trip days left: 20
straight distance left: 323,4 km
Highlights: I camped with six Argentine kayakers
Lowlights: I got heavily drunk at the campfire…
Launch: Ugly steep dumper with extra breaker
Landing: Low surf
Loc: La Barra
Dist: 48,8 km
Start: 6:40 End: 16:45
The wind was offshore this morning and reasonable low, still the combination with quick arriving dumper and breaker did not look very friendly.I obviously had to avoid being trashed by both by all means, or I’d get washed back up the steep beach in a possibly ugly uncontrolled manner.I donned helmet and PFD, and stood thereat the edge of the steep beach with my kayak bow pointing in the air and a heavily adrenalin pumping heart, ready to go. I watched set by set for a lull break, but it was so tough to first overcome the dumper in a good timing and also to find a lull in the second line. Patience…and I had to use the narrow halfway calm gap between dumper and breaker to first quickly close my spray deck, and then to release my rudder to stay perpendicular by all means.
Thank goodness to my easy closing Snapdragon deck and good high cockpit rim, a quick and easy bungee paddle holder on my stern and my skeg launching line. Despite catching a bit of water into the cockpit on the dumper, hanging with my stern still on the beach for a second, the rest of the action went smooth and quick and I was able to wait three breakers in the narrow calmish area for a lull. Not a single drop of water in my face…:-)…luck…and a bit of experience.
I rounded the headland of José Ignacio with one single fat seal greeting me behind my stern. But no seal colony to see nowhere. I made good speed, but was wondering whereto camp tonight? I wanted to make it at least to the tiny headlands between El Chorro and La Barra, where landings would probably be on easy calmer beaches. I was there already around 3.30 pm, and decided I would round Punta del Este already tonight with that good moderate following wind. Camp would be then on Isla Gorriti. I would be there quite late around 6.30 pm…in that moment I saw bunch of sea kayaks closer to the shore. That must be a welcome party from the guys from the Club at Punta del Este! They also spotted me and came up to me. They were six guys with reasonable kayak equipment from Rosario in Argentina on their way from Rosario to La Paloma.
They were quite pleased and surprised to meet me, and although surely knowing about my trip they were not online since days to know my exact position and the day we may cross paths.We chatted a bit, took pictures and separated in different directions again. After five minutes or such, I guessed it is 4 pm, I had already almost 50 km for today under my belt and no real hurry to reach Montevideo or Buenos Aires yet, so why not camping together somewhere soon? I felt like socializing a bit, and they all spoke good English. I quickly turned around, paddled hard to reach them again against the wind, and they soon stopped and noticed me coming back.
Great idea, they guessed, and we headed first to the river mouth where the breakers were not too inviting for every ones skill level. A calmer beach with many houses was the better option to land safely, but a place I would have chosen only in emergency. I simply prefer to camp without people’s reach and houses around.But the guys will do the talking job to the locals…
Their trip style is very different anyway, emphasizing more on socializing than on making distance and speed to reach a goal. They are used to cook and eat together out of one pot, and making camp is less important than pulling out the mate tea set and talk to the locals. One of the guys even carries a violin in his kayak!
I really enjoyed their company, and made myself useful at the campfire outdoor kitchen by cutting veggies and forming flat bread to roast over the open fire. The food out of the big wok pot tasted yummy, and soon a bottle of some local “Schnaps” and wine also made the round. My body rather used to sport than to alcohol relaxed quickly, and quickly too much…just as the violin player started some nice melodies from “Brave Heart” I urgently felt I needed to lay flat and to sleep…sorry! You are very much welcome to play again on my arrival party in Buenos Aires! It was not *that* late yet…
As soon as I reached my tent safely without stumbling too much,I felt like throwing up…thank goodness I had my pot handy…my body just refused to keep the poison of the unexpected alcohol input. I slept soon deeply..thanks guys for welcoming me on your campfire and inviting me for dinner! It was a pleasant change of my trip routine…