Loc: Punta Tafor
Dist: 49,7 km
Start: 7:05 End: 17:45
I had camped at the right beach last night, steep cobbles, and on low tide still steep cobbles…easy to exit at any time. I realized this becomes more and more important now, going further down south.
I picked my night’s campsite today very carefully, a sandy beach, with 50 m clear sand under my floating boat, being able to land on almost high tide. But when I may need to start late, would I still be able to get out?
I started the day by paddling across a shallow lagoon bay, dotted with reefs and island allover. The whole landscape for the day was like that – especially when it came to lowest tide at 10.40 am. It was nice to watch through the crystal clear water the sea ground for hours in the morning, as it was so shallow every where, and it was no wind at all going until lunchtime. The surface of the sea was oily, and I felt like I was endlessly snorkeling along.
Way out there, I saw yesterday two big fishing boat, and their engine sound was possible to be heard long across the water and annoyed me a bit in my evening’s rest…This morning now there were twelve!!! fishing boats lining up going out (or back home?), and I could hear the sound of their engines again until late lunch.Why are they all out there on one spot?
The whole landscape became lower since my last night’s camp bay, still a very nice coastline to paddle, but not any more as spectacular and exciting with high cliffs, caletas and narrow gullies as the last two days. It was a more mellow, subtle beauty, low cliffs, and wide reefs fringing the coast, but interrupted with plenty of sandy bays, inviting me to stay.
I got out of the boat on beaches just along the way a couple of times, to have a quick look around. There is always a gap in the reef to find a landing, I noticed…but when it really came for me to land, I proved to be picky.
The tide difference here is already 5 m, so landing or launching on lowest tide becomes more and more difficult. Luckily it’s now high tide around 5pm, so it was easy to find spots as the beautiful sheltered deep bay before Punta Tafor. It was time for me to land as well, as the wind really blew now from the east with 25 kn. Still no swell going, so the waves even close to the reefs were not really breaking, just going up and down.
I found two really nice beaches in this deep bay, but I felt trapped…looking into the water showed me I was right. Access – and exit again – would be here only an hour before and after high tide, and this felt like not enough choice for me…
I launched again, well armed this time with helmet and PFD, as the wind was really strong and I was going to paddle around a wide and long headland. My GPS chart showed it not really precise, though being low tide, the island at the headland was not an island but a peninsula and made my way around it even longer. But I enjoyed that paddle! I was not in a hurry, as it was only 5pm, and around the headland were several bays marked as “sandy”.
Still I was happy to eventually have the 25 kn east wind again in my back…and a bit of shelter paddling into the new bay. Three beaches were to chose from, and I checked all of them looking through the water for reefs, probably displaying on high tide…I chose the right one. Still, looking out of my tent now, launching on lowest tide would be a pain, as it went wide out dry. Best are still the steep gravel beaches, if they have no dumper going!