Greg spent the day in “town” again, chatting to Dave at the Eucla weather station. He tried to decide with a mixture of local knowledge, our internet 7-days longterm forecast on buoyweather combined with Karel Vissel’s regular sat-phone weather meassages which may be the best two days and the night to tackle the last set of cliffs, a 185km overnight paddle. We would need two days of calm weather or best following winds, plus a calm(ish) night.
There was nothing really clear to be seen, all forecasts were different. Dave confirmed that a reliable forecast especially in this area is extremely difficult. Too many factors here influence the local weather!
I kept on paddling along the easy reefy beach, closing the gap to the start of the cliffs. I was passing the Eucla “harbour”, a gap in the dunes where the local fishermen put their boats in the water.
Later on the nice warm beach I could see the remainders of the old jetty at Eucla. I was tempted to go for a swim this day! It was getting HOT! I was not used to the sun any more, paddling for weak, almost month covered with a cag and a hood, and got a nice sunburn on my forearms and neck. But oh well – welcome, southern summer!
Greg meanwhile could visit the ruins of the Eucla old telegraph station which were about to disappear in the sand dunes.
The Delisser Sandhills in the foreground, background the scarp which eventually becomes the Wilson Bluff.
3 km long Wilson Bluff, which had some nice sea caves.
After the Wilson Bluff, the Merdayerrah Sandpatch provided for a while a bit of dunes and beach, but the night’s meeting point was a narrow gap in the shallow reef platform down on a small sandy beach below of some cliffs which were the starter of the “real” ones, the 185 km long Bunda Cliffs.
Greg was checking out that spot early in the day. It had kind of an easy 1 km foot path access from a truck pull out off the highway, and to our knowledge it was the only gap in the shallow reef platform fringing the stretch of lower cliffs and which ended up on a sandy beach before the BIG ones start further east.
The swell was relative low that late afternoon, and I estimated I would be able to land in that 1,5 meter narrow gap! Greg was lining up two platic boxes he found on the beach to show me the right line to get in.
There were still some nasty breakers going on the platform to the right and left, and I had to wait for the right time to paddle in! But with good timing and speeding up after a BIG set came, I safely paddled into that narrow gap and grounded my bow on a patch of sand where Greg grabbed my bow and pulled me up the beach.
Text message from Freya via satellite phone:
31.39 129.15, start of the cliffs. 75 km, 4:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. I landed through a narrow gap in the reef, my last chance before the cliff.