Sunday, December 30, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
(photos by Michael Bradley, 2007)
As temperatures fall far below zero, and clunky Sorels replace booties, I'm remembering some paddles from this past summer. One was with fellow kayak blogger Michael Bradley who took these photos of our day trip in Trinity Bay. This is an exciting bay to paddle. At the head are places like Chance Cove, Chapel Arm and Spread Eagle - sheltered, for the most part, but their stacks and caves testify to an often active sea.
A little further out are resettled communities - only accessible by boat - such Deer Harbour and Ireland's Eye (site of biggest drug bust in eastern Canada of the 70s, or something like that) and Pope's Harbour where this year a church was built - four decades after the community was abandoned.
Further out still, past a great poker hand (as in Hearts Delight, Hearts Desire, and Hearts Content) is the exposed coast chez moi with its sheer cliffs, shoals and great vistas. Many miles on the other side of the bay are places like Trinity, a historic community with many restored homes and the filming location for the 2001 film The Shipping News and the 2002 television miniseries Random Passage.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
[Photo credits: Neil Burgess]
Some miles out, near Long Island and Merasheen, an oil tanker sails fast.
A pair of loons rehearse an aria. A pair of moose on a ridge stand guard. We paddle around Pumbly Cove and Great Pinchgut and enter Little Pinchgut for lunch. A view as wide as imagination. And, sadly, a beach choking on plastic.
[Salt meat buckets, oil containers, fishing nets, shoes, pop bottles. A commonly held perception is that our beaches and coastal environment is 'pristine' and 'untouched'. Sadly, that's a myth. Many beaches, particularly on the south coast of Newfoundland, are eyesores and some are hazardous to marine wildlife. Where on earth does all this garbage come from? Certainly a number of sources but the short answer is - us. ]
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
(Photos of Chance Cove, TB courtesy of Graham Openshaw)
In a 2003 trip report about paddling Chance Cove to Rantem Harbour - a short but enlightening trip - I wrote that the paddle, like all fine things in life (tasting good chocolate, listening to bullfrogs, reading Barbara Kingsolver), should be enjoyed slowly, reverentially. And so when a late October chance to paddle the Chance arose, I grabbed it - and my 12-year-old enthusiastic daughter - along with several other members of our ever-expanding kayaking club.
October around the Chance offers a different view. Fewer eagles and the noisy terns and flashy guillimots were noticeably absent. Instead, the bright yellow and muted orange of larch, birch and dogberry softened the edges of Rantem Harbour. And anyway, rocks, caves, stacks, passageways have a tendency to stay put. Just one day past a full moon meant we were treated to a greater tidal range.
Daughter Ella was intrigued by the intertidal flora and fauna exposed by a low low tide and kept steering our borrowed double in close. Encouragement by another paddler had us both squeezing through passageways and rock hopping in places that I would not have thought a double could possibly manage. And while a double is far from my preferred mode of paddling, I was surprised at the agility we attained. Smiles from offspring #1 were well worth it.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
(Photos: Alison catching a wave; Paddling near Little Bell; catching another wave; Portugal Cove morning - photos by Stan MacKenzie; Bell Island stratigraphy - photo by Alison Dyer)
It had been four years since I paddled around Bell Island, Conception Bay, (approximately 26km) with a group of paddling friends. Another trip was organized this past saturday by Joe Carroll who miraculously got the weather perfect. Sunny, warm (in mid 20s) and slight breeze (forecast 20km southerly). We left Portugal Cove (above) on the 8:20am ferry and were on the water less than an hour later. It was a far less rambuctious ride around the northern head than last time (steep northerly swells). But enough swell that we didn't risk going through a cave and sufficient for some fun surfing on the western side.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
(Photo: Overlooking St. John's Harbour)
September 15, 2007
Listened to a recent audio book by Rattling Books in the car the other week. Coasting Trade is wonderful feast of stories and soundscapes - of angels leaving signs for rum-runners; neon panties screaming from an old woman's laundry line; a woman knitting a stove; the wild abundance of an immigrant's garden.... all woven with the sounds of the sea and ports and diary entries from a 19th century schooner sailing around Newfoundland. MP3 download from Rattling Books is only $10. Highly recommend it. Below is a review by Rave AudioFile Magazine.
In a performance of less than an hour, producer Chris Brookes and poet Robin McGrath transport the listener to a Yankee schooner circling Newfoundland in the late nineteenth century. The production, a Canadian tapestry for the ears, is beautifully embellished with sound effects that capture the waves, ship sounds, and local fauna. Robert Joy, Rick Boland, and Anita Best bring a lyrical beauty to this "Performance for Three Voices." McGrath provides fleeting glimpses into the lives of an immigrant, a biologist, a smuggler, and Newfoundland locals scratching a life out of the rugged terrain. The short performance is superb, with the rich voices of Joy, Boland, and Best meshing into a melody against the harmony of background sounds. H.L.S. © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine
What came first, the chicken or the egg. Fortunately, in this case, the answer is straightforward. We have been awaiting an "Egg" for sometime. It came, with a stream of September morning sunlight & a wide 9-year-old-grin last Thursday. Bad news, one of the teacup twins (above) had pecked at it. Note to self: get oyster shells at the Country Store. Later that day, we gave all four hens an outing to celebrate (okay, two had flown the coop or rather the run; we later spent an hour chasing down the last hen).
Never imagined raising hens could be so, well, interesting. Mind you, it does cut into other pursuits, like paddling. Ah well. Balance in life.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Friday, August 31, 2007
september 5, 2007
Michael Bradley turned up in Newfoundland this summer. He located me in Trinity Bay feeding hens and hiding from civilization in general. Stayed for supper (unfortunately I hadn't got out jigging until later so cod wasn't on the menu), pitched the tent and we planned a day paddle for the following one which turned out pretty decent in terms of weather. I was able to show him some of the headlands and arches around my neck of the woods. Michael - I'm glad you got some paddling in around the Rock this summer even though trips did not all go as planned.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
managed late afternoon paddle in Trinity Bay from our cove. Calm waters encouraged me to solo paddle an otherwise forbidding coastline with no takeouts for several miles. Past Hants Head and headed south (well, actually west). Not a boat on the bay - that felt eery, given it'd take me a good 5 hours to paddle to the other side. Lots of long-tendrilled jellyfish. Stark cliffs, brutal headlands (given the right - or wrong - conditions) and then I found Green Cove - local name. It's barely a cove - not a boulder to take out in, but it has the most impressive arch, a solid mass scratched with quartz. Even then - in a quiet sea, the swell slapped up a good foot & a half on the cliff. I managed to edge around the arch to see whether I could pass through - but not unless my kayak came in around 5 feet - there was a tight right angle to pass through. Still, a magnificent sight. Still further, another section of the cliff I'd not explored before (I'd been paddling further out to avoid clapotis), sheer rock for a few hundred feet - heard the unmistakeable sound of water - fresh water - falling. A crevice, barely one foot wide and the entire length of the cliff face smudged in oozing lime green and tinkling loudly. Then paddled to yet another head... there are a few along this stretch - gulls, terns and guillomots crying desparately - of course it sounds that way when their voices echo off cliffs.
Just an hour or so - my underwater camera on the blink so no photos this time.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
just added blog by Neil Burgess, paddling buddy, to links. I'll add new photos once I get my dozen or more rolls processed (have to go digital, I know!). meanwhile, i'm lost somewhere in Trinity Bay.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
my kids are enjoying themselves immensely, swimming in the brook daily, at their special beach (some cold), learning 120s by lamplight, domesticating our adorable hens...
i got out cod jigging with a neighbour in our cove today with son - place was maggoty with minke whales - and we soon got our five cod. nice to have a freezer full.
Friday, July 06, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
june 27, 2007
If I don't post them now, they'll never get on. (Apologies--I can't figure out how to turn the two middle images right side up.) Life is very busy. Yes. So Ella and I borrowed a friend's double (thanks Peter & Barb) and joined the KNL club beginner's 14km paddle two sundays ago in Cape Broyle, a popular long bay with lots of take outs, some waterfalls, super caves, arches and stacks. I hadn't paddled there for ages and forgot just how spectacular it is. We saw a couple of eagles, a seal near our nice wide beach at lunchtime and a minki out far but Ella missed it. I think she enjoyed herself. After a post-paddle milkshake, she quickly fell off to sleep in the car on the way home.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
(photos by Neil Burgess)
June 12, 2007
It was the most idealic weekend out in Caplin Cove, Trinity Bay. Arrived friday evening, spires of icebergs just offshore backlit in pink. My kids headed straight for the brook and, testing the water and finding it deliciously warm, decided on an evening swim. Hot and sunny all weekend, the meadows rippled in their new super-green covering. Mad with bird song. So it wasn't too awful that somehow I missed two paddles in my neck of the woods on the weekend to further complete Kayak Newfoundland & Labrador's Challenge the Avalon.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Council and The Battery. Some residents living in The Battery - a historic part of St. John's - are upset over a new house that's being built. They went to city council on Monday looking for support... but they didn't get it. We talk to St. John's Mayor Andy Wells to find out why. Listen to this audio feature (Runs 6:25)
No spark to Battery development complaint: mayor
Last Updated: Tuesday, May 29, 2007 12:50 PM NT
St. John's Mayor Andy Wells has little sympathy for a group of residents in the Battery neighbourhood who want city hall to halt construction of a house that could block views of the harbour.
"I don't think there's a single thing wrong with this application," Wells told CBC News on Tuesday, after opponents of the project unsuccessfully appealed to city council at its regular meeting on Monday evening.
"It meets all our requirements. The owner of this property is entitled to develop the property pursuant to the rules."
While the proposal on Signal Hill may meet city requirements, residents say it flies in the face of non-binding guidelines drafted three years ago for development of the historic neighbourhood.
A former fishing village along the lower reaches of Signal Hill, the Battery has over the years become a magnet for property-hunters eager to obtain one of the best views in the city.
Resident Alison Dyer said the house planned for the backyard of 24 Battery Road is set farther back from the street than it should be.
"One of the main reasons, again, to have Battery guidelines [is] so that it would keep the integrity and look of the Battery," Dyer said.
Lisa Porter, who fears that property values will drop for the surrounding homes, said residents didn't know about the plans until a few days ago, when an excavator started work on the foundation.
"It was a big shock to us when this started on Saturday," she said.
Wayne Howell, who owns the land where the controversal house is being constructed, declined an interview but said he is within his rights and has obtained appropriate permits.
Dyer said the group of residents does not yet know whether it will appeal the city's approval for the development.
Wells said an appeal would be a waste of time and money, as no rules have been broken.
In 2006, amid strong resident opposition, city council shelved a proposal that would have seen a new hotel and condominium complex built at the site of the current Battery Hotel.
Our view is gone, our privacy is gone, our hearts are broken. Some Battery area residents delivered that message to St.John's council at yesterday's meeting, trying to defer or stop construction of a new dwelling on Battery Road. Residents say it is in blatant contravention of the Battery development guidelines. Councillor Frank Galgay says the permit has been issued and council cannot take it back. Galgay says if residents wish they can make an appeal, but Mayor Andy Wells says unless there's a violation of a regulation they do not have any grounds. Battery area resident Lisa Porter says they expected a little more form their councillors. Porter says the group will meet to discuss an appeal.
CBC Radio Morning Show May 28, 2007: Battery development concerns Some people in The Battery are getting shaken-up over a new house that's about to be built. We speak with one resident to find out what her concerns are. Listen to this audio feature (Runs 6:02)
Is your view in the Battery next????
On Thursday, May 24, 2007 the City of St. John’s Building Department issued a permit to the owners of #24 Battery Road to construct a new house on their recently subdivided lot, #26 Battery Road. This development is in blatant contravention of the Battery Development Guidelines to which the City claims to adhere.
The Battery Development Guidelines were done to curtail haphazard and inappropriate development, and to “protect existing private views and privacy” We are concerned that a new house in a back garden - where none existed previously, with a huge retaining wall, a 35-foot driveway will have a severe negative impact on the neighbouring views, privacy and property values. How can this been seen to follow the spirit and intent of those guidelines?
Who is being hurt by this new development?
Long-time residents of Walsh’s Square as well as those on Signal Hill and Battery Road:
In particular: Mr. Kelly has been on Walsh’s Sq. for 72 years (#3);Mrs. Dawe for 41 yrs (#9); Ms. Dyer & Mr. Bruce Johnson for 17 years (#7); Ms. Porter & Mr. Pope for 15 years (#5); Chris Fitzgerald for 5 years (#2)
Where are the guidelines being broken?
There was no professional view plane analysis conducted. Our own analysis shows that most of the harbour view, and privacy, of 4 properties will be gone!
Loss of view and privacy will negatively affect our property values.
The BDGS indicated only horizontal expansion but no infill opportunity for #24 Battery Road.
The BDGS recommends that in this zone (Heritage 3, R3), that the Front Set Back “be in line with at least one neighbour”. The City Heritage officer made a written recommendation in January 2007, that the building be in line with existing house #24 Battery Rd.
Structural integrity of the hillside. There has been no engineering study or 3-dimensional site plan to show how the hill at the back of this property will be properly contained. Erosion of this steep slope could cause serious problems for properties on Walsh’s Square.
Concerned? contact: Ward Councillor Frank Galgay 579-8801
Development Committee Chairperson: Art Cheeseman; Council liaisons: Wally Collins 576-8584 Shannie Duff 753-5260 Tom Hann 576-8219
I will have to find & scan a picture, that you might understand our plight.
 BDGS, p.13 “In order to protect views…the main principle is that a building can be added to if the addition does not significantly interfere with another property’s view…We suggest that it is significant interference if it is: too close or too big, and interferes with more than 5% of a view cone)
Thursday, May 24, 2007
"All my men have cooked for me says Della.
She looks down at her breasts, sweeps a crumb off her tight blouse with her right pinkie, smoothes the nylon apron. There’s a mix of aromas from the full serving trays, thick but not unpleasant. Overhead, a buzzing from the florescent lights. Outside, a bus swishes and farts, carves the puddles and stops. The door to the café implodes - stamping feet, a curl of diesel fumes. There’s a run on the gum stand, the muffin tray, the soft drinks but Della stands behind her counter of pink meats and unlikely salads fixed on an audience of one.
George, now George liked sausages, she says, fidgeting with an oval tray containing something gel green. Spicy Italian were his favourite. A smile pulls at the ends of her mouth. Course he didn’t really do much with them, just cooked them with a mound of mash potatoes or noodles, he liked those tight squiggly ones. Her eyes blink like silent castanets. Mostly he’d sit there and watch me eat. Sometimes he’d offer to cut them up, my sausages, but that made me feel a bit uncomfortable like.
Della looks out at the big window, between her deli counter and the bus stop. It’s steamed up and showing traces of an old x’s and o’s game.
And he was up out of it as soon as he’d eaten. I mean he was up and at the dishes like, straight away. I never knew if I should hurry up and finish and help him out or what. She gives the clean stainless steel counter top a quick wipe, tossing the cloth behind her into the sink..." [excerpt from: Way to a Woman's Heart, A. Dyer, 2006]
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
May 17, 2007
After a day of refining strokes, towing, and performing mock rescues it's time to get down and play...? Can anyone remember the name of this hilarious game? And yes, that is solo expedition kayaker Serge Savard trying to keep up with the crowd.
The KNL (Kayak Newfoundland Labrador) annual retreat is this weekend in Terra Nova. Frey Hoffmeister & Greg Stamer will be there for greenland paddle and roll clinics. Can hardly wait. Got a new backband installed in my perception shadow (many thanks MD) - a nice low profile one used in tempest kayaks. Probably won't get to try it out until the saturday day trip. That and a new, tada, kokatat goretex drysuit. So high end, honestly, you won't recognize me :)