Tue 20/12-2022 Day 786

Pos: 08.2978,-80.2611
Loc: Boca Nuevo outside
Acc: Hilleberg Allak tent
Dist: 48,0 km
Start: 5:05 End: 15:35

It was calm at night, my forecast days a calm morning and I assume the wind breezes up not before the tide change at one o’clock in the afternoon. Karel’s forecast also says a calm morning, maximum gusts 15 knots. My main concern is I cannot get to the retracting low tide water, low tide at seven. I hear the gentle waves still lapping on sand at four o’clock, and think I better get going to be on the water at five. A good decision, I am just about stepping in mud when pushing my loaded kayak in. I am afloat, but it is still dark for an hour. The Punta Lisa has a wide mudflat where the small reakers are rolling in, very mellow on the retracting tide. I feel my way straight out through the tiny breakers in the dark, but even outside the wide breaker belt, the sea is quite moving with the tide at the point. I plan to rail more or less the coast and aim for a sand in twenty five kilometers in the top left corner of the Bahia Parita. I should reach that spot in low wind, but if the wind catches me too early, I can rail along the mangrove coast.
So far the plan. I pick a flasing light as direction, and have my red headlamp on as I can see a lot of lights out here from fishing boats. The flashing light turns out to be the top of a net flag, no boat. Soon after, the daylight breaks through the sky, and my paddle strokes become stronger. At eight, when I have a short break and watch my drift to the top right corner, I am getting bold and think why do I aim to the top left corner, it is so calm now, and the wind will not breeze up before afternoon. Why do I do this? To save distance, for sure. But also maybe I like to work harder, as at the end, I saved five kilometers for what I paddled and what I would have paddled along the shore on the safe line.
At clock ten, I am just facing a huge field of wind energy mills on shore which Hennie told me about for some reason, it breezes up from no wind to solid twenty knots. The sea becomes rough, and all I can do is to turn straight north to reduce my distance to shore as short as possible. Still, I am ten kilometers offshore. WTF did I dare to cross this notorious windy corner? If I would not be strong enough to paddle into twenty knots or even more wind including a now meter-high chopy sea, all I could do to let me blow back to where I came from. But I am strong enough, my technique is perfect for this shit, and body and boat hold up. I duck down, grit my teeth and punch into the wind straight north, for two and a half long hours to reach the shore. At least I can see a white beach. As the tide runs up, I average still four kilometers per hour during this time, but it is choppy. The wind fetch and the nasty waves get less maybe two to three kilometers to shore, but not the wind itself. But I know I can make it, or I should not have risked to cross.
Finally, I hit the beach. It is a perfect white sandy natural outer rivermouth beach, but it is HOT here. I knew already on my last meters I will keep on paddling along the now dead calm waters of the shore, with the wind from my left. There is no risk to get blown out. But first, I relax a bit, have a swim, eat and drink and call and text my people that I made it across alive.
The following ten kilometers along the shore, I am actually sorry I did cross, as it is stunnig beautiful and easy. I cross easily two river mouth, pass a few anchoring fishing boats with the guys sitting in the bush in the shade for their day sleep when they have been out at night. At some stretches of the beach, the flooding river mouth have eaten away the shore so much that a dead forest stands right at the coast. Hundreds of little birds have their home here, and I am contemplating to camp between the dead trees. But it is still too hot on the beach. I round a very windblown point where te sand piles up high, before I reach the end of this kind of beaches which I also marked for the day. I think I passed my first whale carcass and chose my camp a bit further down the beach, but the lump turned out to be just a tree stump. No carcasses here on this coast anywhere.
I collect a few shells on the way, and strip my pants as mostly in the water when it is clear and inviting to have an end-of-the-day soak to cool down. My shirt covers the most on leaving the water, just in case. Otherwise, my paddling pants would be full of sand and I would have to rinse them before putting them on again. When there is no soak or rinse possible, I take the utmost care to strip first one sock and then very carefully one leg of the pants with the still clean foot not to mess up everything. Then the second sock and leg. So much easier to step out of a dry suit almost clean and dry. Here, I have a full body rinse, but every day a heat rash on many parts of my body and soaked skin which takes a while to dry. In cold conditions with the dry suit I use babywipes for face, underarms and private parts and I feel clean-ish. So much nicer.