Loc: after Punta Rio Bueno
Dist: 60,1 km
Start: 7:00 End: 18:40
Launching was easy downhill the gravel beach, though the swell and dumper had lifted over night a bit. I’m already an expert on steep gravel beaches…the problem with that one time before Magellan Strait not getting out was it was not gravel but sand covered with a thin layer of gravel, the waves came very fast one after another, from the side and very big! Today all was ok.
The day proved to be offering a lot of changes in paddling conditions! The wind was low, then nicely following from NW.
After paddling along a bit of more calm gravel beach, looked like it had a river mouth wetland behind it! I’d have love to have a look, but the swell and waves were quite crashing on the steep gravel beach here! No risk of an extra landing…quite a pity…plenty of logs on the beach, and hills with forest in the background.
The next headland offered some rocky reef to give it a wide berth. But I was sneaking carefully around the headland through the few rocks into the protected water, where it was nice to be! The rocky reef turned soon into a kelp bed reef, and it continued to be protected from quite some swell of the day! Nice to paddle close along the beach as well.
The kelp bed reef opened up soon, and the next small headland came, and I did the same…a little bit more rocky and risky this time, but all right. Same nice calm paddle inside an even thicker kelp bed! I had my lunch in the calm water here, some specialty today: Tunas salad, consisting of tuna, mayonnaise, grated cheese and hard boiled eggs. Yummy! And different to my usual lunch of cream cheese, crackers and olives…
The cliffs are looking here even green covered with grass and soil, with trees on top and fallen down trees on the beach, quite a wild view!
The next small headland I had to pass already on quite low tide, and I saw no chance to sneak behind the reef which was closing up to shore. I paddled outside offs shore in quite some swell and outer reef waves, and was yearning to be in the calm waters again!
I saw the rocks turning into kelp again, but it was still breaking on this sort of reef…when I spotted a gap, I decided I dared to paddle over the break into the kelp bed, and further to the coast where usually the kelp gives a gap of clean water until the beach starts.
I managed to paddle free of breakers onto the kelp bed, and this one was the most thick kelp bed I’ve ever seen and paddled on! No chance of touching any water on paddling…you have to push on by pressing on the kelp…but it worked! Quite fun, actually…when I didn’t paddle, sometimes the gentle swell made me slide further toward the beach…
But soon I noticed the effort was not really necessary, as the kelp stopped after about 500 m, and the outer break disappeared as well. Open beach again…
In the distance I spotted some nice open beach with no reef, and decided to call it a day there after 52 km, this is the ideal place, it can’t be better on low tide with a sheltered steep gravel beach between the reefs…coming closer, it was only 5 pm, I thought I haven’t had enough yet, behind the next headland must be a similar beach, keep on pushing for another hour or so…
I paddled around the now big and wide reef after the beautiful beaches, three of them to chose from. Did I make a mistake by leaving those beautiful landing sites behind me?
The reef didn’t seem to end, the tide came in and against me, and the next sure safe landing was 15 km ahead in te Caleta Policarpo…I didn’t want to paddle until 9 pm!!!
The big fat long reef eventually opened up – there is always a gap in the reef! Two, actually…but the second, better one, I didn’t see in my impatience to eventually land, …I was slalom paddling around rocks and small breakers behind a major break, and was lucky not to catch one or to hit a rock…no, call it skillful eventually…but actually quite stupid.
The landing was eventually on a flat exposed rock ledge of about 50 m to drag in, no problem! The beach was wild and littered with logs, with some green cliffs in the background. Plus a lot of cow pats…
After making camp, I went for a short walk with my camera. Besides a full cow skull with horns I found a mysterious bone…about 7 m !!!! long, and already grown half into the soil and grass…a whale? Has a whale a 7 meter long bone? Or was it a leftover of a dinosaur?? 🙂 Amazing…
The cows came soon into sight, and I was not too scared to keep on walking and to chase them away, I thought…but they were all young bulls! They ran uphill anyway, but one decided to come down again, curious…then galloped, head down, in full speed along the ground, toward me…and uphill again! Thank goodness…I was not up for a Matador play tonight! And my red tent was not too far away…hope they are not visiting tonight!
About 40 km left to the headland turning south west tomorrow! There are a few Caletas down the new coast, so landing should be all right! Not sure if I’ll make it to Caleta Buen Suceso, where the Navy has a station, as it is supposed to be SW wind in late afternoon.