NEWFOUNDLAND: A Love Letter
Fortune Bay, South CoastWhy go to this place? Why do this alone?
I didn't actually
plan to come to Newfoundland. I was going to be sensible and go to Nova
Scotia, central East coast, nice area of islands, invite some friends
to join me. No more of this foolish solo tripping. The usual suspects
couldn't make it - John had a new baby to care for, Phil and Lorrie had
gone to Wales and Bay of Fundy, and Mark's business wouldn't let him
get away. I asked a few friends I hadn't done trips with before, but
either they couldn't or didn't want to. I was left to my own devices.
around that time, Tony Roestenberg from Newfoundland posted a trip
report from Fortune Bay. Tony and I first met up (virtually) when he
used my last Newfoundland trip report (circumnav of New World Island)
to help him plan his own circumnav trip in the opposite direction, and
then sent me a link to his report. So we had this communication going.
south coast of Newfoundland is a fearsome stretch of ocean. There
aren't any roads
for most of it, just small outposts linked by ferry. The coastline is
cliff, deeply indented with fjords which funnel the wind. In the
summer, it's a fog machine, and the prevailing southwesterlies send
swell crashing into the cliffs. Phil and Lorrie did a trip there a year
ago, and their stories convinced me it was beyond me. I'm 62 and past
the point, if ever there was one, where I'm willing to take on the
North Atlantic single-handed. I don't like kayaking in fear, so I just
figured I'd never see this area from the water.
posted his report, and I took a look at the map and realized that
Fortune Bay - specifically the west side of the Bay - was the exception
on that coast. That west side was protected from the dominant
southwesterly wind direction, and should be calmer, with less fog,
especially in September. (I like how the map below says "Go")
From his photos, I could see this
was a beautiful place. There was a ferry that ran through the area,
stopping midway, which could be one way out if things went awry. And
his info about campsites would be helpful - on the past 2 trips to NL,
finding a flat dry place to camp was always an issue. The more I
thought and researched, the more I was sure this was what I wanted to
do. Once it reaches that point, there's nothing for it but to go.
once had a dialogue with Doug Lowry about the importance of being able
to roll. I maintained that it was the premier skill and that I wouldn't
do a trip with a kayaker who couldn't roll to self-rescue. But he
changed my mind, putting forth the suggestion that the real premier
skill was that of good judgment. Make good judgment calls, and you
won't need to roll. I can roll my boat, but I should not be putting
myself into a position where this is necessary. If it's necessary once,
it may be necessary five minutes later, given the same conditions. So I
wanted to make good judgment calls about this trip, and one of them was
to enjoy a trip where the big ocean swell would likely be far away. I
was sure it would still have its challenges, but perhaps raw fear would
not be one of them. Thanks, Doug!