Sunday, September 13, 2009

Aquaforte Paddle

About 40 of us carefully invaded the community of Aquaforte for this traditional end of the season paddle. This is a fishing community, so fishing vessels and other boats are frequently coming and going. We launched from a long beach, which is a small spit extending into the west end of this part of the harbour. We managed to putter around this end of the harbour while waiting for the whole group. Since the tide was high we were able to paddle close to shore where the East Coast trail extends. A group managed to paddle a short distance up the Aquaforte river. Once we were beyond the initial launch site we hugged the southern shore and explored the many rocky features and inlets. I can't remember the source but my recollection from someone knowledgeable in the area, was that Aquaforte Harbour was often favoured as a safe haven for many early arrivals from Britain; this partly was due to the deep waters of the harbour, as well as it's safe location. Apparently between 1675 and 1715 Aquaforte supported a seaonal fishery particularly from the UK. But the surrounding areas in particular Ferryland(which we could easily see as we headed out from the harbour, around Spurwink Island) was a hub of fishing activity from Spain, Portugal and English as early as 1500 on an annual basis.
Although we don't see any evidence of the whale fishery, in 1902 a norwegian made an application to build a factory to process whales.
The name Aquaforte is more than likely a reference to the only strong or fast water we saw or have seen over the years - the fair sized local waterfalls on the north side. No doubt it was even greater in it's capacity at the time Aquaforte was named or it may be that after a finding refuge in this otherwise calm harbour it was striking to come across this fair sized waterfall.
On our return we got a kick out of watching a gull give a bald eagle a bit of a hard time.I don't know if this was typical gull behaviour but I thought it a bit odd that this particular gull was picking a fight with an eagle.

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