Wed 11/03-2020 Day 501

Pos: 27.8110,-110.6149

Loc: Estero Tortuga beach
Acc: Hilleberg Keron 4 tent
Dist: 50,6 km
Start: 07:00 End: 16:20
 
Our kayaks stayed afloat beside the yachts, as Marina policy says you can’t keep anything on the docks beside a small stepladder to get into the boat.No problem, as the wakes of the boats going in and out were low, and all lines of the yacht ad our kayaks were tight enough not to get squeezed by the big Mama. But for packing, we hauled them back on the jetty, as loading on dry land is much easier. We ad basically shopped for the next three weeks and have water for eight days, but the kayaks were still not fully loaded. Despite six mangoes, one pineapple, six boxes of various berries and many other luxuries.
 
The morning was dead calm, and the first ten-kilometer crossing over the first bay was simply boring. The first headland we hit had a huge white-shitty rock-island named Isla Lobos where we could have paddled through the gap, but we preferred to investigate the outside for caves. And despite the name, here was not a single sea lion at home. We kept on cutting a few smaller bays and ended up at the last headland with an inviting dark ole in a huge opening. It turned out to be a narrow, long 75-m calm-ish tunnel with a well-size opening at the end. I already called Marg she could follow as this one has an exit – into a wide rocky pool LOL! Trapped. I could at least measure the length of the tunnel with my GPS as it turns off inside a cave or tunnel but jumped on again outside in the rocky pool. I could have turned my kayak with some care, but the existing swell made it not advisable. So we both had to go back through the tunnel with some hand railing help. That was a nice one! The other opening with the rocky pool was actually on the northern backward side.
 
Another dark hole invited me once more to have closer look – this one was wide for two kayaks initially for about 20 m, and then turned into a small dark hand railing tunnel with no light opening. I took out my strong caving lamp, and the first thing I saw was a floating plastic bottle. The swell inside was going up and down but did not squeeze me to the ceiling. The best was the sound inside – the tiny tunnel ended after maybe 50 m in a roaring blowhole! Wonderful eerie! It felt like if I’d have kept on hand railing further to the blowhole, I’d be sliding straight down to hell…Marg was skipping this one and stayed on the wider area and she felt she could see and hear enough with my flashlight shining in there It was another really great cave!
 
The sea lions from outside didn’t really swim inside the cave, but I remember once in a similar small dark tunnel in Ireland, a fat sea lion thought it was his property – but we both finally found space after the initial startling on both ends.
 
We planned to cut straight across to the other side, but turning just a bit left, a large sea lion colony and bird are was lurking inside a huge rock. their barking and grunting noises sounded like the colony was located in the next cave, but they were just lingering on rocky shelves under wider overhangs and this made the huge echo. Many groups of lions and also single guys were floating asleep with their distinct flippers stuck in the air. Usually, sea lions are a bit shyer, but these ones kept being lazy on their rocky shelves, and the afloat sleeping ones barely woke up and moved. They were just barking as always, and the small “navy fleet” gathered behind us to chase us away as always. An amazing place! One small fishing boat was doing his job not far away, no other tourist boats around. But we were sure this must be a popular place.
 
We decided to cut across the bay for a distance of 27 km, with the fist perfect following wind now in our backs! Still, open water is open water and we entertained ourselves with music. Marg had advised me on her favorite bands and her taste and mine were now mixes in the shuffled playlist. But her taste was not too different from mine, thank goodness
 
I couldn’t help but mostly surfing along with 9-10 km average but was waiting after each song for Marg who was practicing well on her own surfing. When I politely stayed behind her to watch, it looked pretty good! She has just to get more power and training. When I left her going ahead, she was faster than when she had to chase me along – it’s all mental This time, the following wind and waves were so perfectly in our line, that I rather stopped and waited after each favorite song burst, than going zig zag as I did with Elizabeth. Nice interval training for my next strong paddling partner Markus Hope I’ll be in best-surfing shape by then.
 
At some point, I thought I saw a dead whale or such floating a bit off our line…I made a small detour to find just a blown up large empty black garbage bag…very funny. Behind our beach we were aiming for were still a line of big mountains, but the estuary upfront was much closer but surely very low. We were wondering about the landing in the onshore wind, but I assumed it would be easy. It turned out to be lowish water on shallow sandy ground, with tiny surf waves running easy into the shallows. No problem at all to land, just running up until we got stuck in the shallows. We found a high and dry enough sandy spot on the shallow mussel bank for our tent. New shore views with mangroves on an estuary sandbank! Well, this will be our company for the next days…
 
We found a very dead dolphin on the inside estuary beach plus previously also two alive ones in the water. Also, the first jellyfish in the water on this trip and som estrange green small worms in the tidal area.
 
Marg made yummy mashed potatoes with fresh cauliflower and cheese. Delicious! Life could be worse!
 
It was the first crossing in this length and her first day over 50 km. She did great!