Friday 19 April
So after yesterday's gruelling 26km and a bad night's sleep I had another day to face! Unfortunately the sea was not calm and the wind was really strong. It wasn't going to be Patrick paddling with him me today it was going to to Hemraz, Patrick's sort of right hand man. Today we were going to be paddling against the current, against the wind towards an island called Ile d'Ambre, around the island and back towards Kalodyne.
From the start it was as if we were on a treadmill, no matter how hard we paddled we didn't seem to be going anywhere very quickly. But we kept on going and eventually as we turned the corner at Pointe Oscorne the current calmed ever so slightly. We stopped for lunch at the corner of Ile d'Ambre to refuel before having to take on the area behind the island. This area was a sort of wind channel and because we were going to be kayaking towards the reef the waves would be much bigger and the current much stronger.
Sure enough this leg was the toughest and it was nearly two hours of constant paddling! When we paddled straight up hitting the waves straight on that was one thing, but when we had to start turing the kayak to turn the corner that's when it got scary. When the kayak is side-on to a wave the likely-hood of being knocked over by the wave increases considerably and these waves were about 1m to 1.5m in height. I was not in the mood for being knocked over and washed around. Unfortunately the current had also separated Hemraz and I quite a bit so neither of us were in any position to help save the other. I dont remember when I last prayed so much but St Christopher (patron Saint of travelling) sure was there for me.
Even once we'd finally turned the corner the waves were behind us the current was still pushing us in the other direction so that we were in danger of facing the waves side on again. I think I must have constantly paddled in the right side for about 40 minutes and I'm sure that arm is suddenly much bigger than my left! It was a huge struggle and the toughest training I've had to endure since I started this 2 months ago. I'll admit it, I was scared!
Then Henraz started whistling and shouting something but with the strong wind the only word I could make out was "sea". He was pointing frantically in several directions, namely at the reef so and I really started to panic. What was he trying to warn me about?! I screamed that I couldn't hear him and he carried on with his gestures that I couldn't see and his whistling and shouting the I couldn't hear. He was making no effort to try and come towards me and so I had to try and turn to head towards him. After nearly be knocked over several times by the waves I finally got closer to him and said, "What's wrong!!!?" Only to have him tell me, "I saw a huge sea turtle!"
Well I nearly hit him with my paddle for panicing me so much about a sea turtle! Haha, I can laugh about it now though :)
We rested on Bernach island before heading back towards Kalodyne. At least on the return we had the wind and current behind us pushing us forward. Now the only challenge was to stay straight. It had been a learning curve that day and I had been humbled by fear. The sea is a different place everyday and I just hope and pray it's a nice place when I do this tour of the island. We must have completed about 22km that day and about 14 of that was against the current.
I returned home with several more blisters and sores on my legs and back from rubbing in the seat. Thank goodness I have my mum to tend to all my wounds and now I can look forward to a relaxing weekend!