Mon 24/11-2014 Day 699

Heavy surf is trashing on the spiky reminders of an old forest - I opted to drag the kayak on the beach


Highlights: Oh what a day…a bit of evrything and three rolls
Lowlights: SURF…SURF…SURF…
Launch: Sheltered beach
Landing: River bank
Pos: here
Loc: Isla da Cabeca de Porco
Acc: tent
Dist: 57,4 km
Start: 5:00 End: 16:00

The forcast wind for today was at least “only”19 knots, the magic 20 not to be reached today? I wonder…I crossed the bay behind Pedra do Sal straight in good speed, but with still big seas. Not that much as yesterday, but big enough to make me worry how to get in again. I usually sneak through the surf crossing big river mouths inside, as for my kayak the surf at a shallow river mouth usually was wide and low enough to cross in. But here and today???

Basically, I was impatient as usual. I should have given the river mouth a wide berth, also the corner where the coast is bearing due west again. I was keeping my nerves all the time on the big sea, but the thoughts from yesterday came on my mind, I was not really feeling comfortable out there without any option to go reasonably safely in. Well, the river mouth had an almost unbroken opening, eventually as most times, but this one I saw only from inside.

It felt so ugly out there, and I was wondering if I could simply paddle inside the surf zone…and really decided to go in through the surf when I thought it was a bit lower, I spotted a hut and a donkey and something looking like calm lagoon water. But as usual the surf is always bigger than it looks…I was able to sneak past the first heavy breaking lines, but before I was thinking what am I doing here, it was too late to turn back out again. I saw only monster breakers behind me, and also paddling out against the wind would be shit. Somewhere in the middle of the wide surf belt it trashed me, I made a perfect roll, and was almost already inside the surf zone. Was that really a good idea now?

Well, I could really paddle in this way into the calm river shelter, wet from bracing into moderate to low breakers, and didn’t get stranded once. It has been high tide around 6 am, so the water was still high, and probably the surf also leaving enough shallow water wash to paddle. Inside the river I spotted four sailing fishing boats going out through the unbroken entrance, but by no way I’d go out there again, feeling not comfortable, and then, on the island surf entry I’d get trashed again? I just made it in and was able to paddle more or less ok, but was safe inside the surf zone, so why not go on in this style until the island entrance? Yes, why not…

Well, because after the river shelter on the corner I could NOT paddle inside the surf any more as the huge breakers were trashing close to the beach and there were hundreds of spiky old trees in the water, and I didn’t want and dare to go through the heavy trashing surf out either…so what were the options?
– No way to paddle back against the wind and out…see above.
– I could wait and hope the surf will get lower on lower tide that I could paddle inside the surf safely past the tree stumps…maybe…but how long a wait?
– I could *not* just drag my kayak and gear through the end of the surf zone, as the trees were in the crashing way of the surf.
– But I could drag and carry my stuff on dry land…a happy job!

I climbed a higher dune to have a look ahead. The spiky old forest stumps were finished after about one km, and after those I might be able to paddle again inside the surf zone. It took me an hour and four times taking turns dragging the kayak and carrying the fortunately quite empty food and water gear bags. But then, I could safely paddle along in the shallows with some effort, the monster trashy surf breaking noisily without interruption and quickly on an outer sand bank close beside me.

This was working for a while, until a small sandy headland stuck out on the outgoing tide and the surf closed up the calmish gap. I could drag my loaded kayak, cockpit closed, for another km in the washing up surf, always, most important, trying to avoid to get hit by my kayak. It could break your legs. But I had done this before…a couple of times the loaded kayak flipped over on the heavy wash, but with the cockpit cover on and the long on two points attached bow line it was no big deal, just stressful.

Waiting for enough water to wash up, trying to keep pace with the boat in the strong wash, then it sat dry again… Eventually my calmish inside highway opened up again, and I paddled quite fast along, until the next tiny headland washed me so heavily in on the closing up surf that I capsized for the second time today, this one was too shallow to roll. Ok, another walking session…and so on, and so on…always the noisy monster trashy surf belt to the right in more or less close distance. One more trashy capsize with my nose sticking into the sand…I should get out earlier before the monster surf closes up again.

Snow white large dunes in the entry of the island shelter


I stayed inside the surf zone, and eventually the calm belt stayed more or less, the surf got probably lower, and I turned quite relieved into the fully calm channel waters between the island. Bye, bye, surf and big seas and strong winds…never want you again (for now)… The ingoing tide pushed me nicely relaxed in and along, I felt quite at home in those channels! I wanted to reach Paulino Neves tomorrow, so I still had to paddle a bit. With current and wind from behind an easy relaxed peaceful noise free game, listening to the sound of the mangrove forest and birds.

Some fishing boats, some sandy landings, all ok. I wanted to push on until 4 pm or such, and took the risk not to find a campsite in time. Paddling all the way to Tutoia, I’d have to paddle into darkness. An since about 5 km, the current had changed 🙁

Back to the mangrove channels!


I tried a muddy bank for just a meter, then firm ground with some green on top. Not good enough…another obvious landing had the muddy riverbank covered with wood pieces allover, perfect to land! An obvious old housing site and fishing camp, no one here. Even some breeze was going, no bugs, dry – I’ll stay here tonight! Until darkness, about ten more boats were passing by, but I’ll sleep peaceful and sound here, as last night I had loud vibrating music just besides me until 10.30 pm! Horrible, if you need to rest!

It was high tide at 7 pm, and so far I felt quite good on my really dry looking site. Until I heard a very quiet but definitive splash of water just behind my head…a quick scared look outside with the flash light showed me the river water had raised on the highest tide of the month so far it did flood also the hinterland behind me, and the water was closing up to my tent from there…one half hour of worry, the water was already in my vestibule, but just about did not crawl not under my tent…I have had that already a couple of times before…no need for another flooded tent here! Lucky for tonight!

10 comments on “Mon 24/11-2014 Day 699

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Randall Lackey

Been through Hell and survived. You deserve a good restful night. Hope you get it, now hopefully, high and dry. Bet it sucks having to set camp a second time, after such a day. Glad to read you still got your roll fine tuned. Be safe dear lady. Safe Paddling.

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