Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fishing Huts at Sea

Day 50:

Today I paddled one town over, to the port people were directing me to yesterday about ten miles on.  I needed a short hassle-free paddle after last night’s escape struggle.

There was a wind pushing towards shore so I expected slightly larger than usual waves. My boat had been parked for the night up a fat flat river.  The wind sent the current upstream.

On both sides of the river were shacks that rigged large nets up high over the water, two story buildings with the nets going out 30 feet or more from the second story.  On the right side of the river the shacks continued on a rock wall out into the sea.  The rock wall had either collapsed from its full height or been covered by the rising sea, because some of the huts were no longer reachable by foot.  I read that the sea is rising about one centimeter every three years.

As I approached the end of the river, the waves started to get big, turn back big.  But I expected* once past the mouth of the river they would calm down.  Frequently the sea exhibits odd behavior at the mouth of large rivers.  The waves were getting very big, two to three meters.

It may have been the steepest huge wave I have ever taken head on.  As I climbed the giant the front of my boat went way up while the back was still far below.  I feared for a moment that I would be flipped the long way and a pressure in my chest was telling me not to do this again.  Then I was over the top of it and my bow crashed down.

Out from the mouth of the river the waves were not quite as bad.  Still, I was frequently splashed with large quantities of spray or overrun entirely by heaps of breaking waves.  One large wave broke while I was half way up it.  At first I was shoulder high in crashing water, then sculling desperately on the down wave side not to go over.  On my second skull stroke a powerful hip snap brought me upright and saved me from checking for fish underside.

The strangest thing about the waves was that they were disproportionate to the wind.  The prediction was for five to ten knots of wind, and it felt like less than that.  But the waves were the kind that come out only for a special occasions.

At least the weather has been warm.

On land I followed a beach the whole way.  Just behind it were summer tourist buildings.  Shops, hotels, and beach clubs closed for the season.

The port I arrived at was a huge industrial shipping complex that I could have easily beenlost in, but I was forewarned.  I had studied a map of it the night before and knew exactly where to go.

The Lega Navale here is a welcoming place with an Internet connection I was able to contact my friends and family on a couch I will now lay down to sleep on.

*Translates:  Hoped desperately.


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