Kelly's island which sits just 4 km off shore is one of three islands closely grouped together at the head of Conception bay. Stories of pirates such as Captain Peter Easton using the island as a pirate haven. Tales of treasures found and remaining dance along oral tradition. Never developed and mostly due to it's high cliffs the island has never been logged; leaving a rare old growth forest at it's center.
A barachois at the western side of the island had intrigued me researching the area; this beautiful lagoon was everything and more than the map suggest it was. A warm near windless day I took off my drysuit and thermal layers to explore the lagoon; enjoying the warmth of large rounded rocks on my bare feet.
Arctic terns danced above swooping loudly and angrily. This world wide traveller returns here each year from as far south as Antarctica to breed and spend the warm months. The longest annual migration partook by an animal. Inadvertently I had stumbled into their breeding ground; they displayed their displeasure about the intrusion by swooping at my cranium.
Having never really seen a tern nest or egg I carefully approached small patches of wild peas which seemed to be the area most protected by the parents. Austere nests of flattened grass held one or two eggs each. The rugged nest allowed the eggs to blend into it's surroundings better. I snapped a photo or two while protecting my head from hundreds of swooping terns.
Having angered the terns beyond belief I took to the water to circle the island. A large part of my decision to cover each cove and each section during my "expedition" comes mostly from the discoveries I stumbled across during my days on the Ottawa river now years ago. The small things we skip over can sometimes hold the most beautiful and interesting places. Aptly named big cove on the northern side of the island laid a long shallow cove filled with shallow reefs. The highly angled beach spoke of it's constant pounding from the sea. Today I enjoyed it in perfect calmness.
Gulls and cormorants nested together along the northern side of the island. While less aggressive in their attack compared to the terns, their larger bowels emptying upon my kayak provided incentive enough to pull a little further offshore. A quick roll and I was cleaned off and on my way.
Back to the lagoon I pulled into the evening shade. Over the past week or so I have been introducing my body back to healthy foods; leaving me pretty tired with huge headaches from lack of refined sugars. Kayaking wasn't even an option during this introduction back into the realm of healthy eating; however I was finally feeling energetic again. Stripping off the drysuit I explored the cliffs and shallows while I fueled up my body with some well deserved healthy snacks.
On the short crossing back a large yacht approached so I yielded to allow it to pass by. Turned out to be Dez a fellow kayaker aboard who stopped for a chat. We soon discovered the explorer I was paddling was once his!
Shortly after chatting with Dez three Minke whales surfaced behind me. Minkes are not as curious as humpbacks and they rarely pay attention to me in my kayak. I was surprised to not only see them breaching around me but sticking their heads out of the water to have a look!
A new addition to the family seemed to me to be the reason for the attention.A young minke circled me a little further off than the adults. The curiosity of a youthful whale had put on quite the show as these magnificent creatures surfaced all around me.
What a perfect ending to a perfect day.