Fri 11/11-2011 Day 74

On high tide, the bay in the reef looked like it would stay sandy...but this is lowest tide, and getting out would be tough.

Pos: here
Loc: Bahia Desvelos
Acc: tent
Dist: 25,5 km
Start: 6:30 End: 12:50

When I switched my sat phone on this morning as usual to read the latest forecast, there was a message from Peter that last night’s update didn’t come through…sorry! I must have unplugged the sat phone too early from the computer. Won’t happen again…

I had to hurry launching my kayak after sending the (luckily saved…) update again, as the water was running out of my bay while I was watching it! It soon displayed the sea ground, and I loaded my kayak only half and then dragged it about 15 m over ugly rocks out to some water, quickly got the rest of the bags packed and off I went! 6.30 am…

My in Puerto Deseado freshly installed rudder fin (the old one split as I hit a rock on backing up) with freshly tightened spring didn’t want to launch again spring loaded, as the beach was as usual small gravel and it was stuck as expected.
Later after landing I noticed, though I could still pull it out with my launching string, it was only a tiny stone blocking the spring. I could get the tiny stone out eventually with my knife and all was fine again!
When I’m pulling it out with my launching string only without the spring active, and then float over shallow ground or just over the kelp bed, it retracts again and becomes less effective, though with the spring loaded it should pop back into place. pointing vertically down. All those tiny issues…

The paddling itself was boring again on mostly low wind and flat water, and I decided to cut across the shallow bay and not to follow the coastline close, as it was fringed with reefs and kelp beds which I didn’t like with the fin retracting itself.

As forecasted, the wind freshened up quite a bit to over 20 knots around lunch time, and turned to the north west. This meant, as I was going south west, fully quartering wind which became eventually as usual a headwind, pointing the bow onshore to not get blown off to sea too much. Plus the tide was working against me on flooding water and eventually it was not fun paddling any more, crawling along with 2-3 km/h.

As I was paddling 2-3 km offshore, my decision to go in was all right, but quite some work paddling now fully against the strong wind! The strong current pushed me off my course in a dogleg north, but eventually, probably after an hour or more of hard work against tide and full strong wind, I reached a bay which seemed to me steep enough to be reef-free on low tide. It was full high tide now at 1 pm.

I landed with no problem and no dumper at all, as the sea was flat all day despite the strong wind. What a pleasure to land, and not to have to drag your boat up the steep beach!

I should have rather landed in this bay! It stayed sandy on lowest tide. But it's hard to judge on high tide!

But the pleasure soon turned into disbelief as the low tide later displayed some reefy sea ground over a 100 m wide area!
I really thought it looked green, which usually means sand/ gravel under me, as I was approaching that bay for landing…that the sea goes out *so* far I didn’t expect and couldn’t see even through the clear water.
Ok, I knew it was lowest tide again due to full moon, which is 60 cm lower than tomorrow morning’s low tide. Let’see how it is looking tomorrow very early morning…

For sure, when I was walking a bit further south, I found a better bay where the beach did not display sea ground but the steep gravel sloped into water even on lowest tide…I tried to figure out the difference in the hinterland beach, that may be I could see next time better where there may be still a reef on low tide and where not.

I took a brief dip with my dry suit still on to water test it again, and found a few more spots which started to leak water…repairing the spots today on this sunny, very warm and windy afternoon was easy. The suit dried within an hour, and the glue dried a couple of hours later.

Plus I wanted to know where the daily cup of water came from in my stern compartment…it couldn’t be only via the hatch… it was easy to dip the stern into the water, as my kayak was landed on a ledge of the steep beach.

I noticed the seam on the stern of my kayak had a tiny split which let some drops through, either it is still the same spot from the air freight damage, or it came from the last crash landing through the dumper and I had overlooked it. So some epoxy work this afternoon as well! Not that was getting bored or could relax… it was hot as hell in the tent anyway. The final repair looked as ugly as it could be, but as long it is dry now…

For tomorrow Karel sent two very different forecasts, the second one has 15-20 kn west south west wind morning and noon, which means no fun paddling, switching to 10-15 kn west north west in the after noon. Maybe I’ll be starting in the afternoon…we’ll see. At least I could get away then from here on a high tide in the early afternoon…

My voice was almost fully gone due to my cold this morning when I was calling Peter, so I could use a bit of rest…

11 comments on “Fri 11/11-2011 Day 74

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Don Hebel

Freya, sounds by your writing that this coastline is challenging and maybe somewhat boring compared to earlier paddling miles. Your photography is great! Sounds like your energy level is down some. I worry that the cough and cold will wear you down if you don’t rest more. Be careful of your health…you can’t do the trip without it.

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