Fri 25/01-2013 Day 374

My village people of San Lorenzo

Pos: here
Loc: before San Lorenzo
Acc: tent
Dist: 50,7 km
Start: 6:20 End: 18:50

Tomorrow’s estimated landing: Capitania Manta

Jamie and Jimmy had to get up early to help me launching – sorry, guys! And thanks, guys! But I need to be on the water as early as possible – without also a disastrous start.

I managed to get out by dragging the boat through the long shallow back surge and over the breaker, but on the second try. I certainly got the cockpit full of water, went back, emptied it out and dragged the boat out, now clever enough with the cockpit cover on. Jumping on and with good timing quickly pulling the cover off, backside only in, and paddle out as hell with the legs still out. It worked.

Next was to clean my boat from all the sand I got inside from the bad landing. Unfortunately they didn’t have a water hose at the Capitania, so I left it like it was, and the initial swamping washed everything nicely down. I could almost use a shovel for the gathered sand left on the bottom!

When all was set, I started into a hot mostly sunny morning with no wind at all. I had to wet my shirt and head frequently, and I even once jumped in fully!

Surely the headwind picked up around 11 am, for an hour it was just refreshing. At noon, it became hard work. I did my work, and paddled slowly but definitely into an about 15-20 knots straight north headwind, with the swell from the west crossing the northerly wind waves. If I could have gone in somewhere, I may have been tempted to do so too early…

But there were only long cliffs with fat breakers up front, which only got a bit less when the tide changed at 3 pm. The wind also went then a bit down to “only” 15 knots, and me crawling along with 2-3 km/h for about three hours went up to a speedy 3-4 km/h…very pleasant! I may resume paddling tonight, if the headwind will be like that most days…as it may be! The nice following wind and north going Humboldt current, mostly all up the coast of Chile and Peru, are definitively very much behind me!

Two days ago it was a rainy drizzly day, today the sun was out in the morning creating the stronger wind.

I had two different Navy boats looking after me for about an hour each, and once they got bored to watch me paddle they drove off again. Otherwise only few but all friendly fishermen out here!

I noticed my estimated landing spot around Cabo Lorenzo on a calm looking beach won’t be in reach within day light, and the surf was still BIG at times. I simply didn’t dare to go in, and rather prepared mentally for night paddling either just around the two corners to that certain beach, or if the landing wouldn’t be safe and visible enough in the full moon light, I simply would have carried on to the safe harbour of Manta. No problem.

But really I am never that keen on night paddling, there is nothing like a good sleep in a safe place! The people of Santa Rosa were already spotting me, and were waving at me to go in. But no way, surf to big still, sorry…

I was reaching almost the last village of San Lorenzo, with the sun just disappearing behind the horizon, before the surf looked eventually lower, and I dared at least to get closer. I soon saw almost the whole village running together, maybe 100 people, waiting for me to land. Oh man, so many spectators! I can not afford to do it wrong here…

And yes, I waited out the worst ones, came closer in time, and eventually decided to sprint in after a moderate to low one, hoping the next one would be the lowest. A bit of a side broach on the foam from the breaker behind me, but nothing serious. The last wash in another small side broach, and I was landing in the middle of a bunch of village people. I was just scared I’d hit them with my heavy boat! But many helpful hands were grabbing my kayak and were dragging it out of the surge zone. Thanks, local people!

I was the event of the night, maybe even of the week or even longer…spectators were gathering even on top of the bridge under which I was landing safely between a few fishing boats. All nice and friendly! But so many, many…

After I was introducing myself and my trip in broken Spanish, my “show” of the night is at least to put up my tent and to unload all those soooo interesting, but closed dry bags into it.

Next would be my urgent shower…but stripping outside was no chance. Showering inside the tent was working always nicely in our 4-man tent with Peter, but in my small Allak with already all bags inside this would be a problem. I noticed too late they were offering me a fresh water hose which I could have used showering with my shirt and pants on. So I waited a bit until the crowd was almost gone after I zipped my tent, and it turned dark anyway.

Once I dared to peep out again, still three men were discussing the event of the night. I naughtily went outside with just my big towel on and my fresh water bag in my hand, was hiding behind a larger fishing boat, and got my well deserved shower! It would have been nicer with the hose, though, but less private…but I had enough water and even could refill with that hose. Water is good and fresh and enough here – eventually again!

I’ll head only to Manta tomorrow, and will take it slow, as it is only a shorter paddle, and later due east. Hopefully the north wind is doing better then…

6 comments on “Fri 25/01-2013 Day 374


E, I’ve read all of Krakauer’s books and enjoyed them all. Into Thin Air is, of course, incredibly dramatic as its life, death and survival @ 8,000 meters; however, Krakauer’s Into The Wild, about a young, angry, adventurous man, is much closer to Freya in Fearless as both investigate two complex characters who embarked on a grand journey that few “normal” people can understand. The big difference (besides that Freya was 45 and female) is that she lived and Chris McCandles did not.


Bill, that’s very true. I have read Into Thin Air and found it very compelling. Likewise, I thought Joe Glickman’s Fearless brought Freya’s Australia circumnavigation to life.


Eureka, Freya takes lots of photos on and off the water and they add a lot vis a vis highlighting her amazing trip; however, I’ve read a lot of adventure travel books and its really hard to make a great trip come alive in print as most often the traveler is too busy traveling. For every Jon Krakeur (Into Thin Air) and Joe Simpson (Touching the Void), there are tedious books by amazing explorers like Verlen Kruger and Paul Caffyn — so you have to be an epic traveler and refined writer in one…does Freya have that ability?


Too bad you didn’t have an interpreter — would have loved to know what the locals thought about your arrival and good material for your book. Are you able to take photos on the water? That would be most interesting to see!

Jörg Hofferbert

Hai Freya, nice that the the enthusiasm from the inhabitants is so great. There you are an attraction, here in germany are only boredom´s.

Stay sure !


Randall Lackey

Glad to hear you had a nice day though long and short a nice hose shower.Rest well. Safe Paddling.Wonder if the villagers will see off their celebrity guest in the morning?

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