Loc: Playa El Carrical
Acc: Hilleberg Allak 2 tent
Dist: 32,8 km
Start: 06:10 End: 11:45
My three watchdogs enjoy their evening out on the beach by sitting at a campfire. Maybe to keep the ‘wild animals’ away, which Roberto thinks they might be out here on the sandy spit. Well, beside two stray dogs, a lot of cow poop and some birds, I have not seen any. Maybe the wolves, bears, lions and tigers only come out at night. At least the mosquitoes come at night, and my bug net keeps them and some sort of crawling bugs safely away on my precious sleep. Though the bug net also keeps any kind of breeze away, so that I am once more sleeping in my own juice. Maybe a night at a campfire is the better choice? The only other strange noise occasionally comes into my sleep are the constantly popping plastic bottles on the beach. Those are littered here by the thousands and change their volume with the temperature when they still have a lid on and have no holes, and make a nasty plop plop noise all night.
I think I wake too early, but I should have get going by then! Half an hour earlier starting time is still ok. The more paddling without the dreaded wind the better. Today is at least not up to twenty five knots forecasted like two days ago when I left the sea for yesterday’s inland paddle. Seventeen knots sounds much better. We will see how long I can hold this when it is blowing straight into my face.
On packing, I have to be clever to load the last heavy food bags only when my boat is already almost afloat, as the riverbank is ankle deep soft sand. I cannot expect my watchdogs getting wet boots again, and let them stand there with crossed arms. I feel actually better to almost take no notice, as being watched all day feels still strange.
I am wondering how they will get a boat following me out of the bay entrance, into unknown lumpy conditions? I had some hope this wide bay is deep enough to not have a breaking bank offshore, but this is as always wishful thinking. I should have not only looked on the Google Earth picture which sows barely any break, but rather on my older downloaded satellite images. There, it clearly shows a wide circular reef breaker line as on most shallow bay exits. The tide is running already out since two hours, and accordingly the breaking bank is building even worse. But all reefs have an unbroken exit…you just have to find it! And this is tough sitting so low, from outside it is almost impossible. From inside, it MUST be possible to find it!
The fishing boats come in somewhere in front of me while I am still paddling inside the now nasty breaking reef. For almost an hour, I can see no exit, and the rising sun does not do good for my vision either. I am already wondering if I am seamlessly reaching the exit of the next bay? I hope not, as I doubt this has less break around the opening. I am aiming somehow to the spot where the last boat came in, but it was upfront a nasty breaking area. I better do my own judgement and turn out a bit earlier where the waves are big but unlikely to break. It feels like the main current for me, exactly what I wanted to follow. My speed has been good all morning on the outflow, around eight to nine kilometers per hour. Still, going out on slack tide would be the best, but timing was not working this morning.
I finally after an hour paddle straight out to sea on big waves. But I am able to avoid any breaker, but to my right and left, it breaks heavily. Gradually, the sea gets calmer, and I dare to turn left along the coast. Thank goodness! No watchdog boat to be seen anywhere behind me.
I am full of energy and have still hope for today to survive a full day out there. At fifteen to ten, the first headwind comes up, still moderate, and I hope it stays like that. I have music on, and punch with no problem into the wind. But seventeen knots feel still different…they come clock eleven. I am willing to keep on fighting, I do not want to finish that early again! Though due to my good speed, I covered already over thirty kilometer. The long straight beach is over, now there are smaller beaches with cliffs in between. On one of them, a long line of over twenty fishing boats are lurking, most of them on wheels. This beach must be particularly shallow and easy to land, especially on the low tide now! And here must be people who can sell me drinking water which I urgently need again. I call it a day, and go in.
The break is not too bad, and my high brace once getting caught by a roller is mellow compared to two days ago! Also, the width of the breaker line is narrow, and I run on sand easily. Only now I see my watchdogs offshore, I am glad I could keep them off my mind. But where did they launch from?
I unload, and a boy of maybe eight is my assistant. In the middle of the process hauling everything up the shallow low tide beach, four wonderful wild horses come to the water line, two moms with their kids. They seem also to enjoy the cool-off in the sea, as at least one of them is rolling happily around on the wet sand. So beautiful! Once done, they gallop off in high speed. Horse-life seems to be good!
I set tent, my little helper wanders off, and I walk up to the fishermen to ask for drinking water. They offer me some from a pump, but I fancy bottled water. Ok, the tienda is just two houses away! The lady has only those small plastic sachets, and I buy twenty-five for two dollars fifty to fill three of my water bags. At least no small plastic bottles, though I would have fancies those big reusable jars for refill. All good.
This beach is the first on this trip section not to have cell phone reception, at least not for my phone as I see others playing with theirs, likely online. No problem. A guy comes along to offer me camping in the shade, but as always, I am too lazy to move camp once set and rather add a layer on top of my tent.
At two thirty, the wind dies down a bit, and my shady tent becomes too hot despite double-layer. I move to a breezy shady spot under the roof of the fishermen, but the fish smell is unbearable for me there on the long run. So back to my sauna tent, the water is just running out of my skin. Accordingly, I have to drink a lot, and know I better fill another two bags with drinking water.
Soon, I spot on both ends of my friendly fishermen beach my new watchdogs for the night, El Salvador’s police is really doing an effort to keep my safe on the water and in my sleep! On one hand very nice, on the other very awkward to be treated like a VIP.
Two more paddling days until I reach the Golf where I get the stamp out of this friendly country!