Loc: Punta Chomache
Dist: 59,5 km
Start: 7:10 End: 17:20
Estimated landing: Caleta Chanavayita
Estimated starting time: Right after sunrise
Estimated landing time: Well before sunset
We woke early, and were on the way into a calm, but long paddling day. We were not sure if we were up to paddling the full 60 km to Punta Chomache, but the calm water made us simply speed along in our fast running kayaks.
After the bunch of huge jellyfish yesterday, the bay right behind Punta Arenas was now littered with jellyfish of all sizes! A real jellyfish kindergarten! Really, all sizes, from tiny to almost now 2 m long. And they came in all colours! From all white, to pink, brown red and mixtures. it was an amazing spectacle. I just wonder what the fishermen are thinking about this jellyfish sea…I imagine filling a net with those when they were expecting fat fish in there, doesn’t really please them…
We paddled and paddled, and were mostly pleased after the jellyfish with just our pure speed…at some time, we paddled just 7-8 km/ for over an hour, which is fast for *me*…
The headland of Punta Chomache had many rocks and rocky islands, still it looked on this swell low enough to pass close to the last inner big rocks. It was a bit lumpy, but all ok. On the other side were a few more rocks lurking, but with a good spotting and on this low swell, we passed all of them fine.
The real safe village landing was about 2 km behind the rocky headland, but we saw another beach before, which looked all right. We were almost there, and looked behind us where we spotted a sheltered gap between the rocks leading to a nice sandy beach. It was narrow, about 4 m wide only, but it looked very sheltered and possible to land on a nice low headland.
We opted to rather go there, hoping for a nice private spot. We came closer, and saw a bit of swell going in and out, but once through the about 3 m wide entrance, one would land in some shallow water leading to a narrow but nicely white sandy beach.
I went first as usual, and was even not caring, after the long tiring paddling day, to put on my safety gear like PFD (as a padding this time…) and helmet…a bad mistake. But I paddled in on a lull all right. I just didn’t jump out of the boat early enough, but eventually made it.
When it was Peter’s turn, he was waiting long for a really low swell wave coming in, but he also had no helmet and PFD on either…I was later blaming myself for not having done it myself…or after standing in the rocky entrance, to just to pointing to Peter to do it *now* although I missed the precise moment …
Long story short, Peter caught a small swell wave paddling just through the gap entrance, and couldn’t help getting a bit turned and was hitting his bow quite ugly on a rock…bad enough, but he also got turned sideways on this small swell wave, fully 90 degrees in the only about 4 m wide entrance, and was lifted up with the damaged bow and stern on the rocks on both ends…he was now sitting high and dry and quite helplessly locked in! If it hadn’t been so serious, I would have almost been laughing…
I stood at the end of the bay with my camera, but forgot to take a shot, when I saw Peter in this unlucky position! I quickly dropped the camera on my own boat, and thought I need to swim out, but then rather quickly climbed to the left over some easy rocks 10 m to where he was stuck…I saw I needed to lift his bow off the rocks on the next swell wave, as he didn’t manage to get off by himself on the first one…I was not strong enough lifting on the next chance, or the wave was too small, but on the one after I could lift the boat and turn his bow in again, where Peter took quickly two strokes to land now safely.
It could have come worse…lessons learned: *ALWAYS* where there are rocks and swell put on the helmet and PFD…luckily Peter was all right, but the damaged bow was our punishment! It looks a bit like a squished boxer’s nose now…fortunately it was not even soaking on the short paddle in! The stern had just a few scratches. Well, with Peter’s weight and the load, sitting basically for a few minutes high and dry suspended only on bow and stern, the boat could as well have broken into two pieces…or simply fallen sideways, and Peter dropped out…or…or…
We are having dinner now and I’m writing, while the damage is drying after rinsing with clear water. We will be able to fix it with our repair stuff, but I could imagine something nicer after 60 km of paddling…it will look as ugly as my own bow already looked on the fourth day, but it should work.
In hindsight, it really looked funny…but it was a bad mistake in all regards!