Tue 29/11-2022 Day 765

Pos: 09.9371,-83.6266
Loc: Playa Chicos
Acc: Hilleberg Allak tent
Dist: 26,9 km
Start: 8:10 End: 13:05

Despite this camp reminded me a bit to my first night in Quepos with the continuous light on and camping under a dry roof on a balcony, this was already all they had in common. It was afe and peaceful. Once before sunset, the fire alarm went on with a nerv-wrecking noise just over my tent, not sure if Willy and his daughter were frying something smoky in their kitchen. But he turned it off pretty soon. A car was honking in front of the close gate, once, twice, but even after the third time, Willy did not show up and it is not my business to open the gate. Later, a park ranger car arrived without honking. They only waved friendly at me and my open camp, and left pretty soon. And since three o’clock, the tropical rain was pouring down. I am thankful for my dry camp and can even dry my tent and gear, despite the long portage.
In the morning, high tide is at six-thirty, but I have to wait. I carry my gear and even drag my kayak the long way to the corner where I arrived, but the waves are crashing up the steep boulder beach way to violent and in a way too short period for a safe launch. If I would be able to get my gear and kayak to the far end of the bay, on the other side of the river – there, the waves roll out mellow. It was where I saw the most sand when I arrived at low tide. But I cannot get there. When I finally think I can, I can also launch from where I am. It is meanwhile eight o’clock, one and a half hour after hight tide. I have only one try to get it right. The waves roll in now more mellow, but in case of a capsize and bailout, my kayak and my body would still uncomfortably be washed up the boulder beach. I position my kayak on some wood for packing, not that it slides down itself premature.
Ready loaded, I lift the bow pointing downhill, and carefully rumble my poor baby on the boulders downhill to get closer to the wash. Sure, just now comes the big stuff in, and I have to hold my bow three or four times strongly while hoping the stern stays hooked on the spot. It does. In a reasonable lull, pushing in on the wash and hopping on seems easy, but I have to rush out after pulling the rudder with open deck to avoid the next rollers. Sure enough, I just about climb and crash down on the other side of a nasty too-big last-row wave – all with open deck. I shout at the wave to not break on me, and she listened. Then, all good. A filled cockpit would be not pleasant, or a roll with open deck would also not the best option. But if I had taken my time to close the deck, the wave might have just crashed on me, and then – who knows.
I organize my stuff while feeling a bit shaken. Maybe I should have waited even longer, and dragged boat and gear on the boulder beach across the river to the mellow corner? But my kayak hull has suffered already enough here. When I leave the last cliff behind me, the first sandy beach corner before the first river outflow might have been a much better landing option. It looks very calm, but it is too late. I paddle on along the long beach, and on the receeding tide, all coast looks mellow to land. I even paddle closer just before the second river outflow, but somehow feel I had not paddled enough yet. I also see two fishermen busy with a net on the shore, and hope on Playa Chicos, in the island between the two outflows, I will likely be by myself. I am also hoping to avoid another early-afternoon tropicl rain storm.
But first, I have to give the breaker area a wide berth. The river water is red like blood, and I reach the outer sharp edge where it meets the blue sea water. It is always amazing that river water stays so long separated from the sea water with a sharp line. The sea has lifted here across the river mouth quize a bit nasty, but finally, I can turn in again and it calms out. I meet once more the red water, and also ride for a while on the strong outflow. But I get closer to the beach, which proves to be as calm as I expected. It is a very flat, sandy beach, and the breakers rolling in in multiple lines are tiny and easy to ride in. Still, one has to watch – never underestimate the surf. Two mild high braces get me to the sandy shore.
As it is fully low tide by now, I have to walk four times about twohundred meters to a dry campsot. Thankfully, here is no lack of dry sand to camp here, between lenty logs and driftwood. Dragging the kayak all the way on the wet sand is tough. At least the launch on high tide tomorrow should be mellow, and I can start early to reach Bahia Drake/ Playa Colorado.
So far, only one boat comes out of the next river mouth entry, and I am sure they saw me. A wild dog runs along with some prey in his mouth, and vultures are picking in the floatsam and jetsam. My brief beachcombing does not reveal anything of interest. No rain yet – but I am sure it will come.