Wednesday, March 28, 2007

March 29, 2007
Attended the Winterset readings this afternoon in that most delightful of venues, the Masonic Temple (that requires another post). Many previous winners and finalists in the audience including Lisa Moore, Bernice Morgan (who has a new book coming out this fall - yeh!), Joel Hynes (now I'm screwing myself by only mentioning a few - you'll find me hanging from the trees in the Anglican Cathedral cemetary across the road).
This year's finalists comprised three accomplished writers of very different styles and genres. I was transfixed by Russell Wangersky's reading of a short story - part of his debut collection. Go figure, this is a newspaper guy - he's the editor of the province's main daily newspaper. Who'd thunk he could write such mesmerizing prose. Actually anyone who reads his long and deliciously drifting editorials would not be surprised. Expect lots of positive reviews of this book.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

can't wait til summer

March 26,07

Sorry. Can't wait til summer. When us crowd descends upon the Cove, to swim, climb trees, plant veggies, pick berries, even kayak if the wind gods are with us. Jesus it's some far away! But we're some lucky!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Magical Merasheen

(Photos top to bottom by Alison Dyer: Paul & Andy on crossing; At play in the fields..; Tack's Beach; Swings at Tacks Beach; View north from Tack's Beach; Paul spies Eagle nest; Paul & mussels; View of Merasheen above Baker's Cove).
March 16, 2007

Until a couple of days ago the snow was piled high, barely saw the top of my 6-foot fence in the back garden. The kids have been using the neighbour's garden- and that adjoining below - as a toboggan run, their own private hill. Am thinking more and more of places I want to visit and explore this summer by kayak. So many bays, so little time.

Few years back 3 paddling buddies and I decided on a long weekend September paddle in around the islands off of Merasheen, that fabled long emerald jewel - once home to a people who had a strong song and story-telling tradition - in the middle of Placentia Bay. (Kayak Newfoundland Labrador has several trip reports on the area, e.g. by us in 2002, by Tim Hollett about his 9-day trip; and most recently one by kayaker-mountaineerer TA Loeffler - who leaves tomorrow, March 17, to attempt Everest!).

It's about 14km from Arnold's Cove in the bottom of the bay, across the tanker lane, to the tip of Merasheen. At any time of year the weather, wind and waves can make it less than ideal to paddle. So we arranged a trip with a small fishing boat, the owner also had two small basic cabins in an otherwise deserted cove that we could stay in. Perfect. So, the crossing was exciting, the bell kept ringing, a few others boats were headed fast for shore. Two or more hours later, I can't remember, we entered the channel between Merasheen and the Ragged Island chain.

We had a couple of days to dart around the many islands (a purported 365 in Placentia Bay) - if the wind came up one side, we had several options. That's the great part about paddling this part of Placentia Bay. Of course we had to take a trip up to Tack's Beach. Once a thriving community, it was resettled as part of the government resettling scheme of the 1960s. But neat cabins dot the idyllic landscape. By people of legendary hospitality. Our own little cove, Baker's Cove, over-looked Merasheen. Had a nice toast of screech while gazing up at the stars and over to the dark silouette of that island on the last night. Not a sound.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Another great day to snowshoe

march 15, 2007

Well. Here's an odd posting. About winter in Newfoundland, and there's a kid with a Newfoundland pony in summer. Apologies - I've not got to the scanner recently, but all will become clear. Keep reading.

A couple of weeks ago it was the day to snowshoe with the kids. Of course with a promise of a cookup with instant noodles, hot chocolate, kippered snacks and other things that taste sublime in the woods with the addition of a little bark.

We took the East Coast Trail from Flatrock (15 mins from where I live downtown) towards Gallows Cove, Torbay (son at pony camp in Torbay in photo above!). Snow clean, deep, powder-perfect, inviting blank canvas. Kids are still at the age where going A to B is arduous and probably boring so, well, B is generally shortened. They scramble after rabbit tracks and sniff out fully-skirted spruce trees like beagles. But if their quotient of fresh air is the same as a long walk then does it really matter? And if we didn't find lots of dead branches to built a lean-to (another enticement to a walk/snowshoe/ski) then building a snow wall around the stove and digging tunnels in snow is generally good enough.

Our snowshoes are not the fancy astronaut aluminum ones now available (maybe one day) but rather handmade ones by folks around the bay (i.e. rural Nfld) - wire, neon green nylon string, black electrical tape, rubber inner tubes - the result is very cheap and they work like a dream.