Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hurricane Igor hits

Hurricane Igor has begun to make it's presence felt here on the East coast of Newfoundland. St. Lawrence has flooding, as do Come By Chance and Marystown. Here in St. Johns the rain is intensifying and the wind is now picking up. It's only a category 1 Hurricane, but it's enough to cause grief with flooded basements and property damage. These are some area pictures taken by locals and sent in.

Clarenville has declared a state of emergency,  as did Sunnyside. It's shaping up to be a wet day here. My hatches are battened down and gutters cleared. Wind gusts to hit 130 km/hr later today, certainly a windy day, but the Pathfinder is secured and covered.
washout of shed and road.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A quiet day to whale watch

Mid July weather cooperated very well, with warm southerly winds and less rain than June brought us. With conditions just right, I took my wife out to a secluded beach (which are very hard to find around here with our coastline) that was not facing the wind. We sailed most of the morning and came to this spot which incidentally was my first time here. The Beach was mostly made of small granite stones and easy to walk on.
 Dropping sails and drifting right to the shoreline was easy and with the winds light I just pulled the anchor up the beach with a length of line.
Our island shows an impressive amount of detail in its rock formations and a paradise for the geologists.
Lunch here was mostly of the cold sandwich and hot coffee variety. But the weather was in our favor today and too warm for a hot meal.

 While we were eating the winds dropped out completely and it made for a very peaceful bay for a while.
Lunch ate, a short nap, and we were ready to head out to look for some whales. No rush with the winds still very light.
 We coasted south west back into the main bay near Holyrood and started to spot some whales also going in our direction.
 The winds eventually picked up to a comfortable 10-15 knots and we made good progress, we were averaging about 6-7 knots and enjoying the view.
 The tell tales are helping me set the sails better than I have been, I tend to sheet too tightly, RELAX.
 A perfect day.
 Many sailors came out in the afternoon to enjoy the winds and there was talk of caplin (A small fish similar to a sardine) in the bay.
 We entered the harbor in Holyrood as the sun was setting and beached Pikake, sure enough the whales were chasing the caplin near shore and the town folk were out in the hundreds collecting them with their cast nets.
 Slowly but surely, the whales would make passes and herd the caplin near the beach to where there was no escape.
 While we collected the caplin as they came close.
 The picture don't do the scene justice, there are millions filling the harbor and breaking the surface. The seagulls get in on the action too, waiting for them to come near.
 The caplin is a sweet meat when fried fresh and pretty good eating when dried or smoked. even the ones that die on the beach are used for fertilizer on the many gardens in the area. The humble caplin, a very practical fish for many purposes. These little events really drive home my pleasure in building this boat, getting a chance to see this from several perspectives.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Side tracked

This blog is supposed to be about the original building of my John Welsford Pathfinder and the trips I make after. Well today I'm running a little off track. I picked up a 16ft cedar strip canoe 12 or so years ago and have done a fair bit of camping and fishing with it, but I never had much of a chance to have it on the water since I moved back to Newfoundland some 9 years ago. Anyhow with my buddy Bill back in Newfoundland and eager to get back to nature, it made for a good excuse to take the canoe out for a day of fishing and a "boil up".
We loaded up the car and canoe on the rack at 6:30am on A Saturday morning. The goal was to catch one fish and not get eaten by the flies. The pond I scouted on the map was only about a 15 minute ride from the house, so even if things got real bad with the flies or if it rained, we would be home in no time. It may be close to home, but once you paddle from the shore, all civilization evaporates. Very quiet, peaceful and... no flies! I won't complain but was mystified to why there were none. It might have been due to the cool weather but I've been eaten in cooler weather than this. but I won't dwell on it, it was a fine morning and about to get much better.
We paddled across the pond trolling as we drifted, getting a bite here and there. I would paddle over to areas where I see the trout jumping and Bill would cast. Sure enough in a short time there were fish in the canoe.
In short order we had conjured up enough fish for a nice meal. bill caught the most and the largest trout of the morning. If nothing else this was a successful day. We were not prepared for such success, I had left the salt, pepper, and flour as well as other nice fish cooking items back at the house. We'll have to improvise. I got my little one burner stove going and cooked our bacon and eggs for breakfast, and got a kettle of water on the boil on the open fire near the beach.
But how to cook the fish...   Bacon grease!  This is my stomach not yours. With a sizzle and splash we had a fish fry in progress. And the smell, heavenly.
The fire of course was leftover lumber from the boat build from a year ago, I'm still burning scraps. Besides, nothing in this area would burn on this day, not after the rains that we have had. A cup of tea to chase it all down, this was one of those trips not soon forgotten, quickly planned and perfectly executed, this don't happen like this all the time.
The weather couldn't be better and the food was terrific! 
Some fine fish indeed. But to be honest, the smallest trout tasted the best.
We'll be back here for sure.

Friends, food, fun

The weather improved enough on this day to take a run out around the coastline with two friends of mine. The wind was light and occasionally would just fade away. A nice day for a leisurely sail.
 All systems check. Motor running, were all set. Set up time has been reduced to about 20 minutes from the time I enter the marina area to hull wet and motor running. Bungee cords around the rigging as i disassemble keep everything where it should.
 Adrian really hates this, I can tell. Like me, he simply likes being on the water, no mater the conditions. though today its ideal. The wind came out of the south west and was a steady 10+ knots. Comfortable.
 The improved gaff jaws let the gaff be raised ans set much easier and put less strain on the mast ant the point where they meet. The lazy jacks keep the sails where they need to be when I'm taking them down.
 We headed out to the Bacon cove area where the wind was best and the scenery better. Just a few miles past the bluff in the picture. The GPS is tracking us at about 4.5 knots beating into the wind.
 Once we passed the bluff, well, the wind died. what to do? break out some food. We started the day light with coffee and donuts, but moved onto coffee, tea buns (care of Bills mom), and sandwiches. Yeah life can truly be terrible..  I kid.
 Adrian had no trouble horking down tea buns as we chatted waiting for the wind to return, but no rush. We just sat back relaxed and listened to the radio.
 Bill shown here has a simple philosophy, "Friends, food, and fun" And This years events in his life and Career, has strained that some, but he's back in full form enjoying life again. Great to see you living back on the rock buddy! i'm sure theres more sailings on the horizon.
 Bacon cove had a fairly large population at some time to be able to construct and populate such a large church. Days long gone.
 We dropped sail and motored to a cove for lunch. I never took a picture of the chuck box in action. cooking up a feed of beans, bacon and loads of coffee. I'll remember the next time.
 From far off the whaler don't look like much but as you get closer, you can see that it is quite large.

The days winds improved to speeds I figure I would need to reef to manage, but with the mass of us three, we sailed white knuckled. With spray over rail no camera was out to record the afternoon, but we can vouch that we honestly reached 7.1 knots on my GPS even with all our gear aboard. A fine day to enjoy a good wind.
Note to self: I must acquire a waterproof digital camera for my trips.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bacon Cove

Bacon Cove is in Conception Bay and has some great shore line for exploring. This day was pretty quiet and the wind occasionally dropped off all together. A group with their kayaks took advantage of the calm conditions and made their way around the shore.
This wreck was an intentional beaching of a whaling ship back when the whaling industry died and this style of ship became obsolete. There is another next to it, but it is completely submerged.
 When the winds completely died, we hauled ashore and took some pictures of the area, its not often it gets this calm around here without being shrouded in fog.
The wind will return I'm sure of it.