The marine forecast in Newfoundland was pretty minimal. We could pick up a general northeast coast forecast (hundreds of miles, like forecasting for all of New England) for wind speed and direction. No mention was made of wave height or weather. ("Newf-LAND m'rine forecast. Northeast coast. Monday. Winds s'west one-five to two-oh knots, increasing to two-five afternoon.") So we had little to go on. The forecast was for one more day of fair weather and then a protracted period of high winds. We thought it best to cut short our stay at the Bay of Exploits and get back across the headlands before the wind kicked up. After feeling somewhat better I had been sick again the night before, unable to keep food down, and was not at all sure I could handle a long committed crossing. We talked about alternatives. Ultimately, I used Mark's spare paddle to give me extra paddling power, and we set off.
Our route took us all the way from the Exploits Islands, across Ship Run (about 3 miles), crossing almost all the headlands, and stopping at the last cove on the headlands, Fleury Bight - 15.5 miles of open ocean. The wind was already strong as we crossed Ship Run. This was the toughest paddling I did in the whole trip, with 2-3' choppy beam seas and wind pushing us out to sea on a long open crossing. Even after we reached the headlands, we hit high winds at Fortune Bay, so strong that at times I could make no headway. It was a tough paddle with no option to land and I was glad to reach Fleury Bight.
Exhausted, we paddled deep into Fleury Bight, more than a mile. At the very end of the bight, we rounded a turn and came upon this sight. A tiny cottage above a cobble beach, surrounded by fields of yellow flowers.
We'd read that in Newfoundland people leave their fishing cottages open so that travelers can use them, and that it was acceptable to stay the night and leave a note of thanks. The door was unlocked. We were far from any towns. We moved in for the night, leaving a note and two chocolate bars as a gift.
View from the window. This was paradise. Daisies, yarrow, campanula, iris, buttercups, blue clear water, mountains all around. There were signs of moose and caribou. I rested and recuperated. Mark cooked cornbread and brownies. There were few bugs. We found fresh water to fill the sun shower. I wanted to stay forever.
Mark hung out on the dock, reading and sunbathing. It was in the upper 80's (but the water was much too cold to swim in).
The next morning I was feeling much better. We had a long day planned, many miles to paddle and two long open-water crossings. We got an early start to beat any wind.