Big tides and currents now inside this large river delta!
Loc: Wakenaan Island
Dist: 34,1 km
Start: 5:30 End: 15:30
I fell asleep again after the early start of the fisherman, and was ready to launch at dawn. One guy from yesterday came to help me to get the boat safely into the water, this time over a car tire and a log. My goal was Leguan Island, and I was hoping to be in two days in Georgetown! I took the direct line, but soon noticed the current is stronger than ever in up to 15 knots headwind. With the outgoing tide, I made only 1-2 km/h …frustrating! The wind pushing against the outgoing tide made the sea also choppy, but kept me straight on course. I was really happy for once more about those poles the fishermen put in the sea occasionally to attach their nets. I just attach my bow line for a break, having breakfast and lunch. Once, I broke a pole just holding on to it! Sorry!!
I saw on those poles nicely the strength of the current splitting to it’s sides, my boat staying occasionally calm in the wedged eddy behind. Once around noon low tide, I was happy about a small exposed sand bar area where I simply could get out for a stop and relax my sore body. I am fighting already since weeks a sore tailbone nerve on my left butt cheek, not knowing occasionally how to sit, despite my gel cushion. I could cry out loud from pain sometimes when it is in the wrong position! I just need to rest on my eventually quite bony backside… 🙂 One more reason to reach Georgetown and my second stage finish very soon!
When the tide started to run up again, I made better speed, around 4-5 km/h, which made me happier already. Now it was just the wind to fight, as obviously the general current was evened out by the tide current. But it also pushed me to land, where I was more than once tempted to land on Tiger Island’s inviting sandy beaches. But this good speed I couldn’t let go so soon! I wanted at least to reach now Wakenaam Island. I paddled happily across, watching my speed being constantly good. But I also noticed I couldn’t really keep my bearing and got more and more dragged into the river mouth I was crossing. I knew from my tide table the tide was rising here from around a meter to three meters, quite a bit, and obviously accordingly the current increased. But I only really became aware of this dilemma when I was barely able to reach the last corner of Wakenamm Island through an incredible side current keeping me nicely up on my speed, but in the wrong direction! With last ferry glide effort I grounded on what was still looked like a sandy beach in front of the forest, but I also knew this wouldn’t stay dry. At least I have avoided being dragged around the corner into the river where already once more a rocky wall protected the edge.
I had to climb over a few muddy bits to reach solid sand, and quickly checked the forest line for a dry campsite. Fortunately there was an opening! The one and only, littered with trash of branches and bottles. I also spotted a deep fresh fat cow track coming out there, but not going back…where had the beast gone to? Still, I had no other option than to stay here as I was not able to keep on paddling along the coast east against this strong corner current! I cleared the flat shady space in the jungle free of trash and branches, disturbed a tiny red snake and many centipedes and whatever critters. I am not really a jungle lover! I only walk in there fully dressed, hoping no spider is crawling on my head or snake abseiling from a branch… yuck! Thank goodness for my closed tent cell…can those leaf cutter ants bite through a tent wall?
The only advantage of this spot was no sun, and it was nice and level. I put up the tent while on the water free sandy beach, and quickly dragged it into position under the trees. I changed on the “sterile” sand also, and hopped in as quickly as possible, taking care to have all zippers closed.
To be honest, I was done. Physically and mentally. Physically from the continuous headwind and counter current paddling all those months, now the currents playing up even more. The goal is so near, but when I realized with Karel’s new bad wind forecast for tomorrow with up to 20 knots I won’t be able to reach Georgetown tomorrow, I was mentally also at my lowest, squeezing out even a few tears. I had to split the remaining distance again into sections. I could only paddle across the river mouth with outgoing current, this will be just ok to reach Leguan Island, but tight to reach the main land. Also, I am guessing there will be again a more or less solid concrete or rocky wall guarding the inhabited coast, so I opted for the really short hop to Lizard Island tomorrow. I have just fresh water for one additional day, food is still ok. If I am not making it from Leguan Island to Georgetown, I need to land somewhere I find people to refill my water, or need to filter the river water tomorrow.