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  • Sandy Brand

Kayak capers


The flier was waving to me in St Johns airport. It said something about "icebergs" and "boat tour"; well, I was in. I phoned them and the girl said she'd hold the boat for me and to drive carefully. Then I couldn't start the keyless car and had to ask some nice man for help. I'd been told there was a button to push on the dash to start it, but she didn't tell me you had to have your foot on the brake while you did it.

We all got a history lesson from the Captain's cabin on the way out of the huge harbour, and when we hit the real sea my stomach started to feel queezy, and I wasn't the only one on board to feel that. But it was worth it, a huge iceberg awaited us in a quieter more protected part of the coast. We got in really close to it, and as far down as I could see it just kept going.

After a couple of days hiking around the St Johns coast I got to sit and have a misty then sunny drive for almost six hours up to Twillingate, and I used a friendly B & B there as my base.

My bucket list has "kayak with icebergs" on it and I reckoned two weeks on "the Rock" (Newfoundland), based in "iceberg alley" aught to do it. It was frustrating not being able to see for the mist a lot of the time, (very like Scotland), and a bit lonely on my own some of the time. There was so much ice in the harbours around Twillingate that the fishing boats were not even out yet, so asking for a loan of a kayak was pretty much whistling Dixie. So I got to draw, paint and meet lots of people around me. If you're in Twillingate you have to go into Earth & Sky Healing Centre and Gallery, Joanne there is a special lady and just going into her Gallery makes me feel good!

On my second last day I fulfilled my dream and went out in one of Lindy Rideout's "Sea Knife Kayaks" that he makes. It was a blue and white seventeen footer, built for the rigours of the sea. The sun shone, the sky was cloudless and the ocean a dark blue. Startlingly white icebergs were everywhere. The only sound was my paddle in the water and calving icebergs, which reminded me of distant avalanche noise in the mountains. Sometimes I'd stop and enjoy listening to the silence.


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