Loc: Playa Gemelas
Acc: Hilleberg Allak tent
Dist: 13,7 km
Start: 56:55 End: 10:15
I am ready to leave the hotel at five forty-five, and a taxi brings me back to the Marina. At six o’clock, a Marina guard takes over with his golf cart to shuffle me and my stuff to the fuel dock where I landed. It takes a while until I can receive my kayak out of the locked workshed. I pack on the dock in moderate rain. But who cares about rain here in Costa Rica? The sea is much lower than on my arrival day, and winds will be not over ten knots. So all good to go.
I thank dock manager Iby and coast guard member Adrian for their generous support, and we lift the half-loaded kayak down to the water. The heavy water bags, I dump in my already afloat kayak. Packing from a meter-high floating dock is special, but I have done it many times before. The coast guard boat is ready to escort me out, but they like to make a small video-interview right at the Marina exit while afloat. Okay, but we should not block the exit… I finally hang to the boat while answering a few questions in still pouring rain. It is not getting less the next hours, but is rather increasing. No really the pleasurable restart I was hoping for! My forecast did not say so much downpour, but Adrian was suspecting it and asked if I do not like to wait a bit? Well, no, as the distance to my destination today, Dominicalito, needs to be paddled in nine hours, and I am already an hour later than usual on the water…
So off we go, Adrian still videoing me. I am hoping they stay far behind me anytime soon,as I do not like to hear, see and smell any escorting boat. We round the beautiful steep rocky point of Punta Quepos, and the reflecting seas feel thankfully much lower than the other days. But the rain pours down heavily now, so I ave not much of a pleasant view of the cliffs. Paddling is easy, and the wind is still moderate. But I cannot imagine I like to paddle all day in these conditions. Who knows when it really clears up, if at all? Not that it would be impossible, but I know of two or three beaches already after ten kilometers which might be suiatbel stops. After those, there is only a long unsheltered beach.
I ponder if I should already call it a day here? The visibility is nothing, and my coast guard boys are already gone. I am not too sure about the shelter of the landing at Dominicalitos at high tide. If I stay here, I have to paddle only a bit less than seven hours, and can start at five-thirty, which lets me arrive not at high tide anymore. Also, the sea is even lower tomorrow. This seems to be a tempting option.
I like to explore the beach at Puerto Escondido, the ‘hidden port’, first , as it sounds to me perfect for a private camp. It turns out to be a tombolo beach, accessible from two sides. It is low tide, and landing is easy. But the beach, as nice of a seclude place it is, does not look like it provides a dry campsite at high tide. The water might not flood everything, but the downpour from the cliffs create tiny rivers allover the sand. Also, a lot of landscaping would be necessary to create an even campsite. I check on both ends, also under the trees, but besides one tiny spot between two deeper beach rivers, there is nothing looking trustworthy to camp.
Okay, then I will paddle a short distance back to a steeper, wider beach. I was sensing tis one will be packed with people, and so it is when I arrive there at quarter past ten. But I have no other choice. People will be gone by the evening. It is clearing up now, but I am not keen to rush. I will reach Dominicalito tomorrow.
What I did not realize is that this beach belongs to a National Park. I have unloaded and carried already my gear and kayak up the beach, when a ranger comes and tells me exactly that. First of all, I am not allowed to land here with a kayak, not to talk about no camping and paying a day fee just to be here. He points me to the publich beach at Playa Espadilla, where I would have to launch again and camp there. Oh well, really? I explain my situation and trip, and the ranger sees reason to let me stay at the spot, but setting my tent only after the park closes. Very friendly, thank you!
After a brief walk into the backcountry, I spend four hours sitting on my kayak, and watch the tourists enjoying their beach time. I feel so disconnected to a ‘regular tourist’ displaying their not always exciting bodies in tight swim wear. They come here to spread the towel to sit on, dip into the water briefly, and then endlessly play with their phones to catch the best holiday selfies. Particularly one self-loving couple tried endless new poses, having the phone attached to a selfie stick. Oh my!
The spook is thankfully finished already at thre o’clock. I hear multiple whistle blows from the ranger, and all visitors retract from the beach. Perfect! I am so thankful hey let me stay here, as on the public beach, I hear the usual boom-boom-music and I would not get any rest there.
A monkey couple creates a lot of laughter when they sneak unexpectedly to the tourist sitting sites to steal whatever they can. One monkey is a new mom and has a baby clinged to her fur coat. So sweet! Most people pull out their phones for pictures, and so do I. But people rather follow the stealing monkey for pictures instead of chasing them away from temporarly unattended sites. I watch from a distance how one monkey grabs something out of a bag, and a lady is just taking pictures instead of defending the camp. I have my stuff well-secured, but they still run twice over my drying clothes. We are in a National park here! Wildlife is lush. But this monkey coiuple is trained to steal things. I learn that it is not allowed to bring food to this beach, so no one can get the idea to feed those wild creatures, thank goodness. Also, here is no trash in this way. It is a paradise for myself after three o’clock.