Saturday, September 30, 2006

choice beef

Barachois, St. Mary's Bay, NL (photo: Alison Dyer)

Do you really know where your garbage ended up today? Any idea how long it'll stay there? Want to know why we should care? Kayak Newfoundland & Labrador has initiated a beach trash awareness project. And Ocean Net is involving communities in a choice way.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Where the Spirit Soars

(L'anse au Flamme:
Alison Dyer)

The following is part of an interview with George Schaller, a preeminent field biologist, by John G. Mitchell in Oct.2006 issue of National Geographic:

JMG: Why do we need parks & reserves?

GS: It's essential that each country keep part of its natural heritage untouched, as a record for the future, a baseline to measure change, so people can see the splendor of their past, before the land was degraded. And if we ever want to rehabilitate habitat, we need to see how things used to be. These parks and reserves, these untouched places are also genetic reservoirs, where plants and animals that dan't exist elsewhere still survive. The can be invaluable to the human species as sources of food or medicine. If we destroy the parks, they're gone forever, and we may be losing something invaluable to us.

JMG:And now the Bush Administration and Senator Stevens are looking for a go-ahead to drill for oil on the refuge's coastal plain. How do you feel about that?

GS: It's a warning that you can never give up if you really treasure something. Nothing is safe. About 95 percent of Alaska's North Slope has already been opened for oil leases. Can't we save the rest? What kind of people are we if we don't? the oil companies are trying to get into the refuge, because if they can get in there, they can get in anywhere.

GS:....It is tremendously worrisome that we don't talk about nature anymore. We talk about natural resources as if everything had a price tag.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

scrambling over brambly land

(photo:alison dyer)

Summer studies 1

The children smell of bogwater, spruce bark, wild rose pollen,
pondering equators around planets, fishing questions
scrambling over brambly land,
at night watching slugs mate and stars shoot.

2005 Alison Dyer

I began summer with a night paddle on the solstice in Conception Bay and closed it with a night paddle on the equinox in St. Mary's Bay. Both times we were fortunate to see brilliant bioluminescence. If you've ever paddled in this stuff, seen how it makes fireballs of your paddle blades, and creates streamers of greenish lights as the bow of your kayak breaks the surface, you'll know how magical it appears.

Friday, September 22, 2006

At The Door of the Dragon

waterfall & cave; cave (photos : Neil Burgess)

waterfall; a swell time (photos: Alison Dyer)
another cave (photo: Neil Burgess)

a 3rd cave, a 4th cave! (photos: Alison Dyer)
boomer; swell play (photos: N.Burgess)

alison before the stack (photo: Neil Burgess)

starting out (photo: Neil Burgess)

For more images, see kayak the rock (go to gallery, click on Neil's St. Vincent's images)

Paddled around Cape English in St. Mary’s Bay, Newfoundland, this past Sunday. Opposite the legendary Cape St. Mary’s. A metre or so of swell with some rebound going out but after rounding the cape, the magic began.

There was an Easter Island quality to the monumental cliffs, steeply dipping beds eroded in large statuesque stacks. (Pat made reference to the Lord of the Rings set.) A huge shining guano rock pulsed out a squadron of elegant cormorants. Enticing rock gardens rose and fell several feet and provided lots of fun. Boomers, blowholes and spouts animated the entire cliffscape. At one, we knew we were at the door of the dragon. Sucking in the swell and spouting out a cloud of spray in a deep sonorous tone. Not far away, another wall revealed an enormous atrium, steeply sided and narrowing toward a dark square cave that seem to go on forever. Pat had a bit of a scare when, exploring the inside, a good swell rumbled down the narrow passage and caught him in the cave.

Outside again, we scared a herd of sunning seals who slipped from their rocks into the water. An osprey glided over the bright green meadow cliff tops. We all agreed it reminded us of the coast of Ireland. Farther on, we almost bumped into a docile sun fish.

This paddle – from its surf launch at St. Vincent’s, to its millpond conclusion at St. Mary’s – was a dream. Pat said it rivaled Chance Cove, and Neil compared it to Little Passage on the south coast. Debbie had a coast to coast grin and Isabelle couldn't get enough play around the rocks. Neither Easter Island, New Zealand, or Ireland, we just found Paradise.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

What's In the potty?

On the national front:

Canada Cuts Kyoto Funding (ENN Sept.15.2006 — By the GLOBE Foundation of Canada)

The Government of Canada has pulled back from a $1.5 million pledge to the
United Nations Climate Change Secretariat to support the Clean Development
Mechanism (CDM). Canada’s contribution towards the administration of the scheme was to have been the largest of any country. The CDM is a system that allows industrialized nations to earn greenhouse gas emissions credits by investing in projects that reduce emissions in developing countries. Industrialized countries can then apply those credits in order to meet emissions targets set under the Kyoto Protocol. The general principle is that emissions reductions are cheaper and easier to achieve in developing countries, where simple investments in energy efficiency or alternative energy technology can yield large cuts. The CDM is recognition of the growing importance of developing nations such as India and China in the fight against climate change.

On the local scene (oh, just choose one! how about...):

Soaring assessments shock St. John's homeowners (CBC News

An upswing in the St. John's real estate market is hitting residents in
the pocketbook, with double-digit hikes in municipal tax assessments....[residents like Jack Wells saw hikes of 66% CBC reports...I can well believe that - in my neighbourhood, it's well over 70%!] "We're going to have to pay, we're on a fixed income and to us … we're amazed. We don't know what to do," said homeowner Jack Wells, a senior whose property value shot up from $69,000 to $115,000.
Meanwhile, our esteemed Mayor Andy Wells says he can't do anything about it, he knows nothing about the process of assessment "do you?" he asked CBC host Ted Blades, (although these assessors are not at all independent, as Andy would have us believe, but on contract with the City). Another tax grab - I guess that means council salaries will be going up again this year - why do we always have to be so cynical about Andy. I'm sure he's doing it in our best interests!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Indian Burying Place

A recent blogger thought I was being too 'verbose' and using grand words. Perhaps I should back up and tell you my academic background is in physical geography. And so I will continue to use terms such as erratics, pillow lavas, and other beauties of the landscape. But I'll also post something of the cultural landscape. Last month I had the opportunity to visit Indian Burying Place, an abandoned community on the isolated and exposed western shore of Notre Dame Bay in Newfoundland. You can read my article on same, and other resettled communities, in an upcoming issue of Kanawa (Canada's Paddling magazine).

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Storm brewed poetry

Erosion: a sonata in c major

The Isthmus joins the cut-off limbs of two ancient continents. Or rather one continent –Gondwana - with the oceanic floor of Iapetus. And when it’s not shrouded in fog, you can see two bays, one on either side of the Isthmus, crowding it with water, testing its rocky limits. The area is strewn with erratics, boulders that were plucked, carried and dropped by a retreating glacier, the erosive force of glacial ice. Now these erratics perch on rounded highlands, deep base notes grounding an ethereal landscape.

From Chance Cove to Western Point at the bottom of Trinity Bay the coastline, a symphony in rock. On a quiet sea, kelp gardens below the cliffs sway a lullaby, cobbled beaches drip arpeggios, and sea caves belch in timpanic splendour. Narrow sea arches, steep and chiseled, sing arias if tuned in a northwesterly.

Parabolic, sinuous, curved, blow-out.
Dry, harsh, parched, draining.
Burgeo Sandbanks, Gooseberry Cove, Windmill Bight. The changing tempo of wind keeps their sand dunes limber, the synergy of granular timbre. These prized spots of erosive excess.

copyright 2005 Alison Dyer
(first published in Newfoundland Quarterly, summer 2005)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Another remarkable summer in Newfoundland

Another remarkable summer in Newfoundland paddling the coastline.

This photo is taken on a hill above the resettled community of Port Anne, or Burnt Island, Placentia Bay.

You can find some of my upcoming articles in Kanawa (paddling to resettled communities) and the Newfoundland Quarterly (some thoughts on industrialization of Placentia Bay). On a different note, two of my short stories, 'Last Call' and 'Products of Erosion,' were published this summer in Grimm Magazine and The Nashwaak Review, respectively.

Back to sea kayaking. Paddled in St. Mary's Bay, Newfoundland on the weekend and met a wonderful elderly gentleman, Clarence Dalton (of the former community of John's Pond). Clarence provided this riddle for us to solve. Have fun, think hard!

Three parts of a cross
One circle all around
Two semi circles and one stroke down
A triangle stood on its feet
Two semi circles and one circle complete