Saturday, September 27, 2008

Conception Bay

Today was an extraordinary day - warm and very calm.
We launched from a beach in Foxtrap and paddled over and around Kelly's Island.
A fair bit of traffic on the water with sailboats and all types of power boats launched - many for a chance of hooking some cod.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

the End of the Season

The season of baseball,at least in the St.John's region is drawing to a close.
Today, though windy was a perfect baseball day for watching the senior semifinals Shamrocks vs Holy Cross.

Jelly fish

I was intrigued this past summer to find an exhibit at the Metro Zoo that featured moon jelly fish. Who would have thought they would warrant their own section/aquarium with a special viewing glass? They seem a bit common place here and folks paddle over and around them without much thought. They are however, quite amazing creatures and no doubt we will be seeing more of them. A number of us came across a "bloom" of them a while ago just a short distance off shore in Trinity that was quite incredible. Not just a half a dozen but hundreds - extending out in a semi-circular shape about 8m long but more interesting layered upon each other 4-5 m deep. One of the members of our KNL newsgroup reminded me of these photos when he provided a link to Dave Gallo's talk, this is a video worth reviewing.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fatal Tide

I found this book to be quite an extraordinary investigation of a tragedy we read about, but hadn't experienced.
David Leach makes you feel you were part of the race. His descriptions of the location, race and the main characters gives you a sense that you actually knew them.
Fatal Tide may have even more meaning if you have paddled in the Bay of Fundy area or have ever volunteered to cover an adventure race.
David also deals with a number of practical issues such as:hypothermia, cold shock and attempts to explain how these physiological events impacted racers.
If you get a chance give this book a read.

The Swell

One of my favourite shots - Paul H took this one. Usually the sea flattens out somewhat when you are taking these shots - but not when you are at the bottom looking up.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Avalon Dragon Boat launch

I witnessed an incredible event this afternoon - the launch of two dragon boats. One of them hand made by women who have survived breast cancer. This project started 18 months ago.
It is hoped that dragon boat racing will be a regular event.
Congratulations to the Avalon Dragon boat racers. It looks like the permanent home will be in the town of Paradise on Octagon Pond. It is positive to see that kind of support in the community.

Middle Cove

The marine forecast forced the regularly scheduled event for KNL to be cancelled. The incredibly sunny day couldn't keep us off the water even for a short time. No real wind to speak of but swell was rolling in nicely. We launched from Outer Cove and made our way out a fair distance heading for Torbay. We puttered around for a while in what was quite a significant swell. It doesn't always look like much from the photos, but it creeps up on you like a slowly moving roller coaster.

Beaufort Scale

Following our last paddle there was considerable discussion about weather, forecasting and decision making about starting our trip in the first place, especially since there were some novice kayakers among the group. The group leaders made a choice to proceed with a good understanding of the current weather and the forecast for later in the day. There was no objection voiced from any of the experienced paddlers at the time of the departure to the takeout nor any disagreement as we left the wharf. All safety measures were taken including assignment of sweeps and assistants and four experienced paddlers had VHF radios. The photos at the start suggest wavelets on the water, and not enough wind to extend the flag.
The Beaufort Scale can be a useful tool in combination with knowledge of where one is going,skill level and duration of the trip.
I would estimate the Beaufort Number to be 2 when we left.
Since weather forecasting is not always reliable in this region we have to keep vigilant about the conditions and that was why we headed back early and avoided the final section of the paddle. The wind direction and our location kept the group fairly close and manageable until we hit the turn around the final headland.
At the turn the Beaufort was 3-4 and as we headed into the final stretch a 4 on the scale. Waves were less than a metre, but it was understandable some of the novices were a bit worried and even some intermediate paddlers were apprehensive. At one point one novice paddler blew her whistle as she was uncomfortable but not in immediate trouble. Experienced paddlers would have just been having fun but in this case were assisting the newer paddlers.

Since novice paddlers are just beginning, their comfort zone is very limited - making sure enough time is allowed to reach a protected area will minimize discomfort and angst among the group and ensure novices return to paddle another day. I think this was done, I discussed it with the team leader at a break and we left early enough so that we would come under the predicted increased winds for the evening.

I have found keeping this scale in mind helps me understand how wind speed affects me on the water. As well it gives a good predictive idea of what you are going to be doing. If you see white caps as you are driving in to the take out - you know it is going to be a good workout and if you aren't physically and mentally up for it you have to let your fellow paddlers know.

Two books to check out:
Lull J: Sea Kayaking Safety and Rescues. Wilderness Press, Berkeley 2001
Where the Wind Blows A Guide to Marine Weather in Atlantic Canada, Breakwater 1995

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rantem Paddle

Chance Cove to Rantem paddle.
Kayakers are dwarfed by great stacks and cliffs.
Click on photos to enlarge - I didn't recognize Tony until the middle photo was enlarged and didn't see kayakers going around the stack in the bottom photo until I looked closer - bottom right.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Chance Cove

What a great paddle!
One of the largest groups ever - 38 folks made their way to Chance Cove slipway and departed for Rantem. On the way, great views and at least one large eagle perched briefly and soaring overhead.
We had lunch just before Rantem on a rather large beach,one of the few that could accomodate all 38 kayaks and then made our way slowly back anticipating a bit of an increase in wind.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

World Physical Therapy Day

September 8th has been designated World Physical Therapy Day.
Working with people to promote wellness, mobility and overall health.

Check out: