trip days left: 25
straight distance left: 452,9 km
Highlights: Back on the ocean!
Lowlights: Ugly surf
Launch: Moderate to high surf with 6-8 rows
Landing: Low surf with 2-3 rows
Loc: Punta Loberos
Dist: 23,6 km
Start: 6:45 End: 11:20
I slept well with the surf noise and the salty ocean smell, hoping the morning the sea is even more down than already last night. I got up later than on the lakes, as I need to see the waves in true light, and dawn lasts long now on this latitude. What I saw was not really promising a happy easy dry launch…there were still 6-8 rows of irregular fast coming breakers, the last 2-3 rows horrible high, all maybe 500 m wide. Sure there were some half-hearted lulls, but to get just to the breaker row in lull in time is hard to calculate on such a wide surf zone. This would be a game of luck…
Osvaldo and Eva came back from their holiday house in Brazil early morning to see me off, and hopefully not to be witnessing some launch disaster…they also saw some quite ugly wide big surf and even suggested to wait one more day to get it even more down.Well, no, the forecast said very low southern winds, and this surf zone may be my last test of skills here in South America after the long lulling inland paddle…welcome back, ocean! I will give it a go. Next landings will all be somehow sheltered!
I signalized in body language to Osvaldo my heart is pumping from being a bit scared, and I may capsize or even swim…but I will go. Fully armed, with PFD, helmet and jacket. My long-term surf launch training on all my trips did good now, plus a bit of luck to be at the right place at the right time, I managed to get away with just one or two drips in my face and three moderate jumps with start-stop and zig zag paddling! I stopped only after 650 m paddling out to organize my gear , as the swell was really still unsafe high not to be breaking out of the sudden. But i was out, and paddling now far out from the surf lines was no big deal.
The air temperatures were chilly in the early morning, but the water temperatures were still friendly around 23 degrees, even a swim would have been not too shocking yet. My issue was rather my pedal system with the steering lines.Yesterday night I noticed on the left pedal the steering line has cut through the eye about a centimeter into the carbon pedal, slightly stopped by a cable tie I had wrapped around for the old soaked pedal split. Will it be chafing through the steering line much quicker now, causing another steering line break on the water? I should have checked on that already at the holiday house as I promised myself on the lakes before hitting the ocean again, but over all those chores and people around I forgot to check the steering system.
Now maybe I should not have even launched before checking fully, but I hoped it would hold up for a while more. Still I decided on the water I will stop at this chain of islands, the first safe landing shelter for today and try to fix the issue. As I may have to glue something which needs to dry before and after, I accepted to finish already around 11.30 am for today, after about 25 km only. The sea got down more and more, and landing eventually looked easy already since a while from the distance far out before I got into the shelter of the islands. I landed easy through some low surf, but still more than expected here in this corner.
When I wanted to land, a motorbike came by, I really do not like traffic on the beach where I am camping. One more motorbike passed by later, is this a high way here? 🙂 I picked a camp site high up on a dune, even if that meant I had to carry and drag my stuff up there. But the view over the island chain and dunes was marvelous, there is nothing but a rocky coast with sandy bays and headlands! I felt great being back on the ocean!
I unscrewed my footrest, but realized I could do not really anything but changing once more the chafed steering lines before they would break. But the worst chafing was actually again on the right steering line. Now I am hoping the left line will not cut so deep into the carbon pedal that I won’t have any steering effect anymore for those last maybe two weeks of paddling. I think I simply need a new pedal system, as this issue maybe hard to fix. But maybe a skillful guy in Montevideo can help before the crossing to Argentine?
I was done with my footrest way too early, fixed a few other smaller things while working on my sun tan, but had a long afternoon to spend as I was not really up to paddle again today. Tomorrow will be no head winds any more, low and nice, and I will put in 50 km+!