The night was still quite windy with strong easterlies, but it was not as cold any more. After breakfast, we decided to drive down to the beach, back to the start of the cliffs, to find another camp spot in the dunes, the very last one, with access from the beach only.
Greg was planning to try catching some fish, and I continued typing on my updates. Hordes of annoying flies were making life very unpleasant, and neither fishing nor typing was very successful on the long run. It was windy, but not windy enough to keep the flies at bay!
It was definitively a weather change in the air, the clouds were dark, and the wind changed to blow an oven hot offshore wind in a north north easterly. If I wouldn’t have read Paul’s book where he described a similar weather situation, I may have been tempted to launch now as well, around lunchtime…he spontaneously decided to start for the cliffs at 1 pm with the hot offshore wind blowing, anticipating the south westerly change overnight. He thought he could easily cope with the change…and then got caught in ugly tumultuous heavy rainy squalls with thunder and lightening over night!
I already experienced that sort at night along the Zytdorp cliffs, so although it felt tempted to get going with that friendly wind, coming with it calm seas and very low dumping surf, too, I trusted Karel’s forecast about the change at night 2am…
There was no way to escape the heat and the flies but either to drive along with air condition on, which we didn’t like to do for burning precious fuel, or to retreat under an overhanging, almost cave-like spot on the start of the cliffs. It was nice and cool in there, but the flies were still annoying. I got the idea to pull out my fly proof tent, and to put it up under that shady overhang. This was the solution! When I dared to walk out again to take some pictures, one of the hundreds of bloody bastard dared to sit right on my camera lens! Later at night in my bed in the van, flies all gone in the darkness and the last remainders violently chased out, I still felt like 100dreds of black flies were buzzing around my head.
We took lunch, computer and books, and got ready for another busy and lazy afternoon. I got a bit nervous about the nice weather already now, but was by now really hoping forecast and experience would be right and this night would be rough…and “my” planned paddling night calm as forecasted. If I’d be leaving at first light at 4.30am, I should be done just after lunch next day, if all went right.
At around 5 pm we dared to leave our fly-proof shelter for some preparations to do for my overnight paddle. I packed the boat, got my gear and food ready, and Greg cooked some extra dinner for the next night.
The sun was just about to set form the overcasted sky into an open horizon, and there it was, out of really *nothing* – a heavy hot south-westerly blew with 30 plus knot from the burning red setting sun, an amazing act nature! We enjoyed the magnificent sunset on a hill, happy that *this* wind was strong enough to blow the flies away!
When the sun was down, the wind settled a bit, but an hour later, plenty of bright flashes of lightening were coming up in the darkness, and not much later we heard roaring thunder, plus some heavy rain and the wind lifted up again. We were happily lying in our van, parked in the shelter of some dunes, and I was thinking: “Glad I’m NOT out there in the scary pitch darkness on my own, struggling the elements on probably quite some rough water, this is exactly the same weather pattern like Paul was experiencing…”
It sometimes pays off to be patient and to wait. And to learn out of the experience from others.