Friday, August 31, 2012

Sunrise Paddle ~ Lion's Head to Barrow Bay

Launching at Lion's Head Beach. Notice the seagull landing and the light from the lighthouse.

The first section of my Georgian Bay coastal paddle tour was from Lion’s Head beach to Barrow Bay. I had planned on heading out first thing when I awoke in the morning. That just so happened to be at 4:30 am. I figured to have a quick bite to eat and head out, why not? I thought I might be able to catch the sunrise past Lion’s Head Point.

Lion's Head Point
I didn’t encounter any cars on the way to the beach, or people there as I launched. The visitors to the Lion’s Head Beach Park Campground were still fast asleep. It was so quiet that it felt otherworldly. I launched at a quarter after 5 am and even though the conditions were prime, (little wave action and the wind at my back) I didn’t make it to the point in time. The sun rose at 5:38 am that morning. Thanks to some cloud cover right on the horizon I still got a couple of amazing shots as the sun rose through the clouds when I rounded the point. It was gorgeous!

Sunrise over rocks in McKay's Harbour
When I reached McKay’s Harbour the wind started to stir. The waves weren’t high but my speed slowed as my boat and paddle fought against the wind. Rounding Gun Point was exciting! In my limited experience, I’ve found that wind does funny things as it comes down over bluffs and at points. It seems to swirl, become unpredictable and almost makes the water churn. This was the most technical paddle I have encountered thus far. I kept my momentum up and my paddle in the water. It was so exhilarating!

My last shot, McKay's Harbour as I head to Gun Pt.
The camera went back in the dry sack.
 Once around Gun Point, the wind was stronger again, it was coming from the SW. The water calmed and turned to gentle rolling swells. My arms were getting tired at this point! I’m fairly certain that it took me the same amount of time to get from Lion’s Head to Gun Point as it did from Gun Point to my landing spot on Barrow Bay.
Approximately two hours after I set out, I landed on the rocky shore in front of a friend’s cottage in Barrow Bay. I was welcomed with delicious coffee and a morning chat. It was lovely. I doubt that I’m going to paddle many early mornings, but this kayaking trip from Lion's Head sure was worth the early start!

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