Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Kennewick-Man Expedition, DAY 32

Wind speed became weaker than yesterday to be probably around 15 Mile/Hour on shore, but Richard who was windsurfer said that on the river it was probably 20-25 Mile/Hour. Although I wanted to wait until a day of gentle wind or a day of tailwind if possible, I decided to depart today. Because, they said strong westerly headwinds blew constantly on downstream of here, and I thought that if I did not travel down the river when a headwind became weaker as today, I could never reached to the faraway mouth of the river.

I was swept away for about three hundred feet upstream by the headwind, while I prepared to sailing such as spreading a sail and lowering a rudder and keels for a few minutes when the kayak leaved the shore. If I could not go back downstream for the same distance for which I was swept away, then I could not go beyond a jetty into the mainstream. But, I was not able to move the kayak downstream against the headwind, although I repeated tacking, and went back and forth a number of times along a cross direction of the river (in a sailing situation, we can not move in the exact opposite direction of the wind). Even inside the jetty, wind blowing on the water was stronger than wind blowing on the shore. A thick aluminum pipe, which spread out a sail, was bent by the wind. Although I made four round-trips along a cross direction of the river for fifty minutes, I was never able to move downstream, and then returned to shore briefly because I noticed that air in an outrigger was not enough.

I challenged again. Because next I saved the time for the preparation as much as possible when the kayak leaved the shore, I was able to go into the mainstream on the first attempt.

I was not able to see a situation on the river like that when I saw it from only the shore, but waves were high on the mainstream. Its height was probably about 5 feet. A crest of waves collapsed and foamed whitely. I was surprised that it was as if I had been in the ocean. Adrenaline started to rush through my system. The kayak heeled from side to side greatly by the wind and swayed from side to side and back and forth greatly by the wave. Because the sail and the kayak received the strong wind, a rudder and a paddle which acted as steering received strong water pressures. For sailing into the wind I must turn the kayak nearly perpendicular to the direction of travel of the wave, therefore I was hit by side waves directly.

After a lapse of one hour and twenty minutes since I started to travel down the mainstream, I noticed that water of waves which hit me infiltrated into the kayak through the gap between a dry suit and a spray skirt, and started to accumulate inside the kayak. I thought that that situation was dangerous, and unfortunately egan to return to the starting place, but I found a sandy shore on the way and then landed there. When I sat down on a driftwood and ate energy gummies due to fatigue, suddenly the wind became weaker. So I stopped returning and then traveled down the river again.

After sailing and paddling the kayak for nine hours for eighteen miles, finally I reached Roosevelt Park at 8:00 p.m.