Friday, November 19, 2010

Mud Flats

Last night I scored an invitation from Sean Pierre (forgive the spelling if it’s bad, Sean, or possibly Jean) who lives on a motor boat near where I had parked my kayak.  He was super nice insisting that I join him for dinner and having me sleep on the comfortable couch in one of the two rooms on his boat.  We chatted pleasantly for a time and he warned me about the mouth of an upcoming river where I would have to be extra careful.  I showed him my paddle and he said that he would fix it in the morning.  I also took the opportunity to soak my stove in warm water because the insides had gotten so gummed up with salt it no longer worked.

Day 18:

Sure enough, the next day he found something the right size to put in the hollow of my paddle and with a little tape, it's a good deal better then a broken paddle.  We also tried to use WD40 and a wrench to fix my stove, but no luck.  Using Sean's stove I made a couple portions of rice and lentils and bought a loaf of bread and some cheese a couple days worth of rations.

I had a late start and a spare paddle.  I went to cut straight across the bay, and though I couldn't see the other side, some work with my compass had be heading at a 45 degree angle away from land.  At about 10 miles it would be a long crossing.  Their was a 17 km/hr west wind
forecast which never came through, the wind was sometimes a little helpful and sometimes moderately harmful.  As I crossed I recalled moments from The Gods Must Be Crazy and sang booap de doo tunes that took me every where except for the land of pleasant sounding things.
I wished that I had somebody to sing with.  Somebody specific?  Yah, but no, I won't tell you who.

After a time I could make out a pin of a horizontal line on the horizon at exactly my bearing.  Easier to head for that then be checking the compass all the time, the pin was now my destination only checking occasionally with the compass to make sure that as I got closer it didn't slip off to one side or another.  Eventually it resolved itself into a lighthouse.  And some time after that, as I could begin to make out other things on the slowly appearing coast, a really big lighthouse.

Eventually, I got there.  I didn't have my watch but it seemed to be mid afternoon.  Maybe two or three hours of light left.

The lighthouse was a tall stone tower with small windows up the height of it and solar panels at the top just below the glass dome that sheltered a huge red light.  Just next to it was an old two story French looking building that might have been the house of the keepers.  Everything else was marsh and mud flats forever.

Then there was the last beach.  After the beach, for as far as I could make out, there was a rock wall along the shore.  If I didn't make it a good distance then I might be left with nowhere to take off the water.  I decided to check out the lighthouse, maybe I would find a good shelter there for the night.

I was just past the last beach, so I would need to cut back at an angle in order to take out.  As I pulled in, suddenly I was being pushed forward towards the rocks very quickly by a breaking wave.  And my bow had been moved so that I was now facing the wrong direction.  I tried a move called a stern rudder to turn sharply while I was moving forward, and slow down in the

Those of you who kayak surf know what happened to me next.  I was surfing the wave, moving at its crest towards the rocks extremely quickly.  With about two meters to go, I put my all into turning, and went over.

When I rolled back up I was facing the right direction, and sprinted the short distance to the  beach with a fire up my rear so as not to get caught in the next breaking wave.

The lighthouse was farther from the beach than it had appeared from sea.  I began to walk across the mud flats and finally made my way there.  The ground was more solid and there were some rugged hunched-over old trees.  There were steps that led up to the tower's locked

The windows and doors of the old house had been sealed with concrete, but a low wall around the house offered shelter from the wind.  Nothing special, it was probably the best shelter for miles.

As I walked back to my boat I looked at the water running through the flats and though I might be able to paddle my boat much closer to the light house than it was.

I tried, it didn't go well and there was a lot of towing my boat through the mud with glopping sounds coming from beneath my feet.

While failing to do anything productive at all, and working very hard at it, I saw somebody else walking in the distance.

By the time I had my boat back to the beach where I started, he was closer, so I went to talk with the hiker.  He had his pants pulled way up so he could walk through the mud and shallow water.  Binoculars hung from a string around his neck.  I chatted with him for a bit and he quickly volunteered to show me his map of the area, which was much more detailed then my nautical charts.  The map confirmed what I had suspected about the length of the sea wall.

I  tried to get him to come up with the idea that he should invite me over rather then leave me to sleep here in the swamp.  But he didn't.

I finally made camp next to the old French house just as it was getting dark.

Cheese and bread for dinner.  Good night world.

1 comment:

    you can see the lighthouse here, and more cool things along the coast where Dov is kayaking