Saturday, September 2, 2007

Long day of paddling, about 21 miles by my reckoning. Ended up circumnavigating Grande Ile. It's big, all right. I hit the exposed south end at low tide, which required going around an extra few miles of exposed reef and put me well out in the Gulf. Conditions were breezy with chop and small swells.

After about 4 hours I came to Le Chateau. This unexpectedly wonderful site made the four hours of hard paddling worth it. It was like coming upon ancient ruins, with no tourists milling around. I guess the only way to get to these is by kayak.

This monolith really is house-sized. This is only a very small part of it.

Some of the liths are high up on the island edge. Perhaps the water was once up that high. The white patches in the foreground are not flowers, they are lichens which blanketed many exposed areas of the islands.




A neighboring stand of monoliths. They were all along the coast of Grande Ile except for the protected northern side.



I slid by the many monoliths on the shore, looking first to shoreward at the formations, then to seaward scanning for wildlife. (Seals. No whales.) I saw what I think was a puffin - round fat body, stubby wings, flying away from me awkwardly. Couldn't see the beak to be sure, so can't say, "I saw a puffin!" But I think I did.

Took a break in a cove on the north side, letting the tide turn to take me to the Grande Ile campsite. Wonderful to stretch out on the shore and watch clouds un-form and form again. Too tired to go all the way back to Ile Quarry where my site is reserved. And conditions had become more chaotic, strong current with wind kicking up whitecaps. No question, I wasn't going much farther. I didn't think it would matter anyway where I camped, as there'd been no one to care.

But it's Saturday on a Canadian holiday weekend, and there are people at the campsite, two other groups! No doubt it'll be the only night I share an island.

Fire-making mammal

Ah, the yellow door, the throne perched atop a royal ascent.

There were great numbers of these little fellows. They let me walk right up to them before deciding to move away. I don't know birds; perhaps someone will tell me what they are called. [I have since been advised that they are semipalmated plovers, a subarctic species.]

The sunset gets started.


Another rock slab beach, a really huge one at Grande Ile.On the map it is called a Barouchois - the ranger had told me this refers to a place where boats run aground, like a sandbar only a lot harder.

Again, the actual colors.

Marine forecast says deteriorating conditions for the rest of the trip. Tomorrow, wind picking up, and rain beginning at night, continuing through Monday. Then increasing wind on Tuesday. I will have to change my plans accordingly, no openwater crossing to Ile Nue.

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