Yes, I made it yesterday to Cape Leveque/ Kooljaman through BIG spring tides in a 85 km leg. I’ll write about details later.
I’m in a dry climated room right now to heal my sore skin, it really doesn’t look and felt good the last days paddling.
I’ve got internet access here, and will upload my trip report of the last 23 days through the Kimberlays day by day. Luckily it’s mostly pre-written already…
I won’t *paddle* down to Broome right now, healing my skin has priority. Greg Bethune picked me up at the Cape, and we may drive down to Broome soon to swap kayaks and to do organisation things.
Terry Bolland from www.canoeingdownunder.com.au , epic dealer in Perth, is on his way up to Broome from Perth with my new kayak on the roof! Thanks to Terry doing that job! See you soon! And thanks to Jacqui Williams/ epic kayaks Australia, to organize the transport.
The new kayak, the expedition version of th epic 18x sport with a solid lay-up and other new details, was planned to be used by me right off the start, but problems in epic’s Chines factory delayed the launch quite a bit. I’m now very much looking forward to get it!
I’ll continue to paddle for sure where I’ve stopped! It may take some days. Going non-stop through the Kimberlays took it’s toll on my skin, sorry, and organizing things will take some time. When I’ll be passing Broome then later, I may not even stop for a whole day!
So Broome-people, if you like to get in contact with me, please do it NOW the next days!
The plan was to head to High Island today, and to cross King Sound on slack ebb tide next morning.
I had made a note on my map that the 10 km crossing of King Sound was best made at ebb slack tide…I don’t know when I was writing that, talking to whom, but I was mulling over that note all day, comparing what I saw and experienced on this day’s paddle.
Low tide was just when I was planning to leave at 6am. The flood tide would be with me until I would be landing on High Island around lunch time.
The paddle down the Goose Channel past Gibbing Island to the right and heading for the north western top of Hidden Island was easy with moderate tidal drift.
I could avoid to be drawn into a fat tidal race at the edge of Hidden Island. I was probably simply too close, and was pulling in last second around a corner of a fat rock through the “chicken run”. The water was really streaming around one cliffy corner like a river rapid! But going through the race would have just been fun, as it was rough and fast into the right direction, but there were not too high waves going.
The flood tidal drift was actually not simply going south as I noted, but south-east which I realized over that day. This made me being too close again to the reef area of Shirley and Tryer Island, and I was again admiring a fat confused tidal race going south east through the island’s gaps. I noticed too late that the area appearing to be flat after the race for sure still had a strong current to south east, and I was drawn into it as fast I couldn’t react to paddle away.
Ok, change of plans, go *with* the stream and get flooded downstream through Shirley and Tryer Islans! My GPS noted an “escape” through the two Tryer Islands. It was then a quiet beautiful mangrovy channel. No crocs…
I reckon I would get confused without my GPS in those strong tidal streams, getting washed and pulled around mostly unintentionally around different island corners…
Free of that funny tidal area, I could head across the last 8 km to High Island. I was spotting a beautiful sandy beach already from the far distance, but was eager to pull around the corner to a deep bay I found on my map.
There was no way I could reach the northern spit or even the beach close to the northern spit in a direct line, so I had to let go again and getting flooded a bit more to the north eastern edge of the island. Then I was able to hard work my way up north in the eddy line! Eventually I was on the beach, some tough going the last ½ hr!
There I was mulling over slack water times and tidal stream directions again. It was only 12.30 and fully high tide. I knew the tidal steam would continue to flow south for another 1 1/2 hr before it would turn north.
The crossing of King Sound with it’s waters streaming at 10 knots in and out was only to be done at slack water, either ebb or flood slack.
But it was not only about the crossing, I reckoned…there was the Meda Passage up to Swan Island to consider as well, if I wouldn’t want to stop already on the Roe Islands after the crossing.
I didn’t have a tidal stream atlas for that area (although I probably should have…) and I only noted “north going ebb, south going flood” on my map plus that I don’t know where it came from information “Crossing of King Sound best to be done on ebb slack”, but common sense after the experience of today told me the water was going north-west through Meda Passage on the ebb.
So I either could stay on High Island and do the crossing and the final distance to Cape Leveque tomorrow on high slack water, which would be even one hour later, or NOW, right NOW!
I was not sitting long at the beach and kept on thinking, but the decision was made: I won’t stay on High Island, I would go NOW and cross one of the biggest tidal area on earth with 12 m tidal range!
See how far I would get that day. I at least wanted to reach East Roe island, 10 km across!
I was working my way up the eddy line to the northern tip of the island. It was going easy, with about 8 km/h. Then the tide played it’s own game and flushed me through the first km with about 13 km/h! I almost didn’t need to paddle…
The water was confused, lots of whirlpools, tide rips and races, but in general the surface of the water was not too rough in terms of wave hights. The first 3-4 km were like that, FAT tidal stream action luckily into the right direction, but amazingly I didn’t lose any degree on my bearing so far!
After about 1/3 of the crossing of King Sound was done in a speed I was never expecting, it started to slow down to 3-4 km/h! The hell knows what kind of game the tide was playing there…luckily this spooky game lasted only for tough 1,5 gained km, and then I was speeding along again!
I then slowly started to lose degree after degree in my original bearing, but I knew the tide would turn soon and give me my original bearing back, more or less, sooner or later…I was actually happy not to lose more degrees. No chance again to point the bow upstream and to compensate the potential lost degrees, then I would get my speed down to 0, or even go backwards!
I reached East Roe Island pretty quick, and as I started on high tide, but the
(To be continued later!)
Text message from Freya via satellite phone:
It will take some rest days to heal my skin.