Loc: Bahia Herradura
Acc: Hilleberg Allak tent
Dist: 44,7 km
Start: 6:10 End: 16:10
Once more, an endless amount of glow worms tease my eyes when I look outside in darkness. One is even sitting on my rolled-down tent door, and I identify it as a small flying insect, I know they are no ‘worms.’ Their light power is amazing. Despite I am sure my tent site is high enough up, the roaring surf breaking on the rocky reef keeps my subconscious mind alert, and the night’s rest is moderate. The seas is supposed to lift from around a meter to one fifty, will this bring the wash up to my tent? I check around midnight, it looks like I am good. Not much space to escape anyway despite the muddy path in the scrubs.
In the morning the break is harder than when I landed, as the water level is even a meter lower now. Unfortunately, it also displays many rocks in the narrow gap where I saw only sand on my landing. Will I have to wait until the water is higher for a safe launch? I pack and drag my kayak in starting position, but safe from the wash. While watching the outer break, I notice the crucial blocking rocks are just about covered after a high break. If I time it in the way I catch the high water of a last big set to push my heavy kayak safely afloat over the boulders, it might work. I just have to pick the right time…and I have only one chance or I get stuck and on the net wash, smashed on the narrow reef gap.
I carefully get closer with my kayak, and once more closer after big outer breakers. NOW! The front boulders are covered, and it looks like no more breaking swell is building. I just about get the heavy loaded kayak over the submerged boulders, do not stumble on walking in besides and can hop on with no problem. Quickly legs in, rudder out, and paddling out hard beyond the middle rock which marks the outer breaker line. Here I am, safe on calm water.
The higher seas are not much noticeable on the open ocean, and I am not hesitating to cross the Golfo de Nicoya with forty kilometers. I can land either in Jaco or in Bahia Herradura, though I doubt the small marina in there is my place to land and camp. I finally aim for the shorter Bahia Herradura, as my pace on the crossing is slow. The tide runs in, and a side wind is also carrying me into the bay. I enjoy hundreds of sleeping Manta Rays floating with their wing tips out of the water. But in the morning hours, many of them are also jumping high up and landing with a lound splash on the surface. Amazingly, the jumping activity goes down by the day.
And I see the first whale on this section! He shows his back about five times, but no fluke. Nice! After all, I was sleeping in ‘Bahia Ballena’ – Whale Bay. A huge container ship from the fruit company ‘Dole’ passes my way, and I fantasy about this yellow vessel full of pineapples and other tropical fruit. Sport Fishing boats are driving out and back in, but none of them comes close to me. I am just by myself out there, alone with my audio book helping te time and distance to pass. A sore spot on my left hip does not add to my comfort. I have a hard tme to find a sitting position without pain.
Entering the deep bay of Bahia Herradura, to my left I find first a nice sheltered sandy beach full of Sunday-afternoon people, then the small fancy marina. Next follows a quite empty beach area which looks also quite calm to land, but this beach looks like it belongs to the resort and golf club behind it. I might be chased away for camping there. A long very populated beach follows, but to my right hand, I see a sandy beach looking not only empty but also best sheltered to land. My fist choice is to check it out there, despite it is quite a distance to paddle.
Getting closer, I have my doubts about enough camping property on high tide, but I like to give it an inspection and plan my landing. Sure enough, also this corner gets the occasional big sets, and I just about can avoid a larger set. When I approach again, I see still reef rocks on the bottom of the beach, and turn away quickly.
What now? The end of the puplated beach is not too bad, I think, and closer than the first beach left from the marina. People will be gone soon form the Sunday afternoon outing, and I will have it to myself. The shore break must be possible to time right, and I will run out on a shallow soup zone. Basically correct, but I do not take my time long enough to wait for the right long lull, get caught on the run in and capsized. WTF…why do I have to capsize in front of people on the beach? Yes, because I was impatient again. Thankfully I am equipped with helmet and PFD, as when I like to set up for a roll, my head hits already ground and it is not much worth to even try to roll. I pull my deck, bail out, but keep my paddle safely in my hand. My kayak gets caught by a smaller wave and surfs upright, but unfortunately without me to the beach, close to shallow reef rocks.
Oh my! I lost my pride, but nothing else. I gained experience, a lot of water in my cockpit and nose, but no damages. No one seems to care about me and my unfortunate landing. I tilt my kayak to the side, empty the cockpit, and unload the bow. I dump the fist bag somewhere on a log, secure my kayak higher up, and walk up the beach to find a campsite.
A young couple enjoys their Sunday in a tent on a perfect flat and shady spot. Will they stay there all night? I politely ask, and they confirm they will be gone before darkness. Perfect! Any other spot here does not look attractive, or is also occupied with people. I keep unloading, and the guy even helps me with my kayak dragging up the beach. I do not have to wait long, the couple sees my need for making myself at home and is so friendly to move away soon.
I thank them with a card, and they offer me to bring food and water, so nice! But I only take two bananas out of the large bag they like to leave with me, as I have enough of everything. My urgent-needed freshwater rinse I can only do cramped in my vestibule, but better than leaving a salty skin. Two guys to my right consume a lot of beer, but keep their distance and manners and leave after dark. But they also leave about a dozen of beer cans. Other people also go home one after the other, and my night becomes undisturbed besides the roaring high-tide surf break and strong flashes and thunder during the night hours. The rain is only moderate. I already decided to have a day off on Monday, my body and mind needs a rest. I am hoping Monday will be quiet here on this public beach spot.