Today I had read there would be a 40km/hr west wind and two meter waves. A look at the terrain ahead of me showed beaches the whole way with countless piles of stones arranged to reduce the surf on the beach. My day would be rough, but I had an opportunity to make some great headway.
Before I could turn west with the wind I had to head south for a couple of hours with great waves coming at me from the side. I found a path between crashing waves farther out and crashing waves closer to the beach and enjoyed relatively pleasant paddling. As I moved along a breaking wave came over me, maybe chin high, and left me upside down as it passed. I rolled back up with only a little trouble.
As I continued on I reflected on the trouble. I hadn't snapped my hips hard enough and tried to compensate by leaning back and swinging over the aft deck. Recently I had been practicing a different technique that I had seen on Youtube and this was the source of the trouble I had had on Friday and experienced again just now. I was combining the two techniques so that neither one worked.
Fortunately I soon had another unplanned chance to redeem myself. When knocked over again by a breaking wave just a little bit higher than my head I rolled back up perfectly. Once up I examined my deck in a typical sort of way and noticed that one of the two halves of my spare paddle had come partially free of its cords. While it was still attached to my boat at one end, the paddle blade floated on the water. In the meantime I had been pushed so that I was now facing into the surf with the back of my boat only a few feet from the beach. This close to the beach the surf wasn't too high, but still made it a little tricky to maneuver. The best thing to do would be to pull the boat up parallel to the beach in shallow water and get out to fix the situation.
As I began to turn a wave pushed the paddle down into the sand while it was still held by a bungee and a moment later I needed to snap my hips to keep the boat stable in another breaking wave.
A cracking sound from behind me was not good. The right hand shaft of my spare paddle had broken in two.
It seemed like a good time to stop for lunch.
I collected the floating paddle blade and made a fine beach landing. Lunch was good, though now that I had stopped paddling I quickly got cold. Soon enough I was back on my way. Shortly after I made the turn and had the forecast west wind at my back moving me along, the wind switched to an unforecast northeaster. It pushed me out to sea and slowed me down. I tried to compensate for being pushed out to sea by staying close enough to shore so that the wave coming in would counter the wind pushing me out.
At around 2:20 pm I heard a large explosion out to sea, but could see nothing. I went to check what time it was and my watch had reverted to 12:00am January first. A few hours later it stopped working all together, flashing on and off with the backlight and displaying crossed out 0's. I am not a conspiracy theorist.
Occasionally I would see large breaking waves in one area or another, which I would negotiate carefully. I was making bad time. To my left there was the beach and beyond that, miles of uninhabited swamp and flamingos. I thought flamingos were a Florida thing.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw a wall of blue flash and become a wall of white. SLAM! In a second the wave had broken, exploding over me. I have no idea how tall it was since I couldn't see its top, but I was very much underwater and being tumbled and churned. Finally I was upside down and my boat made its way to what I could see was the surface, already wound for the roll, I swept my paddle out and came up. BAM! I wasn't up for more then a second when a second giant wave tossed me like a doll. The second one I saw; it was smaller then the first but at least seven or eight feet high.
For a moment another world of wild white froth followed by the silence underwater. I rolled back up, there were more, but nothing of the caliber of the two monsters that had just train wrecked me. I stayed up and allowed the surf to push me out of the wild zone I had stumbled into.
I continued against the wind. The sun set and I was able to turn on my lights by reaching the paddle to the front and back of the boat and using it press the large buttons. I wasn't far from the port that I had intended to make it to, and I could make out its green and red navigational lights not too far off. I don't remember the name of this port. There are so many.
I had hoped to make it in before 6:00 thinking that the captain’s offices might still be open, but at 6:15 pm I saw that it had closed two hours earlier. I walked around and found an open door in the back where a woman told me that they were closed. I asked for permission to leave my kayak here overnight, and when she finally understood what I wanted, she was happy to assent.
* Possibly a reference to a particular plot *ahem* device in Dark Knight Returns? I’m not sure myself. ~ ed.