I felt recovered enough to give it a go again today. Landings would be easy, and I estimated I should be able to make it at least to Eyre, where there was a bird observatory Greg was already passing on his way out to Twilight Cove.
The wind was a 25 kn out of the south, and I reckoned this must be pushing me along nicely, going mostly east north east. But paddling directions today would be varying from going a bit east soutg east, and then the planned east north east direction with a crossing of the wide bay of Kanidal Beach far offshore.
I paddled into the shelter of a wide reef soon after plugging into the wind to get around the corner after Twilight Cove. At least the shore water stayed very calm from now on, and landings were really quiet despite the strong onshore wind.
But what eventually happened on the crossing of the Kanidal Beach bay was that I got pushed onshore that much to find me in the north eastern corner of the beach, facing a paddle east south east down to Eyre, right into the wind again. I could not avoid that happening without pointing the bow on the crossing into the wind all the time to prevent the onshore drift. Not really what I was expecting for today’s paddling!
I kept on plugging into the wind, barely able to prevent to be stranded. Once I jumped out to give Greg the scheduled call at 10am, and I saw his wheel tracks on the beach! He was driving along there back to Eyre, and was passing later a stranded shark. He cut some teeth out of the jar, and later by himself on the beach, waiting for me on a campsite off Eyre, he cooked them off the flesh. I remember this sort is a yucky job from my own dad who used to cook deer’s jaws to keep them for trophy’s…
I eventually reached the spot on the beach where Greg has set up camp, and decided to call it a day already at 1.30pm. This wind was simply annoying! And maybe I was not enough recovered yet.
I was curious to see the dead shark, and we went for a drive back to the spot where he found him.
Greg suggested for the remainder of the afternoon, the Eyre Bird observatory was well worth a visit, too. We could get the latest long term forecast off their computer, but didn’t want to bother the two nice volunteer couples working there any longer with possibly more computer use. They had some nice museum and quite some interesting stuff to see for bird lovers, but they were just in the process of swapping over the care tasks for the next three month.
We kept on driving out towards the highway, turned east and checked in at the Madura Roadhouse for the quality of the next beach accesses further east. We were even able to stock up our supplies a bit with this and that. Just ask the waitress at the take away…
Greg is really successful on getting local knowledge for road access or weather out of nice chats with the local country folks here. We already feel like being part of the Nullabor Plains community…and the bush telegraph told more than once ahead some guy or another that we were coming!
We drove back to Eyre beach, ready to launch again tomorrow. We met four fishermen down at the beach, and Greg was happy about a chat and some local fishing knowledge as well!
The forecast for today was strong south-easterlies again, and I didn’t had trouble to declare a rest and recovery day from the long overnight paddle. We left the boat on the beach in some shade below the towering cliffs and drove into the dunes to camp out of the wind in some bush shelter. We were hoping no falling rocks would damage the gear, which was spread out on the cliffs for drying besides the boat. But there were not much lose rocks lying around which made it very likely.
It was easy to get lost in the dunes, as there were some not clear tracks going any where, and Greg’s wheel tracks from yesterday were already blown away by the strong wind. The day passed with a lot of more sleep and some planning the next days.
Text message from Freya via satellite phone:
32.16 126.22, Eyre. 35km, 5:00 am to 1:30 p.m. Not a show of a push along the beach, only strong beamwind onshore. At least easy landings.