Paddleboarding from Tors Cove in the Witless Bay Marine Ecological Reserve

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Paddling from Tors Cove, Newfoundland, and exploring the protected coastal waters of the Marine Ecological Reserve is one of the most rewarding ocean SUP paddleboarding and kayaking experiences in Eastern Newfoundland.

Because of Eastern Newfoundland’s proximity to the Gulf Stream and Grand Banks, the Oceanic Gyre is what makes this area so attractive to the rare seabirds and whales that come to this region every year, some migrating halfway around the world just to get here.

Sea Kayaking and Ocean Paddleboarding in the Tors Cove region is special because of the protected coastline and amplified biodiversity in this zone.

The islands of the Witless Bay Marine Ecological Reserve offer both ideal feeding grounds for humpback whales, seals, sea otters, capelin, cod, minkie whales, orcas, and countless other species of marine life along with protection from ocean swells and winds that’s much appreciated by those exploring the area on a Stand Up Paddleboard or Sea Kayak. The four islands in this area are called Fox Island, the closest to Tors Cove and Cribbies Meadows, Ship Island, the big one in the middle with a beach and sometimes sheep, Great Island, the furthest and largest island that hosts the largest concentration of rare seabirds in the Witless Bay Marine Ecological Reserve, and Pee Pee Island, the smallest of all the islands.

If you like ocean paddleboarding or sea kayaking and have never paddled in this area, you have no idea what you’re missing. Depending on the wind and swell conditions in Tors Cove the coastal islands of the Witless Bay Marine Park offer lots of hiding spots from inclement weather.

On calm days, circumnavigating Fox Island and, for the more adventurous, crossing over to Ship Island for lunch on the beach makes for a perfect morning or afternoon.

Fox Island is the first island you'll encounter when paddling from Tors Cove Wharf and the first destination for most paddleboarders and kayakers exploring the Witless Bay Marine Ecological Reserve's main islands.
Fox Island is the first island you’ll encounter when paddling from Tors Cove Wharf and the first destination for most paddleboarders and kayakers exploring the Witless Bay Marine Ecological Reserve’s main islands.

When the conditions are right, experienced paddlers can visit the coastal waters of Great Island where they’re guaranteed to see more whales and rare seabirds than can easily be counted.

Sometimes cloudy foggy days come with calm coastal waters ideal for paddleboarding in the Witless Bay marine ecological reserve
Sometimes cloudy foggy days come with calm coastal waters ideal for paddleboarding in the Witless Bay marine ecological reserve

The waters off of Tors Cove and Mobile Bay host the largest concentration of humpback whales anywhere on the planet. There are other places in the world where you can see lots of whales, but here, on a good day, you can count hundreds.

Launching your paddleboard or sea kayak from the community wharf and beach in Tors Cove, the first destination for most paddlers is the beach at Cribbie’s Meadows followed by a quick crossing over to Fox Island.

The tickle between Cribbie’s Beach and Fox Island has a noticeable tidal current during max ebb and flood, but can easily be managed by most paddlers. From the water, it’s easy to see why Cribbie’s Meadow is such a popular picnic destination.

Cribbes meadow kayaker
Cribbes meadow kayaker

Stand Up Paddleboarding and Sea Kayaking from Tors Cove in the Ecological Reserve on a sunny day is great, but oftentimes foggy, cloudy, and classic RDF (rain, drizzle, and fog) days reward SUP riders and kayakers with the calmest winds and sea conditions.

View of fox Island, ship Island, and great Island, and pee pee island from paddleboard off cribbes meadow Beach

Check the Environment Canada Tors Cove Marine Weather for more information on sea conditions.

Spending any amount of time on the water exploring the Marine Ecological Reserve off the coast of Tors Cove, Newfoundland is a real treat. On a paddleboard, you really feel like you’re one with the ocean. On a Stand Up Paddleboard, the rider can look straight down into the water, making it easy to check out the underwater world while exploring rugged coastlines.

Paddleboards are also great for stretching out, sitting down, doing yoga, and catching tiny waves at the beach.

It’s easy to see the underwater world from a paddleboard. The waters off Tors Cove are full of life

Have you been paddleboarding or sea kayaking near Tors Cove and Mobile Bay in the Witless Bay Marine Ecological Reserve? What was the highlight of your ocean kayaking or stand up paddleboarding SUP adventure? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Whale House Guest House offers luxury boutique private suites with outdoor hot tubs overlooking humpback whale feeding grounds. Located next to the east coast trail in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, just 30 min from downtown St. John’s.

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