Oct 20, 2012

Kayaking Rocky Point, Mexico

Mr. and Mrs. Chollaball invited me down to their place in Rocky Point (Mexico) for the weekend, and I jump on that. I've been wanting to bring my kayak down and do some open water paddling again. I split from my place in Phoenix around 1:30 or 2:00 on Friday, and bolted for the border (Lukeville), and ended up at their place around 6:00. Dood, they have a an awesome place down there; perched on the hill of Las Conchas. I drank a few beers, can konked out for the night. My plan was to launch from the beach below their house, and paddle a couple miles east to the De Marua Estuary. The sun was up and as it warmed the earth, the morning winds picked up from the east. When I launched, the waves were just big enough to get me wet as I climbed into my kayak. The waves that were hitting the shores weren't necessarily wind waves, cuz they were definitely coming in sets. My bilge pump wasn't working so good, so I opted to stick pretty close to the shore line. I out beyond the where the waves were breaking, but I was in an awkward place where the waves were shoaling (building in height as they moved into shallower water). I suppose I would have been calmer farther out, but I wasn't sure how far out I would haveta go??? My paddle along shore, as I headed east was pretty rough and it took forever to paddle the 2.5 miles. I had the wind at my face (about 15 mph), but luckily the swells were rolling under me at a 45 degree angle. It was nice for the moment, that I could easily see what was gonna hit me. I was surprised by the reef when I got down to it, because I had no idea it was there. And as when I got down to it, I was nearly the end of the low tide. I would say it was about a half mile long. I came in from behind it, and I certainly enjoyed the protection it provided. I dinked around there for a while, but by the time I was ready to go into the estuary, the tide was to low to approach it from this side, so I paddle around the front side of the reef to far eastern side where the channel was at. I was tempted to blast on thru a small break in the reef, but as I ran down the the swells, I aborted this plan as it became a fear I was gonna lose control and get chewed up by the rocks. I turned back out to the sea and found a much safer approach. The estuary is far more empty than the google earth images show, but the channel was just deep enough for me to get several miles of protected paddling in. At this point, I was started to get tired, and I knew I had 2.5 miles of very rough and taxing open water paddling back home. I did find a small channel I could paddle thru (a tad bit of portage) on the western end of the reef, so I didn't haveto paddle in front of it. This saved me about 20 minutes of getting work by the waves. The launch from here, back out to the swells was pretty forgiving too. Once I got out beyond the breaking waves, the sea was far more rough. I was getting sets of swells 3 and 4 feet high. This was gonna be a very hard paddle home. That and the waves were coming from about 8:00, so I constantly had to look back at what was going to hit me. I was on edge, and frankly I couldn't wait to get off the water. This was not a relaxing paddle, at all. I had a few big swell break right on the side of my boat. uff, I even had to do a few quick braces to keep my boat from going over. The paddle back down to Chollaball's house went far quicker this time, but not quick enough. I had only paddled about 12 miles, but I was shot. I can easily knock out 20 miles on flat water, but what I had today wore me out. Now that I had made it down to the front of his place, I still had to ride the surf in. Normally, this sounds like fun, but this time I dreaded it. It has been about 8 years since I've ridden waves like this in kayak. I didn't really have a plan other to paddle fast and and try to keep my bow pointed towards the shore. I got my boat speed up, but the first swell went under me, but the second one had me riding down the wave, and as I wasn't going fast enough it pull my boat around and all of a sudden I was parallel to wave and in an awkward position. The wave just just breaking, but showed me mercy. I took a quick glance at where I was at, the shore was still about 100 feet off, and then I looked in front of me and I was in the valley of the waves, then I took a quick glance to my port side and I had a big wave breaking and white water rushing towards me. I was like a deer in the headlights, and I knew this wasn't gonna end well. I knew I need to get my boat in better position and my first instinct was to point towards the shore, the only problem was that this wasn't happening. I was stuck being parallel to a the breaker. The kayak I am in, is 19.5' long and it doesn't turn very easily; especially with current of the swell keeping me in place. After watching the video, I should have tried to point my bow out to sea and back into the shore. Well that didn't happen, and the wave bashed me pretty hard, and the next thing I know I am upside down. I had paddle dug into the sand below, but I stopped myself from using it to up my boat right side up, because I didn't want to break it. I pulled my skirt and had my feet on touching the bottom, and my cockpit full of water. I drug my hull in and was thankfull to be done for the day. I was also thankful I opted to wear my crashhelmet for this little excursion out to sea and back. This was far from a relaxing day in the kayak, but it was an excellent adventure. Here is a video of the day:

No comments: