Tue 16/12-2014 Day 721

Left side nose full seam split on landing through the reef at Subauma.The nose was bent 45 degrees to the left side! I could push it back to position


Highlights: I didn’t break my neck…
Lowlights: I broke my nose…
Launch: Horrible timing through many fat breakers…
Landing: Wrong reef entry…
Pos: here
Loc: Subauma
Acc: tent
Dist: 50, 9 km
Start: 5:45 End: 13:05

I took my time this morning, waiting for proper light with mixed emotions. It will be a tough exit…I chose a spot a bit more to the loeft where on low tide this morning some flat sand showed up behind the still scattered rocks. A good spot with lower and fewer breakers, better than starting from this flat shell reef displaying also some rocks now and many more and higher breakers. The wind was low, but I forgot the current to the south…

Means when it came to overcome the last few rows of higher breakers, there was amazingly no end, and no lull as it eventually should come also…endless huge trashers broke just in front of my kayak, fortunately never on me. But on each one I had surely to stay straight, and to paddle as soon as reasonable right over the many foamy water with all my energy not to get washed back too much. I assumed eventually I have been washed to the right, exactly where I didn”t liked to launch, the deep endless fat breaker zone.

I couldn’t count the last row not letting me through…it seemed endless. But I made it…with one last jump over a steep just not breaking one I was out, as exhausted I have never been on a surf exit. What a shitty spot and timing! And all the time the rocks in the neck…thank goodness no capsize.

The paddle all day was quick, I was ok to leave two smaller rivermouth behind me, probably the only safer landing despite a heavy splashing breaker on the shallow water behind to overcome. I should have gone in
Baixia”s river mouth…

I had marked for Subauma a spot which seemed on the sat images as less broken. I didn”t know before it was all rocky reefs with just ONE narrow entrance. I soon realized it WAS a long rocky reef, but as I saw manylarger fishing boats behind it there must be a safe entrance somewhere. I even spotted in the far distance a boat just going in at some kind of a pole. Well marked…there was another pole inside the reef a bit earlier, is it possibly another entrance? It was one hour after high tide, and the spot across the pole looked all right with few breakers and no rocks to see.

I came closer, and as usual as being too hesitating and too curious if it was the right spot I got caught by a larger breaker and got surfed right inside, being flat on my backdeck as it should be…but this time the surf downhill ended unfortunately not without hitting some rock somehow…it capsized me, and I realized now it could be my head hitting also a rock…fortunately I had my helmet and PFD on, and was bending forward upside down as much as possible to avoid touchng any possible other rock under the surface…I managed to roll up ok, thank goodness, and was in calm water, seeing quite shocked a fully 45 degrees to the left bent kayak nose in front of me. FUCK, FUCK, FUCK! And many more bad other cussing words came out of my mouth…

Left side nose full seam split on landing through the reef at Subauma.The nose was bent 45 degrees to the left side! I could push it back to position
Underside damage from the bad reef landing
A shark bite? No, bad reef landing...
Right side nose damage on landing through the reef at Subauma


The kayak nose was bent to the left like a boxer’s nose just being badly hit in the ring…the next thing I realized that I was ok, but instead of turning right and paddling to the shallow reef beach where all the fishing boats were anchoring, I should quickly hit the here steep but calm beach or my bags in the front compartment would be soaked longer than necessary. After I landed, I quickly unpacked the bow compartment which was already half filled with water. I think my dry bags did their job, but how long would they have withstand the water soak…?

The right reef entry at Subauma at low tide
The fake reef entry at Subauma at low tide displays the hidden rocks
The harbor reef at Subauma at low tide


I eventually got help from the fishermen and a nearby small beach restaurant, but decided the repair would be too big to do it here on the beach. I got at least a simple shower from the restaurant people, thanks, put up my tent and was fiddling with my not safely working cell phones to send out a message to my Salvador friends to get hopefully a pick up.

They promised to come while I am writing this on my cell phone, and already said they would have a good epoxy-carbon boat person to help repairing. Many many thanks! I’d rather have met you paddling proudly in…I had surely quickly bent the nose back into position, but the seem is split for 80 cm, and many more large cracks. But it is repairable with proper work and drying.

My right ankle also gt a bit of a bending damage on the impact, amazing…must have been quite hard. But better to have had such a long bumper nose, or my foot or more may have been broken??? It is quite swollen now, but will heal.

What a shitty day! At some point luck of negotiating wrong decisions still ok is leaving you…this is the fifth or so mayor kayak damage, but no big body damage so far. THANK GOODNESS to my guardian angels!

Subauma x-mas man...
...is co-operating with Batman?



6 comments on “Tue 16/12-2014 Day 721


Freya, Like Barbara I thought you broke your nose! Glad it was the kayak. Now you need to take some time to recover. You were already tired from your launch so it ended in a tough day. Hope you have some Traumeel cream for your ankle.
May your angles continue to watch over you. May your stay in Salvador be up lifting.

Randall Lackey

For all the miles you’ve put into this trip its amazing you’ve only crashed her bad Five times,still thankful she can be repaired far easier than you.I hope the repairs go well and that the ankle doesn’t give you to hard a time healing.Sure hope the shoreline improves a lot for you.Rest and heal.


So ein Pech Freya. Zum Glück ist nicht mehr passiert. Gute Besserung für Dich und Dein Boot, hoffe, dass Du es reparierst bekommst. Liebe Grüsse von hier

George Semenov

It appears one of the dangers is the low view point from the kayak. Not that you want to add more gear and complications, but a small remote control quadcopter with a video camera would give you the birds eye view to see these hidden dangers before you land. There are water resistant versions. Just a thought.

Barbara G.

Oh dear – too bad about your Kayak, but I actually thought you had broken YOUR nose… may your foot get better soon and may the dolphins or whoever it is continue to look after you!

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