Thursday, June 21, 2007

Calas Coves to Punta des Sant Carles

Thursday 21 June 2007

I woke up at 0430 and looked at the stars. There is about a 50% cloud cover, but I nevertheless, found the summer triangle, Cassiopeia, the little dipper, and Polaris. I spent some time trying to orient myself. I have been turned around much of the time since I arrived in Menorca. Intellectually I know where I am, and which way is north, but I have to think about it. It is not instinctual as it usually is with me. The birds are calling, and a Siamese cat is meowing and creeping through camp.

I am a bit stiff and sore all over. My right forearm is still a bit stiff, but not getting any worse since I resumed wearing the elbow straps. I am also careful to keep my elbows near my torso or straight and paddle only with a twisting motion of my torso, taking the paddle blade out of the water before it passes my butt. My fingers are not quite so swollen this morning as they were yesterday morning. The sore cuts and a blister on my fingers are not getting any worse. The urchin injury is healing nicely, but the bottoms of my feet are sore from walking barefoot on the sharp rocks while fishing at Cala Trebalúger. My toes have been very numb for several days, especially the second and third toes on my right foot. All are number than they have been in a year. I suspect that there is something about kayaking that makes them numb, but it is not jamming them into a small white water kayak as I once thought, because I have lots of room to move my feet around in this sea kayak.

The place where my sandal wore through the skin of my big toe is getting very sore. I have been experimenting with different foot gear, and I prefer to be barefooted in the boat. My Chacos wear holes in the skin of my feet, and the neoprene booties are hot and give me no protection from urchins and very little protection from the rocks, but I have to wear something when walking on the sharp rocks, so I wear both neoprene booties and Chacos. The neoprene booties protect my feet from the straps of my Chacos.

The two kayakers that joined us late yesterday evening went for a swim before 0630. Ana was up at 0630. Boris was walking on the wall near camp. Ana greeted him when she took the dishes to the beach to wash them. A young woman who had been sunning on the rocks near the didgeridoo players when we arrived was warmly dressed this morning in contrast to her lack of attire when we arrived. Everyone was up by 0700. I ate some of Boris’ bean salad, drank some coffee and milk. I took my vitamins for the first time in 4 days.

We left Cales Coves just before 1000. Boris left first as usual, and I second. I like to be one of the first to leave the beach so I can paddle slowly until I warm up and then paddle at my own pace. If I am late getting off the beach I feel I have to catch up and I don’t enjoy the paddle as much. Boris stopped at the mouth of the cala. He hailed me just after I passed him. He caught up with me and showed me a Sepia he had found with the head still on it. It was fresh, but not fresh enough for me to want to eat it. I put it in one of my swim fins on deck to use as bait later.

I paddled slowly close to the shoreline, exploring every cala, but was unable to enter the caves because of the large swell and surge. We have a swell out of the WSW this morning. It is quartering on our starboard stern at about 5 o’clock and kayakers a short distance away, 20 to 40 m, disappear in the trough. I suspect it is about 1.5 m high.

There is very little wind, maybe 5 kts. The wind is out of the east or SE and we are going almost directly into it. It is quite warm and I am happy to be wearing a wet capeline shirt. I am paddling bare foot this morning and my feet are quite comfortable except for the rough knobby surface on the foot pegs.

Es Canutells appears to be quite a new town with bright white houses with red tile roofs. Some of the houses are quite large. I see people walking along the top of the cliffs, probably on the Cami Cavell. I see a few divers and fishermen as well. There are both private and charter dive boats. Boris and I paddled through inside of s’Illot d’en Marçal, but outside, s’Illot de Binissafúller.

We landed on the launch ramp in the harbor of Binibeca Vell about 1200. We carried our boats up to the boat wash down area where a man was washing his boat. Some of us asked him if we could wash off with fresh water from the hose he was using. He permitted us to wash, but complained that he had to pay 100€ to take out here. We left Ana with the boats, while the rest of us looked around town.

We took a table at a café and ordered jarras of cervesa. In the Balearic Islands, beer on tap is a pilsner. It is rare for anyone to order by brand. Beer is ordered by the size of the glass, a caña or a jarra. A caña is a wine glass, a jarra is close to a pint. David went back to the boats to join Ana, then both of them joined us, because they felt that the boats were quite safe.

I went to a nearby store to look for a pair of sox, and bought a pair of shoes, the traditional style of sandal made on Menorca. I found my paddling companions in a supermarket. The choice of fresh vegetables was small, so we walked a kilometer to the east to another store where we found a much larger selection. After purchasing food, we went back to the boats for lunch in the shade of a rock overhang. Several of us went to sleep after lunch.

Boris came to wake Caryn and I at 1530. Angel was asleep under a trailered boat nearby, and Ana and David were no where to be seen. They soon returned from town and we began packing the boats. We launched about 1600. I was in the lead much of the afternoon with Angel nearby. I paddled just inside Escull d’en Caragol, a large reef with waves breaking over it. It is marked with a light, Llosa d’en Caragol. There are lots of large beautiful homes near Torre de Son Ganxo. The swell was off our stern as we rounded Punta Prima. I briefly caught a wave.

We explored some beautiful caves near Morro d’Alcafar and spent some time in Caló des Rafalet where we had hoped to camp. It is a beautiful cala, but has no beach. At the head of the cala there is a small launch ramp and boat house that was too small for our team. Angel and Boris paddled on leaving Ana, David,and I begind. Angel returned as Ana and I approached sa Cigonya. I rigged a towline and Angel towed Ana toward Maó. I had trouble keeping up with him. We met Boris, Caryn, and David at Punta de Sant Felip, at about 2000 where they had decided to make camp on the grounds of an old structure.

Boris once again organized the preparation of supper. He asked me to cook the meat. We had purchased 3 kinds of meat at Binibeca Vell, including chorizo, morcilla and shish kabob. Boris made potato salad. David, and Ana cut up cheese, bread and put out dried fruits and nuts for us to eat while cooking. We also sampled Boris’ cooking wine. We ate supper standing around the wall on which we had cooked. Caryn and I washed dishes in the surf. We lay on the rocks visiting and drinking pomadas until 0000. When I went to get in my sleeping bag, it was very wet from the dew. I turned it over to put the wet side on the bottom and got in. I was asleep as soon as I lay down.

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