Friday, June 12, 2009

Theory of movement

Stan moving along the red rocks of Bay Bulls

Well, I'm moving too! I've decided to move this weblog to a new weblog and blog only about kayaking. That's what this is all about anyway so I might as well call it what it is.

I've moved all my posts over there and I'll continue from there. The new link is

I hope you'll visit me there and update your links etc.

Tony :-)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Theory of codes

Kayakers to the rescue. Looks like the fisher- man is helping us but looks are deceiving in this case.

There are codes for everything. Building codes, code of ethics for professionals and, aptly today a code for conduct at sea. As we paddled out of Bay Bulls this morning we came upon two fishermen whose boat was disabled by rope around the propeller. We stopped to ask if we could help but they only asked us to ask a zodiac, out by the berg we were going to, to come in and give him a tow. When we got out to the berg the guy in the zodiac took off so we had to double back to see what we could do again. Stan tried a call on the VHF radio and then a try with the cell phone. Eventually, someone did come out from Bay Bulls to give a tow and we went on our way.

Stan and myself were amazed that these guys weren't wearing PFDs and didn't have anyway to communicate with land if they had to. Not even a spare set of oars. We were in much smaller boats but much better prepared.

In any case, we did what we could and there's always something that can be done to help. Stan wondered if we could have towed him ourselves. I didn't think so but we lived up to the code of conduct at sea and we resumed our paddle.

Tony :-)

Stan paddling past the iceberg in Bay Bulls. He's further away from the berg than he looks. The berg has been around for a while and has been melting so its a candidate to roll. This was our third berg for the year, will we bag anymore?

Stan in happy salute to being on the water.

Making our way along the south side of Bay Bulls with the iceberg in the distance.

Stan exploring the south side of Bay Bulls. There were a lot of sea gulls perched on the cliffs behind him.

Stan paddling at South Head, the headland between Bay Bulls and Witless Bay. The rocks here are mainly red sandstones of the Signal Hill Formation. These rocks outcrop at Signal Hill (couldn't see that coming huh?) the type location for the Formation.

Stan at South Head with numerous sea stacks that makes it very scenic and a great place to paddle through.

Sea stack at South Head, a safe refuge always for birds of any species.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Theory of the present

Washing up in fresh water after an evening of kayak practice at St. Phillips (Doug Adams picture)

The day before yesterday I learned a relative had passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer. Every time there's a death I hear people say that you have to take advantage of the time while you have it. I couldn't agree more, except that I try to remember that every day and not just at times like this.

Last evening was one of those moments to live in the present. A group of 10 were on hand at St. Phillips to practice self-rescuse, assisted rescues or just paddle stroks. After, we paddled up the river to wash the salt off our gear and motorcyle rider Doug Adams stopped on the bridge to snap this picture of 8 of us. Yes, there are 8 in the picture. Stan is in all black and just in front of the overturned yellow and his visibility was the subject of a chuckle earlier. All good fun.

We had a great time and motorcycle rider Doug also took advantage of the day. Its not so much sieze the moment as it is to enjoy the moment. I enjoy this "present" of life and I live it in the present.

Tony :-)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Theory of guerrilla gardening

Flowers blooming in a forgotten garden in Tickles

Guerrilla gardening is a form of environmental activism where activists take over a piece of abandoned land and grow crops on it, usually under cover of night. I think it can also be loosely applied to taking plants out of abandoned gardens and replant in ones own garden.

Last year near the end of June a group of us were kayak camping at Tickles in St. Mary's Bay, Newfoundland. Its an old resettled community and these flowers were growing there wild now that there was no one there to attend to it. I don't know what the name of the flowers is but obviously someone had taken care to grow them as a source of enjoyment because they aren't wildflowers, at least not here.

I liked them and even though I didn't know what they were I took a clump, put them in my kayak and planted them in my garden. A winter passed and when spring came I wondered if they would come back. Well, they did and judging by how early they're blooming, we must be almost a month ahead of the season compared to last year.

Tony :-)

And here it is growing almost a year later in my garden at home.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Theory of first love

In my Necky Looksha IV at Great Island (photo by Derrick B.)

I've had my Nordkapp for a month now and I'm just reflecting back on my first love - my Necky Looksha IV. Its something like first love or your first car. I'll never forget the first paddle, I was pretty green. I've had some great paddles in the Necky since and learned a lot.

Somehow, when I got the Nordkapp I didn't know if I was doing the right thing. Did I really need to buy this boat? Was I deserving given that I'm not a skilled paddler? A month later and the answer is in. I'm still not the paddler that a lot of Kayak Newfoundland and Labrador members are but I've grown into the Nordkapp. I feel really comfortable and I'm ready to continue learning.

I still have my Necky and I won't abandon her; I'll still take her out for a spin from time to time. Little does she know that it'll be to rockhop or paddle in ice. I figure I owe her that given she was the first love of my paddling addiction.

Tony :-)

Three weeks later and I'm in my Nordkapp on Fair and False Bay on the way to St. Brendans. Thanks Derrick for the picture; it was a memorable day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Theory of seasons

Tulip Princess Irene finding it rather cool for this time of year

There are of course, nominally, 4 seasons.

Today I'm reminded of a Crowded House tune "Four seasons in one day". There can't be too many places on the planet where you could literally have 4 seasons in one day. But, one place is Newfoundland.

They say here that if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes and it will change. This morning started out with snow falling. It snowed for about 5 hours (winter), then it started to warm and the snow turned to light rain (spring), then the sun made a feeble effort to shine (summer) and this evening it cooled (fall).

The snow didn't last but it was a bit of a shock to the system, especially as I hadn't started Christmas shopping yet.

Tony :-)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Theory of go west young man

Stan at Cape Spear

John Soule first coined the phrase "Go west young man, and grow up with the country" in 1851. It was used in an editorial to urge young men to head west in the USA to forge a trail through the wild west and settle the states of California, Washington and Oregon. That period was imortalized in countless western movies where wagon trains were attacked by Apache indians and rescued by the U.S. cavalry.

Stan and myself paddled, kinda unplanned, from Quidi Vidi to Cape Spear this morning. Cape Spear is the most easterly point of North America and as such the only way to go was west. To go east would have meant a long, long paddle to Ireland. It would have essentially been the same as throwing a message in a bottle, only a couple of skeletons in kayaks would have wash up on the shores of Europe instead.

We stayed at the Cape for a few minutes, content we had made our first trip to Malcolm's Cape. No cavalry rode back west with us but we did have a following sea which was pretty sweet.

Tony :-)

We came out of Quidi Vidi and paddled along the Southside Hills down into Freshwater Bay. Though the picture doesn't show it, the water was pretty confused until we got deeper into Freshwater Bay and behind Sprigg's Point.

Stan making his way down into Freshwater Bay.

Stan paddling into Freshwater Bay. The red Signal Hill sandstones form the shoreline here.

Stan on the Deadman's Bay side of Sprigg's Point. An oil industry supply boat had come out of St. John's harbour and laid to for a while.