July 9

I had my nap and by 6:00pm yesterday I started to pack my things together.
I made a big meal first, to have some energy for the night paddle. If I continued to feel good, I intended to paddle all night, or for as long as I felt good to continue.

I crossed paths with the ferry at around 6.30pm and slowly made my way towards black clouds in the far distance.
It had been overcast all day long, with no wind to speak of. I wanted to take advantage of at least some of these conditions although I did expect some rain.

Less than 30 minutes on the water and the first gusts of wind came. Then, a steady wind and the waves started to build. It became rather rough with waves hitting me broadside, although I was paddling into a straight headwind.
The gusting wind started to concern me somewhat so I paddled close to shore, approx. 30 ft away, to make a quick exit, if necessary. The exit came after about two hours on the water. The shore was shallow with rocks, mostly invisible in the muddy water, and the wave action demanded constant corrections. It was tiring and I feared that I might overlook a rock and get smashed against it by the waves, so I went on shore to wait out the storm.
The shoreline was very steep and had no shelter anywhere. I had taken my towel to sit on, my emergency blanket as a wind shield and the bag of cookies that I had bought erlier in the day, to munch on.
Not much later the rain started.
After about two hours of sitting on the rocks I got really cold and decided that it was better to be in the kayak and moving than staying where I was. The storm was clearly not going to abate for quite a while.

Back in the kayak I warmed up quickly. I had put on two more layers of clothing, as well as my rain jacket and that kept me warm and dry. At that point, the only discomfort I had was water in my sleeves, collecting around my elbows, entering through the cuffs whenever a high wave washed over the deck.
The sky had turned light grey but it was pervasive and opaque. No land or cloud contour anywhere in sight; it was going to be a long night.

My paddling cadence was right down to no more than 20 strokes per minute; just enough to keep moving forward and not tire me out very quickly.
After several hours there was a sudden ray of light piercing the gloom. Very slowly definition in the landscape and the sky began to appear, but its only effect seemed to be more rain; the storm was not done, yet.
I reached Point Separation, the point where the river splits into many channels. I needed the East Channel so I followed the coastline very closely, staying east of every sand bank and island I encountered. Once I was sure that I was on the right course and was in effect paddling east, the sun broke through the low clouds, just above the horizon. It was as though it was a "regular" sunrise. On the west side, the beginnings of a rainbow started to appear and the whole scene took on a more friendly character.
The wind, however, kept increasing in strength and I needed to get off the water. I was not making more than one to two miles per hour progress for a lot of effort. I was getting tired, cold and fed up.

At this point, the shore was all mud bank but for once I liked it. The surf was pounding pretty hard on the shore and I could only land broadside; on rocks this could have meant damage to the kayak, on mud, the worst that could happen was a dunking and a stuck boat.
The worst did happen; I tried a quick exit, between waves, but was too slow. The kayak got a lift, I was ejected into the mud on hands and knees and had to scramble to collect my shoes which had been ripped off my feet.
I pulled the kayak as high up on the shore as I could and thoroughly wet and miserable started to pitch the tent.

Finally in the tent and stripped of my clothes, I dried the floor, put on my reserve set of clothes and crept into my sleeping bag; it was 3.30am.

I am still at the same spot. The wind has not abated at all and I don't fancy paddling into a strong headwind for many hours to come for little gain in distance and not knowing where I might find the next camping spot.
Despite the misery of last night, I had stumbled upon a very comfortable, flat sand bank and am quite happy to wait out the end of the storm in this spot. It is now 7.00pm; the wind is still going strong but the sun is out again.
I expect that I will be here at least until tomorrow morning. If the storm abates before that, I will be on my way.

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