Tue 04/02-2014 Day 586

But I didn't trust the green staying dry, so I spend another not too comfortable and also not really dry night in my hammock


Lucky dry camp

Pos: here
Loc: Forest spit
Acc: hammock
Dist: 40,6 km
Start: 6:40 End: 18:40

Briefly before sunset I went out, fortunately still no bugs, to check the surf. High tide would be around 8 pm, and I was really hoping my camp spot would stay dry and no waves would be leaking over the sandy ridge. To be a little more on the safe side, I pulled my kayak across the tent toward the sea side, and shovelled some sand up front as a small sea wall. I spotted already one or two smaller washes here and there…

My “cow” herd was retreating into the entrance of the inner land, just close to the bees, and I saw their tails waving heavily against the small beasts. If you all will stay there, ok… still when I risked later in first moonlight to put an eye out of my tent, they have been coming silently in the deep sand and were all around me now!!! They must have been attracted by my presence outside and curious now about what I would be. I was surrounded by about 10 strong humpback cows, one old bull with big horns and balls and a few youngsters…oh shit…what to do now? If they all decided to attack my tent and me and my gear would be trampled in a stampede… but they won’t, unless teased too much or attacked themselves. I am hoping they were not blaming me for the bee’s attacks, as they were still waving heavily with their tails and I noticed a few of the flying beasts on my tent wall too!

Ok, I simply stayed silent and was watching them as good it went through my two slightly open tent windows in the pale moonlight. No sleep or relaxing possible… $%^&*( stupid situation. At some point I decided to lie down, grabbed my book and started to read. They slowly retreated, and I started to become happy as my praying seemed to have been heard. Still, on my next peep out, they were back again, now even closer! When one of the girls with no horns almost stuck her head into my tent window, I decided to not shout or get my paddle or provoke them in any way, but to play being a big wild cat and made a fat hissing sound. “Kschhhhhhhhhhhhh!” This was working, they were hurrying to get away and it looked as if they stayed now at a good distance. I went to sleep…but before I was in the land of dreams I heard the sound of running water, just next to my tent. My sea wall has held!

I could see in the traces next morning there was not only one wave washed over the ridge, but many. Plus many cow tracks now leading to the other side of the beach, and there they were, at the far end, calmly waiting the morning… beasts! Cows, bees, running high tide waves, potential surf launch next morning, all these factors didn’t really give me a relaxing sleep…

I quickly packed and was hoping the cows would stay were they were, they did, and I was off through moderate surf with some waves filling half my cockpit before I could close it. It could have been worse on this beach! Surely paddling along the next about 8 km, there came one calm pretty beach after the next, but amazingly also surely, where there should be beaches for at least the next 20 km according to the sat image, there was only freshly green overgrown inaccessible coast. So once again the preciseness of the sat images in this area is not up to date. My sea chart isn’t much better.

The forecast for today was rather low wind, but we got high wind with rain all day. A bloody boring paddling after the beaches finished, just a dense wall of green bush and more or less shallow water. It made no big difference to go further out on low tide, the mud field was everywhere. I could barely float on low tide, still made some progress, but with harder work. Many fish decided to jump over my kayak, and one fat guy sat on my lap for a while entangled in my paddle leash. I also spotted two big “teams” of cat fish here hunting in a group of maybe 50 with wide open mouths, close byanother, an amazing mass of animals!

My unlikely hope to hit a “beach” I spotted on the sat image as a light spot after about 40 km on a headland nosedived, as I was watching many “beaches” come alive along the green wall – white birds on top of birds again. Especially when I came closer, even more white birds were gathering to form my “beach” in a wide very shallow area. But I also spotted eventually a land spit after the endless green bush wall, and this land spit had some higher trees pointing out a bit deeper water upfront. Would there be a potential dry forest landing? I played the game to chase my GPS “beach” spot as close as possible, and there it was – a tiny higher openly accessible forest spot, at this time about 20 cm above water level. It looked inviting green, and I thanked once more the sea gods looking after me for giving me a reasonable rest. At least a hammock, if not my tent I could put up here after the endless wall of nothing!

The water was just high enough already to land over a maze of fallen trees and branches. About 10 m inland, there was even an open spot with lush green on the ground and I spotted between the roots even some kind of sand -. would this spot stay dry? It became quickly dark now at about 7.15 pm, high tide was at about 8.30 pm, and though I already carried both, hammock and tent to the open spot through dense smaller trees, I decided to put up the hammock only. I didn’t want a floating tent, even while I was high and dry in my hammock, and moving later on a soaked ground wasn’t my preference either. I just made sure I hung the dreaded but now welcome hammock high enough and spread the rain fly as good as I knew.

My lucky green 'beach' spot at the forest headland


I secured my kayak with bungees to each side between the narrow tree gap where I could pull it up the ledge, hoping the small high tide waves wouldn’t throw it around again to get damaged as last time. Once inside my hammock, it was actually not too bad this time. but when I noticed around high tide the ground under me stayed dry, I was mourning my tent option…I should have put it up also! Now I could have moved nicely, as there were even amazingly few bugs around… I would have been sleeping better.

Instead, it started to rain, and I noticed my rain fly was not secured as properly as it should have been. No sleep until now… I really decided the heroic thing to climb out again into the darkness and to attach it better, without flapping noise and with better rain protection. It worked, but now it started to rain even heavier and I had no chance to stay fully dry. Still enough to give me eventually some deep sleep from around 1 am to full light at 7 am! I must have needed it after the last night with the cows…

1 comment on “Tue 04/02-2014 Day 586

Randall Lackey

Dammit Gal. It just never lets up, does it? Tough nights on the Eastern shoreline of S.A.You know ,if you hadn’t resorted to the Hammock, you’d be floating that tent by now with high tide waters, not as restful but probaly the safest choice made.You obviously got some good rest but the upcoming days, I see took it all again.

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