Paddled in this maze more than double of the direct distance
Loc: Fishing hut on stilts in the water
Dist: 46,8 km
Start: 6:35 End: 18:00
My repair seemed to be looking solid, just getting the seat back in was a pain in the ass. I had to unscrew the rails rather then “simply” slide it on them as it should be. Sand and salt water make everything stuck. And surely everything had to be done under the supervision of about 20 locals, not to talk about getting disturbed by the many bugs at night. Well, I had covered up and sprayed my body, they were all in shorts and with bare feet.
I was ready packed earlier as planned, my host was watching me already for a while. Still he only took action to get some helpers when I was not moving any more… and it took probably half an hour to find some guys. Fast for South American Speed! But thanks for giving me a tent site in your back yard.
We carried the boat to a small channel between the village and the beach, flooded now. It was supposed to lead to the channel going to the other side of the headland. All easy to find! I was again glad to escape the crashing surf on the beach. I found the right large entrance, but neither the first nor the second direction I followed was leading to the other side, just dead ends, marked all thoroughly with a line of poles.
The third direction after a big cross way seemed at least to follow the direction of the white river line on my chart, but also ended up in a dead end, about 900 m before my chart showed the other side of the headand! No way, it is high tide, the current went with me eventually, it MUST go somewhere, I see what I can find! I paddled past the poles, could keep on some kind of channel, but it really became VERY narrow eventually.
I had to negotiate many solid trees, fallen trees, mangrove roots and low hanging branches, all with a 5,60 m long boat not really suitable for this area in 3-4 km/ h current. At least it was plenty of water everywhere, I could keep direction and didn’t get seriously stuck. Until there was really no way through any more, 400m to go, strong current, and still a visible channel on the other side! I tried three times in different spots to break through the bush, no chance, backing out again was also hard! I had to jump in and climb somehow over the roots and branches, dragging my baby over everything…
Easier thought than done, the water was deep, the current strong, my boat heavy and long, but no alligators or piranhas here…just some crabs crawling along on the trees. It was hard work for maybe 20 min, finding some hold on roots and branches, but I eventually managed to get through free and undamaged in boat and body! Covered with leaves, branches and probably many crawling creatures, I was back in the boat and soon reached the other side of the channel, blocked also with a line of poles. I made it across!! Reaching the open bay, I spotted some fishing huts further north close to a wide entrance – was this the “real” channel? 🙂
The day stayed rainy and very windy, I really should have stayed in that backyard… but I want to be rather back home after this stress full stretch asap! I headed into the bay, trusting my chart showing only a green sandy reef area on the tip of one of the inner headlands where I was hoping to find another channel before entering the big Rio Teparacu. The tide went out, faster than you can look, and not only the tip of the headland, but again almost the whole bay fell dry, leaving only a few small strong current channels.
I was stopping twice in big high sand banks with huts on stilts obviously occupied with some boats tied up, and was asking for the way to Rio Terperacu. The first group of three fisher men were sitting on a very high stilt house, probably 6-7 m above ground, and when I was climbing up I saw quite a “luxurios” interior with a generator and sat dish. Not too bad for being far out there in the sea! One of the guys smiled broadly, escorted me back to my kayak, tried to convince me to stay by holding my arm three times. Every time I clearly freed myself politely and very swiftly until he got it and I launched quickly again…
The next stop was easier, three friendly young guys showing me the right headland to turn around from the height of their pole hut on a very high dry sand bank. I made it around the sandbank, all wind and rain, until I asked another lonely fishing man in his boat, sitting there shivering in the rain in his holy shirt. He said we had to wait for higher water to get into the river over the sand bars…well, waiting then…sharing a bunch of crackers. Eventually I headed off, thinking I spotted a channel with water already enough for my kayak. Probably right, but even after some waiting this one was just leading around the headland island…
I asked again some fisher men, and soon the same lonely guy showed up, paddling his boat, as his engine was broken. I had to go a bit back, waiting for more water to get into the Rio Teparacu directly. But there will be some surf…The surf was low on the now shallow flooded bank, and getting further into the now deep river it disappeared fora strong current with me paddling 10 km/h.
It was 5 pm already, and despite I flooded into the river nicely, I opted for the first chance to land before it got dark. Two empty houses on stilts in the deep water were inviting, but the current was so strong I could barely hold on to the ladder. And when the houses are not used, maybe they are not solid any more? Some broken pieces told me to rather head to the huts across the river. It was a wide ferryglide dog leg, but I eventually reached the first larger of four houses occupied by eight guys! All friendly, though at first they were all hiding when I approached!
They invited my to stay, and I spotted a big platform to the rear, where I rather opted to put up my tent with no roof instead of squeezing on the floor under the roof between eight hammocks! I like my privacy… Twice I was broke through the thin floor poles, embarrassing!, before I learned to put my feet perpendicular to the poles, hitting at least two or three of them. My from the morning’s rain my soaking wet tent went up in darkness, my kayak was pulled up on the front platform, as the tide was still rushing underneath the huts and rising. From the neighbour hut built slight bit lower came for a while some squeals when a small wave obviously flooded their floor…
The guys were supposed to head out at night’s low tide for best fishing, I was glad to be out of the way…but I was missing my headgear! It must have been blown off the platform…. 🙁