Beginning tonight at 7:30 PM local time, we will be leaving Newfoundland, and closing the circle heading back from Argentia to North Sydney, Nova Scotia.
Wednesday was spent with a little exploring and a short hike. Finally got to the top of some hills to get a nice panoramic view. Where it was evident the wind – which wasn’t supposed to pick up till late afternoon or evening – was early (it was not yet noon). I so wanted to hike on the endless rocky knolls stretching into the distance and so very inviting. But, more strongly wanted to get into a safe port so we could get the ferry on Saturday! And, once the wind started blowing, it was forecast to keep blowing for at least 3 to 4 days. As it was, Wednesday afternoon paddling was a slog in blowing wind and building seas, but we arrived safely back to a sheltered harbor.
Thursday was spent in Rencontre East (pronounced Rouncounter) – accerssible only by intercoastal ferry – sorting gear. Woke up to overcast skies that looked as if it could rain. Locals who had the forecast said it would be a nice day, with rain on Friday. And, indeed it was beautiful! Sun came out, blue skies, short sleeves and a nice breeze to keep things cool. Perfect – could have used a dozen more of that kind of day this trip. Though, wouldn’t have had much paddling on the open coast – as, outside our very protected harbor, it was more than a nice breeze!
As we were unpacking boats and drying gear and re-organizing for the trip home, a woman was in her yard next to the dock and struck up a conversation. Then Shirley invited us in for tea – which included homemade soup, rolls, muffins, cheese, yogurt and converstation with Shirley and her cousin, Donna. Donna was visiting from Belloram (pronounced Bell OR im) and was full of stories. Shirley (in her 70’s?) has just sold the home she grew up in…. She and her husband have used it as a summer home (with the first indoor plumbing installed in 2005) for many years. He died a couple years ago, and she said it just isn’t the same. Despite her packing, however, she took time to cater to us. Not only feeding us, but inviting us to take a shower and allowing a load of laundry. Pure bliss to have a shower and clean clothes after 3 weeks! She also said we could put our bags in the shed overnight. Another detail which was a wonderful bonus, as it meant we would not have to unpack and repack our boats anymore!
Took a couple short walks that day. Around a pond in the area. Throughout the town. And along the Rencontre River to the “head of the lake”. Rencountre Lake is 4 1/2 miles long and 1/2 mile at it’s widest. Tucked between steep cliffs. Gorgeous. We had thought of paddling up, but after Wednesday’s difficult slog, we were both tired – and wanted dry gear for the journey home.
Started to drizzle in the evening… and we spent our last night in our tents in pouring down rain. Awoke to a drizzle on Friday, and got our tents and remaining gear packed. Wheeled our kayaks to the ferry dock, and holed up in Shirley’s shed until it was time to board. Then, Shirley stuck her head out and called “come on in for coffee”! So, in we went. Met her son, Shaun, who arrived on the previous evening’s ferry to help pack and move. She apologized for sleeping in and not having eggs and bacon to offer!
Soon, the ferry was loading and we were off. Into high seas, from the perspective on my sensitive stomach, though the captain was unphased. “It’s not too bad”. No doubt, he has seen much, much worse. He also told Carl “I’ve been on the sea all my life, and you guys have got more balls than I have to go out in those little boats”. I guess we just choose our days more carefully than he can as a ferry captain! All perspective. Of course, it was also foggy and raining on our 1 3/4 hour crossing. Seemed fitting..
Arrived in Bay L’argent without incident. Waited about an hour for our ride from Greg Pittman (and his 14 year old son). Had a nice brunch, drove into sunshine, and dropped our boats off at the ferry terminal. With all the hassle coming over, it was surprisingly anticlimactic. “We’ve sent kayaks over before – no problem.” Our boats and gears are currently stored at the terminal, and we have been hanging out at the Castle Landing Bed and Breakfast, in Placentia. Enjoyed a walk to town, ice cream and a rest by the sea before it began to drizzle again. Had a great dinner – with fresh veggies!!!! – and enjoyed our first night in a bed in 4 weeks. We are basking in the cover of a house (it is raining again…), flush toilets and daily showers. Plans to go to a historic sight in walking distance if the rain clears.
That’s it for now. The paddling is done, but the journey not quite over!