Sat 26/11-2011 Day 89

Do Argentines have three balls???

Pos: here
Loc: before Ria Coig
Acc: tent
Dist: 39,3 km
Start: 6:50 End: 20:50

My nice campsite hosts David, Lisu and another guest named Daniel were driving me this morning back to the Restinga Norte, where my kayak had survived the storm yesterday without me. I had tied it to some wooden poles int he right wind direction, and no Puma had curiously looked into the Nylon cockpit cover.

The water covered eventually the sea ground and reached the gravel beach, this is the time to launch! I waved good bye to those nice people – if you ever come to Monte Léon Natinal park this campground “Mirimi” is the place to stay!

I paddled around Monte Léon Island – not as impressive as my walk on low tide yesterday at all…actually, nothing special!

Seal colony Monte Léon headland

The seal colony on the headland was nice, but it is now my (I don’t know how many…) xx seal colony…there are supposed to be 70) in Argentina.

Approaching "The Window"

As I was sensing, after the headland there were plenty of nice and easy landing beaches, but one of them was reserved for the penguins in the National Park area, and landing would have not been allowed.. At that point I didn’t know, and could possibly have shared their company!

Inside "The Window" cave

One more highlight on the next small headland was a large rock arch, called “The Window”. I could easily paddle through it, and wished myself luck! Beautiful!

Just through - brings luck!

Another seal colony were probably a fur seals on a beach, they were plenty of guys, quite big and tried to chase me away with the usual armada of youngsters! Those guys make big splashes swimming around me, I had to watch my camera!

Seals launching to chase me off

High tide paddling along the variation of steep cliffs was quite nice, and on low tide I did not have to go out as far, as the reef was narrow here. There was one long bay which seemed to have an almost only steep gravel beach , with no or short sand flats exposed, which I passed after 50 km on lowest tide and actually should have gone in! But the following wind was so nicely pushing, and I though I could make the 15 km more to Ria Coig…

The fur seal company chasing me away

This was a decision to go the tougher way! The reefs coming up now were still exposed on the VERY low tide of the day, making the water outside quite rough with 20 -25 knots following wind. At some point the wind was even not following any more, and the coming up tide made paddling harder as well. I had to dig in hard, and my estimated arrival time covering those 15 km moved to 8 pm, 9 pm…I was cussing at myself to not have gone in on that steep reef free beach already. But I was thinking arriving three hours after low tide, the reefs must be covered with water in Ria Coig’s entrance corner.

A last farwell! It was nice to meet you guys!

Actually, the paddle those last hours was quite fun! If it wouldn’t be so exposed out there with no landing on the here all rocky reefs…and it was breaking every where unexpectedly. But I love to dig in hard!

Eventually I spotted a landing beach with low cliffs about 3 km before the entrance light house, and as another long jutting rocky reef was still exposed to find the Ria Coig entrance, I opted for that solution to go in there. I first wanted to come nearer to have a better look, which was, compared to the upcoming rocky reef, quite possible.

The now strong off shore wind was fully against me going to shore from those 3 km off shore paddling, and the small waves on the running in tide were blown with the wind against me in lots of spray. It was not dangerous, just very wet! But the beach looked ok!

I was working my way in, seeing no rocks in front of me, and it looked like the exposed sandy reef was not so wide. The tide was going in anyway, so I just had to wait…

At some point I reached the sandy flat, but instead of staying seated and to wait for that missing hour until the water reached the gravel beach, I got out and walked my kayak in! My feet were frozen anyway, so walking seemed the nicer option!

Unloading and walking with a bag of gear in already was no option, the small waves pushing the tide in would have made the process very wet! And I was not sure once I’d let my kayak go if not the strong offshore wind would be stronger pushing the boat out again instead of the tide flooding it in…so I had to stay with the boat!

I made 5 steps, waited for one minute for the very fast incoming tide to float the kayak again, made another five steps, waited for the kayak to float again…and so on, for more than an hour, until I reached the gravel beach! I could have done the same thing seated, but it was nice watching the reefs disappear, and walking a bit…apart from the cold feet…

Once at the gravel beach, it was relatively easy to drag the boat up high enough to unload, making camp and getting the boat fully up.

But damn, I was tired after that long paddling day! The last hours paddling were tough, and then this “walk” in…well, I should have landed on that last steep reef free beach 15 km ago!

I actually had gained no time at all, as next morning I could launch probably at any time from that other beach, covering the 15 km in the same time I’d have to wait tomorrow here for the tide coming to the gravel beach again! But who knows about the weather tomorrow…

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