Day 318, Tuesday, 01.12.2009

I was happy to get up at 5am, ready on the water at 6. I was asleep last night at 11pm, this made 6 hrs for that night only. Ok for one night, but in general I need 9 hrs to recover fully.


I enjoyed the early morning paddle close to the cliffs, and crossed Smith Bay and Emu Bay, both populated bays with quite a few houses. The last bay, Boxing bay, was remote and had a lovely white sandy beach. This would be a great choice for a night’s camp!


But my goal was Cape Jervis for that night, actually I was aiming for Fishery Bay to the south east. It was a 45 km crossing in a direct line through Backstairs Passage. I plotted the bay into my GPS, but was still aiming for about ½ hr towards the wrong land on the horizon. Probably kangaroo Head. How stupid! I didn’t had a compass any more, which I lost already weeks ago one day when we were driving with the boat on the roof. It must have been wiped off from the holding bungees by a low hanging branch somehow somewhere. I had to rely completely on my little arrow on my GPS map. Usually no problem, I just need to follow the little arrow, and to watch the path it leaves, too, and if it is still in line with the intended bearing. But sometimes you rather like to follow what you can already see at the horizon. But this may not always be the spot where you’d like to go!


I corrected my visual bearing, barely being able to make out Cape Jervis in the distance. But it came closer and closer…including the south easterly headwind funneling stronger and stronger through Backstairs Passage.


My estimated arrival time faded behind dusk, but I was not too concerned about the outlook of a couple of hours paddling at night. I only decided to cat it 3 km short and would aim for the well lit and easy landing ferry harbor of Cape Jervis town, not for Fishery Bay. It as full moon, and the sky was clear without any cloud. The sea was choppy with 15-20 kn, but not too bad. Amazingly the tidal stream was like nothing that day, despite the full moon! I had to fight only the headwind, no tides. Lucky me…headwind *plus* tides in the wrong direction would have probably slowed my speed down to zero! I was not really fast, tired from the long day and the previous one, making only 3-4 km/hr with the heavy loaded boat. But I was getting there!


Cape Jervis had a lighthouse, and several lights from houses as well. It was an easy night’s target. The Kangaroo Island ferry from Penneshaw came in around 8pm, and I could easily spot the boat going into the harbor. The full moon was shining, and the paddle would have been actually quite beautiful, if it wouldn’t be for the continuous headwinds and my generally overtiredness. But the km count on my GPS went down and down and down, and eventually I could spot in the bright moonlight the breakwater, protecting the ferry harbor entrance.


I turned into the harbor, passing the huge ferry boat tied to the jetty. A nice flat beach was at the end of the harbor, no problem to land and to camp. I finally reached the port at 11pm! Greg wanted me to call him briefly to tell him I was ok, although he was already sleeping at Cape York. I fell asleep at around 1 am, I needed to eat, do my office work and being overtired, it takes always a bit longer to settle down.


At 2 am, a car came to launch a motorboat on the ramp close by for a full moon’s fishing trip. At 4 am, more cars came with more boats, but I was starting to get ready for the last day’s paddle to Victor Harbor. 3 hrs of disturbed sleep only plus those short 6 hrs last night…after 17 plus 14 hrs of headwind paddling. I was really hoping this last day was having “easy” winds as forecasted!

Text message from Freya via satellite phone:

Cape Jervis. 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., 70 km. Headwinds, headwinds, headwinds…need to sleep.