have freedoms that others can only “Dream Of” but that is what my blog is about, dreamin' I guess.

A beautiful spot.

Go ahead Gerard, you can touch it! LOL I know he is dreamin’ too, because he told me on the paddle out that he just placed an order for his LV Nordkapp with a red bottom and black deck. Taking that awesome trip to the Valley are ye?

Just a little reminder of the temperature and the weather around us but no less than about −4 or −6 Celsius.

Next stop the Cathedral to really get a days blessin’.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

“Happy Valentines Day-Up In Smoke"

HAd a boring evening one Saturday and I try not to watch too much TV. The brain drain of human kind. I decided to take some shots of incense and its smoke. Once you clean up the images a bit you can see just about anything you can imagine in the twists and twirls of moving air currents (which I accomplished by moving doors and fanning paper) and freezing with flash photography.

For the ladies who occasionally visit my blog a heart that I coloured slightly pink for effect and rotated 90 degrees.

 A rose of sorts but every lady likes roses on Valentines.

Well while I was in the posting mood thought I’d throw in a few of my favs that were kind of ‘ocean related’.
“The Squid"

The vacant "Hermit’s Shell”.

Something totally off the wall I just call “Genesis”. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, February 13, 2012

“Cape Broyle Icicles"

It was hard not to be awed by the frozen water we saw along the way.

Some appearing as teeth daggers ready to pierce you should you draw too near to its  mouth.

Some just frozen from cascading falls as the river water plummets to the ocean surface. This river I believe is the Horsechops River which is always an entertaining stop when paddling the Cape Broyle route. In the summer months it is neat to allow some of that fresh water to cool you off, probably not needed at this point.

When you kayak, you become acutely aware of your environment as it is kind of intuitive really. Looking a head of you , beside you, behind you for others following sort of thing or even up as you catch that glimpse of an eagle soaring overhead. Well on todays outing you had to look up more earnestly when approaching some caves because there were stalactites of ice at the entrances and throughout that could readily impale you. Gerard is doing just that, taking a look at one before entering the cave. Look at the size of that thing compared to him and his boat.

So all along this journey there was frozen run off from cliffs above spectacular and captivating in their own right I guess.

So nature yet once again humbles me.

Well obviously we staged this shot to get some size perspective, not likely to see kayaks crisscrossed under frozen waterfalls by some naturally occurring event, and we were having a bit of fun. Laughing at the composition but getting a good cool, fresh water rinsing of our boats at the same time. Kind of like a “Paddle in Kayak Wash”.

And Nature continued to humble…………...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

“Cape Broyle Newfoundland"

AT last about to get on the water. No more Lally-gaggin’ and “Dreamin”. Gerrad and I decided on Friday evening to get in our boats on Saturday because of favourable weather conditions forecast before a water storm of rain on Sunday….now.

As you can see we are more than delighted to be where we are and that is at the slipway in Cape Broyle. Cape Broyle is about 45 mins to and hour from St. John’s on the south shore of the Avalon Peninsula. A nice ride and a beautiful vista to paddle because of its sea caves and stacks as well as the accessible beaches and cliff faces that provides very scenic paddle ways.

This church in the community like many coastal villages provides a nice beacon when heading in from the waters. Something like the steeple that  is recognizable a ways off to let you know you are closer to home. I cut the crosses off on this shot.

 Gerrard is aboard and ready for our 5 hour journey out to Cape Broyle Head and points in between.

Under way and loving the shore smells the wind in our face and the water splashes hitting our drysuits, our faces and the deck of our boats ………we are paddling! Our destination lies at the distant headland on the right of this shot.

What a start , what a day, what excellent company and how I am beginning to feel fulfilled yet once again from paddling. Gullfeather is finally getting her bottom wet for the first time in 2012 and she won’t be disappointed. About a 22km paddle today which is probably not a bad way to start my paddling season.

Friday, February 10, 2012

“Land Critters and Water Bling"

I should be ashamed of myself for taking so long too post. Well not really, the weather has been a bit, well, under the weather! Not fit for kayaking enjoyably. So you hide out on land and make the best of it. MAybe take shots (photos) of land critters. There is this very nice lady in Torbay NL that raises Newfoundland Ponies. Small things they are. Very beautiful really. She allows me to visit and shoot them and even chums the land for me to get some “hilly” compositions with sunsets. Here are a few. Land bling of sorts I guess.

The thing I like most when I visit her farm is when I open the gate and the animals all come running to greet me like I was a long lost friend. I usually visit two or three times a year. Not sure they remember me but they always get treats from their owner when I do. I don’t like to bring anything because I believe she feeds them a certain diet. Not sure. I’m bringing apples next time. I think I’ll do that this weekend.

The ponies have distinct personalities as some are quite shy, certainly the black one is and others are timid while another just plain curious. Her brother Bruce Moss, a folk singer turned gospel singer wants to use one in a video. Photo that is. I said no problem especially after I listened to his song about the sinking of the Ocean Ranger called “The LAst Good Bye”. He also wrote and sang the popular Newfoundland song “The Islander”. Some think it was Shannyganook that wrote it but not so. If you like folk check out the songs on YouTube.

This was a popular shot in our photo club Camera35 and have had quite a bit of interest in it so I thought I would share it. I called it “Newfoundland Buds” as they are both Newfoundland ponies and unbeknownst to me when I got home Judy said that her daughter’s favourite pony was the Blonde haired one and she calls him ‘Buddy’ as fate would have it I guess.

Well that’s all warm and fuzzy I suppose but you know,  I am anxious to get back out on the water for some semblance of a paddle. The boys are going tomorrow so hoping I’ll be able to get my act together by then. 

The snow covered land and freezing water forming icicles  makes for some great shooting from the seat of a kayak kind of like adding ‘bling' to nice land or seascapes. You know that extra little bit to juice up the photo. 

I took this one yesterday at lunch time. It is 9 frames HDR’d,  black and whited it, then put in some selective coloring of The Battery houses. This is their original colors just masked them in and did some split toning. But every time I look at the spar buoy in the foreground it reminds me that I should be on the water paddling by it or even touching it rather than shooting it from land.

So now I must prepare for a bit of a winter paddle and maybe post some real kayaking news by the weekend.