Loc: before Playas Negras
Acc: Hilleberg Allak 2 tent
Dist: 20,4 km
Start: 06:00 End: 10:15
I am up early again, to make the most of the calm morning hours. Did I say ‘calm’? It was calm at least the other days until around eleven. This morning, it is breezing up already even before I start.
I got a pushing in help from a passing lady, I notice I was stocking up on drinking water yesterday. When the surf belt on yesterday’s landing noon landing was narrow and low on low tide, on this morning’s high tide it is much wider, and the last one is considerably large at times. I have to overcome more lines than usual, and although I am patiently waiting, at some point I need to pass at least two or three lines, and when the timing is wrong for that, I get the wall of water straight on my bow – like this morning. Once I can brace it out, but the second one I cannot avoid either and it throws me over. But I am a good girl and roll up to the same side again, but feel quite listing to one side now. Anyhow, I see a chance to keep on punching out, shake myself like a dog and correct the listing by a sharp low brace to the other side. Then I dig in, jump once, but am finally out, as usual with a pounding heart. I have the habit to raise one or even both arms once I see I am away from the breakers, also to signalize the beach audience I made it. And sure, beside my personal policemen, some fishermen are likely also watching.
The sun is just raising when I am ready to turn in and go, but also the wind is gusting hard already well over fifteen knots, as always straight into my face. WTF? Is it not breezing up every day around eleven? I did not have cell phone reception on this beach as my sim card likes only CLARO and Movistar, but no TIGO. And I was too lazy to download the forecast on my satellite phone. Later, I read Karel’s forecast was fully right, already in the morning gusts up to twenty, afternoon up to twenty five. Well, I had hopes to get around the point this morning when the wind would have been raising at eleven, but I am determined to paddle at least those mere twenty-two kilometers to Plays Negras! The only advantage to the strong offshore wind is the calmish seas, and I make for this wind speed relatively good progress. But as always, one can punch only so long into the twenty knots wind…it is fooling me, as it is rarely going down to maybe seventeen, and I think I can hold it for a while more.
At least the surf is also easy looking on the receding tide, and the temptation to land just anywhere on this long shallow beach is high. I contemplate – where would it be nicer to spend a long afternoon on the beach – on a small city beach on a Saturday with likely noise everywhere but possibly shade, or on a long, lonely beach where I have my peace but only my tent for shade – and for the sand blast protection? Most people would likely have chosen the city beach, but I have my pride of a free independent trip, if I am already watched all day by the authorities. I easily go over the small, low surf belt, but paddle for a short while on the shallow mellow soup zone – until I get beached. What it is worth? I do not like to be in the city for the afternoon, anyway, so here is as good as a few hundred meters further.
When I haul my bags up the wide low tide beach, I usually do it section by section, not to lose control over one pile before the rest is also there. A guy on a bicycle with a small petrol support engine – a really creative self-construction – passes by while I am in the middle of two piles. In case he would be keen to catch one of my bags and drive quickly away, I would have lost the game. But tough I do not think he had such nasty thoughts on his mind, I stay in the middle, ready to run to either side. But we rather have a friendly chat, he is on his way collecting seashells for food. All good.
I finally have phone connection again, and check the forecast. Right, it is blowing twenty-five all day now, not my fancy to punch out more than twenty kilometers today, especially as I do not like to be across the rocky point in these conditions. Tomorrow is another day, though the morning does not look really better than today. But there should be another twenty possible, and another…and that was it already with El Salvador before I will cross to Nicaragua – or not.
I checked once more the forecast all along the coast further south – the spring season is now the windy season which I did not had fully on my screen, I must admit. So far, most days were acceptable, and I paddled at least two countries on this section! I will be thinking if I paddle at least a part of Nicaragua, as further south, it becomes not only unfriendly but really nasty windy in this time of the year. I might call it a day in La Union, but not sure yet. It also depends on if I might get a storage option for my kayak somewhere in Nicaragua.
The afternoon on this boiling hot beach is only bearable by sitting for a while by my kayak still fully covered up with my paddling clothes which I left halfway on the wet sand – until also there, flying sand makes the stay uncomfortable. My tent on the dry section of the beach feels like sitting on an oven, though the breeze keeps it relatively cool. But breeze means also flying sand. I have a soak in the sea for a while, in the water, it is nice, in the wind, it is too cold while having wet clothes on. I even covered my chest with my spare seat pad on this early morning’s paddle where my PFD did not keep me warm with my wet clothes. I do not like another lung infection!
I watch You Tube videos all afternoon, amazing what a small phone with good internet connection can squeeze out of one battery load. But I would rather be PADDLING!