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By Paul Delaney with Trev Rice & Lisa Wade
Date: July 16th & 17th, 2016

Paddlers: Paul Delaney (pwdelaney(at)@nf.sympatico(dot).ca)& Lisa Wade in Seaknife SK-1 Pro’s and Trevor Rice in self-made cedar strip Great Auk.

Weather Conditions: Day 1 – light breeze from northeast, mainly sunny, low 20’s.
                                   Day 2 – dead calm rising to slight easterly, low 20’s, sun and cloud.

NTS Map sheets: 2E/6 and 2E/11.
Trip Length: Day 1 – 11 km. Day 2 – 9 km           

Leading tickles

Trip Map
Leading Tickles has been a target destination for kayaking for quite some time. Finally the opportunity arose. To access the area from St. John’s take the TCH west until you cross the Exploits River at Bishop’s Falls, approximately 400 km from St. John’s. If coming from the west pass through Grand Falls and on to the cutoff to Botwood at Bishop’s Falls. Turn off towards Botwood and carry on until the cut off to Point Leamington at Northern Arm, another 21 km. It’s another 50 km to the Oceanview Park, and 19 km to Point Leamington. The access to Pleasantview is just as you enter Point Leamington. Keeping on through Point Leamington the turn off to Leading Tickles is near the end of town on the west side.

After a 15 km trip in the Pleasantview-Tea Arm area to collectively get our first kayak of the year under our belt (and 16 lbs of mussels collected from the kayaks) it was off to the Leading Tickles area. We pre-positioned one truck at the Oceanview campground in Leading Tickles and went back to Glover’s Harbour to start the journey. Glover’s Harbour is a very protected and picturesque little community. Have to go right through to the far end of the town to where there is a decent enough beach and easy parking.

Launch Site
Glover's Hr.

The weather was wonderfully clear with a refreshing light breeze in our faces as we headed out. The terrain was rather lumpy, steep and interesting as is the case with so much of Notre Dame Bay. Several small islands on the east side of the harbour were nice to cruise around.

Islands in Glover's Hr.
Island's in Glover's Hr.
Island's in Glover's Hr.
Rugged Coastline

Pushing out into the more open bay there was still no wind to impede us, just enough to cool us. Paddling up the east side of the bay we admired the steep cliffs with coarse active scree slopes, spotted eagles and generally enjoyed the outstanding views. As you move through the area, for the entire day, you are presented with land and islands and tickles and reaches on all quarters. This is some of the most spectacular kayaking conditions you can get, in my opinion.

Cumlins Head
Headland and Islands
Steep Shore

Nearing Cumlins Head, a rather prominent outcropping, we dodged into a small cove where we found a motorboat anchored with a host of kids and adults enjoying the fresh water of a vigourous waterfall. As they left we decided it was time for lunch. Taking fresh water from the brook we sparked up the Kelly Kettle for tea, with sandwiches, sausage and cheese with tasty Baba Ganoush dip. It was a grand spot for a spell.

Brook and Steep Cliffs

Carrying on we passed Cumlins Head and into Pidwell’s Cove. As we passed inside of Blackberry Island it was decided it was time to cross over to the south side of Cull’s Island. With the breeze now coming more northeast it was still a very comfortable and short crossing. Continuing west we rounded the westernmost point and out into the more open sea. The water was notably colder as was the still very refreshing breeze over that water. On the way to the park there were a few rocky islets to play amongst. Steep sided coves and the prominent headland by the park made for more great views.

Cumlins Head
Vertical Coast
Natural Adit
View to West
Old and New
Ward's Island
Bear Head
Oceanview Campground

We landed on the cobble-boulder beach and quickly hauled up a bit. Needn’t go too far up the beach. After retrieving the second truck we set up camp. We had one of the best sites for kayakers, #8, fairly large, open to a sea breeze, and just a million dollar view, upon which the sun was due to set. There are several other sites along this side that would all be perfect.

If you are booking in advance (a good idea as the park was mostly full) mention you are kayaking and they’ll try to get you one of the spots near the beach. Besides having the best view it is quite functional for landing near your campsite.
We wandered around the beach and rocks towards the headland. Such an incredible place. This has to be one of the best situated parks anywhere. Such dramatic panoramas. Kids were all over the place swimming in the sea, riding bikes, playing on the beach and rocks and at the swing sets and slides in the grassy centre area.

The park is well equipped. Water at your site, a concrete fire pit, clean bathroom and showers. No real hardship here, but still isolated and in a wonderful place. I was completely thrilled with the entire day and the camp was part of it. Some time ago other kayakers had taken position on the east side of the island where they were more isolated from the rest of the campers. There are two beaches on the east where you can land along with the western one where we landed. In town there was a chip truck and a small grocery for resupply/food.

Next morning after a great starry evening and a fire I hiked up to the lookout and took a few photos of the surroundings. Then it was back in the kayaks to try some cod jigging. The air was completely still and the water “like the oil”. I had asked the lady at the gate about good cod grounds and she gave a few clues, like The Bible, but we really didn’t know exactly where to go. But out on the water we ran across a local who took us out to the Bible and he indicated a few other spots where you might get a few fish. The Bible yielded only a few sculpins and water too deep for one of our jiggers, so we decided to try another area. Over time and a few re-positions we managed to get enough “rounders” and a couple of Rock Cod for a feed. The area hadn’t seen capelin yet so the better fish were yet to come.

Bear Head
Jigging Cod
Water and Sky
Trev gets Rounder

On the return the slight breeze and small following swell propelled us rapidly along the steep-sided, shoal lined Bear Head. Rounding the last point into the cove the swell was rising a bit higher and gave a real nice surf as you paddled downhill. Nice feel and in closer to the rocks the wave was curling over like real surf waves for the more skilled.

Triton Area

To summarize this was a pretty easy trip given the utterly favourable conditions. Distances were not large and most anyone should be able to do this trip, dependent on weather. Scenery was spectacular and the campgrounds one of the best I know.

West Bear Cove
West Bear Cove Shore
Setup for the Night
Moon Over Kayaks
Clear Skies at Dusk
Bear Head
West Bear Cove
Bear Head Lookout
Campground from Lookout
Panorama from Lookout

There is much more that can be done from this place. Set up in the park first and then do the first day as we did. There are a multitude of islands that you can cruise around on another day. And then you can put a vehicle on the east side of the peninsula at Mill Cove and do a trip into The Big Northwest (shown as Osmonton Arm on maps), and back to camp (see another trip report I did on this bay).

Of all the overnight or even day trips I’ve done around the Newfoundland Island these two days and the area have to rank as some of the most enjoyable ever.

NOTE: The Pleasantview day trip we warmed up with was previously done by myself and Trev (see the report). This time we got some good showers early before clearing a bit, along with rather blustery conditions. As with the previous occasion we used the kayaks to harvest mussels, getting 16 lbs! We also discovered a new road that if we knew it was there would have avoided an extra pull across into the water supply and a 400m hike with all gear and kayaks up to the trucks. Due to some unexpectedly large lops we also pulled across a small neck right near Pleasantview and another within Tea Arm that cut off a good bit of distance, most of which would have been into the wind.

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Leading Tickles Excursion - July 16 & 17th., 2016