By COLLEEN LEWIS
Star Staff Writer
Bernie Howgate is back in the Bay of Islands after a 4,500-kilometre seakayaking trip around the coastline of Newfoundland. The traveling author is no stranger to adventurous trips examining geography and culture and recording his personal experiences.
He spent eight years travelling around the globe for his book, Tales of a Traveling Man. In Journey Through Labrador, he tells people what it's like to go nine months alone snow-shoeing and kayaking through 500 kilometres of Labrador coastline. In Newfie or Bust, he describes the challenges and wonders of cycling from British Columbia to Newfoundland on a Pakistani rickshaw.He's kayaked 2,500 kilometres from Toronto, down the St. Lawrence River to Goose Bay, Labrador.
He allowed readers to accompany him in his book A Lazy Day in Summer. Howgate, almost 50, now calls Sept-Iles, Québec home. His fans have been able to follow his most recent travels through a personal diary on his web page which has been updated throughout the trip. On April 25, prior to leaving for Newfoundland, he wrote "for me, kayaking is like dancing with a woman. She lets you take the lead and if you don't listen to her, she will slap you down, and I've been slapped down enough over the years to know when to shut-up and listen to her."
His latest excursion began at the Bay of Islands Yacht Club on May 20, and since leaving he's certainly been slapped around by the waters off Newfoundland. Howgate said the wind was nearly always blowing in the wrong direction, but the hospitality he encountered on his many stops around the island was fantastic. He travelled south from Corner Brook to Port au Port around the south and east coast.
By Aug. 8 he had finally made it round Cape Norman into the Straights of Belle Isle. He became a tourist attraction as he travelled the waters along the coast of the Northern Peninsula. During the trip, Howgate became all-too-familiar with the large number of whales surrounding Newfoundland. He even saw a pod of killer whales.
He's now getting to work on his next publication to describe what it's like to kayak around the island. So how does Howgate prepare for such undertakings?"Allow yourself an open-ended return ticket. If a trip looks like taking six weeks - allow for eight weeks. "Haste and not the weather is the major killer" ."If your hands are tied because of time constrictions, make sure your life insurance policy is paid up-to-date before leaving."