Located near the town of Lark Harbour at the end of the Bay of Islands in Western Newfoundland is Bottle Cove Provincial Park. There are no camping facilities here but Blow me Down provincial park is just ten minutes away. There is a short hiking trail that winds its way around the Murray Mountains and the coast but the real reason to visit Bottle Cove is for sea kayaking. This small crescent shaped harbour is one of my favorite places to paddle in Newfoundland.
You can put in right at the coarse sandy beach that lines the cove just a few meters from the road. It's a good place to practice surf launches and landings when the wind blows from the sea. Bottle Cove gets it's name from the crystal clear shallow water. Paddling here you can peer directly below the surface and watch many of the various sea creatures that live here. The cove is very protected and is only joined with the ocean by a narrow opening making it a safe place to paddle even on windy days.
Bottle Cove is quite small with only a total circumference of 1km but if the weather cooperates experienced paddlers can venture outside into the Gulf of St. Lawrence where there are several sea caves along the rugged coast. The sheltered harbour of Little Port is 2km south and makes for a great open water paddle but there are no landing sites anywhere in between if the wind comes and and the rebounding from the waves hitting the cliffs can create some extremely dangerous conditions. I know of at least one kayaker who got stranded on the rocks here as the tide was rising and he was very lucky to be rescued when someone spotted his grounded kayak. Don't venture out into this area unless you are completely confident in your ability.
Paddling north from Bottle Cove will bring you past more rugged coastline at Miranda Cove, Island Cove, and the aptly named Devil's Head. The coast along here is very scenic but as with the southern route there are very few safe landing sites in case of bad weather.
Bottle Cove is a great paddling destination that has something to offer for everyone from a novice to an expert paddler. It is easily accessed and the water in the cove is usually quite a bit warmer than in the nearby gulf. I would recommend a wet suit to be worn here. If venturing outside remember to leave a detailed trip plan behind with a definite time to call authorities. Weather conditions have a habit of changing very quickly in Newfoundland so always be prepared no matter how short you plan your trip to be.
Map # 12g/01
Take the North Shore Highway (route 440) along the Bay of Islands to the town of Lark Harbour. Follow the signs to Bottle Cove 2km away.
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