Monday, November 14, 2011


While taking our daughter for her first swim, I discovered that my waterproof camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TSC1, had leaked water into the battery compartment and had died. Just Great. A $400 camera thats supposedly "waterproof" is ruined from being in the water. Just F'n great!

Anger stewing in my brain, we left to drive back home. Not 5 minutes from our house, all I can see is the ass and hind legs of a large animal. MOOSE!!!! I slam on the brakes and cut the wheel to the left to hopefully avoid the huge animal. The sound of smashing glass and my wife screaming. I can't believe what just happened, we hit a moose. I manage to pull the car off to the side and we scramble out the check on Heidi. Angie is covered in glass, but otherwise is ok. Heidi is awake in her rear-facing carseat. She is fine. We got lucky.

The car, nor the moose wasn't so lucky. The moose was dead on the road and cars were swerving to avoid it, and some people stopped to see if we were ok. Me and a few guys managed to drag the large animal off the road so one else would hit it.

The police show up, write up the report, determine the car is ok to drive back to our house, as its just up the road, but Angie had to sit in the back due to all the glass in the front. We covered Heidi with a blanket to make sure no glass got on her from the wind blowing on what was left of the windsheild.

We get home and make some phone calls. We are a little shaken, our appetite for supper was gone, but we are ok.

Our camera is busted, our car is most likley a write-off...........but who gives a shit, its just material stuff, it can all be replaced. Before long Heidi was asleep in her crib, and Angie and I were relaxing on the couch watching Sopranos and snacking on chips. We are lucky.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ocean Pond

On September 17 my wife and I dropped Heidi off with the grandparents so we could get out for an afternoon paddle. Hurricane Maria had come through the day before, and they were warning of a storm surge, so we decided to stay off the ocean and go to the next best thing, a pond named after the ocean. Its only a 10 minute drive or so from our house, so the location was perfect as well.

The biggest issue I've found with these ponds and lakes in cottage country is finding a place to launch, as most of the land around the ponds are privately owned, with little or no public access. We found a short path down to the pond at the entrance to Ocean Pond so we pulled over. The gentlemen who owned the cabin across the road from the path came down to check us out, so I asked if it was ok for us to launch our boats there and if our car would be in the way parked where it was. He said it should be fine, and for us to be careful around his wharf. I told him not to worry, that we wouldn't be using his wharf, just launching from the bank. We didn't drive anywhere else, so I don't know if there are any other public accesses but from what we saw from the water, weren't any.

Launch spot marked X

It was a great paddle, nice warm September day. We paddled to the far end of the pond, where there is a cabin and small beach area, where we stopped to have our lunch. The return trip was 15kms. This could have been made much longer if we followed the perimeter of the pond and poked around the islands and inlets. We were a bit limited with time, so we did pretty much a straight route.

One of the few launch spots

There is a lot of boat traffic here, seadoos, speed boats, paddleboats, canoes, etc.. Its a very popular cottage area, so it can be pretty busy. Even for a September day it there was a lot of activity. If you are planning on doing this paddle, I'd recommend you take a map. Not that you'll get lost on a pond, but it can be confusing with the low lying land and all the islands and inlets. A map makes it much easier to navigate.

Looking down the pond

Angie making her way

Our lunch spot, not bad

A happy couple on a happy day

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Summer's Gone

Summer, or what there was of it, is pretty much gone now. The temperatures are starting to get pretty low in the evenings. There was even a frost warning last week! Ouch!

For the past 2 weeks, my sister and family were home from Winnipeg for a visit, so I took my brother-in-law, Rob, out for a short paddle in Spread Eagle. It was his first time in a sea kayak, and the first time I'd been on the ocean in 3 weeks, so I was more than happy to take him out.

The stretch of coast from Spread Eagle to Marley's Cove is pretty nice, with lots of little nooks and crannies to poke into. I even got to practice a few rolls and self rescues...but just to show off mostly :-)

Squeezing between the rocks

Rob posing at Wigwam Rock

I've been getting in a bit of pond practice behind my house lately, which is great. Trying to nail down my offside roll, sculling brace, etc.. But daylight is getting less and less every day, so my time for this is getting short. Summer's gone :-(

Monday, August 1, 2011

Gander River Canoe Trip '11

July 14-18, 2011. It was time for the annual Gander River Canoe Trip. This was my third year of what I hope will be many, many more for this trip. This year we had 16 friends, lots of food and lots of beer. The only thing missing was great weather, but we certainly made the best of it. The week before a few of us saw KISS in concert, and it poured the whole show, and they rocked. So we figured if KISS can rock it up in the rain, so could we.

Packing up and getting ready to leave Glenwood. We pretty much have it down to a science now. Its amazing how much gear you can fit in a canoe versus a kayak.

Hitting the first few rapids. The worst of the rapids on this river are all within the first half hour of paddling, with the exception of a few rattles at the very end. We usually get dressed to get wet for the first bit, then change into something warmer if the weather is chilly, which it was this year.

For the first time in 11 years, not one canoe ran Big Chute, the biggest rapid on this river. We just couldn't find a sensible line on it, and with the canoes loaded down, and about 25kms left to paddle before our campsite, swamping a few canoes and having to retrieve all the gear, get dry, etc. would not have been good. Wise decision I think.

While waiting for everybody to lower their canoes down the rapids, Mark (Gilly) and Paul went up to play around in the rapids.

Colin and Taylor did the same

Phil and Dion, and Timmy G and Derrick making good time

Andrew sizing up Shawn's hydration options, Gatorade and Beer.

Stopping for a lunch. Mark had a few flicks of the rod, with no luck

Andrew and Mark Murphy. Mark was one of two rookies this year. A fine job for the first time on the river.

Gilly and Paul. Paul was another rookie this year, who also did an awesome job.

Rafting up

With about an hour or so of daylight left, we arrived at our campsite at Lou's Pool only to find that someone else was already there. There aren't a whole lot of places to camp on this river, so we were kind of bummed. But our fearless leader, Gilly said, "no problem boys, we'll make a spot about a 150 feet down the river". So our small army went ashore and before dark we had a spot cleared, all the tents pitched, tarps ready for rain, a fire going and even a salmon fresh out of the river on the grill, courtesy of Gilly. The guys camped next door coulded believe it, said it was like watching a bunch of army ants going to work. We got a great group of guys on this trip, I must say, and everybody knows what to do, and helps everyone out getting all set up.

Gilly with the first salmon of the trip, caught within 30 minutes of getting ashore. They don't get any fresher than that.

Around the fire on the first night. As you can see, it wasn't the warmest weather. But never to cold to have the guitars out.

The next day was supposed to be set aside for fishing, but it poured all through the night and all the next day, plus it was blowing sideways, so we spent the day under the tarps, drinking and eating. Couldn't really complain about that!

Lunch time. Wings, steak, ribs and JiffyPop. Awesome job on the wings Paul!

Supper time, fresh corn and huge pork chops

Night #2 was a bit bitter in terms of the weather, and we had another awesome night of singing and guitar playing. Great job from Stricko on the harmonica and bongos. Murph came out of his shell and did a great job singing some tunes too.

We left the next day by dinner time to head to our next camp site. A couple big ponds to cross along the way, and we usually have a nice southwest wind at our backs along the way. Not today, we had the wind in our face, but luckily a riverboat came along, and they knew Gilly and offered to tow us down the pond. How awesome to sit back, relax, drink beer and watch the world go by.

8 canoes towed end to end. We were very pleased.

Another lunch break. Nap time for some folks :-)

We finally made it to Kevin and Roseanne's cabin, got all set up and had another great night of drinking, eating and laughs. I neglected to take any pics while we were there, but as usual it was a great time.

The next morning, sadly, we had to pack up and make our way to Gander Bay. Its only a short 2 hr paddle, but its a great section of the river, with a couple nice rapids along the way.

Packing up to leave Gander Bay. Paul from Riverfront Chalets met us there to pick up the canoes we had rented.

Sad to see another trip over, but so happy to have done it again for another year.

See you guys again in 2012!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cottle's Island, Bay of Exploits

On Saturday past, Angie and I, along with our friends Chad and Kathy went for a day trip around Cottle's Island in the Bay of Exploits. And what a day it was, considering how miserable the weather has been here in NL for the past month or so. We finally saw the sun and temps above 15C. It was also flat calm, a perfect day on the water.

Chad and Kathy rented 2 singles from Lindy Rideout of Seaknife Kayaks . Lindy as always was a great host and had everything all ready for us to go when we got to his boathouse in Intricate Harbour.

We got on the water at about 1:30pm, having made the 346km drive from Whitbourne. It was Kathy's first paddle, and Chad's second, so we were super pleased that the weather was so nice. We paddled out of Intricate Hbr and headed north around Cottles Island, then into Lukes arm and back for a total distance of 15.5kms according to my GPS. Days like this are few and far between here in NL, so you gotta love it when it all works out.

Departure beach in Intricate Hbr

Angie's first day away from our daughter. Happy to be on the water, but missing our little girl :-)

Kathy getting the feel of things

Not much swell to worry about for rock hopping

There is an osprey nest on these rocks, and there were 3 ospreys flying around, not happy with us being there, so we didn't get any closer

Fine conditions

Paddling over a mussel bed with Cottlesville in the background

Huge seas in the Bay of Exploits

Stopping for lunch on the north side of Cottle's Island. There are a few decent beaches on Cottle's Island, but no freshwater.

The sea was like a mirror

Stopping for supper in Luke's Arm. There are a few freshwater sources in Lukes Arm, but not on this beach. It was fine for our purposes.

Along the way, I got out of my boat to collect a pot full of mussels to steam for supper. It was awesome! Can't get them any fresher than that!

While eating, I found two pearls in one mussel. Thats the first time thats ever happened to me, and I've eaten a lot of mussels over the years. They were pretty small, but I was super happy to find one, and glad I didn't crack off one of my teeth on it.

There were some interesting deposits in the rocks. if you look closely, you can see small brown spots within the rocks. They look like eggs.......dinosaur eggs maybe?

Lindy's dog, Buddy hitching a ride with Angie

On our way back, we ran into Lindy taking a couple out for a tour. They were from Home and Cabin Magazine, and were doing a story on Lindy and Seaknife Kayaks. maybe we'll be in the next issue!

Back at home base after another beautiful day on the water.