Sat 03/09-2011 Day 5

My blisterd hands - at the beginning...

Pos: here
Loc: on the water, before Salado River
Acc: in my boat, stuck in the mud from 8 pm to 1 am…and paddling the rest of the night
Dist: 60 km + 5 km back to find an exit off the water
Start: 7:15 End: 24:00

Actually a good paddling day, making great progress in following wind…if I’d not have been still quite weak, even hesitating to go despite perfect weather…well, diarrhea caught me since my trip start…and also half an hour just after I launched…shit, literally…cleaned my pants as much as possible, and stopped thinking about it. No easy landings in sight. Good I was by myself. I have not eaten much the last days either, a lack of appetite due to the sickness, so my energy level was ok, but not great. Amazingly my body is functioning like an old lean mean paddling machine as ever..

If there wouldn’t be the constant sweet water of the river, mixed with more or less mud, which made my hands blistery and soaked.

I planned to stop at Salado Rivermouth, as an online friend was advising me on that in the Somboromboro Bay there are very few landig possibilities. Tide was high in the morning, and would be high in the evening as well, I thought…

But the tide after Point Piedras was a bit earlier, so when I planned to land at Salado River, the water was already running out again…well, about that soon.

The section to Point Piedras was unspectacular, just around the point itself I had to give it a very wide berth and paddled through a bit of a minefield of some rock fields – if in doubt, stay out! Luckily there was no swell crashing unexpected ly over hidden rocks. Just some funny clapotis water on top to make most of the rocks clearly visible.

After the wide berth around Point Piedras, I noticed I could paddle very close in again, as the coast was solid cliff grassland. I didn’t notice much of a change of the water level in that corner! Some easy looking solid landings were visible, but I was ambitious despite my weakness to make it to Salado River mouth.

I arrived there with last light – already a mistake! I should have taken the safe landings before due to the high water. As I arrived in the river mouth, there was no water in there! Well, a shimmer of water on the surface, but nothing to paddle…and I did not fancy crawling through deep mud tonight on landing.

So back up again shoveling liquid mud, cussing like hell about my stupidness not to land earlier, and rushing like a blitz to the spot where I saw the high water’s edges and probably still possible landings – 5 km back wards. The blitz ended in the darkness, retracing my GPS track even more out, but still getting stuck in the middle of nowhere…on shoveling mud back wards I eventually realized on my GPS I was not going anywhere…and accepted my fate of being stuck that night…what to do now?

Most important was to stay warm! I could easily sleep somehow crunched in the boat, but when I was cold, there was nothing about a nap. I was not in my dry suit, just fleece and paddling jacket, plus sealskin pants with a wet butt from the early morning’s disaster…and nothing really in reach to change without messing everything up with mud. But I had an emergency blanket in my cockpit bags! This was the solution…wrapped like a nice flower bouquet in the clear plastic foil, the wind chill was not too bad and I could sleep even a little, huddled my hands under my armpits, crunched forward.

At 1 am I heard a low running water noise, and though I felt I may stay sunken deep in the mud, the power of the rising tide lifted me up again, slowly but surely! I didn’t expect it to happen that early!

I was waiting until I could be paddling close to shore, hoping I found one of the landing spots I was looking for – but again, without a mud bath at 2 am I could not land…then I rather keep on paddling!

Back to the Salado River mouth again where I already had been at 7.30 pm, now at 3 am…10 km paddling for nothing that night…I could land at an outer meadow, but still not paddling further in. The meadow was a soaked one with hundreds of cow pats, monster cow prints sunken in deep and bird shit – not inviting at 3 am either. Then I’d rather keep on paddling!

Thought and done, I shovelled a few km through the last hours of the night, singing stupid self-texted songs to stay awake. I knew with the first ray of the morning sunlight I’d be back in shape again!

(Please continue to read on update next day…)

1 comment on “Sat 03/09-2011 Day 5

Don Hebel

Fuck,Shit,Mud…cussing makes it all tolerable but never enjoyable. Get your rest and write more when you can. You are one gutsy woman.

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