Saturday, August 30, 2008

Philip Edward Island Video Tour

I've finally had some time to edit the video clips I took while paddling around Philip Edward Island last June. This is a large virtually deserted island in the northwest corner of Georgian Bay just on the edge of Killarney Provincial Park.

Unfortunately there are some gaps in the sequences. For example, I neglected to film any of the eastern end of the island, which is one of the nicer spots. Such is the plight of the solo paddler, I suppose, where there is no one to remind you to film and stop simply enjoying yourself! Nonetheless, the clips do give a sense of what the area is like and hopefully will encourage you to visit if you are wavering at all about going.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Before Tomorrow

Do you like watching films made by Inuit about their lives past and present? If you are a fan, I've some good news. Isuma Productions of Igloolik have announced that a northern Québec film company based in Puvirnitug named the Arnait Video Collective has released a new feature length film for us called Before Tomorrow.

Here is a short quote from their press release...

Before Tomorrow is the story of a woman who demonstrates
that human dignity is at the core of life from beginning to end, as
she and her grandson face the ultimate challenge of survival. The
film is an adaptation of the novel, 'For morgendagen', by the
acclaimed Danish writer, Jørn Riel.

The film, by Marie-Helene Cousineau and Madeline Ivalu will be celebrated at the Toronto International Film Festival (Sept 4-13). The film will be screened on Sunday, September 7 at 2:30 pm at the Scotia Bank Theatre 4.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Chignecto's Three Sisters

Around the corner from the 'Dory Rips' is a wall of cliffs which spread out to Cape Chignecto before heading northward into Chignecto Bay, one of the smaller bays which form the upper reaches of the Bay of Fundy. The bay has some great paddling which mixes spectacular scenary with the incredible tidal range for which the Fundy area is world famous.

I paddled from Apple River Bay about an hour before the tide rose to its highest point. Heading southward I passed through a small doable tide rip at the mouth of the bay and then worked my way along the coast toward the rock spires seen in the video above. I arrived just as the tide was beginning to turn and paddled in and around the amazing red and black formations all the while realizing it would be an 'up hill' paddle back to the put-in once the tide turned. The longer I spent at the Sisters, the stronger the opposing current would get.

I filmed as much as I could and headed back to Apple River. Fog began drifting in from further out on the Bay and I kept taking new compass readings hoping I didn't lose sight of the several headlands I needed to pass. Fortunately all went well and I got back to my put-in with little drama.

I considered returning from a closer put-in down the road to visit the Sisters at low tide when the area I just paddled could be walked. I decided in the end to save the area for another visit. It just wants to be savoured, not rushed through!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Dory Rips

As I'm en route to my sister's home in Georgia this evening, I thought I'd take advantage of the motel's hi-speed internet connection to finally upload some video footage I took while in Nova Scotia last July. This first offering - uploaded as a DVX file and looking dreadful on YouTube for some reason, is of the tide rip off Cape D'Or. This rip is caused when the incoming Fundy tide splits in two east and west of the Cape and then is turned back on itself and pushed back out into the Bay. The noise you hear on the video is partly wind sounds, but also the roaring of the waters as they rush past the Cape and out into the Bay of Fundy. The opposing waters, coming from three directions at once can create lots of fun for people with the skill and the nerve to play in such stuff. I filmed from the beach. Enough said.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Going Slowly

Have you been watching the Olympics instead of reading my blog? Naughty you! On the other hand, maybe you're better off. You could be out paddling and risking a 'quick death'!

If you've been watching the scene in Beijing, then the air quality will give you pause. It isn't the only Chinese city to have air quality 'issues', but it is one of the worst. I understand they are doing everything they can to improve the situation, but you can't help but think a lot of people are presently participating in their own slow death just by being there.

Still, it is clear that dying slowly by participating in an Olympic sport - or smoking like our little friend above - is more socially acceptible than dying relatively quickly by drowning while out paddling. It seems regulators don't like sudden unexpected deaths. Everything is done to ban people from indulging in those 'dangerous' activities. Far better to slowly die from poor air quality or from smoking, an activity which is still tolerated, if not actually advertised. But then, when did you see kayaking advertised in the mass media?

Photo from ''

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sometimes It's...

WOW coastal scenary!

Sometimes it's a White Admiral come to land... aaahhh...

And sometimes it's just a couple of damselflies... having sex on the foredeck!

Whatever it is, wherever you are, paddling has to be time well spent!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

So Summer

Paddling my local lake in the summer may not have spouting whales, imposing cliffs or dumping surf, but it does have band concerts. Basically the technique is to paddle over to the park, avoid the ducks, powerboats and swimming kids, pop the sprayskirt, lay back and relax to some seriously good band music.

The more advanced paddler can sneak up to the park retaining wall and get some kid to go over to the pop-corn machine for a bag or two of the buttery stuff. Oh, and demonstrating a few Greenland style rolls is considered bad form at these events. Too many older folks don't see your antics as skills, but cause for worry. So stay in your boat and enjoy the music and popcorn, okay? See ya in the summer!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Paddling Delights

Not all the thrill of kayaking comes from the paddling. Some comes from the shore features slowly passing by, some from the sea life which rises from the depths and some comes when from stopping on a beach to eat a lunch or setup camp for the night. I'm a beach-comber at heart and can bearly hold myself back from strolling along a beach to see what's washed ashore.

The crab shell in the picture came ashore - or got itself dropped onshore - on a small island near Taylor's Head, Nova Scotia. Not the most amazing find I've ever made on a beach, but one that proves every find can be a delight however tiny, even a crabby one!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

International Polar Yahoos

In the first three months since it start-up last December, IsumaTV, the Canadian arctic based web site showcasing hundreds of "user-generated videos" by Inuit and Aboriginal film-makers from around the world, has been visited by nearly three million people. That's got to be success by anyone's count, but who's paying the bills?

Well, not some people. Canada's 'International Polar Year' committee doesn't see IsumaTV as worthy of their attention. They recently refused to give any of their $5.2 million grant funds to young Inuit to enable them to make videos about Global Warming right where it's happening on the front lines. No Inuit will be funded to record what's happening. Instead, the Sudbury Science center will get to make an IMAX film, a documentary will be made by non-Inuit on seabirds and another southerner will tell the story of an early 19th century 'explorer' and so on - the usual suspects from southern universities. Global warming? Relevant polar topics? I don't think so.

The Canadian arctic in recent years has become one of the world's most isolated places thanks to government neglect and disinterest. People living in northern regions are completely dependent on air travel as no roads lead to their homes. It now costs less to fly around the world than it does for a northerner to fly to southern Canada to visit relatives or have medical attention. Canada is about to build military seaports to maintain our sovereignty as though the tens of thousands of tax-paying Inuit and other northerners were only part-time visitors in their homeland. Does living north of the 60th parallel negate one's Canadian citizenship?

So I say, shame on Canada's International Polar Year committee. You're a sham. You have no serious interest in the polar regions of Canada. You are handing out money to southern Canadians so they can offset the high cost of playing tourist while northerners pay the price of the global warming you have inflicted on them. It's time to fund northerners so they too can properly tell their story!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Perhaps more than any other recent posting I've done, I receive more hits from people looking for information on 'teardrop trailers' than any other item. Now that I have a two week 'camping' trip under my belt, I thought I would let people know how my 'teardrop trailer', my Go-Camp, worked out. To begin with, weighing in at about 450 lbs, it was easy to tow with my relatively small car. On smooth roads, it was easy to foget it was even there at times. There was a slight reduction in the gas mileage I achieved, but generally it was not much different from carrying the kayak on the roof rack. I really believe the kayak makes a bigger difference than the trailer.

The ability to drive into a camping area and not have to set up a tent or look for a well drained, flat piece of ground was also a blessing. Basically I could park and sleep in dry, comfortable conditions. I was concerned at first that not having standing headroom in the little trailer would be confining and awkward, but at no time during the two weeks did it bother me. It's roomier than my 2 man tent by far! I was also able to have some music at the turn of a switch and electric lighting which was convenient.

The little 'kitchen' unit I made to fit into the rear hatch of my car also worked out well. My 'teardrop' doesn't have a pop-up kitchen like many of them do, so this pull-out countertop and lower 'cupboards did the job instead. It made meal preparation easy and convenient. I think I made quicker and healthier meals as a result of having all the materials and ingredients readily at hand and simple to use in almost any kind of weather, including the rain we had at Murphy's Cove on the last couple of days.

I'm looking forward to other kayak trips with this handy rig!

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Road Not Taken

We came from far and wide, down this road and that. We came to paddle from Murphy's Cove to Wolfe's Island and beyond. A weekend of fun on the sea had been planned right to the last beer, but alas, the weather had other plans for us.

Heavy rain and stiff breezes saw to it that the road to the beach would not be taken. At least not by our boats. Coffee freaks and cribbage players were back and forth in great numbers visiting the little building - Murphy's court, you might call it - just out of sight on the right down this road. Sadly, the Pictou Paddlers and myself, well we folded our tents... err, well... and my trailer, and headed back up the roads the Some days just aren't made for paddling!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Taylor's Lower Lip

For those people who enjoyed paddling entire coastlines, Taylor's Head is one of the challenges to get safely around on Nova Scotia's Eastern Shore. As you can see in the above photo, the 'head' is more of a protruding 'lower lip' in the sense that seen here at about mid-tide, there are considerable shoals stretching out to sea, well beyond the headland itself. When I paddled out to have a look, there was only a slight breeze coming in from offshore together with a mixed swell pattern coming from two directions, but both were less than a meter or so in height. Even so, long lines of breaking waves broke well out from the head and often in unexpected places. To get around the shallow 'lower lip' even on this relatively quiet day, it required one to watch for a while to see what was going on before committing to a course through the obstacles. Even then, it seemed to be a gamble and I kept asking myself if I was really where I wanted to be to avoid getting suddenly heaved about by a wave which could suddenly decide it wanted to break over me.

To the north and east of Taylor head, there are a number of islands and shoals again to provide interest to any paddler wishing to explore and play in the relatively sheltered waters. One of the delights is to come around a point of land and suddenly and expectedly come across a beach which abruptly changes from cobbles to sand in the blink of an eye. I landed on one such beach for lunch before continuing my explorations.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Here a Sherbrooke, There a Sherbrooke...

I was born in Sherbrooke, Québec, so when the road along Nova Scotia's Eastern Shore led to the village of Sherbrooke, naturally I had to stop and have a look. The town is smaller than my birth place, but it has a history which goes back to just about the same period. Today many of the original buildings have been preserved as a living museum open to the public. Children can spend a few days at the village, dressed in period costumes and, together with similarly dressed adults, go about 'living' as their ancestors did years ago. A great learning experience!

One thing that caught my eye was a 'penny-farthing' bicycle being ridden through the village. I discovered that these bikes, with one very large front wheel and a tiny rear wheel are making a comeback of sorts. The ones being ridden in the village come from California. I didn't try one out, but they seemed to be very easy to ride and certainly given a commanding view of the road.

Ok, back to paddling!