Yelapa Cascada Walk, December 27th 2002.

Konstantin had spent most of the day before on a long paddle to the next town and back. He did not feel like kayaking but invited me to join him and Linda on a hike to a nearby waterfall or "cascada". This was a long hike that took up a pleasant half of the day. Most of the walking was in the shade of the jungle, with a cool dip in the pool under the waterfall in the middle of the day.

I reserved the afternoon for putting my kayak together. I had carried one of my folding kayaks, a FeatherCraft K-light, in its backpack as part of my luggage. The other part of my luggage was a duffel bag stuffed with camping gear. There wasn't room for a change of clothes.

Konstantin watched me assemble the kayak in front of my palapa. I made one mistake and did not beat my previous record of assembling the boat in 20 minutes. This time it took me 30. I brought along my experimental thigh braces (which Konstantin had seen me try out on the Russian River once before). In preparation for this trip and in response to Konstantin's criticism back then, I had glued foam pads to them. Konstantin sat in the boat and agreed that he liked the braces now. Then I sat in the boat and demonstrated how even on dry land I could hold the boat on edge with them! I rocked the boat up on the left edge and the right thigh brace broke in half. Oh well, they are a work in progress. Better to break them now than to have it break on the open sea when I was depending on them. Better yet to try them out at home, but I rarely have a reason to assemble one of these boats when I am there! Konstantin offered to make the next pair out of aluminum for me. However, I'm not convinced it was the material yet. If I bent these a little taller they would contact the coaming, which would transfer some of the force to the rest of the boat. I'll replace the broken one and re-shape the surviving one and try again. If I continue making them out of acrylic plastic I can bend them myself and experiment until I like the design.

Of course after the boat was assembled we both had to try it out paddling in the Yelapa harbor. The boat felt fast and responsive to me. Konstantin set up for a roll and was successful on his first attempt! I'm jealous, since I was unable to do this without thigh braces (which were now broken and removed). Then when he tried a second time he failed, failed to recover, and finally had to wet exit from the boat. By this time it was dusk and we put the boat aside to go have dinner.

All text and images Copyright © 2002 by Mike Higgins / contact