Tue 27/09-2011 Day 29

It's a long way through ankle to knee deep wet sand - 5 times, 750 m each, on landing and launching!

Pos: here
Loc: dunes
Acc: tent
Dist: 50 km
Start: 7:30 End: 16:30

I was looking forward to two days with lovely stronger north winds blowing me down due south…my goal for today was 55 km along the beach to the beginning of Bahia Union.

I launched easily, and found that the lighthouse peninsula was stretching south west with an endless sand spit of 6 km into the opening of Caleta Brightman. I paddled along the low surf zone, nicely pushed by the wind.

On crossing the last few open km, I had to avoid again a few mean reefy low water spots with breaking waves…easy, I thought…and got side surfed with 13,3 km/ hr by one breaker which eventually caught me…that was not planned and quite ugly, as my PFD gets washed on such occasions dangling to the side off my back deck, held only by a single bungee, and on a potential roll it may have been  in the way. At least I got quite close to the shore now at Punta Laberinto…

I found myself soon in another surf belt, knowing it was lowest tide now around 9am, the rising water would hopefully be smoothing the surf out soon! I went closer to the coast through that last surf zone, and found a narrow belt behind the surf zone with calm water! I had such paddles already in Australia, and it felt almost like cheating …unfortunately those belts are not constantly there, and soon the surf came closer to the shore again and I spotted a gap to go out diagonal without getting caught. But I rather put on my PFD now…

But with the rising water the wind was rising as well, and rather whipped up the sea a bit more – my off shore paddling proved to become soon a mine field of uncontrolled breaking 2 m waves, rather than getting calmer! I even felt at some point you better hook yourself to the boat…but kept on paddling. Just keep your nerves, Freya, and don’t get caught by one of those not too violent, but still breaking high waves…I was not keen on rolling off shore.
After another wild ride sideways by one of those lurking big ones, I decided despite making great progress out there in the now 25 kn following winds, it is time to go in now and to save my nerves…it was 25 km into the day.

I was passing the safe populated spot of Balneario La Chiquita already, though I remembered a nice holiday house would have been waiting there for me…

Once I came in through the now very wide surf belt, I found myself again in an about 30 m wide belt of quiet shallow water, and decided to push on! Too good following wind to miss out…though it had started to rain, and the sky was black.

It was quite unreal paddling! There I was – just by myself – to the left an now endless wide belt of rolling white noisy surf, increasing in hight and violence  as you’d go out, to the right sand, sand, sand…I got out of my kayak a few times to check the possible camp situation, but always spotted some dunes – more or less close…

Those belts with shallow water I paddled on now develop with the tide, becoming deeper and wider or narrower and more shallow, and the surf comes closer again. I kept on pushing in those temporary easy, but later mostly very wet conditions, it meant I got a low breaker every five seconds from the side washing over my deck. Nothing special, if you know how to brace and if you are dry and warm inside your dry suit…

I was passing the wide river mouth of the Colorado River, probably the last chance for an easy take out higher up the river. But I still could paddle! 25 knots wind from North East now…still pushing nicely.

But eventually it got lower and lower tide, and my belt of calmer water disappeared…I walked my kayak like a dog for a few 500 m in the shallows, paddled again for 500 m, but eventually had to admit defeat 6 km short of my goal. I spotted the dunes seemingly a bit closer than before, and decided at 16.30 h to call it a day. And yes, I enjoyed myself having made another 25 km in the shallow surf zone! :-))

But now – the walk to the dry dune zone…for sure it was further away that I thought! If I’d been walking 400 m at the last lighthouse camp, this was 750 m now – measured with the GPS…with heavy shouldered gear bags not much pleasure.
Additionally came that the stretch of wet sand which was eventually quite deep, about 20 cm, but luckily it turned out not to be muddy and I could still walk with some effort.

The walk had to be made three times, two times with as much gear as possible, and then dragging the as empty and light as possible kayak…I was worn out already after the first walk!
I put up the tent on the first walk, came back, picked my other gear bags, and at some point dared to fix my boat on a solid branch in the middle of the soft wet sand.

I had the idea to leave my kayak there, as I knew when this stretch gets flooded, it would be only 20-30 cm, and my boat would be all right…

But I can’t sleep without my baby close by my tent, and as my request for the tide hight proved to be not answered on the spot, I decided after a brief rest in my tent at 7pm to drag the boat as well up to the dunes.

After that effort I was almost too tired to eat, having eaten nothing on this exciting paddling day. But I forced myself up again, in the knowledge tomorrow’s forecast is similar, and it has to be a rest day.

I mixed some tuna with mayonnaise and olives, ate some crackers, as cooking in the shaking tent would have been quite windy for the flame as well… not too much protection to be found on my camp spot!

8 comments on “Tue 27/09-2011 Day 29

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Don Hebel

Enjoy the risk and challenge of a paddle like this day. Sounds like you actually had fun- am I wrong? A lot of work at the end of the day though. We really enjoy reading your daily posts but surely understand when you are tired and brief. What a driven little german girl you are!

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