I´m in Sao Luis!!! Some days of rest and recovery.
Loc: Sao Luis
Acc: Sandra´s apartment
Dist: 43,3 km
Start: 5:40 End: 16:45
An all calm night with full moon, the passing cow herds on my beach didn´t come up to my tent, neither did the one and only fisherman I spotted walking the beach, throwing a net here and there. Is he also responsible for those cows?
The surf is always lower in the morning, despite I had to catch a fat wake up wave on my freshly washed hair. But who cares, the water and air is still warm, and I´ll be in Sao Luis tonight! But first I had to paddle past some river mouth sand bars covered now with water on high tide and being quite bumpy. But no big deal, Sao Luis´s high rise building were already visible on the horizon.
From the last headland on direct line to the city I had to paddle 19 km across the river, the weather looked fine, but how was the current doing? BAD, I noticed, as going almost directly into the river, it was flowing out so strongly on the outgoing tide added up to the regular river current that I made barely 1-2 km/h after the first kilometre in a low tidal race at the headland corner. I tried to paddle a bit along the coast, no chance either. Well, then I’ll have to be waiting on the beach for three hours when the tide will turn into my favour! It may be a bit bumpy and rough then when the tide goes in against the river current, and it was full moon with 6m tidal difference, but there was no other option to cross today.
I sat in the kayak dry on the beach, reading my e-book while carefully protecting it inside the cockpit from the sun and any water. I noticed the touch screen doesn´t like it, despite it being in an aquapac! So I was looking probably a bit funny, ass on the seat, legs out, head down, enjoying my book. Occasionally I stood up to drag my boat back to the quickly retreating waterline. Fortunately it was relatively light with no water and little food left. After 2 1/2 hrs I guessed now I could give it a go nearing slack tide, but a fat thunderstorm approaching kept me on the beach for another 30 min. Now I had my legs in, cockpit closed and kept on reading while protecting the sensitive touchscreen with my mapcase from the heavy rain… 🙂
Eventually I started into the now relatively rough sea, could keep direction with no problem and noticed the tide was eventually pushing me more and more. The last ten kilometers I was aiming for a spot way to the left of my expected landing, still being pushed to the right with force. I could see the breakwater, where I knew my GPS spot to land would be to the left of it. No chance to get there, despite aiming for long way already almost out at sea. I was getting getting slower and slower, trying to counter the current. The tide was running up so strong and also bumpy back into the river, that the breakwater seemed to move in front of the high rise buildings. I barely made it to the beach to the right of the breakwater eventually, where I already saw my reception party waiting. Some woman on a sit on top kayak with a small child paddled a few strokes up to me and showed me the right spot to land.
The group of local kayakers and friends had also organized a TV station for an interview, which was shown on the news this night. They took me to the first apartment house next to the beach where I got hosted by Sandra, the girlfriend of my contact Jadiel. Lucas was always translating nicely and patiently, thanks, what a job! I got a fancy room with own bath and necessary air condition in a large modern apartment, kept in shape by two maids. Muito obrigada! Jadiel organized some yummy dinner from a local restaurant, as the cook already was off duty. He also brought a laptop for me to use, thank goodness! A perfect host! Thanks!
It almost hurt to throw my wet and sandy gear into a corner of the white spotless floor, I will look after it to clean it the next days, just picked out my laundry and jumped under the shower. What a great feeling to be back to civilization for a few days!