Keeping it real

24 07 2010

So here you are, expecting to read about how great my first day went…right?

Well, yesterday was a challenge all unto itself and nothing felt right during the whole day.

One of my spot messengers stopped working, this is the safety device that will call for help when I really need it, and although I carry two with me, having the backup one fail on day one is not a good sign.

My board fell off, and I have already discussed my concerns about the fins on this board and how dangerous they can be. With a big pack on my back, trying to get my board back and on my feet is no trivial matter.

The kite was really unresponsive and didn’t fly like I was expecting it to, I felt like I was steering a lead weight and then to top it off one of the kite lines broke.

After being battered around in the surf, I sheepishly came back into land and headed to the winddance shop to assess my gear.

As I walked past the lifeguards on the beach, I imagined them saying “Who is this crazy Gringo?? He can’t even make it off the beach, let alone 2000km!!!”

But not all great expeditions go to plan on day one. I was reminded of Jessica Watson’s recent adventure when at just 16 she became the the youngest round the world solo sailor. But did you hear about her first attempt which ended just outside Sydney because she ran straight into a big freight container?  I guess the positive side is that I didn’t crash into anything today.

My thoughts played on the risks of attempting this trip without all of my safety gear working, and I couldn’t stop thinking about Andrew McAuley who set out to kayak 1600 km across the Tasman Sea, but never made it home to his family. I’ve watched this video hundreds of times to remind me that I need to make sure that everything I can control is under control.

Back on dry land I was able to reassess the situation and found that my kite lines had stretched which was causing my kite to be less responsive in the air. I needed to reduce the weight in my backpack, not just for my comfort, but to put less pressure on the kite, and so I had to be ruthless and take out anything which I did not need to survive or would stop me progressing due to gear damage.

I kept essential safety equipment like flare and strobe light but toiletries, food, first aid kit, local mobile, second GoPro camera and repair kit were all taken out.

My backpack, which I have spent weeks modifying and testing was modified once more and I changed the position of the back strap to a single central position to help with stability in the surf.

I hoped that replacing the batteries in the spot messenger GPS would fix the problem, but it failed to revive the device. I was not expecting this as I have been using spot messenger units for 2 years and never had one fail.

Further investigation showed the problem to be with the contacts inside the battery case and so I’m now scrambling around trying to locate another GPS device at short notice.

After several hours I returned to the sea and everything felt right again, but the weather was not going to cooperate and with only a light 12 knots in the air, I decided to call it a day and come back to shore.

So now I sit and wait for the wind, the forecast shows light wind conditions for the next few days so I think its going to be a slow first 300 km as I try to get out and upwind while navigating through the treacherous salvador reefs.

Day one complete, not quite what I was expecting, but an experience all the same.  I wonder what day two will bring?




6 responses

24 07 2010
steffen dauelsberg

Hi Louis,

wish you good luck

Were sending you positive vibrations and energies for a successful second day

Best wishes

Steffen – who helprd you to pack your board and kite in Cumbuco

24 07 2010

Hey Louis- reckon these first few days are just a chance for you to get everything absolutely in order while it is still easy to sub gear in and out.
You’ll be sorted and on your way in no time. Good luck!

25 07 2010
Alexandre Borges

Keep tight!
Buy some acarajé to replenish strengh.

25 07 2010
But ch

Stay positive bro, itll all come together once ya get properly on your way.
Thinkin bout ya.

26 07 2010

hi louis
better to have all problems on your first day…..
sounds like the new cabrinha lines are not as tough as expected…
when you make it too baleia I can give you a brandnew roll of power q-line….
we are glad, your spot tracker is working properly again…
all the best…

26 07 2010
Bloody Coworker

Mate, Assuming you’re talking about the aussie girl that sailed around the world, then it’s Jessica Watson not Jessica Simpson. Your mind is is on the wrong girl. 🙂

Good luck though! Better to get your problems out of the way at the beginning when you’re closer to facilities to get them resolved.

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