Loc: before Isla Zapotal
Dist: 43,6 km
Start: 7:10 End: 17:00
Tomorrow’s estimated landing: Galera
I’m always starting with how I slept, then the launch…boring? Sure, it’s a lot of routine also on such a trip. So – I slept perfect with light air condition and with no-itching earplugs all night. Good.
Now the launch: Fortunately the surf went less violent like I already saw last night – still three lines to overcome. My Navy hosts wished me good bye, looking a bit sceptically if I could do it…how could they suspect? Last night’s fucked up landing was a rare exception!!!
The whole village seemed also to gather around me packing, but I saw lulls in the surf, and space between the breaker lines. And – then I just had to paddle over two non-violent broken foam lines, and the way out was dead calm and free! Great timing… – this also happens. Not only “shit happens”…I’m hoping they remember me as the “launching master”…
I saw the surf all day being small until low tide, then it came up again as usual. The land spit I was eventually paddling along had no mountains any more, but was sandy, with a few farms, palm trees and local houses. It was eventually a whole palm tree forest! Nice to see! Two cattle herds got guided along the beach by two cowboys, quite sure the beach is the highway here. One herd was about 100 cattle, all in white, the other about 70, and mixed colors. Every single person was waving back at me, the cowboys, some local kids playing in the surf, all fishing boat people. Nice area here! All looks relaxed and very local. No hotels or tourists to spot.
I took the day very slowly, and enjoyed every moment of it. I was just to paddle only 40 km, and to land on an island in an estuary – no surf…
But did I forget the estuaries have their own tricky currents, tidal races and breaker areas? I came just out of Bahia Caraquez with a heavy dog leg track…If you are not local, and if you are sitting low in your kayak, it is hard to spot and to judge where to paddle and where better not.
I saw three fishing boats heading close to land obviously just around the corner to Cojimijes, but it also looked if they had to stop briefly to wait the rolling in breaker lines to pass in between with their engine power. Low tide was just after lunch, and I was just there around that time..if I’d make it around the corner, would the way be free further up inside the estuary? I may have had to paddle a bit south around the island, then north against the incoming tide…I rather chose to give the whole breaker area in the estuary a wide berth.
But the berth seemed to be endless going out…if I’d have studied Google Earth a bit better before and believed in that breaker area, and would I have known I had to almost go out 5 km to get around, I may have tried to choose the inside version!
But eventually there was one breaker-free channel opening up after about 2,7 km, heading directly to the sandy beach of one of the islands I remembered. Going further along the coast of that island would lead me again into a breaker zone, but I chose to go there, still scared about unexpected breakers.It was almost mid-tide now, and the water was quite confused.
I made it well to the beach of the island spit, and decided if nothing works I’ll stay here and launch tomorrow morning with high tide. I climbed up the low dune, and spotted just on the other side of the sandy spit the calm water of the estuary. This is where I should have been! But I can get there…dragging my boat in the shallow wash up the beach for about 100 m, then hauling the whole gear and boat over the sandy spit for about another 100 m in three loads. It was HOT, but well, I had worse and longer portages on this trip…
Eventually I was loaded again and pushed in the calm quickly rising water. I paddled northwest against the tide, and out through the bumpy breaking water between two sandy spits. Then I was free and paddled still against the tide toward the mainland, inside the last big island.!
If I see now the whole lot on Google Earth, I could not really have made it better from my perspective. I was prepared to paddle around the whole breaker area. But maybe the inside passage *was* open for a weak kayak on lowest tide around lunchtime? Next time I’ll give it a closer look.
I picked for my campsite tonight a narrow beach, where the next house was a bit away. It ended up to be a strip between a fish pond and the estuary water. Calm, and just good for tonight! Lots of bugs though…and high tide at 6.30 pm reached up nearly to my tent.