Sun 23/11-2014 Day 698

This is where the party is!


Highlights: The last (?) high wind farewell of this difficult coast
Lowlights: I should have stayed in
Launch: Low surf
Landing: High wind around a heavy breaking corner into low surf shelter
Pos: here
Loc: Pedra do Sal
Acc: tent
Dist: 30,7 km
Start: 4:55 End: 9:10

All mornings the last week were relatively calm until latest the tide changed and wind breezed up to the forecast strong 20+ knots. Then, today after 11am, I will have at least reached the corner of Pedra do Sal, if not the Candrias rivermouth entrance…

This morning, it was first treacherously calmish, but it got quite soon quite VERY strong. I was on the water early as usual, thinking it couldn’t be that bad, and as I guessed I’d be launching just a bit too early about an hour before high tide, it will calm down at least temporarly a bit with the outgoing tide…as it has done all the other mornings…

My general expectations about this corner were correct, all might of the water without a reef to calm it down was piling up in the corner where the coast suddenly goes from due east – west to 45 degrees up north. I was crossing the first bay to Itaqui way offshore, where it was already so rough I couldn’t have my usual oats breakfast on the water. I should have
gone in close to the coast, but couldn’t really spot a headland shelter, and detours never have been my favorite…and so I decided to keep on paddling, it can’t be that bad…

I made good speed, had few breakers, but quite rough windswept water right from behind. I saw a bunch of windmills in the distance, and guessed correctly this must be where Pedro do Sal is, just head directly offshore to them in shortest way.

But where was this long 1,6 km breakwater of the river entrance of Luis Correia? Was I so far offhore I couldn’t really see it in front of the city skyline? It is so easy to misjudge distance on the water…

A glance on my GPS chart and the appearance of a lighthouse seemingly just in front of the many windmills told me soon my misjudgement…I was just heading right on to the breakwater wall, I was about 4,5 km left when I realized. I also realized I was way too much inshore to safely pass the head, and changed my course with the wind and waves getting higher and stronger coming slightly from the side now.

A long half hour of worry whether my high speed was taking me out enough to safely pass the breakwater wall, but my GPS track eventually showed me I could keep up the course change to safely pass the lighthouse in good distance. The continuously strong and getting stronger wind was piling the water up to ugly high 2-3 m mountains, luckily still barely breaking.
Once or twice I had to lean on top of such mountain into a moderate toppling wave, scary enough if things were to go wrong before I was past the breakwater…

And how was the current able to create more ugly water just in front of the river mouth with the outgoing tide? I still emember Rio Magdalene in Colombia where my Navy escort crew got sea sick…

A shrimp trawler was literally jumping out of the rivermouth, I would not have wanted to be on such a ship a playball of the waves any more more than I was rather wriggling around them. The large ships also shake from side to side, not only front and back up and down. Looks quite tempting to throw up on such one!

Still the trawler eventually spotted me, probably misjudged my friendly wave as an emergency signal or at least as as a wish to make contact and came so scaringly close shouting whatever that I was eventually getting more angry than scared and had to shout something nasty. Would they really have tried to get me on board, never mind my kayak? Impossible…

I had to concentrate, but felt ok enough not even to think about going into the shelter of the river mouth, fearing the possible current there and if I would even be able to make the long way in there against the strong wind. I rather got pushed on with around 7,5 km/hr on mountains over waves, still hoping it would calm down a bit behind the breakwater.

But if I stayed out no change of the sea conditions happened. I will make it in this way quite quickly to Pedro do Sal, hoping the landing there would be all right. No sign of any kite- or windsurfer here on this rough end of the windy coast…just me and this larger shrimp trawler.

Granite rock area in Pedra do Sal
Pedra do Sal, heavy granite boulders give a good landing shelter. I managed to do the tricky climb on the largest one

Pedro do Sal has a long jutting out rocky headland consisting of huge granite boulders. I kept a respectful distance, as it was breaking heavily against the rocks, but also knew I needed to turn in relatively close to find the best shelter.

Monster surf on the windy side of Pedra do Sal. No picture can show how it really is.
Tiny rocky beach on the windy side of Pedra do Sal

Thank goodness the breakers around the corner were getting lower and lower, and after a few strong strokes against the wind I could land through low surf, a few fishing boats and some swimmers safely on a shallow beach. This was a ride!! No way I’d have kept on until the next corner of the river mouth as planned. One more day I was happy not to get into serious trouble on too much of sea and wind…

The lighthouse at Pedra do Sal
These four very cool all similar dressed young guys reminded me somehow to monkeys...

This village is basically a fishing village with many local tourists only. No surfers welcome here, as it looks like…the huge granite boulders are impressive, amazingly the whole place has no better infrastructure than a few simple beach restaurants and bars. I managed the tricky climb on the largest boulder, watched by the critical eyes of the local eenagers. Some man of my age refused to try… 🙂

My mostly shady campsite in Pedra do Sal
This house has been a beauty...once.

Some locals gave me a camp spot on the patio of an empty house in some shade (at least in the morning…), which was the first one in a row of some more empty ones just after the quite busy restaurants. It was Sunday…and many local tourists were happily partying to the usual loud music. I eventually put earplugs in, still the vibrations of the base all afternoon was physically painful for me.

But I enjoyed my beach walk and boulder climb, feeling quite safe leaving my tent and kayak alone. It is quite nice to be of not too much interest here in Brazil… The sea on the windy side of the breaking boulders was looking horrible from
the top of the huge rocks, the surf was massive. I had to take care not to get blown off there! I general, I liked this pleasant village with those impressive rocks, and was happy they gave some real landing shelter and not like the rolling fake one after the rocky headland of Jericoacoarera.

In the boulder gaps, small salt lakes are drying out. This is why they are called salty rocks.


A rare relaxed moment on the rocks

Hope the music will stop soon and I’ll get my peace… Yesterday night I was only hoping to have no flying sand, here on my house patio I really have none, but am also seating a bit inside my tent after the sun moved. I think I soon need to change my zipper sliders after these few weeks of flying sand beach camping…

3 comments on “Sun 23/11-2014 Day 698

Randall Lackey

Reads like you had quite a ugly scary day. Not the ones we look forward to.Glad to read you have a nice resting spot for the evening.Maybe tomorrow will be far nicer.Safe Paddling


The next section gets a bit easier I know this stretch well and it is a nervous time even on a kite making it around the breakwater. Got to commit early. Watch the next set of river crossings on an outgoing tide they can be like mine fields!

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