Saturday, June 30, 2007

Spaniard's Bay - Icebergs grounded

The first part of this morning was so foggy and cool in St.John's we almost thought twice about taking the 45 minute drive out to Spaniard's Bay. As soon as we swung into the mini park where we launched, the weather changed incredibly. Conditions couldn't be better. A brisk wind of 20 km from the west with otherwise good sea conditions.

A short 40 minute paddle out and we were amazed to find two quite large icebergs - a good distance from shore and apparently grounded. A local boater estimated from his onboard gear that the depth where we found the first iceberg to be 250 feet. The second one was grounded at 150 feet. It is common knowledge that only a small proportion of the iceberg is above water but the thought was still staggering. We could see the mass below the surface extending at least 50 feet away from the main structure, so it made sense - but it was still quite a phenomenom.

Icebergs make a unique sound especially the smaller bits almost like someone stepping on small bits of bubble wrap on and off. We were able to pick up a few pieces, destined to a slow melt but tranporting them back proved tricky. The spray deck served as a good sling for one that was too large for the day hatch.

At the end of the day and in preparation for the Canada Day celebration, what better way to make a toast? Use a glass of iceberg ice.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Father's Day paddle

It's a bit of a tradition now to head out on Father's Day for a paddle on Cape Broyle with Kayak Newfoundland and Labrador.

The group set out in record time and under Alex's leadership headed out starting at the north shore, meandering through the rocks and stopping at the falls.

There was limited room left on the shore as kayaks were lined up end to end.

This year we had guests who made a road trip from Alberta, for the primary purpose of sea kayaking - not solely for this KNL event but it may be a reason next year.
Apparently Devin and Diane had no idea what trip was unfolding, they were having breakfast at the restaurant at the north end of Cape Broyle when they saw car after car drive by with two or three kayaks on the roofs. It didn't take long before they were offered an invitation to join in.

Alex didn't let the lack of water deter him from cutting through a large rocky entrance.

The weather cooperated fully and we all lucked into a great day.

Witless Bay to Mobile

If you don't have much time and need to make a quick run Witless Bay is a good place to head out for a paddle.

Great weather and a good training run.

No whales but lots of puffins.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Terra Nova Retreat

Every year paddlers from all over Newfoundland meet in the Terra Nova Park region for the annual kayak retreat. An opportunity for learning, practice and exploring the coast.

This year one of the trips went from Burnside to St.Chad's - despite an overcast day it was a great paddle. The weather held to allow for a lunch on the beach.

Another feature this year was our guests:Freya Hoffmeister and Greg Stamer.Known internationally as instructors and greenland style competitors Freya and Greg were great resources to have on hand for the weekend. The weekend cooperated to provide access to icebergs around Trinity and Salvage. Remarkably, Freya, despite all her travels had not been up close to an iceberg prior to this trip - who would have thought? See our intrepid kayak photographer Tony Lee on his Kayak the Rock website for more iceberg photos. go to: Freya conducted a series of clinics, individually working with paddlers on rolling technique using greenland approach. Greg conducted clinics on greenland strokes using greenland paddles. An added bonus was that he provided critique and feedback on our efforts to make our own greenland paddles.

I was fortunate enough to be drawn for the one on one session with Freya and received a number of excellent suggestions on ideas to increase the consistency of my rolls. In addition, I got to spend a number of hours with Greg working on greenland paddling.

I will be spending a little more time refinishing my paddle and altering the deck bungees to accomodate it as an extra.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Iceberg Alert

Icebergs are a natural phenomenom here in Newfoundland that attract large numbers of spectators wherever they become grounded. These icebergs above are settled in off Quidi Vidi - a small community just west of St.John's. Three of us set off to take a look beyond the usual land vantage points.

Earlier I had spoken to one of the residents of Quidi Vidi to inquire as to how he was coping with the sudden thrust of onlookers - he shrugged off the crowds as only being around for three months of the year, so he seemed to be saying it was no problem. His comments reminded me that the visits to the area are only partly due to the iceberg landings.

It is not often that kayakers leave Quidi Vidi during the summer - it is not always an easy paddle given the immediate exposure once outside the protection of the small bay.

The demands of the sea state, combined wave action and swell - necessitated keeping both hands on the paddle, once we paddled beyond the headland. I never had a chance to reach forward and snap a few shots, I will leave the detailed photos of an upclose iceberg to another time.

Friday, June 8, 2007


Shortly after flying into Vancouver I jogged down to the foot of Hornby and grabbed an aquabus to Granville Island. I picked up a gourmet Indian lunch, packed in a tiffin and looked out over the city, while considering whether I had time before meetings started to go for a paddle. A quick walk past the yachting office and I was outfitted by the staff at Eco Marine. What a way to exercise, paddle and view the city from a different angle.

A two hour paddle can take you all the way to the end of False Creek, view the water side of the Science Centre and BC stadium. The area is buzzing with activity: dragon boast, yachts, sailboats, sea doos - and you can head up beyond the bridge into English Bay.

It is a spectacular back drop to see the mountains as you are heading up into English Bay.