Loc: Puerto Arista
Acc: Hilleberg Allak 2 tent
Dist: 41.3 km
Start: 07:150 End: 14:05
I wake halfway rested, but sore allover. Still, I know I will have to go again this morning to cover the forty kilometers left to Puerto Arista for my finally well-deserved rest, possible weather break and water-refill while meeting Rebeca and Ivalu again. I call my man in Denmark to let him know I ‘survived’ the night despite these disturbances, and start to pack as usual. I soon see an old man with two dogs appearing on the beach, equipped with a long bush knife. I know people love to carry this machete when they walk from the village through the bush to the beach, it is an all-round tool for anything. Still, I cannot say it is a pleasant view to see a single person, possibly a bit crazy, with a machete appearing now just beside your tent while I am still packing. I am sensing it is the same old man from last night, I can recall his voice. I stay friendly and keep on doing my packing business while he is standing on the side of my tent with my upside down kayak. As I am able to ask for his name and get a smile out of his almost toothless mouth, he feels less like a threat, which I did not think too much about anyway. I have my split paddle handy in my vestibule…
I am now curious about what he wants, but first zip up my tent briefly for changing into my paddling clothes while he is outside coughing yuckily, clears his throat many times and spits around, like very old men do. When I finally exit my tent over my kayak, I pass him friendly my card “Here’s a souvenir for you!” while I turn my kayak around.
But what do I need to see – FUCK these guys from last night! They have cut off my bowline! It must have unfortunately likely been sticking out a bit from under the upside down bow. I assume they loved the large solid carabiner hooked to my bow toggle, and the useful beautiful black line. I look at the old man in anger, he clearly understands what I might have been shouting, and is he not even looking a bit ashamed…? I shout at him I “No gusto!”, point at the cut off rest of the bow line, and look very angry. But I am also not sure if it has been him who cut and stole my line, or the other guy, or the man on the horse? He gesticulates something and is pointing behind him to the ‘vila’, whatever that means – would he bring me the line back or is he blaming his friends?
In hindsight, as due to the drying repaired spot upside down turned hull of my kayak, I assume it did not look ‘impressive’ enough to go for a respectable craft of an international sportswoman. No writings were to be seen, they might have not even taken it as a working kayak. I assume the old man has mistaken this ‘strange object’ in the dark as an UFO (‘Unknown Floating Object’) which came from the sea, and I salvaged it and claimed it as mine. As this is ‘their’ beachcombing territory, he now comes to claim ‘his’ possession. The man on the horse might have been the patron of all people here and of all shore fisherman, allowing him to do so. These thoughts came later to my mind.
As soon as he realized what was really going on with this ‘strange object’ belonging obviously to me and is obviously a very intact kayak with which I came from the sea and like to leave again now, he seems to be a bit ashamed about the cut off bow line. Well, so far my thoughts…otherwise, the three men would have likely bothered me and my camp yesterday evening in a worse way.
Anyway, I keep on packing while I keep on looking angry at him, when a baot with six fishermen comes close to our spot. Either the guys are curious themselves about me and my kayak, or the old man has signaled them ashore. I am also not sure if at least some of them came for the boat yesterday which assisted me, or if they have heard about me? Those six men are friendly and amazingly land their boat through the break into the shallows, but also have to fight a bit to attach the anchor high enough on the sand on a long line to be safely out of the back wash. Well, I did not ask them in!
But they are smiling, we talk friendly, and they ask me if I need assistance? Well…I point at my cut off bow line, point at the old man with the machete, they understand my anger and what happened and what is missing. They even offer me a piece of their anchor line. But as there is nothing to change now and I can paddle without my bowline the last five or six paddling days, I finish my packing. I take a picture of the fisherman group at the side of my kayak, the nasty old man with the machete in their middle. Then I take a picture of the cut-off stump of my bowline, put the camera down, untie the leftovers – and throw them in a demonstration of my anger and in disgust to the feet of the old man. Whatever they thought last night by taking it, they realized I am a lady, and they can not just cut something off which I ‘claim’ to be mine, right to their mind or not…if my guesses of their reasons were correct.
I am very confident to break through this surf with good timing, but my launch might be easier with a strong push at the right time and a lot of strong men holding me afloat while waiting for the lull. But I would not want to launch on their boat!
As things go when there are many people around to watch or helping me launch, I jump in my kayak too early instead of waiting for a reasonable lull. This lull has just passed, I think, but the guys will hold me! They do, but what comes now is a set of monster breakers and the wash into the shallows is accordingly strong. Also, it is again the last hours of the rising tide, a bad time anyway to get through the break. “Muchos mal tiempo!” – “A very ad timing!” I laugh at the guys holding me, and they nod in agreement.
Still they manage to hold me straight, two on the bow, two or even more on the stern. They know their business and their waves, but we have to wait maybe twenty or even more breakers until I finally think it is fine to go. Wishful thinking…they give me a strong push, I eagerly paddle out – and right into an unfortunately lifting like out of nothing breaker pouring down on my bow, so strong it is throwing me on my back deck.
FUCK – but I stay upright and straight, keep my paddle in my hands, recover quickly and punch again forward. The next one comes up, all of them thankfully are not ‘monsters’ anymore, but I have to climb and jump down with a heavy crash on the back side of this next one. Once more I am climbing, but can wrap around this last one, until I am finally free of the danger zone and punch my fist into the air to show the people ashore all is well. Thank goodness! Launching by myself, I might have had to wait more patiently or even some hours until the tide would turn.
I organize myself out here on the calm offshore sea, and watch the boys launch their fishing boat. The also wait a long time, finally seem to get afloat but with their strong engine, they can drive along a rolling breaker until it runs out and they also jump high over the last bit of a crest. One more like this, and they are free, all six men and gear are still sitting inside. They come up to me, with a broad smile on their faces. Not that I believe they also time it always right, but when a heavy open fishing boat might capsize in the break, things are really bad when six men, nets, anchor, hooks and the running engine fly around. Ahey do not have any PFD or helmet like me.
We wave each other farewell, and I keep on paddling unbothered, only waving at many boats. My body feels still too sore for high energy paddling, and I decide to listen to a new audio book while paddling along in slow speed but fast enough to make it in last light to Puerto Arista.
I feel my bum cannot sit anymore on the existing pads, and get the idea I could additionally sit on my cockpit cover? Why the heck did I store it again in my back hatch? Ok, now I know how to do ths stunt, and I turn around for the third time to fish for my neoprene cockpit cover from te back hatch. It feels like heaven to finally sit additionally on the folded neoprene piece, and I am so clever to clip it as everything to the boat. Who knows!
I manage to make reasonable speed and would arrive by five o’clock. At the first houses, I call Rebeca to see where she is? Ok, at the end of the long city, so another seven kilometers to paddle. No problems, the surf looks doable. I even get a visit form a life guard on a jet ski, armed with a red rescue buoy and a spare life vest. Thanks for the attention, but I do not need a rescue! And sure, I will watch the waves when I am finally landing here, meeting my friends, no worries! I am a very experienced kayaker!
LOL, as things go, I have not only to launch but also to land where many people are expecting me. I realize when the last set of ‘monsters’ have been rolling in, it happens about every ten minutes, and one really should be not there, even on this shallow beach. But I am not on the spot yet where my group of friends are waiting. It takes a few minutes after the last monster set – shall I dare to get closer, or shall I wait for another set of monsters passing by? WTF, it still looks calm now, and the distance to the shore seems to be doable. But is it really clever to go now? I can still make it! Stupid impatient lady, you cannot! The sea has to humble you once in a while! The ‘queen of good timing’, the perfect ‘no capsizing’ lady on this challenging section of my trip! When I already see me safe, I hear the foam roaring in behind me, and no laying on my back deck prevents me from getting surfed or rather tumbled in a washing machine. Oh fuck, but once in a while, this has to happen!
Upside down, I cannot find enough knee contact nor have the energy to repsotion myself for a proper roll set-up. I do one half-hearted try, but I seem to only grip into foam with the paddle. What is ist worth, I am so close to shore, my kayak is likely getting caught by my friends, and I will simply swim in, slighty humbled, but with a happy smile. I bail out, keep my paddle firmly in my hands, and face another monster piling up while swimming. Oh well, just duck dive! And swim to shore, but here comes another one – swim! but another one comes, and likely three or four more until I feel the last one washes me to shore so much I can stand up. Still I have to stand the rough back surge for a couple of more smaller breakers until I finaly can walk to shore where my kayak looks already rescued rightside up.
Hello my friends, here comes the freshly washed ‘Goddess of Love to the Seas’! Not necessary if I would have shown more patience, but the only one to blame is just me being impatient. We pull everything higher up, Rebeca finds even my afloat sponge in the shallows, nothing is lost, nothing is broken, only one more experience gained, and another story to tell.
I make camp just up the beach, getting my kayak and gear to their rented house a few streets into town feels like too much of an effort for my still not enough rested body. Rebeca organizes me a shower permit in the nearby restaurant where they have eaten, brings a twenty-liters of water jar to the beach, and a large basket with many fresh fruit. So nice, thanks! But then, freshly showered, I need to REST, sorry!
Easier said than done, on a Saturday evening, this nearby restaurant performs a dance party, still many quad bikes are running up and down the beach, and noise keeps me awake, despite earplugs which I dare to put in here. Once more, in Mexico I feel more safe among people than alone on a remote beach spot. My mind keeps on buzzing around the many news I also read on my phone, and I might get sleep between ten and one until I lay another two hours awake. Maybe I will take two rest days, we will see!