Tue 13/11-2012 Day 328

Peruvian "Cactus Graffity" 🙂

Pos: here
Loc: Cerro Azul
Acc: tent
Dist: 69 km
Start: 5:15 End: 18:10

Estimated landing: Puerto Viejo or Naplo, depending on the wind conditions
Estimated starting time: Right after sunrise
Estimated landing time: Well before sunset

We are dead tired and worn and just about made it in…all unexpected f…… headwind around 15 knots today!!! :-(((
I’ll update this day when we are in Lima, sorry…too late and too tired now.


A peaceful quiet night, no car driving along this beach. Just the smell of a stinky garbage fire was crossing my nose in the early morning. But rather the people out here burn their garbage than that tey’ll trash it everywhere if the goverment doesn’t take care about a truck coming by regularly for reasonable disposal!

The launch on to almost no existing surf on this open beach was easy, and we were on our wy again along a low, sandy coast.

Soon the area with a bunch of villages came,where we rather cut across the inner corner. A bunch of floating platformes were moored offshore, ready for loading some goods they may be sucking of of submarine pipelines.

As soon as the coast was tuning north west again, the easy surf on the open beach started to become bigger, and also there was something developing we were not used to any more – headwind!!!

An ugly, persistent headwind, starting up to 10 knots, but soon it was around almost 15 knots, out of north north west. This is what we were not really counting on for today!

Plus, since we were crossing the Bahia Pisco, our constant company, the north going cold Humbold current, was also leaving us, to be replaced by reasonable nice warm water. The water may have been since Valparaiso constantly around 14-15 degrees, and was in the bay already around 22 degrees, and is obviously staying now, going again north west, around 21 degrees. Nice, but missing current and headwind didn’t really make our paddling faster today!

We had to pass a long jutting out loading jetty, which even had two artificial wave breaker islands off shore with four tug boats moored at the end of the jetty behind the wave breaker, waiting to help huge boats to loaded. But today it was all quiet, no boat was loaded. But the wind was strong, too uninviting and exhausting to go out and around the whole long thing!
The jetty was high, and had many solid concrete poles, lining up far apart. I was passing similar jetties already underneath, this is really no problem for a kayak…but obviously a problem for a bright orange pilot boat which was hiding between the tug boats somewhere.

We were just about 20 m before crossing the jetty quite inshore, when we saw it coming up to us in high speed, with a noisy alarm, obviously not happy to see us paddling under “their” bridge…but we felt *very* happy to just keep on going without even stopping or looking up, as we saw them so late…and through we were!

The pilot boat was not up to follow us under the jetty when they saw us disappearing, but made the wide turn around, which would have taken us in those windy conditions probably more than half an hour hard work!

But surely they caught us on the other side, coming up to us with the same flashing noise very important looking noise. Thank goodness they stopped in a decent distance, as it was quite windy and choppy and obviously dangerous to come very close with such a big boat. Now they were shouting something through a loud speaker, which we couldn’t understand due to the high wind and due to our language barrier. What did they want us to tell? That we have been so naughty to cross under the bridge? It’s too late now anyway…

So we kept on paddling all the time, without taking much notice of the noisy boat…I eventually waved friendly at the pilot, ade a quick sign pointing at my ears I couldn’t understand anything, and continued paddling calmly without stopping or looking much…they’d give up soon their communication tries very soon! Very sorry…just happy they were not cowboys with good lasso skills… :-))

We were eventually realizing despite shortcutting through the bridge and due to the still constant headwind and choppy seas, our ETA for Cerro Azul was just after sunset, and this was not really feeling great! It was a long paddle anyway, over 65 km, we were really paddling full speed already all day, and now we had either the option to land at night in a hopefully safe corner with maybe a lit city, but no harbor, to land earlier through eventually quite big surf on a still fully unsheltered beach or – to team up in a double to speed up just those 15-20 min missing on a safe daylight landing!

It was up to me to decide to pull out this last safety option, as obviously it was my pride to break and to go on the hook and to use Peter’s still a bit stronger paddling power to get us both in safely in time.

We installed the tow line at 15 km left to the destination, and I watched on my GPS we could improve our ETA by about 15-20 min, paddling in a team! This was just what we needed! ETA now 6 pm, with sunset 6.10 pm…

We both really paddled our ass off, aiming to keep up the speed, and watching the ugly surfy coast passing by. Right before the big rocky headland, a river mouth was even making the coast now a cobblestone steep one, and it was as steep an dangerous to land as it could be.

But we mad it in time just at 6 pm around the corner, got the hook off, and started relieved our landing procedure.

It was surely no harbor at Cerro Azul, but there was a long jetty. The lowest surf would have been around the jetty base, but we saw we could make it around the very corner before the surf wave was breaking on to the first bay! A bunch of surfers were indicating clearly to take the utmost care, but it was easy to sneak past the rolling in wave to the right into the utmost sheltered corner to land at a moderate steep gavel beach just in the city!

Two curious locals were greeting us, one Peruvian renting out some holiday apartments and a Peruvian originally being from Florida speaking good English. They provided us with some more drinking water and even offered a shower we were even too tired to take that late! Thanks anyway…

Surely soon also was arriving the coast guard, which allowed us to camp on a small artificial sandy spot right in this city corner. But it first sounded they wanted us to launch again and to land in front of the coast guard house close to the jetty…no way! This was safe, and we were dry…

One to the roof loaded small hippy van from Spain spitting out eight!!! young filthy passengers decided to put up three tents also at our small sandy spot – did they also have the special permission from the coast guard? This is not an official camp site…and surely they did what hippies kids do – first starting a stinky joint, then playing a bit guitar, followed by some creative drum session…do they think they are belonging to this surfer community spot? And could they think about their sporty neighbors being tired? Fortunately the spooky stuff didn’t last too long, and I got my well earned quality and quantity sleep…maybe the joint was strong enough…


3 comments on “Tue 13/11-2012 Day 328

Udo Beier


I think it is remarkable, that Freya accepted to be towed by Peter in order to arrive in Cerro Azul before sun down. Therfore I have written a comment for the German fans of Freya & Peter about her expedition day # 328. I published my reflections about towing in the KANU-FORUM of the German Kanu Association (DKV):


Sorry, it you can’t understand German!

Best wishes from Hamburg: Udo Beier

Randall Lackey

I understand this well enough.I paddled in the same or worse all day satuarday.It will take its toal on you.Rest well.Safe paddling.

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