An update from Freya on her South American circumnavigation
A day with mixed winds. It was supposed to be very low head winds in the morning and noon, then breezing up to ugly 15-20 knots nw. So I’ll give it an early start, to make the most of the low winds!
Loc: Rio Lopez in Bahia Slogget
Dist: 53,9 km
Start: 5:30 End: 17:00
My launch from the steep sandy beach was not the best, ot additionally to my anyway wet dry suit and damp underwear the cockpit full of water, so again thank goodness for my electrical pump! It’s so easy…
The first hours were a solid 15 kn south west head wind, and I was fighting hard to even reach the first Point Chaapi in 8 km. But I trusted the fore cast, had some breakfast in the shelter of the point, stuck in a kelp bed, regained my energy and headed around the point into the wind!
After the very choppy Cabo Hall, I opted to cross Bahia Aguirre rather than paddling 6 km inside, and 6 km out again! And it was magic perfect timing, the wind went down to nothing for all of the crossing! I were quite some swell waves going from the front left, but basically no problem making progress! It was just boring…in my mind I was envisioning my arrival party back in Buenos Aires again on 10.May 2014 – my 50th birthday as well! I was figuring out whom to invite, and all the details of such a great important day…nice! I love thinking ahead and being a visionary!
Eventually across, I had something to look at again, and to navigate around rocks and kelp beds. My goal was to reach Bahia Slogett, despite the head wind breezing up at noon! I was barely able to hide behind the rocks, it was very changing! The first 15 knots breeze was actually a north easterly, and pushing! But it didn’t last too long, turning north to later north west soon, and becoming quite hard work.
The wind was very gusty as well, when it came from the mountains, and you could see on the water’s surface when the next
gust was about to hit you! Some areas was nothing in some lee, but mostly it was gusting up to 25 kn nw,if it was not constantly blowing 15-20 kn…
I refused the temptation to land in a nice sandy beach before Punta Cactus, but wanted to be in Bahia Slogett! I had to hug the coast as close as possible, as there was at least temporary some wind shelter.
Eventually I was blocked by a mid size reef sticking out before a flat lime stone cliff area into the full wind, with the first nice sandy beach of the deep bay. The swell was down as well here, and I opted for a landing in front of the cliffs 6 km short of the actual bay. I thought this would be perfect wind sheltered!
But after a closer look it didn’t seem to stay dry on the high tide (which was actually only a mere 2 m difference…). I rather walked around the cliff corner, and saw an area with some fallen trees and best campsite before the next set of cliffs in 150 m.
But how to get over the small rocky reef reaching to the coast? Paddling around in the full head wind? No, I rather dragged my kayak those 100 m in the shallows, aided by the swell washing some water where I needed it. Then I jumped quickly on top of the kayak, and paddled another 100 m to the place where I wanted to land.
The swell was washing up wide, but the breaker was mostly not really there…strange beach! I landed at a rocky area, and only then noticed that this must e a river mouth, with fresh water running through the rocks! Bingo! This would give a nice wash and shower tonight!
I walked up high to find the campsite, and found a lovely big pool of clean river water before a big pile of old logs, soaking eventually through the rocky bar into the sea.
I quickly secured my kayak high enough, even filled it with rocks this time, you never know!, and couldn’t wait to strip off! But first I soaked with my whole dry suit to rinse off the salt there! It was 5.30 pm, and sunny and windy! Best conditions to wash my fleece under wear from the salty sweat and to get it dry tonight! And best to jump into the pool fully myself, and to shampoo even my hair! Ahhhhh! This feels so good! This is fjord land! One night drizzly gray and nothing dries, one night the nicest sunny weather and a clean river to wash everything! Well, I could go with the latter only…
The first huge ocean liner was passing by on the horizon, probably bound to Ushuaia and Antarctica! I’ll turn into the Beagle Channel tomorrow, and expect to eventually see some ships passing by!
I expect as well two kayaks passing by tomorrow – Alejandro and Juan Pablo started from Ushuaia on Thursday going east, heading eventually around Staten Island! They were supposed to be in Moat tonight! Good luck guys!
No reason to start very early again tomorrow, as it will be moderate nw headwind all day. I’ll still arrive in Puerto Williams Tuesday night, after I hopefully get checked out of Argentina in the small village of Almanza right across the Channel! I’m looking forward to a few days rest, as I’d be paddling by then continuously for 8 tough long days!
But I’ll have reached my goal then – to be before x-mas in Puerto Williams!