Sunday, June 17, 2007

Kayaking from Es Grau to Cala Pudent

Saturday 16 June 2007

I awoke at 0630 and listened to the swallows. They fly through the streets almost constantly here as they do in Palma. The make a high pitched whistle. Angel had gone to sleep on the third floor patio, but was now asleep with a colorful worm on a couch in the second floor living room.

Everyone was up by 0730, and we were on our way to breakfast by 0800. Marco and Esperanza took Ana, David, Boris, Caryn, Angel and I to a cafe for breakfast. We ate some decedent croissants with chocolate sauce poured over them, and accompanied by espresso. After breakfast, Marco and Esperanza took us to Menorca en Kayak in Es Grau and stayed with us while we loaded the kayaks on the beach. We began packing the boats before 1000. We finished and said goodbye to Marco and Esperanza at about 1230.

I was anxious to test my arm that had kept me from paddling for a year and a half, so I paddled through the boats moored in the harbor ahead of the rest of our team. This was the only time I was in the lead. Angel passed me as I paddled through the rocks at Punta de Fra Bernat, and David, Ana, and Boris had passed me by the time we passed Punta de sa Pastera. We had decided to head west to paddle the often windy north coast while we had winds out of the south. We had heard that there were several groups of paddlers trapped on beaches on south coast due to the strong winds there, and a group of firemen called in a rescue helicopter a few days earlier when one of them was unable to get back into his kayak in the rough seas. The prevailing winds here are out of the northwest, so we wanted to round the west end of the island and be headed south before the winds switched back to their prevailing pattern.

Just west of Punta de sa Pastera we paddled through a small natural bridge. For the rest of the morning we paddled from headland to headland to cover as much coast as possible before the wind changed. It would have been nice to explore the coastline more closely during this window of good weather, but we had a mission to complete the circumnavigation of Menorca and a schedule to meet. We wanted to complete the circumnavigation on Friday the 22 of June so we could be in Ciutadella for the Fest d' Sant Joan Friday and Saturday nights and on the ferry back to Mallorca on Sunday. Therefore, we paddled across the mouth of Cala Tamarells to the headland of es Colomar and the Torre dels Tamarells and then directly across 3 km of open sea to Cap de Mossen Vives and another kilometer of open sea to Cap de Favaritx before following the shore more closely to s’Enclusa for lunch. Boris and I wandered through the shallows looking for snails, other invertebrates, algae, and fish. We found lots of turban snails, whelks, small barnacles, and coralline algae, but no beds of mussels.

We spread my tarp on the beach at s’Enclusa, and served lunch. We spent more than an hour eating and resting before we headed to Illa Gran d’Addaia. I wandered through the rocks at Illa de Ses Aguiles before finding a cave and lagoon on the south east side of Illa Gran d’Addaia. Boris, Caryn, and I stayed here while Angel, David, and Ana paddled west toward Port d’Addaia. Boris, Caryn and I stayed in a cave for a while enchanted by it, the red anemones, and other intertidal life different from that exposed to the sun.

When we left the cave, Boris, Caryn and I couldn’t see our companions. We had not idea which way they had gone, and didn’t even know the adjacent shoreline was on an island. So we kept the shoreline on our left as it had been all morning. After paddling through the narrow channel between Illa Gran d’Addaia and Illa Petita d’Addaia, we realized they were islands. We then put the shoreline of Illa Petita d’Addaia on our right and paddled north toward Punta d’en Siulet. We still couldn’t see our companions. We considered that they might have gone into Macaret for supplies, but decided to paddle on and try to find Cala Pudent where we had agreed to camp. We saw Ana, and then David and Angel in the distance before we reached Punta Codolada. Caryn and I generally paddled from headland to headland to save energy, while Angel, David, and sometimes Boris and Ana followed the shoreline more closely. We had a great deal of difficulty finding the campsite.

Angel headed toward Arenal de Son Saura while David waited well off Punta de na Beteot. The rest of us waited for Angel to indicate which way we should go. Angel disappeared from sight in the distance. Boris paddled toward where we last saw Angel to try to restore visual communication. I paddled after Boris to keep him in sight. I finally saw Angel. Boris hailed Angel and they indicated that we should all paddle north. We did so getting closer as we did except for David who made a bee line for Illa d’en Tosqueta. Angel and Boris caught up with him, and after a brief discussion decided we should all paddle back south. Apparently the beach behind Illa d’en Tosqueta was too small. We all paddled into Cala Pudent, but the sand beach there was crowded with sun bathers who said they intended to stay and party into the night. Some of them were supported by a couple of yachts anchored off shore. The beach at the head of Cala Pudent is muddy and stinks from piles of rotting sea grass. Some wanted to paddle back to the north to find a better beach, but Caryn said she had paddled enough. I suggested we stay on the steep cobble beach just inside the mouth of Cala Pudent. We checked it out and decided it was acceptable. It turned out to be quite comfortable.

Boris served pomadas while David made pasta. Boris suggested we boil the pasta insea water. I agreed that it should be fine if we poured the water off. Caryn suggested that we use no more than half seawater. David followed the instructions on the package which called for using the water to make the sauce. The sauce was quite salty, but edible. It is a very good thing that David used only half sea water. After eating supper on my tarp spread out in an area above the cobble beach that Caryn and others had cleared of stones Boris brought out two bottles of Mallorquin herbal liquors. We passed the bottles around several times, and I soon fell asleep just as the first stars and the very young moon appeared in the sky. I looked for Mercury in the west, but did not find it. I woke up later and saw Polaris directly in front of me.

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