Loc: river beach
Acc: Hilleberg Keron 4 tent
Dist: 20,9 km
Start 07:10 End: 15:45
No bear visit at night, despite seeing those two last afternoon…feeling all safe in our with the half-open tent doors noisy, smell-free tent. Well, food-smell…clothing smell is eventually getting stronger…lol…
We almost were stuck in a rocky reef again two hours before the almost lowest tide of the months, but with some sea weed padding (work smart, not hard…) we could slide the fast drying loaded kayaks over the last rocky ledge. Then it was a bit slalom through rocks until we hit the open sea.
When we came to the next crossing of 17 km, we preferred to do the chicken way inside the bay in upcoming 20 kn headwind…a wise decision! We conveniently paddled side by side and sideways to the waves to the headland inside the bay, stopped briefly behind a reef for a pee and were playing for about 2 km with some low choppy surf lines close to the beach (at least I did, and admittedly got one or two face washes…Catriona paddled a bit further out in the whitecaps, but she had no breakers there), before the shore break turned only to one single small dumper
Before the first large river mouth, I saw a break in the surf and went in for lunch. Easy landing, but we were sitting only on a sandbank which got flooded very quickly. We moved the kayaks along while eating, until we could float them in the deeper channel close to the steep beach. A look upstairs showed us this is not the place to camp tonight close to spring tide…so we launched again, until I thought the next river mouth looks like an easy low river bar breaker into the mouth. I told Catriona to rather go over the shallow bar a bit to the left to end up in deeper water…we both timed it right, I landed on the steep shore line easy, but Catriona went too much downwind to the right and was eventually a bit unhappy sitting on a sand bank and was waiting in vain for a wave strong enough to get her afloat again…so getting out and dragging into the river mouth was the only option now. No big deal, and we decided to camp on the sand without dune protection to keep the tent noisy flattering in the wind against potential furry visitors! Seems to work…
Catriona: Another very different day… well the scenery anyway… the headwinds are more common than not!! We could have punched through the wind… but as we’ve decided to stop earlier, no point and we paddled along at a very leisurely pace… you could say old women chatting pace lol Then Freya choose to paddle along the beach, almost riding the back of the almost breaking wave… I made sure I wasn’t getting any face wash at all!!! Surf really isn’t my thing… or at least I am just not practiced enough in it. Forecast was given to be even bigger in the afternoon, so time to look for a suitable landing.
Freya explained how to find the lowest surf, maybe river mouths, or behind reefs. Here no reefs, but a few river mouths were close. To be honest, I really did not want to mess up on the surf landing and wanted to be able to get in independently. First Freya explained about the approach but I felt we were at a bit too close to the breaking waves…. but we weren’t really, just my limited skills. I wanted to back of from the surf a bit and have it all explained back in calmer waters lol always over cautious!!!. I geared up with helmet on, made sure to detach the bow line and paddle leash, got my self all in order and off I went…. sure it was fine… what was all the fuss about!!! (lol it was barely 2-3 ft!!!) I held her straight to the lowest waves I seen…. unfortunately that was straight onto a sand bank lol but at least I was right way up hehehe. Once in, I opted for the shortest carry as always, but as Freya noted, other spots would probably have been more sheltered from the sand drift.
More lessons today, on top of the approach in surf, Freya got to explaining best care of tent in these conditions. Making sure sand is cleaned from zippers before opening or closing and she carries spare sliders just in case not to mention her small brush and shovel comes in handy for cleaning out the tent from sand. Freya also pointed out the water dormitories often end up with damaged threads around the openings in sand, which can cause spilling. So best to always wash well when opening and closing.
Tonight Freya had to tend to my midget bites, massive welts all over my back, tiny wee midgets, bit right through my merino top!!! And boy my body has reacted with vengeance. So cream and antihistamines for me!!! I cant complain though, that’s the first evening we had any, one this that the headwinds did to was to keep the wee blagerts away lol
Something I forgot to mention yesterday, as we were passing one cliff, a soil clearing on the hill distinctly resembled Ireland, Donegal, Northern Ireland, Galway to Mayo, Kerry and the southern coast was all very evident and I commented we have just paddled the south coast of Ireland as we passed it by. This triggered a conversation about going around Ireland …. and Freya said she would do it with me… it’s the one place that would be well worth going back to do again… so watch this space, Hopefully I get her back to Ireland ….