The Belle Anse stretch of coast line is one of
the most popular and beautiful areas for sea
kayaking. No wonder many commercial tours
center around its waters. Attracted to the sea
caves and several beach launch sites, this is a
fairly safe region to paddle, given calm wind
and wave conditions. Other big attractions
include an old barge, as well as an Island in
the same area. Our lunch stop and wrap up
finished at white sandy beaches.
We had a great place to park our car and
launch behind a set of break waters around
Anse de l'Etang du Nord. Fanny, from
Mer, (the people who route
planned for us) would shuttle our car to
Our first attraction could be right around
corner from the break water. Ten years ago,
a two barges were being towed by a tug
during a storm. One was taking on water,
and being too close to shore, and too heavy
to drag, had to be cut loose. It grounded
near the shore on private land. The other,
landed further North on crown land.
Consequently, the Government paid for the
removal of the later, leaving the former; the
barge grounded here at cap Brillant, to be
dealt with at the expense of the land owner.
Needless to say, the barge still stands.
Although this sounds like a tragic story,
barge has since turned red, no doubt with
rust, and now lends itself to the surrounding
although contrasting organic landscape. It
serves as a huge attraction for kayakers and
land-lovers alike to come visit the area.
We were told not to paddle too close, as the
vessel can potentially shift. In its front, you
can see gaps in the hull, probably large
enough to paddle in through.
After exploring the barge, we were drawn to
a small island called Ile aux Goelands.
Because there were no winds at the time, we
could paddle around it, "sans aroma" from
bird scat. These little islands lend themselves
to cormorant and other winged habitation.
As we headed North, we began to see
cliffs emerge, with ever bigger holes being
revealed. by the time re rounded Pointe
Herrissee, the caves were large enough to
explore. We donned our headset lamps with
hopes of seeing what lay inside. No doubt
due to mid day sun, our eyes simply couldn't
adjust to what our lamps revealed. It was a
good idea, in theory anyway.
By the time we finished a beach snack,
an undignified landing that was!) and passed
Cap au Trou, the water turned rougher,
allowing us only to spot caves, but we dare
not venture in. Swells would potentially
sweep us against the rocks with out let up.
We saw waves crashing against the rocks
which gave us ample warning.
We finally rounded Cap l'Hopital to find
calmer waters, and with the swells now at
our backs, had a mild but fun surf ride into
the beach. The water was crystal clear and
warm! It was so cool to watch shannon
surfing a wave by carving a rudder turn with
her paddle. Mucho style points for her!
This is a really nice route to paddle in
variety is has to offer. Caves, sea stacks, a
small island, grounded barge wreck,
beaches, rich green turf topping a
contrasting red rock cliffs. All in around 3-4
hours of paddling at an explorer's pace.
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