Mon 21/11-2011 Day 84

A dry rivermouth is my campsite - view on almost high tide

Pos: here
Loc: horrible steep beach
Acc: tent
Dist: 19,8 km
Start: 16:05 End: 20:35

Last night I heard twice some short thunder noise – I think this must have been a large rock or piece of cliff falling down…only scary if I was camping right underneath!

My campsite is in a river mouth, and very sheltered.  As Karel’s original forecast was 15-20 kn head wind, calming down the after noon, I thought I’d better go out again with the high tide coming in just covering the reef, and paddling at night just enough km so I’d have a comfortable Tuesday paddling to Punta Quilla. If I’d have gotten the expected update in the morning, I’d have read all about the day’s reasonable headwind and would have been gone already in the morning…it looked kind of calm, but I sensed once around the corner and offshore out of the reef, the wind would get me…and maybe my cold was making me not yet ready to go either.

I got quite nervous, noticing the wind going down, but there was no water yet…earliest 4 pm!

I kind of forgot that about for the next 15 km there won’t be any landing as well, just as well I called it a day early yesterday, and not trying to fight the strong headwind!

Exposed reef and beach on low tide

But once the reef was flooded, I paddled easily along, well, if a head wind of still 10-15 knots and against the tide is to be called easy. But it was fast enough to cover the km I wanted to cover – and to find again a beach to land! Those very steep cliffs showed about three marginal tiny beaches, which I could have camped on after high tide, and as the next high tide would be tomorrow at 8 am, I’d be gone already.

The first really long, about 500 m, and a bit deeper beach, but still under the steep cliffs, was occupied with seals, in triple rows, not a centimeter of space between them on the steep beach’s edge! I wonder if I had really wanted to land if they’d let me through… behind them was space enough for my tent!

But there was the end of the very steep cliffs in sight, plus a beach showing at the end er 200 m behind that seal beach. But I got mad to notice the profile of the beach didn’t change at all, though the cliffs behind it got less and less steep…

It was highest tide at 7 pm, and the only thing I could do is to keep on paddling until the tide would drop a bit, and the wash up the steep edge would be less. It was no real dumper going, like the beach I was trashed on before Commodore Rivadiva, but the swell created a wide and high wash up and sometimes over the probably 60 degrees steep edge, which was about two meters above water level on high tide.

Even if I’d find a reasonable lull, I’d be sitting there with my kayak, not able to pull it over the steepest edge! I had that problem already in New Zealand…the only thing I could do is waiting a bit and keep on paddling until the tide level drops so much the wash would be less and the step edge displayed a bit less steep.

When I eventually decided it is time and kind of possible to go in, I put my PFD and helmet on, and hooked my bow line to my PFD. When I’d be jumping off my kayak in a reasonable lull, trying to crawl uphill, at least my kayak would not be washed downhill again, if I’d miss grabbing the toggle in time. The paddle was unleashed already, ready to throw it up on the beach to have the hands free.

It worked kind of all right with the timing, my crawl up the beach’s edge was a tough one, as the gravel under my feet didn’t really help me to make headway. I tried to pull my kayak up at least out of the back surge, but was kind of hoping now would come a big wash uphill so the the boat was simply washed over the edge…but no wave came that high any more – probably good…

I had some water in the cockpit, and for such moments my electrical pump came in handy! I threw the rest of the cockpit contents over the beach’s high edge, but didn’t manage to pull my baby up yet…too heavy! So I had to do the same as I already did once in New Zealand – opened the bow hatch which was in safe reach and out of the waves, and threw dry bag after dry bag up the beach, until the boat was eventually just about possible to pull it up over the edge! What a shitty tough job late at night…and I was even probably already down to 60% water and food…

But oh well, once over the steep edge, I didn’t really have to pull my kayak further up, as the tide was going down, and I’d be up tomorrow well before high tide!

13 comments on “Mon 21/11-2011 Day 84

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Great writing. What a challenging exciting landing. Well done to carry it out so skillfully. Landings like that are tough enough when you have others around for help. Alone is a serious deal!!

Jörg Hofferbert

Puh, a hard, hard work. I believe it´s better to get well again with your health. And for future i think it´s better you first go over the magellan. In Punta Arenas (or i hope earlier) you can get very warm clothes (you need this in the glacier area from chile and before). Like the clothes you are wearing by your circumnavigation in iceland. Punta Arenas is anyway the middlepoint of the earth, for extreme athletics like you. At last, if you turned arround the continent, you separately go over the north cape – not yet. It´s only my oppinion in worry about you and your healthness. But sorry, i don´t will interfere.


Take it easy Freya, you are a strong woman and I’m sure that you cant do it!!I hope you fell better soon!!

Don Hebel

Seems like you’re working hard. Having the cold probably doesn’t help the motivation.
Hope you feel better soon and can enjoy the journey.

Chuck H.

Just an amazing piece of writing, about an amazing landing! Take care of yourself, though, and don’t tempt a virus like the one you encountered after the Zuytdorp Cliffs.

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