Stopped early before trapped in low tide. I am worn!
Loc: Baia do Caeté
Acc: tent on hut on stilts on beach
Dist: 33,2 km
Start: 6:15 End: 11:20
My hut mates were out fishing around low tide, means they were awake again at midnight, went out with their noisy boats and came back around four am, chatting happily as ever. A single oil lamp is fortunately their only light. So earplugs did the job this time. I couldn’t say I got used to the movements of the hut platform in the strong tidal current, shaking and trembling quite a lot. But it held up…
When it was time for me to get up, I was as silent as possible not to wake the hard working snoring fishermen in their hammocks. I was still missing my headgear though, it must have fallen somehow off the platform and flooded away. Fortunately I have two spares with me I can use. One guy was getting up to help me slide my kayak back into the water. It didn’t sound too great, I need to inspect the bottom again later.
I could nicely paddle with the running up tide further into the big Rio Teparacu, watched where the many fishing boats went and eventually knew the position of the village Castello by the high antenna. I asked the fishermen again for the passage to Rio Caete, just left into the big channel, no problem to find the way! I filled up two water bags from a larger boat, and kept on going though invited to stay. The current was still with me, and the channel wide.
Eventually I ended up at another village, just to hear I had passed the turn off to the real channel…ok, I just followed the mainstream? So far for the “easy to find”…One large fishing boat opted to show me the way as he went out anyway, although I knew where the turnoff must have been. I for the first time accepted a funny pull by the boat for this maybe 1 km reversing back on the same way!
I couldn’t see the right turn off as the first thing you see is another set of poles blocking the entrance. But right around the corner it was eventually the right way. Now narrow and somehow overgrown, but still a clear channel with occasionally cut away logs. Still I assume on low tide it would be nothing here like they said. No boat passed me, I paddled under one bridge connecting probably Castello and that other village. Now it was quite some counter current, and I had to concentrate to keep my long kayak in the narrow channel on track.
Eventually I was out and on the wide Rio Caeto, and now many other smaller boats headed also in. On theses kind of narrow high tide only and somewhat doubtful passages I always appreciate when another boat passes by to confirm to me I am on the right way…The big river was easy, until I had to somehow keep right to hit the next passage. Where was it? Again asking one of the many fishing boats…yes, this one ahead is an island, I can pass to the right! Don’t even think my GPS chart or paper map are going accordingly. They really only give a very rough idea of the area.
The island channel was also very shallow, and I rushed through to where some fishing boats were in obviously deeper water before sitting dry. Again asking at the boats about the next passage, sometimes I wonder if they understand me or dare to admit that they don’t know what I wanted to know…
It was meanwhile mid-tide, and a small village on stilts on some kind of mud-sandy beach came up. I decided to stop, ask again, have a look and maybe stay already before falling dry on a stupid spot. And I was feeling so worn anyway, having covered already a reasonable distance with good current (though not a toooo reasonably direct line…).
The guys again confirmed a passage even on low tide, but I was not too sure about that fact, it is still new moon with maximum tide difference and I decided to stay. They gave me one of the houses on stilts with no people to camp on. Thanks! Later I saw that the people didn’t live here at all, but in a village somewhere more inland, riding their bikes to the about 20 beach huts. Soon the water in front of my beach was fully gone, I think I was doing good to stay and to recover the many sores and skin dry again!
Just on “my” house a local was busy working all day, reinforcing it with more ground poles. Glad I can be sure it won’t fall apart during the night! The floor was also more solid than the one above the water, and I was under the roof. Very nice!