Beach all day!
Loc: End of long beach
Dist: 35,8 km
Start: 3:30 End: 11:50
Yawn! Getting up early is no problem, just paddling so early my body really doesn’t like. Pieter drove me together with Cees to the jetty where I arrived, thanks to both to be also up so early! Packing, launching, paddling in darkness, I don’t like it! Low tide is at 8 am, so I may reach the end of the long beach just on high tide and am getting flooded out of the river nicely.
It takes always a bit of time to adjust to the night, and to judge the lights on the river you see. The first obviously not a buoy light was actually quite a big ship, as suddenly the mix of lights came pretty close. I heard it also quite late, but I managed to paddle away safely. A few more ships and boats, all those lights are hard to judge – are they on the coast, buoys or ships? But all went ok. I heard a bunch of dolphins jumping and sniffing around, and paddled actually quite slowly, due to shifting my biorhythm I am not the strongest at night. I even had breakfast in the middle of the river to gain some energy, and got during that break almost run over by a silently approaching ship… almost. The outgoing current was only 2 km/ h when I did not paddle, not much wind yet. I came closer to the beach corner, there the current became really strong! 5-6 km/h! It was still pitch dark.
At some point I heard some rushing noise, and I flashed my strong light just in time to notice the many fishing poles Pieter mentioned already just in front of me, fortunately not active nets in between. The noise of the streaming current displayed in the flashlight the strength of the strongly running water! Any fish probably can’t help but running into the net, if there is an active one hung up… Another three or four lines came up, and eventually it became dawn, thank goodness, as it also became quite windy and lumpy on the water.
Light showed a long beach only, still quite steep with no mud at the base. I had a quick stop at a fresh turtle track, it would be so nice if I were to see some! But not a turtle visit at night again like on the last day in Venezuela! The steep beach with relatively clean water went on for a while, but surely changed soon to a very shallow wide area upfront the still sandy beach. I shovelled liquid muddy water for a long while until the tide was high enough to paddle conveniently. It does slow you so much down if it is shallow muddy! A fresh breeze also did not really improve my speed either, and I decided to take no risk but to finish at the clearly defined end of the long beach, though I may have seen a few more spots on Google Earth for a few km before it is again all mangroves.
I will start very early again tomorrow, not sure if I’ll stop on the mud somewhere after high tide in the afternoon, or if I try to reach the first beach after the mangrove area and wait there until I can land. Probably the first, as the wind is still ugly in the afternoon.
I had to do some more repairs on the beach after landing. The seam crack in the stern from my boat jumping around tied up in the last mangrove forest which I just repaired in Paramaribo created an additional breaking out of the tiny stern bulkhead which I hadn’t notice yet. It is not too much of an issue as long as the rudder area is not leaking. I tried to reach deep inside there with some epoxy putty. Also, after I launched again from the beach after taking the turtle track pictures, I jump usually on the boat while pushing the kayak into the water backwards by straddling the coaming for a second before I slide my backside into the kayak. This time the to the hull glued cockpit coaming didn’t like my weight and the glued area cracked off on the left side. Shit! Also a bunch of epoxy putty inside and 2-Components glue outside on the seam hopefully fixes and stabilizes the thing again. There is always something to repair…