Sunday, January 30, 2011

Banff Film Festival

We just got back from the Banff Film Festival.
It was fantastic.
My favourites:
1. Crossing the Ditch -
This was an amazing story of how two young Australians (who were novice kayakers when they come up with the idea) - cross the Tasman Sea. A remarkable 2200km journey.
2. Eastern Rises -
Eastern Rises won Best Film on Mountain Sports.Four fly fishermen land in the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia and tell their story. Wild scenery and lots of humorous commentary.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Baby seals

Recently we came across a baby seal alone on the beach. I had no sense that the animal was in distress so was completely fine with leaving it alone. However, I can see though how some(kayakers or hikers) might attempt to assist.

Our recent sighting is a good reminder for us as that when we kayakers or beach-walkers see baby seals "all alone" on the rocks, the young seals are usually fine. The mother seals are usually just out of sight nearby.

I haven't seen a NL version but there is a good pamphlet from Wild ARC in case you see an animal in distress:

Here in NL call DFO’s Report hotline is 1-888-895-3003. Call to report any sightings of marine mammals in distress. I think you can also use this number to report marine turtle sightings.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Brain, Creativity and Pain

Functional MRIs have been used in a number of pain research projects in the recent past. I came across this video link reviewing some posts related to pain management. Dr.Charles Limb presents an interesting and entertaining look into his research on the brain as it applies to musical creativity. His work found that improvisation and creativity in musicians highlighted different functional areas in the brain. Fascinating work that contributes to more of our understanding of the brain; and equally - important > shows what is possible when you think outside of the box.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gran Bruit

My friend Doug Bird from the Tickle Trunk painted this and I was struck by the colours. This print was supposed to be a gift but it ended up on one of our walls, and we had to get another. This summer marked the end of the community - 31 families voted to relocate Gran Bruit and were receiving government support to move to Burgeo or Port aux Basques. Gran Bruit translates to Great Noise and it is largely believed the name refers to the waterfall that was prominent in the community. Gran Bruit is only accessible by boat so the kayak trip planned by Ralph, Tony and Stan was a great tribute and remembrance of a strong history of a once bustling fishing community on the south west coast.Check out blogs of Tony and Stan of their trip to Gran Bruit

Great shot of Loons

I find loons in Witless Bay or Bay Bulls extremely skittish - by the time I get even remotely close enough for a photo they are gone.
Just recently came across this great photo Colin Hiscock(used with Colin's permission) sent KNL members in November. He took this shot on the Gander River.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

the French connection in Newfoundland and Labrador

Photograph © French Shore Historical Society of original design ©Jean Claude Roy and Christina Roy 2007-2009

Check out the website for photo of French shore tapestry see:

The top photo is from the website of Jean Claude Roy. It is a part of a panel from a remarkable 222 foot tapestry currently on exhibit at the Geo Centre. Photos are not permitted at the exhibit. (used with permission see above)
This exhibit is worth attending before the end of January. When we were travelling along the French Shore - Griquet, Quirpon and numerous other communities, we read and heard about the tapestry being exhibited in the French Shore Interpretation Centre in Conche. Unfortunately we missed the exhibit there, so were really pleased to find it - winding its way through the exhibit hall of the Geo Centre. The French history in Newfoundland is fascinating - Jean Claude Roy and his wife Christine bring it alive in their design and colours. A group of 13 women from Conche embroidered the French Shore Tapestry which is the property of the French Shore Historical Society. These embroiders from the region who worked on the tapestry since 2007, have made sure the unique history of the region has been captured for many years to come - in this extraordinary work of art. I would have bought the book, since there were many interesting interpretations captured in the art and enlightening commentary for each panel; but it is not yet published.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ice Cover - Out of Equilibrium

Iceberg in Spaniard's Bay

The article Out of Equilibrium by Charles Schmidt see: Environ Health Perspect 119:a20-a28, 2011 is worth checking out. I believe Alison first drew attention to the piece in her blog, but I am only now getting around to reading it. I am sure experts in the area would have a different view but I was blown away by some of the information for example, the authors wrote: In August 2010 an iceberg four times the size of Manhattan broke off the coast of Greenland and began drifting out to sea.

Maybe it's the absence of snow here in NL and the bizarre amounts of snow elsewhere like Glasgow plus these articles - but you have to think all this is evidence something is out of synch.

Have a read through this article. I am glad someone is keeping an eye on things I just hope the political decision makers are listening to the experts.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Wave action

Mad Rocks - I don't know what I like more, the name of this place or the actual spot.

Here is an extraordinary quote from The Wave as part of Susan Casey's research: When Simon Day analyzed his research, he was stunned: the model showed that when this land(a small volcanic island in the Canary Islands)dropped into the ocean, the resulting splash wave would be three thousand feet high and generate a tsunami that would hit the Caribbean, North and South America. By the time it arrived at the U.S East coast nine hours later, the wave would still top one hundred feet.

Apparently volcanic eruptions have weakened this island and there is a concern the next eruptions could cause a section of the island weighing 500 billion tons to be lost from the main body of the island.

This kind of wave research gives new perspective to our understanding of wave and water mechanics.

Monday, January 3, 2011

There is nothing like a good dose of Fog

Just when you think we will be able to get out the cross country skis for extra training - mild temperatures and fog rolls in.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

This Way to Dublin

This day had several different elements of weather. Initially little wind and sun; then cloudy overcast drizzle. Within two hours fog at Signal Hill, then higher colder winds and as we were heading in - cold, wind and snow. Unpredictable but fun.
The sign says it all - Dublin or Paris is the next stop for paddlers, as they approach the horizon.

New Years Day Paddle

It is amazing the difference a little bit of sunshine makes. The brain figures it is going to be a warm day and that makes a difference on an ocean paddle even for a short distance. Minus 2 degrees C but even a young seal found the sun a good enough reason to lounge on the rocky shore of the inner harbour.
Close to shore two otters spotted us but evaded the camera and on the north part of the headland a lone eagle was hovering above the cliff.
A great way to start the season.

Through the Gut on New Years Day

The small exit from the harbour to the Atlantic is known by most as "the Gut". I am not sure why exactly - no doubt it is a reference to the narrow size of the entrance to the harbour. This plus the swells and wave action can create quite a challenge to returning into the harbour.
Some years no one gets out because of the large waves surf and swell.
This year all participants got beyond the gut and headed out some distance to play in the waves. Dry suits, thermal wear and pogies were pretty much essential items.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Every year kayakers in the St.John's region all gather in Quidi Vidi and paddle out through the harbour and into the open water. This has become a tradition for years and no matter what the weather, there is always a good group in attendance.
Quidi Vidi is actually a small community within the city and the residents very tolerant to our NYD invasion.
Today, the air temperature was - one or two degrees C, sunny with calm water in the harbour. There was a bit of a swell on, but minimal effect on the harbour exit.