Tue 08/04-2014 Day 649

Modern beach art


Three hours dry on the first channel crossing. Strong headwind, I´m so tired…
Pos: here
Loc: Ilha do Atim
Acc: tent
Dist: 23,9 km
Start: 6:15 End: 13:30

I had my doubts on starting early as usual this morning. Lowest tide was at 7 am, but again the fishermen confirmed I could pass this channel even on low tide – they think… or whatever I understood. How can they know if they are only going on highest tide with their big boats?

The entrance of this bay was on low tide already full of sandbanks, the further out to the headlands, the more sand bars, the more into the bays, the deeper is the water and with few sand banks. This passage was at the very tip of the headland. They said yesterday further down is another one, and when I was asking which was easier they were pointing at this one…

Ok, I was already here and half in, I guessed if I’d wait here in vain like yesterday, where there was already enough water, in my tent, or if I’d be sitting in my kayak somewhere in the passage waiting for more water to come, conveniently reading my e-book, this should be the same…

I launched escorted by a big fishing boat wanting to show me the way. Ok, then there IS enough water on low tide! Hahaha, he drove about 500 m in, and one guy jumped out with a large cook pot and long knife to collect crabs for their breakfast! He waved where there was a shallow passage left, and I gave it a try.

I paddled about 4 km on shallow but wide water, until the sandy banks turned muddy, and the leftover water was about two meters wide and 30 cm deep. I shuffeled along the mud for a while, three to four strokes, watching the water raising in slow motion, and another three to four strokes. I barely reached a jetty of a village, and assumed this must be the mid-way, and I had new hope the water would now be streaming in also from the other side. All boats surely dry here, but it gave me the thought that there MUST be enough water at some point if the large boats have reached here…

It was already three hours after low tide when my narrow shallow muddy stream eventually widened a bit, and I could paddle normally. Once reaching the exit, I already heard the noise of heavy surf… this was another question I was asking the guys – how is the exit? I was actually wondering if they really take this channel one day… there were two times a line of poles from the other end, showing this passage is going nowhere…well, it does, but really on highest tide only for normal boats.

The exit was at the beginning of a long beach, this I was sensing already from looking at my bad map, means the surf was breaking with the running up tide long into the bay and quite heavy. But not so heavy that I couldn’t paddle, but I stayed close to the beach in the last breaker zone as long as I saw a chance to paddle full. Well…this passage was horrible. But probably still better than going fully offshore!

I crossed over to the next headland, 6 km only, then I needed to paddle into a wide bay to find a passage which I could at least barely spot on my chart. An antenna from a village showed me the way. The village was off a long jetty quite inside the bay entrance, but no one around at the boats to ask if this was really a passage here! Fortunately a lonely old fisherman was working more inside the bay, and he confirmed me to just paddle straight across! I went off my GPS chart passage, but eventually ended up where I was sensing to come out – in a shallow calm bay behind a long sand dune spit. At least no surf here – yet.

It was highest tide meanwhile, but for paddling 20 km across the wide next bay 4-5 hrs into the falling tide I didn’t dare, as there were many green sand bank areas on the chart, and I was tired from the heat and the day by day paddling without break.

How those camp images are looking similar...


I made camp on the steep inside of the sandbank right on top on virgin white sand, in a good cooling breeze, hoping I could get out the spit entrance tomorrow morning on mid tide. It showed now many breakers, I may have to drag a bit, or to haul over the sand spit fully. We’ll see. My skin looks badly rashed as usual, my open sores the same. No healing without at least a day’s break…

Some huts a bit up the beach, three guys walking up curiously, but only to turn a very wide circle around my tent, despite waving back friendly. Also good, some shy young men…didn’t need to talk then…one came back on a nice horse, but on noticing my non existing Portuguese, he rode off again. See if I can keep my peace here…

2 comments on “Tue 08/04-2014 Day 649

Frances Price

We’re all still here,following your progress, Freya! Checking in every day to see where you are and how you’re doing.

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