Sunday, September 23, 2007

Return to Bell Island

(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.

As the last photo (take in 2003) shows, Bell Island is distinct from the mainland, consisting of horizontal beds of Ordovician sandstone and shale. Iron ore mining was huge on the island in the early to mid part of the 20th century, in fact, the Wabana mines was one of the largest producers of iron ore in northeastern North America. The mines - now closed but open during the tourism season for tours - extend far beneath the seabed of Conception Bay, apparently creating one of the most extensive submarine iron mines in the world.

Many thanks to Stan MacKenzie for taking these photos on the water (and without a waterproof camera!).
For some superb photos of the Bell Island trip, check out kayak the rock, and check out Stan's blog.


Michael said...

WOW!!! Alison, the pictures are amazing! What a day to be out paddling. I'm so jealous!

Alison Dyer said...

twas indeed. did you check out neil burgess' photos on kayak the rock? simply gorgeous shots of surf & geology.