Highlights: Got a Navy lifeguard jetski escort
Lowlights: Had to paddle along one of the most shark infested beaches of the world
Launch: Yacht Club jetty
Landing: Sheltered river beach
Loc: Peninsula across Candeias
Dist: 28,3 km
Start: 6:45 End: 13:40
I really had enjoyed the social dinner last night at the Yacht Club with many paddling friends, thanks to Naldo inviting me! But as we had to get still fresh water in a supermarket and I had to pack up some stuff I could eventually only fall asleep at midnight. Not really enough sleep to get up already at 5 am, as usual in the cities.
Guillermo volunteered this time to drive me to the Yacht Club this early morning, thanks a lot! Naldo was so nice to drive yesterday home and he and Sergio II were already waiting and took many pictures of me packing my kayak. Those three guys are probably some the most active paddlers in this area, being really interested in my equipment. They were also waving me along on two spots in the long exit to the open sea and took some video instead of the also expected TV crew who didn’t show up although agreed at 6 am. Thanks very much for your help, for Kurt to let me stay in his apartment and to Sergio and Mario to organize the whole stuff and to help me on my arrival with the rental car drop off.
I was on the water two hours later than usual, but good enough to get at least to the first reasonable camp site after the big city. Sure I missed the calmest hours of the day,as now it is again headwind time! It was raining all morning, with accordingly higher headwind around 15 knots. The exit out of the harbor was very rough as river mouth go, and also due to going the long breakwater where the unprotected sea was reflecting for a long while.The tidal current ran up also from 8 am on, just against my direction. All in all back to slower paddling, but who cares…
Soon across the long beach of Boa Viagem the reefs started and the sea calmed down a bit. I was aware of the infamous shark situation along this beach, but all the local paddler said it should be no problem. But when I was asking them if anyone had paddled along that beach, at some point I got once the answer it is forbidden…? Still they let me go? Well, I didn’t know and don’t care…I had already a bunch of shark encounters with many bumps in Australia, including the big guy eventually biting a hole in my stern. Still I would be happy if I’d be past this beach very soon.
All went ok, not a single triangle fin to be spotted, I was paddling about 800m offshore in a direct line to my envisioned headland. Somewhere in the middle of the beach, in the area with the gap in the long line of endless high rise buildings, I saw two jet skis coming up to me in high speed, obviously some kind of authorities. Ok…they tried to do some unsuccessful conversation due to my language barrier, and pointed me to follow them and to go in and land. No way, I need just to paddle 8km more to find a good landing, what shall I do here on this beach? The sea was relatively rough, it was three hours before high tide, and landing on the open beach didn’t look inviting. The leading guy on the first ski had obviously some trouble to control his device, as he bumped twice quite hard into my kayak. I got a little angry, as I really had no need for this kind of bumpy encounter if the sharks were already so polite to leave me alone! I pulled out my card, and with some effort and care of myself I was eventually able to hand it over to him.
He decided to drive off back to the beach, probably to check in my person and/ or to get a translator, leaving the second guy to escort me. After about half an hour where I simply paddled trailing the other jet ski, he came back with an friendly English speaking Lieutenant on the back seat, and we made some conversation where he explained the no go situation along this beach here. It is forbidden to surf, and obviously also to kayak. But he also understood my mission and was obviously quite impressed about my experience, and simply decided they would escort me until I’d be landing. No problem, here we have my not at all refused shark repellent 🙂 Thanks a lot for the security escort! Maybe I should have asked for that in advance?
We chatted for a while, until some reef break made me ask for some safe distance and they stayed a bit off. It was windy, and raining again, and I was quite sure the keen Lieutenant on the backseat was freezing his butt off, having no life vest or helmet on like the other guys to keep warm – and safe. Who says a big shark will never be bumping into a jetski???
I passed all reef breaks safely, paddled past many anchored fishing boats in front of still only high rise buildings, and entered the river mouth sideways close to shore through some breaking waves. Nothing serious at all. I landed on the other side where the beach was flat and sheltered, the long beach before was steep and had some ugly dumper on high tide now.
The guys were content I was stopping here and already, as they were obviously not very keen to ride this unexpected escort all day. I was tired any way from little sleep and headwind, and called it a day, not without asking them on a quick ride on the backseat of the jetski! They did this nice favor to me, thanks a lot, and the many fishermen in this river mouth were probably a bit surprised about this reception here! The fishermen were on their regular flat bottom open boats, paddling or with a small engine, they are never getting a shark attack? Can’t be that bad here…my offer to be back tomorrow morning at 5 am for the next section the officers kindly refused, saying the worst part has been, and it would be too early anyway. Ok, so I am good now! Thanks a lot, guys!
The long afternoon was hot, I slept already an hour in my sweat before I moved on to do the still left chore to bag my breakfast oats and the update. The noise of the end of the city still comes over to my lonely sandy peninsula, but I am feeling quite all right here. I was chatting with some of the leftover fishermen, all good. I am looking forward to a good long sleep now! Going out of the river with the outgoing tide tomorrow should be all right, either sneaking again close to shore, or I will just go out straight through the unbroken exit, we’ll see.