Mon 10/02-2014 Day 592

Some nice rocky headland around Cayenne


I once more survived…

Pos: here
Loc: Cayenne
Acc: Eric’s and Christina’s house
Dist: 22 km
Start: 6:30 End: 12:25

Late evening, a sandy rain storm came up that I had to close my inner tent wall to not get the fine sand blown through the bug mesh. Sure in this way I got also quite hot, after it had such a nice breeze all evening. It blew and rained all night, fortunately at some point the sand was so wet, most of it stopped flying and I could open a small ventilation hole. Besides the weather, it was calm.

My “paddling fellow” in his open canoe went also out again this morning to check his nets, this time he was alone. The poor guy was sitting on the very end of the lightweight boat, and with every small wave I thought he was flipping over backward. His plastic kayak paddle was kiddy size, probably form one of those floating rubber bath tubs, and sure he had no steering. He may have looked at me gliding elegantly past him a little enviously. But hey, my storage space for fish is limited!

The crossing of the river mouth was easy, few tidal waves, and happily I headed toward the next rocky headland. Soon I will be in civilization again and looked after by nice people of the kayak club…

I stayed relatively close to the shore, enjoying the view of a rocky coast and some houses after all this green and mud. The water was showing some swell, nothing serious yet, and I expected at some point some backwash from the cliffs. But it rather started to create some solid breakers, rising quickly in size! I’ll have to obviously get around the three islands! I may have mistaken them for too long as shelter and thought there is an easy pass through them close to the coast. When I am looking on the sat image now, there is a clear and clean gap…but the waves showed a different picture. So OUT again, and around!

That sounded easier than it was, paddling against 15 knots wind and against the current in ever raising breakers. They increased scarily, and I paddled first my ass off, then truly once again for my life… please don’t trash me! Please don’t trash me! Please not! Please not! I got one warning where I had to brace high, running fully into a just broken one. If one of those washing machines catches me fully and is throwing me, I can not guarantee for my roll with all the foamy water running forever over you. The only advantage was they developed pretty slow with some gaps, and it was obviously daylight. But it was praying time again, and physical and mental full power paddling for about 3-4 hours. First out, out, out, vertical against the wave face, making not headway to my destination, then slowly daring to turn in, many times facing out again to face the breaker vertically so as not to be trashed. Only full power through makes it sort of work, if you miscalculate and were so unlucky to you’d be there where it wanted to break. If it didn’t catch me, I didn’t even look, just relieved to hear the trashing noise behind or beside me and I rather focused on the next land (water) mine…

And I made ever so slow progress around the three islands, spotting at some point the first of the long beaches. I will go in here… despite the agreed meeting point being further along the coast. But the breakers didn’t show any sign of abatement, and the beach looked so horribly steep that I rather kept on fighting my slow way across the highly dangerous minefield of 3-4 m big breaking stuff. Waiting, sprinting, turning out vertical, watching how the water mountains change colour and start to break or not… it was horrifying again. I DON’T WANT THAT ANY MORE! But there was no way out, further out didn’t look better, just get around the next corner and behind the offshore islands. The people from the kayak club expecting me couldn’t have meant they wanted to join me in THIS stuff when they said they may come out to join me on the last section before the club house!

Finally, eventually, I saw the breakers decreasing, while being parallel to the second long beach. I could go in here now, but then I also could continue to the really sheltered bay and calm down a bit. My left tail bone was aching as usual again, I couldn’t pay attention to that one the last three hours! I am glad again I survived without getting trashed to swim. Re-entry in those breakers? SHIT! And being relatively close to rocks didn’t make it any more tempting just to think about it…

The way point for the kayak club was precise, but I didn’t see anyone once I got out of the boat! I just started to text Peter when some guys came down and were greeting me, thanks a lot for looking after me! I could shower, wash my boat, and relax the rest of the afternoon in the private rooms of Emmanuelle living next to the club rooms. My hosts would be picking me at night as they were working the day. Ah, I needed the rest urgently! The paddling day was short, but such intense 3-4 hours in the middle that I was really worn out.

The club people were so nice to have already organized a barbecue at my arrival night, but I was admitting I was not in my best socializing shape yet this first night due to the relatively short, but extreme paddling and survival effort today. I rather liked to see a bed, felt a bit dizzy and cold, but held up for a while for many questions and nice chat. It was just unhappy timing to have the barbecue already on the same day of my arrival, I rather would have liked to recuperate a day or two before mingling with all the nice kayaking people.

The kayak club members were all mainland French people, staying in French Guiana for a few years to work before they are sick of the always hot climate and like to see the seasons again back home (like me…). They do a variety of kayak disciplines like kayak polo and white water, not much sea kayaking though, trips are more leading to the inland rivers and lakes. Still it was looking like a very active and friendly club!

My hosts Eric and Christina realised I rather needed a bed and drove me to their lovely house where I was lucky to get an own “apartment” with own bathroom and air condition. European luxury! Merci beaucoup! Here I can relax body and soul nicely and prepare the next scary ugly leg of my trip. They are both teachers and have moved with their youngest 11-year old son and Christina’s mother for a few years to this tropical French outpost. There are nothing but great hosts with all the European luxuries on my trip! Thanks again!

4 comments on “Mon 10/02-2014 Day 592


Deine Bilder sind toll. Man kann sich Deine Qual im Gegenwind und der Strömung gut vorstellen. Auch die Schwierigkeit mit der Suche nach einem geeigneten Camp. Ich frage mich immer: ” wie schafft Freya das nur?”
Du musst einen eisernen Willen haben. Eine ” eiserne Lady” 🙂
Toll zu sehen, dass das Sprichwort : Wo ein Wille ist, ist auch ein Weg” stimmt 🙂
Man muss nur daran glauben. Ich glaube, daran muss ich noch etwas arbeiten

weiterhin die besten Wünsche

Randall Lackey

By the way. I really enjoyed the nice pictures of your past days. They really bring to life all that you face each day.Thanks

Randall Lackey

What a way to finish up a section of trip.Sounds like very intense paddling for sure. Glad to read you were up for the challenge and rewarded well with the Apartment and nice people to take care of your needs for a couple days.Hope you’ll rest well and recover fully for what looks like plenty more ugly paddling days ahead down the shoreline ahead.Enjoy your off days.

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