Sat 10/11-2012 Day 325

The second whale encounter on this section became almost a little close...

Pos: here
Loc: Isla Indepencia
Acc: tent
Dist: 65,3 km
Start: 6:10 End: 16:50

Estimated landing: Playa Talpo
Estimated starting time: Right after sunrise
Estimated landing time: Well before sunset

This time I was the one to be launched first through the dreaded surf. Usually I help Peter launching, as his boat is usually loaded heavier, but this morning we had to get afloat in the shallows and wait…staying straight on the foam of the incoming breakers, and to wait…until the foam of the broken wave looked weak enough to try a break out.

Staying straight is the trick, and then using all power to paddle over a just broken foam, hoping behind it is not another bigger wave piling up just about to break You can’t see it when you already in the kayak. If it happens, wait again, with the broken foam pushing you back again, and the game starts new…

If someone holds your stern, the standing person can see much better over the foam,whether to let go and to punch through, or not. It took me about fifteen foam waves waiting, and about three attempts to punch through weaker looking foam, until I could paddle over an unbroken crest, jumping heavily down, and kept paddling out into only unbroken waves. Huahhhhh!

Peter was more lucky, he just had to wait about three waves, and paddled out easy. Sometimes it is just a lucky game, and all your experience and good theoretical knowledge doesn’t help you much.

We were paddling again direct line, quite far offshore, but with a moderate to strong following wind paddling was rather a pleasure than boring. Still not much to see though…until…until I thought I heard some whale spouting? I stopped and looked around – there was nothing, just the regular swell with the wind waves on top. A few days ago we thought we heard already the same?

Ten minutes later: “There She blows!” (Not sure why ancient whalers always said “she”…): Just in front of us, two impressive whales! One HUGE big one, and a smaller one, either mom and kid, or a couple…I think the the big one was the biggest whale I have seen so far!

They first showed their front flukes to wave at us, then they lifted two impressive tail flukes right besides each other…beautiful!!! We kept on paddling toward them, and it seemed they were waiting for us? Actually, I am very sure they knew exactly we were there.

We were reaching them, and I tried to take pictures…one pic showed clearly how *close* I was…actually, my bow suddenly almost hit the back of a whale, I got a bit scared and wanted to back up – but there was Peter with his kayak sitting just sideways behind me and blocked my retreat…if that too close whale back would have decided to rise his tail fluke again…have a nice kayak flight! But they are gentle giants…they like to have us around, and I never got hit or splashed away.

They kept on playing around, lifting they huge backs, then the flukes again…if I only would be able to take a great picture!
The show was over after maybe ten minutes of this impressive spectacle – our second whale encounter only on this section of my trip! Peter was also surely impressed, as this was only his second whale view at all.

Right when they were gone, about 5 km before the channel entrance to Bahia Independencia, the wind lifted to an ugly 20-25 knots, still following. The swell was moderate, so the sea was just about ok to handle, until we were in the shelter of the islands. Still not a comfortable feeling…

Isla Santa Rosa, the flat island before Isla Indepedencia, was full of sea gulls, and had a place where they were breaking stones out of the earth. The main island had an interesting, very wind and swell sheltered, ancient harbour village, where I saw one person watching us carefully with binoculars – maybe a woman waiting for her husband out there in one of the few fishing boats… 🙂

...and once again a million bird show!!! For over ten minutes...

But we were not up for a village landing tonight, our goal was the far flat spit of the island. We were just hoping it would be not full of birds…but no way, this spit was way too open to the wind! Fully wave protected, but the birds preferred to sit on the steep high cliffs, and not on our actually very rocky spit. There was just a tiny sandy landing inside the hook, just perfect for us. We found even a sandy area, in between a bunch of dead and more or less dry seals and bones of all ages.

The massive teeth of a dead dried (seal)?

We erected our tent in probably still 25 knots of wind, but there is nothing like a good “Hilleberg” 🙂

Maybe it was something bigger than a regular seal?

4 comments on “Sat 10/11-2012 Day 325

Jörg Hofferbert

Wonderful report about the whale´s. That everyone paddler´s dream to see them, also my dream.

I have a look to google-earth. Soon, near Lima, you can go the shorter way – along the Amazonas River 😉

Paddling in Alaska I had a humpback surface 10′ away from me and it was both amazing and fear provoking…. rather like the unknown that we all face each day. I feel like I am traveling with you each day in your reporting. Danke viel mals.


die Begegnung mit Walen muss toll sein. Ich bin schon hin und weg wenn man einen Seehund oder einen kleinen Schweinswal sieht, da kann ich mir Eure Begeisterung gut vorstellen. 🙂
Ich muss sagen, Ihr brettert die Küste ja nur so hoch. Bald seid Ihr in Lima. Ich bewundere Euch, wirklich eine tolle Leistung. 🙂 🙂 🙂
Ich wünsche Euch einen schönen Sonntag, hier ist es grau in grau 🙁
en hilsen til Peter und liebe Grüsse an Dich auch aus Montt

Randall Lackey

The Massive whale sighting must have been awesome.Ive only had a few dolfin sightings but Im sure nothing could compare to being so close to the whales.Hope you got some good pictures to share.Fair winds and safe paddling. Randall

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