Fri 07/10-2011 Day 39

My dry suit needs is a knackered as I am...

Pos: here
Loc: Inside Golfo San José
Acc: tent
Dist: 45 km
Start: 9:00 End: 18:30

The forecast for that new day was easy – 10-15 kn lovely following NE winds – if you are going SW…which I was up to do. My “chicken way” 🙂
I wanted to get inside Golfo San José, to be off the not allowed outside shore of the peninsula – a reasonable distance paddle of 45 km.

I knew my body was not ready to paddle yet again and I should better have a rest day, but oh well…special circumstances require special measures! I figured I’d be easily blown down the coast without paddling much! And Saturday’s weather sounded very ugly and may need to be a rest day then anyway.

My first male elephant seal on Peninsula Valdez - one out of hundreds...

It was a sunny morning, but the tide was higher than yesterday 3.15 pm when I arrived. It meant my lovely little “harbor” protection reef was flooded, and the quite strong side swell came directly onto the steep pebble stone beach.

Mummy and baby elephant seal

It looked like an easy seal launch! Just like my plenty fat blubber roll neighbors would do…I put my boat into position, almost 45 degrees down hill, in close enough to push myself into the water, but didn’t take account of the side wash of the occasionally quite high and violent swell…no way I could time it right close enough to the water and in my kayak already with a closed spray deck! Every time I tried, my bow got washed side ways, and I had to start over again. There were no real breakers, but the swell coming up the beach reached high enough and was violent enough to wash my kayak off my holding hands a couple of times.

Seal colony

Well, I thought, time to let it go into the sea alone where it wants to go already – I’d swim it out on a low swell time! The plan was working, I threw myself into the water after I gave the boat a big push – not without holding the bow line! I could swim fast and far enough away to remount my boat without getting trashed. Thanks god for a dry dry suit!

Give me a smile!

But paddling out of the danger zone as quickly as possible, I noticed I had to jump out again – to release my rudder blade, stuck for sure by 100dreds of small pebbles! Well…I’m used to that exercise already…but this time after remounting I took care to empty my boots and to squeeze out my neoprene socks  to give my feet no chance to get cold on that lovely day…but unfortunately in vain. So another day with cold feet!

Rocky haedland

But the paddle itself was of the finest! I did not paddle much at all the first minutes, eating my breakfast oats, calling my boy friend, and watching the wildlife passing by on the shore! I took plenty of pics and a few videos.

One of the hundreds of eals swimming alongside me!

Then came a most pleasant part – some low steep cliff areas reaching directly into the water, where I could paddle as close as possible, bobbing up and down in the easy swell!
I LOVE paddling close to cliffs, and didn’t have any of them so far on the whole trip!!! And cliffs, grown over with sea wheat and sea shells of any kind, provide something else on low tide – the lovely smell of the sea! I inhaled deeply, and felt perfectly immersed into the world of sea kayaking again – a day which could not be more different to the previous ones. Just what the doctor ordered!

I paddled very slowly along every nook and cranny of the cliffs and rocky shore, and wanted to simply *touch* the cliffs at some point – not watching the sea and the next second I was sitting high and dry on a flat barely immersed rock 🙂 – well three more low swells coming in and I was free floating again…no damage.

I was even a bit disappointed as at some point a blatant beach with blatant small surf came up again…

I could spot families of marine mammals of all kinds occupying literally all beach spot – with a reasonable distance to the next big ruling male patriarch of the harem. You could see easily which one was the only male of the group! I am wondering what the other less lucky and strong males were doing not being so happy with such a big harem! Or do they breed more females than males already?? They just had puppies every where, and you could hear them floating close by with their barking, howling, groaning and moaning inside the group. What a life!

I was usually surrounded as well by curious seals in the water, they were popping up around me for one or two seconds like pac men in a video game – pop, pop, pop, but too fast to take a reasonable picture of each smiling face…so I was glad to have video!

I paddled at times like an unable beginner, trying to work around my sores from the last two days. Nothing serious, but I could still feel my body in lots of places, and knew my body was not yet ready to paddle. So I took it very slow, and just enjoyed sightseeing afloat in the right direction.

Ok, the last 20 km were less exciting and just flat beach again…it started to rain, and I needed to *paddle* again to make it inside the bay before darkness. I played the game to paddle as close to the very low surf zone as possible, and managed to get caught three times and surfed in. Oh well…

The paddle around the tip of the opening of the bay provided a small tidal race, but now I noticed how strong the wind was all day – from behind! I had to paddle now inside the bay to the east, which was a bit of a work to reach a reasonable camp spot! I decided to call it a day soon, as it was 6.30pm already, and continuously raining…not really a pleasure to put up tent in rain.

I found again a reasonable protected high dune spot, well away from the still ever present fat blubber rolls. Still, at night, I heard one probably male guy growling quite close to me…must have been a late comer to the beach, finding pleasure by the slim look of my a bit further down parked kayak…

3 comments on “Fri 07/10-2011 Day 39


Congratulations, the first way stage completed!
On to stage 2 now with best of luck 🙂

Don Hebel

Freya, don’t even consider that someone could call you “chicken” for running the bays as you were instructed. Anyone thinking that would be small minded and exactly wrong. Not to mention insignificant.

Meike Michalik

Freya, ich weiss gar nicht was man sagen kann, wie kann man Deine Leistung richtig würdigen ???
In meinen Augen ist das alles nicht zu toppen. Du bist eine Powerfrau mit einem eisernen Willen und einen noch härteren Durchhaltevermögen. Du zeigst uns allen: ” wo ein Wille ist, ist auch ein Weg”.
Bin echt total begeistert. Würde Dich gerne kennenlernen.
Wünsche Dir weiterhin die besten Reisebedingungen
sigue asi, mach weiter so, bliv ved
saludos, herzliche Grüsse, kærlige hilsener

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