Loc: Balneario Oriente
Dist: 50 km
Start: 7:45 End: 17:30
Started like one of those no winds mornings where the tent is soaking wet – and believe me, there is nothing more yucky than to have to stuff a soaking wet sandy tent into a bag, with the outlook of erecting that soaking wet sandy thing again at night…
Wind was all right, it changed in the night to onshore following low winds, just what I needed.
I’m always wondering about the state of the sea, today was a small choppy sea, but no swell at all, resulting in almost no surf. All good. The odd whales out there, a few curious seals sticking their head out of the water besides me, nothing special. Just keep on going, and not falling asleep or having a “getting bored” feeling…just water, endless dunes (desert?) and eventually some sun. And warm feet all day…my best treat for a reasonable paddling day.
Yesterday I had to jump into the water again to deploy my fully stuck rudder from the coarse sand, and the wet outer neoprene socks and soft boots didn’t keep my feet warm.
I decided next time I have to jump into the water again I’ll take them off before, just with the (luckily still dry…) Gore Tex socks on, plus my inner dry normal socks, doing the quick soak, then the dry neo socks and soft over boots on again, it should be better! Plus my Teva sandals…that’s my dry suit feet set up for keeping the Gore Tex socks protected as much as possible, and my feet warm as much as possible…
I was passing Claromeco lighthouse with the “sea bath” small town with a steep uninviting beach, no reason for me to stop. Next was Reta, with a much nicer beach and much smaller. Still no reason to stop…I am usually not making any unnecessary landings during the day when there is some surf. I’m doing it all on the water…eating, drinking, peeing, stretching, relaxing.
The last three hours the wind picked up, which created temporarly quite ugly toppling wave crests anywhere offshore but not a real surf line. I had to watch out not being caught! Good push, but quite a draining way of paddling as well.
My goal of the day was the big river mouth of Quequén Salado, as a landing in a river mouth (which I did a lot in new Zealand through heavy surf) and a short paddle upstream seamed inviting and promised a shorter drag of the boat to a dry campsite.
Yes, on high tide…I was surfing into the river mouth successfully, but then noticed this river, though looking big on the map, was still way too shallow to paddle reasonable upstream…I could do for a bit against the quite strong current, then got stuck on a sand bank, jumped out, dragged the boat free againt the current, jumped quickly in again, paddled a bit, jumped out again…and so on, checking right and left the river banks to see if there was deeper water in sight and a higher dry campsite.
Mind, all watched by about three cars with fisher men, probably wondering what that strange black figure was fighting for.
I eventually got fed up with the outlook to reach higher water and a dry river bank (which would all be a good idea on high tide!), turned around, and did the same process down stream until I reached the river bar with bouncy surf waves where I reasonably got afloat and through the messy stuff out on the open sea again.
One fisher man understood my signals what I was up to do, and even spoke a bit English with me! But he couldn’t help me handling the boat in the shallow strong current either…all quite embarrassing! 🙂
Free afloat agin, I paddled a bit past the few houses of the Balneario Oriente, and landed being broached up the beach sideways, but all good.
Landing on low tide in this are means dragging the boat up about 500 m, always an exhausting job. But the first bag contained my soaking wet tent which I erected very first to get it a bit dry in the wind.
On my second run to the boat I saw a beach car driving up to me, and quickly reacted: Hood down, looking a bit female, starting to drag the boat with hard work up the beach…it worked!
The guy stopped, and offered me a tow of the boat over the smooth sand with the car…just what the doctor ordered! I quickly unloaded one more heavy gear bag, attached the bow line to the tow bar of the car, loaded the bag and me on the open back of the car, and up the wide dry beach we went! Good move…thanks, guy! Picture to follow…
Next job was caring about my wet tent, it started to dry in the wind, but the tent floor inside was still very wet. I decided to mop it with a towel, knelt down, and poured the liquid contents of my over boots collected playing in the river mouth, all about a liter of sea water, on the tent floor…SHIT! More mopping to be done…
Well, eventually all dry, organized and mostly de-sanded, I started to unload my rest of gear out of my front hatch – a hatch which was always 100% dry.
But now I found some water on the bottom!!! FUCK! FUCK!! and again FUCK!!! The front bulkhead, carefully repaired by Ricardo from SDK kayaks after the damage from the air freight transport, was broken off the side seam again on the full right side…which after my river play with some water in the cockpit let some water into the front hatch…
I was shocked…not sure if that side was the spot Ricardo was repairing, or if that side still had some of the original, obviously not solid and flexible enough glue – even if I repair it tomorrow, how can I trust it again fully?
I assume it broke again on that tough surf launch Monday morning, when I was jumping over two steep wave crests and slammed quite hard on the water’s surface again. Or that Sunday night digging my bow on the sandy ground, half pitch poling and capsizing…but I assume it was the jumping.
I did hundreds of such jumps on launching or simply paddling with tough slamming landings in Australia with the same kind of boat, and nothing broke, so what has changed? Epic didn’t tell me if they changed the glue of the bulkhead, or if the pre-damage in the air freight was just too hard…
So no paddling on Wednesday, my body is actually quite happy about that unplanned rest day – though 65 km only before Monte Hermoso where I planned to resupply and have a regular rest day.
It started to blow quite strong that night, forecast was out of south west and north west, so headwinds any way…but this morning it looked like it was a bit north east…whatever. I don’t want to paddle and to risk it either gets worse, or to get my cockpit flooded plus unfortunately my front hatch…
I’ll have to start repairing now with what I’ve got – materials and skills…and beach wind.