Paddlers: Brian & Angela Newhook
Date: July 7, 2007
Weather: 20C Sunny, calm seas, virtually no wind
Distance: Approx 10 kms, about 2 hrs
If you ever have to travel to Port Aux Basques and have a few hours to kill before taking the ferry, or conversely, if you arrive in Port Aux Basques from the mainland, and don't have to head east for a few hours, and happen to have your kayaks with you, here is a great option to get on the water on the southwest coast for a few hours in a sheltered location. Perfect for beginners, with lots of options for more experienced paddlers outside the sound.
Twenty-six kms down the coast from Port Aux Basques on Route 470 you will come to my hometown Burnt Islands. About 1 km past the community, there is a road to the left, where Grandy's River Collegiate School is located. And past this there is a gravel road that runs down to Grandy's River (locally its known as "The Brook").
Now one problem with kayaking on the SW coast is the lack of beaches. There are few places to launch. You usually have to find a slipway, or if you are lucky a small landwash that is not too rocky. To paddle in Grandy Sound, you have a couple options. We drove halfway down to the brook and launched over the bank and into the estuary (see green X on map). One problem you may be faced with is that the road may be overgrown with alders and impossible to drive down without scratching the finish on your new Subaru Outback. But from time to time, the brush is cleared away and road is easy to drive down. You have to drive about 600 m down this road before you will find a decent place to launch. As a side note, at the end of this road (about 1 km further), there is an amazing swimming place locally known as "The Current," and a 10 minute walk up river is "The Narrows" which is even better. Another 10 minute walk up river is "The Salmon Pool," which is best of all. So if you have a full day, these swimming spots are amazing, with lots of cliffs and waterfalls. It's also a licensed salmon river if angling is your thing. The road is really rough after the first 600 m, so it may not be passable by car. However, it shouldn't be a problem in a truck.
The Current (thumbnail - click on image to enlarge
If this option is not available, drive a
little further down the coast on Route 470, and there is a place next to the
second bridge (about 1.8 kms from the school, see green X on map). I've
never launched a kayak from this location, but I know some of the local cabin
owners tie their boats up here, so there should be access to the water at this
location. There is a small parking space just before the bridge.
Grandy Sound Map
Grandy Sound is very sheltered from the
swells normally experienced on the SW Coast, due to the outer islands. This area
is locally known as "The Reach," and there are a few cabins in the area. It's a
popular place in the summer to get mussels or just go for an afternoon pleasure
cruise. The water inside the sound is pretty shallow, and most of the time you
will be able to see bottom.
You can easily spend several hours just poking in and around the little islands and channels in this area, but beware of going outside the sound. This coastline has produced many shipwrecks, and even if there is no wind, the swells can be banging up pretty seriously. There are a lot of sunkers along this coast and areas that you can watch for several minutes, and it will look fine. Then, all of a sudden, there will be huge breaking waves. Now if you are of a level 4 calibre paddler, this just may be the sort of thing you are looking for :-) But otherwise, I'd recommend staying inside the shelter of the islands.
Depending on the time of year you visit, these islands can be covered in blueberries, bake apples and partridge berries.
There is also a small waterfall hidden in a narrow channel on the eastern side of Grandy Sound, as marked on the map.
As stated before, there are very few beaches on this coastline; it's very rocky, so getting ashore is not always easy, but if you look around, you can usually find a spot where you can manage to get ashore. Nonetheless, it will most likely be less than ideal. The cabin owners in this area are great people, so don't be afraid to stop in and say hello. Kayakers aren't very common on this coast, so people are very curious when the see a foreign looking craft plying their waters.
Another warning about this area is the wind and fog. Of course, the SW coast is home to "The Wreckhouse," so the winds can be brutal. However, unless it's a major gale, you should be safe inside the sound. Also, the fog can be heavy enough to shovel sometimes and can move in without warning.
Inside the estuary
Going under the bridge on Route 470
Entering Grandy Sound
Looking west towards Burnt Islands
In among small islands and channels
South West Coastline
Heading east inside the sound
Passing harbour island
Going through another channel
Sheltered little cove
Cabins at "the reach"
Heading towards the waterfall
Waterfall at the end of the inlet
Me and the waterfall
Paddling west out of the inlet
Heading back up into the estuary
Inside the estuary
Angie smiling after a great paddle
Notice our car hidden in the alders
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