Tuesday night I attended a talk and slide show at a local museum about sea kayaking around parts of the Atlantic Provinces. This included the Baie Verte Peninsula and the Southwest Coast of Newfoundland. Spectacular scenery, the ocean, ice bergs, old and current outports, and lots of birds and sea life. That talk did good things for my soul. After the talk I started thinking seriously about how I could manage time on the water, both in the short and long terms.
Ever since I have been young I've been in love with the ocean, and my dad used to help out the local fishermen with the engines of their boats on the Southern Shore. I've been out in kayaks, canoes, rowboats, Rodneys, trap skiffs, small motorcraft, the Bluenose II, a few Canadian destroyers in the Pacific, and some friends' yachts. Despite a bit of seasickness, being on the rolling swell makes you feel alive, and you can't sleep in a better place. Then there is the coast, as seen from the ocean. From the East Coast Trail you can often look down at sea stacks and sea caves, but imagine looking into the caves and kayaking into them, or looking up 100 metres to the top of a sea stack. Or looking along the coast for a landmark, and seeing the Spout blowing with the sun behind it? I like hiking a lot, but coasting along and dropping into the shore and hiking into areas difficult or impossible from the land is really appealing. I need a boat!
How to do it? Having helped out others with their sailing yachts, I know full well the amount of time, sweat, effort, and money that goes into them. Canoes, speedboats, Seadoos and other such toys have no real appeal to me. I want to go around the coast, be able to anchor or tie up, and finally be able to sleep on board. This sounds like a motor yacht, but again they do to money what the Sun does to hydrogen.
Maybe one of the smaller fishing boats around Newfoundland, with a cabin big enough for sleeping and with a tiny galley would be the answer. Many are rugged and seaworthy, easily maintained, and have unpretentious but practical accommodations. They eat fuel but they often have a good range, and you could add a seagoing kayak or two for exploring. I could see taking a couple of weeks to cruise from St. John's to Port aux Basques, with a lot of exploring mixed in, and taking friends on day trips down to Bay Bulls, with a picnic at one of the many safe harbours along the coast, and a little exploration thrown in.
But first I have to finish my thesis then see what is in store for me after graduation. I may have to stay in Halifax, but I am keeping my ears open about Gander.
All I ask is a small ship and a star to steer her by.
I just added a poem that I have enjoyed since childhood to this site. I hope you like it