Corales to Yelapa, December 30th 2002.

The wind never let up all night long. It flapped my tent nosily all night and disturbed my sleep with fears of a storm. In the morning I waved at a family fishing from their panga, then packed up my gear to return home. I did not poke the nose of my kayak around one more point to see what the village of Corales was like, because I was worrying about fighting my way against the wind all day to get back to my palapa.

My folding kayak is a FeatherCraft, and it is a fairly old model. The newer ones have a completely waterproof deck that is "RF welded" to the Hypalon hull. But my older deck is made of "waterproof" Cordova, a nylon material that I have discovered is not really very waterproof. In this case it is sewn together and to the hull on a sewing machine and you can see light through the needle holes at some angles. I think some people seal the sewn seams, but knowing what I do about the nylon I never bothered.

This is the longest trip I have ever taken in this boat and I was a bit worried about the amount of water that got in. I had to stop every two or three hours to drain the water out. FeatherCraft does admit that their boats leak water, but they claim you will only get a liter of water in the course of a day. I was getting four times that much every 2 hours. This would not be a good boat to take on a long crossing or a more rugged shoreline where you could not land often and bail it out. I wonder if, like most other folding kayak companies, they never planned on these boats being used in rough water. I didn't think the water I was in was particularly rough, but it was choppy and did wash over the deck all the time. The nylon fabric stayed soaked clear through and I imagined it dripping everywhere inside all day long. Instead of sealing the seams I'm considering investigating rubber paint or something to seal the fabric completely waterproof.

Because I was working into a headwind I didn't let myself rest for the first four hours this morning. Finally I turned into a little beach I had seen on the way out, just northeast of Chimo. This beach had several very impressive palapas built way up of the ground, lots of jungle cleared away from them, and the sound of electric generators. I drained my boat out and sat on the beach to eat my lunch. Just as I was getting ready to launch again, a very attractive woman named Amelia walked down from the compound to talk to me. From her I learned that there was a road through the jungle that allowed them to bring supplies in by burro. I had imagined that this little private vacation resort was accessible only by sea, a prospect that intrigued me of course.

I paddled hard into the wind for another 3 hours out of fear that I would take too long and worry my friends about where I was. As I approached the little bay that is Yelapa harbor the wind became calmer an calmer, making me wonder if the wind is always calm close to there. But Konstantin, who was taking a shower in my palapa when I arrived, told me that it was an unusually windy evening while I was gone.

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