Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Back at Last

It's been a very busy summer!

I took a 6-day advanced sea kayak course (Paddle Canada Level 4) with the Newfoundland Kayak Company in Gros Morne and Burgeo, Newfoundland in early July. Had an absolute blast. The conditions were perfect with high winds, rough seas, 7-knot currents and great surf on the Big Barasway near Burgeo. I managed to learn a lot and push my paddling limits. Many thanks for the great instruction I received from Richard Alexander, Ian Fong and Doug Alderson (from BC).

In mid-July, I assisted the same instructors in teaching week-long intermediate sea kayak courses at Gros Morne (Paddle Canada Level 2 and 3). We had a super bunch of students this year, who really made the course a joy. It was an intense week but watching the students develop their paddling skills, confidence and judgement was a great reward. It was a special treat to see the rapid progress of my girlfriend, Isabelle, who took the Level 2 course.

After that Isabelle and I were joined by a paddling friend from Halifax, Krista Wuerr. We set off on a 4-day paddling trip along the remote southwest coast of Newfoundland. We started our journey in Rose Blanche in late July. We paddled east, passing several small outports: Petites, La Poile and Grand Bruit. We camped out in the wilderness along the way. There are no roads in this area, so the villages are connected by a coastal ferry. We took the ferry from Grand Bruit back to Rose Blanche to finish up.

After that, I was lucky enough to get out to the Magdalen Islands (Iles de la Madeleines) in the middle of the Gulf of St. Lawrence for two weeks at the end of August. Isabelle grew up here, so I had the greatest possible guide to show me around. The Islands have miles and miles of white sand beaches that are incredible. The headlands are red sandstone (similar to PEI) that are carved into a wild variety of sea stacks, caves, tunnels and gullies by wave action. We spent incredible three days exploring by kayak, including a trip out to Entry Island and back.

Like I said, it's been a very busy summer, with some amazing paddling. I'll get some photos posted of these adventures as soon as I can. And I'll bring things up to date with reports on recent day paddles all around the Avalon.