I was gliding along calm waters, passing three or four small coves with a small spot of sand to land on. I really enjoyed paddling in those early morning hours, but not my overtiredness. I am able to take frequent powernaps on the water, crunched forward on the spray deck, holding the paddle across the cockpit rim for balance. I’d feel with the blades if I’m tending to fall to one side. A loaded boat is fortunately very stable for that sort of rest!
I was launching that early, as I had a rendezvous with local paddlers on my mind, around 2pm at West Island. I love to be in time, but I noticed I was too tired for a decent paddling speed that day. I needed my frequent powernaps.
It was nice and sunny, but as the sun was burning more and more, the hot catabatic wind coming from the land got stronger and stronger. It couldn’t really decide to break or to push me, but generally when I stopped, I went backwards. I tried to stay close to the cliffs this time to escape a bit into the lee, but had a hard time getting there back once I was around Porpoise Head and aimed for Tunk Head, crossing Tunkailla Beach in a direct line. I worked my way back in eventually, and tried to stay in the lee, which was more or less working. It was the more beautiful place to paddle anyway, compared to miles offshore again! I was thinking I may take a break on Tunkailla Beach for a real nap, but coming closer, the beach didn’t look as inviting to land anymore as from the distance. It was quite a dumpy landing, and I decided to rather stay afloat for another powernap in the lee after some quick food and a pee.
Tunk Head, Newland Head, King Head, Rosetta Head, and Victor Harbor Bay came in sight. But no sight of my rendezvous paddlers! Any more? I reckon they were gone already…I’m sorry, but I could paddle only as fast as my body allowed. I’d called them, but my mobile phone screen was once again gone blank, and I couldn’t even get to the stored number to use my sat phone. I left my VHF radio switched on, but obviously they didn’t had one to call me to as where I was gone.
Eventually, at 5.30 my mobile phone rang, and I was able to answer it “blind” by touching the right corner on my all white touch screen. It was Brad Butler from the Encounter paddling club in Victor Harbor, who said some paddlers have been out there looking for me, but had landed again as they couldn’t find me. Sorry, guys! I told them I’d be arriving at Port Elliott at 7.30 pm
I was nearing the spot, when I saw at least two boats heading up towards me, a fast double and a plastic single kayak. They escorted me into …Bay, where a TV camera man and some other paddlers were waiting. Thanks for the nice welcome, Victor Harbor paddlers!
I jumped under the beach shower, and loaded my boat on Rose Fletcher’s car, who volunteered already to store our van in her backyard whilst Greg had to be back home to look after his business. She did a great job in driving Greg to the Adelaide airport as well, was now picking me up to meet our van, and would drive tomorrow back to Adelaide to pick up Greg again. Thanks very much for your help, Rose!
Rose had a great dinner ready, roasted lamb, potato gratin and veggies. Yummy, yummy! I was happily crashing into our van soon, yearning to have Greg again tomorrow!
The night was hot, no wind at all. I was overtired and not used to sleep inside. I had to open the doors wide, but then the mosquitoes came in badly. I was already thinking of putting up my tent with the bug proof fly again. Eventually I started to burn a mosquito coil on the doorstep, and sprayed my arms and face with bug repellent. This seemed to work! But it was 1 am when I found a bit of decent sleep! But I slept with the happy feeling not to have to get up next morning!
Message from Freya:
Port Elliot 5:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.. Channel 7 TV news was there and I had some local paddlers escorting me in. I’m tired to death— too much paddling and not enough sleep. I will update tomorrow