Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Maiden voyage along the carvings of water

Easterly wind 25 knots. My usual paddling haunt of the southern shore along the exposed coast seemed out of the question. None the less I poked my head into Petty Hr to confirm the marine forecast..... unfortunately I verified it's validity. A quick map check (ask my wife I do carry all my maps in the car most days) I decided I would head to St Philips and use the high topography along the eastern side of Conception bay to tuck away from the eastern wind. Soon enough my new Legend slipped into the clement brine for her maiden voyage.

Having a good look at my map I decided to check out Big freshwater cove. A blue line extended over a cascading headland; my mind pictured it's beauty. The ferry's MV Flanders and MV Beaumont Hamel (named after WW1 Battle honours of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment) plow the same waters U-513 and U 518 did. U-boats that attacked and sunk ships at Scotia Pier killing many mariners during during WW2. The ferrys floating monuments of now distant wars; that left no family untouched in the small country of Newfoundland.

Small caves dot the rugged coastline. Cliff's plunge deep into awaiting sea. While most of these tiny crevasses would be inaccessible in less than perfect conditions; I had a great opportunity to explore and relax in the carvings of the sea.

What was once a outport family garden where root vegetables flourished;  homes of downtown St. johns style and colour now dominate Wester point in Portugal cove. While voted the best coastal destination by National Geographic last year; the society cautioned that city growth was akin to a invasive species. The species has taken up shop here in Portugal cove; a outport just outside the city limits. Timing the crossings of the constant ferry traffic I made best speed across the mouth of Portugal cove harbour; and onto a coast where due to geography lies void of human signs.

Smooth granite polished by the roar and trickle of the seasons. Descending into 5 fathoms of deep cold North Atlantic. Displaying a bare stone path where forests cling in a communal effort against the elements on it's edges. Above sits Brock's head pond; a basin of cool fresh water. A docile tarn's power over the landscape is truly inspiring. 

Civil twilight changed landmarks into hues of blue. I contemplated a night crossing to Bell Island on my return leg. However the slow swell rocking me into a near trance of relaxation all day and a empty stomach changed my thoughts. I decided to shoot for Goats cove; one of the few easy takeouts carved into the shoreline. 

Landing just as darkness enshrouded the last signs of light; I brewed up some coffee and had a quick bite to eat. The fall chill crept into my bones as I sat; held at bay only by the warm infusion of supper. Snapping a few shots I was unsure if they would turnout. 

My new yak carefully placed (as a new kayak usually is) on the cobblestone. The treble of a small stream and bass of a large sea slowly shifting into the rock was a soundtrack to end my day.

Pulling in to St Philips the smell of wood burning stoves danced in wisps across my noise in the cool fall night. A town silent as evening news filled tepid living rooms. A silence broken only by the cadence of my paddle and trickle of wake from my bow. The flashing green channel marker displayed the end of my travels; a great relaxing day on the water. Another day on the edge of North America.  Another day to enjoy; and share.

(Track of today's journey)

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