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July 12, 2005

April's first Day - hardest day yet!

DAY: 28
LOCATION: Flores Island
LATITUDE : 08 degs,04.02'S
LONGITUDE: 122 degs,51.67'E

The kayak's nose was pointed toward the surf breaking over the sandy beach. I'd taken my place in the front seat of the double kayak with Chris in the second seat ready to steer as soon as we hit the water. This section of beach was to be a bit tricky in hitting the slack water between breakers. The local men who'd come to watch, enthusiasically jumped into the task of launching us first, with Lourdes and Jason to follow.

With Indonesian shouts of commands (or were they yelling "Holy Cow! This kayak weights a TON!") and a mighty shove, we were cast off, breaking headlong into the first wave, followed by a series that blasted us in their frothy passing. Lourdes was close on our heels and, caught in the same wave pattern, hit the frothy tops of the incoming breakers. The locals were quite excited by this, yelling encouragement from the shore as the three kayaks were sent on their way.

Our goal was to clear the selat between Flores and Adonara. We'd planned to stop late morning for breakfast after we'd cleared the water that was a bit rambunctious. Making our way toward deeper water in the selat where the waves were large rollers, but not breaking, we progressed north. As the morning wore on, our prospects for a landing became slimmer as we observed large breakers continuing to pound the coastline. At one point, Jason made an attempt at a landing, but his kayak smacked the rocky shore upon entry and he waved us off. In a hearbeat, the breakers seemed to double in size, complicating his attempts to relaunch.

By now, I was beginning to tire a bit as this was my first day in a kayak. (My only previous experience had been a three hour course on Pueblo Reservoir. "Jay," I told my instructor, "I can't swim real well, so turn me upside down in this kayak and teach me what to do!") I was also feeling quite queasy as we'd been riding big rollers all day, bringing to mind my sea sick crossing of the Coral Sea in Moksha. But, I hadn't anticipated it being a problem in kayaks. I promptly threw up over the side with Jason's "Oh, no!" ringing in my ears. I'm sure he was thinking of the Coral Sea as well. And, due to conditions on shore, the decision was made to continue four kilometers to the headland which marked the north end of Flores. That would put us in calmer water. "Cowboy up, April," I told myself. "Your being here can't be like having two men gone!"

By late afternoon, we pulled up onto a coral beach, a welcome spot after a long day. We were greeted by a local man who presented us with two coconuts filled with sweet milk. We traded some fish hooks, with which he was delighted! Later that evening, as I crawled into my bedroll, I gave one final look at the crescent moon hanging above the horizon. A soft breeze was blowing through the palms as the surf was gently rolling onto the shore. Not a bad ending for my first day...

Posted on July 12, 2005 9:30 AM


Hope you get your sea legs back soon April. Take care.

Astrid x

Posted by: astrid at July 14, 2005 7:47 AM

I told you this would be easier than than pedaling the Coral Sea!


Posted by: John at July 12, 2005 8:50 PM