Thu 29/12-2011 Day 122

Repairing my kayak under the tiny mostly rainfree overhang of the big boulder on the calm Thursday

Pos: here
Loc: Isla Deceit
Acc: tent
Dist: 0 km

I survived the night with still up to 50 knots wind in a horrible noisy fluttering tent, but due to my added guy lines yesterday I could actually relax, and got some sleep. This morning I could improve again the rocks on my tent flaps on the ground, and it fluttered a tad bit less. But it holds up well, besides a few smaller holes the rocks were making on the bottom flaps.

Then I called my boyfriend Peter in Denmark via sat phone, as most mornings. I had to learn the horrible news about Alejandro’s death. I wrote a separate blog entry. I was crying on writing the entry. Bye, bye, Ale, my friend!

The day went on with rain and wind, and I had to think about my potential weather windows to get out of here. I calculated my food, and with some precaution I set myself on half breakfast ration this morning. But I have still food for12-14 or more days, I think. My tiny fresh water stream tasted well, but I have still about 9 liters of water myself. No worries so far.

The landing spot on the calm Thursday

Karel texted me a weather opening today between 15-18 pm, and he was right. It calmed down with almost no wind (at least not on my beach…), and the seas smoothed out by the hour. It was low tide in the afternoon, and my tiny gravel beach showed a bit of a tame side. It is only around 2 m tidal level here, but it makes the difference on this shallow corner. There were still some breakers rolling on it, but it had enough good lulls to launch safely, if I’d have tried around 4 pm.

I stood there and watched the sea for a long while. On high tide, there won’t be a launch or landing possible. When I arrived Wednesday night, it was high tide with horrible rolling breakers, and the breakers crashed on the many huge rocks on top of the gravel beach. Good to have seen it is possibility to launch on low tide and reasonable seas, and I can relax a bit. It is amazing how fast the sea calms down here – but it went up at the same speed…my kelp landing was the only option at that time, though decorated with breakers, too..

The big boulder besides my tent was unfortunately not giving much shelter from the west wind...this was the calm Thursday where I had to repair my kayak and couldn't go yet

But this first weather window was for repairing my kayak! I dragged my boat already this morning in a small no rain window under the tiny rock overhang, where the seam split hopefully dried a bit out. There was no rain for at least two hours between 3 and 5 pm, and I managed to repair the whole kayak with my fast cure 2 components epoxy steel resin. I even used only 1/4 of my reserves. This stuff is really perfect for fast beach repairs in humidity. I’m hoping to get more of that in Ushuaia. I think the seam split will hold with this stuff in multiple layers, though the fabric was probably not really dry under the application. The rest were only soaking cracks which should be all right now, too.

My other option, the real liquid epoxy resin with the fiberglass cloth, would have dried too long, I think. I’d have some “Water Weld” kneading 2 components stick as well, sticking even under water, but I think it won’t be strong enough to hold the seam together. This looks good now, and I’m sure it will hold, once fully dry the next day.

It is raining now again, and the visibility disappeared. I took earlier a few yearning looks over to Isla Hornos, and could make out the Navy station easily. If someone would have waved over at me, I would have seen it…

I made a test call via VHF on channel 16 to Cape Horn Navy station this early morning 9 am, but got no answer. Around 3 pm, I tried again, and got a response from the Cape Horn Navy station, but could barely understand what he was saying. I think I was supposed to go on channel 14, as after the initial contact on channel 16 you should not make longer conversations on that emergency channel, but after switching to channel 14 I couldn’t get them any more. I hope they understood this was only a test contact call, and that I was not on my way yet.

I rather keep the VHF radio and it’s batteries for a “mayday” message, which I will hopefully not have to send out any time in my kayaking life.

I still have two spare sat phone batteries, and am on the last quarter of my first one now, with a few calls, and not only texting. They will last for a while.

The wind will probably breeze up again now as forecasted, I think. I may have to spend Friday and Saturday still here. Saturday night it may calm down again. Maybe I can go already. But I’m still hoping to get latest out here Sunday early morning. If not – I have resources for a while…and patience now, reading my e-book. I won’t risk and push anything. If the weather is right, there is no problem in these waters. But it changes so fast…

13 comments on “Thu 29/12-2011 Day 122

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Meike Michalik

Freya es tut mir mit Alejandro sehr leid. Ich hoffe, dass es Dir den Umständen entsprechend gut geht. Meine Gedanken sind bei Dir und Alejandros Familie.
Passe gut auf Dich auf


Hi Freya, I’m so sad and so shocked to hear your friend Alejandro has drowned. I can’t even imagine what terrible weather they must have faced. This is such a terrible reminder of what can happen to anyone in an instant. I have tears when I read your news, even though I never met him, I think he is your Argentinian Angel they way he helped you so much. You wrote about him in your blogs so much, we all know how intertwined he was with your expedition. So sad for his family & friends & you. I know it must have been such a tough decision to turn back when you were SO CLOSE but I’m so glad you made it back to the island and landed in a safe place (even though you had a tough landing, my goodness I don’t know how you do it). Just the thought of being blown away from the islands and into the Antartica in that wind storm,,,ugh. Keep your spirit high, even in your darkest hour, you are so strong, you can do it!!!

Frances Price

Relieved to hear that you’re biding your time and waiting out the weather while you make repairs. Your blog is one of the highlights of my day. Stay safe, and godspeed.

Ei! Cuidado garota! Brasil te espera.
Keep the 16 in you VHF, all will call you in this chanel and switching to an other chanel, 14 or 9…
Fabu Dias – Barra Bonita – SP BRASIL.

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