Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 11

Day 11: May I borrow a paper bag, please?

Warning, there's some math in this one.

This morning I was on the water by 10:30 and paddling into a 20 mph north west wind. This was the strongest wind I had gone out in yet, but the waves were small and I was determined to make the next marina, Port Barcaras.
Going north into a 20 mph northwest wind is like going into 14 mph north wind and a 14 mph west wind (If any of my students are reading this, can you prove it?) I had all day in my boat to think about it. The north side slowed me down a lot, but there was nothing I could do about it. The west wind took my boat by the side and pushed me out to sea at an alarming rate. I could take time to paddle back towards the shore, but then the north wind would catch me by my side and I would lose tremendous ground.
For a while, progress was very slow. Then I had an idea. Very close to shore there were waves going towards the beach against the wind. Presumably this happens because they are essentially falling off the sea. By keeping my boat on the line between the waves going towards the beach, and the waves going away from it, I was able to make better progress then I had before. Occasionally I would find myself again far out to sea, or about to land on the beach, but for the most part I managed the balance.
It was still slow going. About 15 feet from the shore I watched an old guy strolling along, smoking a joint, pass me. But I was making progress.
The wind had a magical effect. Little rainbows rushed across the surface of the water towards the beach. They appeared in the tails of spray thrown up by the breaking waves in front of me. Sometimes these breaking waves would hit me, but rushing over my boat they weren't any higher then my chest. Once I was hit by two at the same time coming from orthogonal* directions. It was exciting.
Finally, at around 4:00pm I got to my destination. I needed to buy rice, so I thought I would call it a day. I went into the captain’s office to ask for permission to leave my kayak in the marina, as I had done many times before. “No.” They told me. “There isn't enough room.”
That was a lie. There was lots of room. If anybody has a burning paper bag of poo, please leave it with the good people of Port Barcaras.
After buying some rice in an expensive supermarket I got in my boat and went to leave the marina. While paddling out I noticed that the water was moving the wrong way. That is, the water was leaving the marina and not going into it which was usually the case. I looked at my map and saw that the marina backed up to a small inland waterway along the coast. I paddled up it, found a place to camp, and can look forward to a couple hours of inland paddling tomorrow. It should be nice.

* “pertaining to or involving right angles or perpendiculars” ~ ed.


  1. I know you didn't get your package yet. So here I am with the kind of question that Moms ask - how are you keeping your stuff dry?

  2. here: you can send them cyber poop!/pages/Le-Barcares-France/Port-Barcares/129075336528?v=wall

  3. Most of it is getting a little wet. My computer is in a freezer bag that's in a freezer bag.