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canoeing, kayaking and other adventures

canoeing and kayaking adventures born in the Southeastern U.S. and now centered in Scotland...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Against the Wind - Sea Kayaking at Arrecife - Day 4 - 6/11/2008

We rented sit on top sea kayaks and a guide from Lanza Canoa. I don't have an official weather report and I don't have enough experience with the Beaufort Scale to know what Force factor to call the wind, but it felt like a quite a bit more than a gentle breeze. The only trip the outfitter was willing to offer was the Arrecife five bridges "Pirate Safari".

We met our guide at Playa del Reducto, the westernmost of Arrecife's beaches. After the usual induction, we launched and paddled directly into the wind along the coast. The floating flock of seagulls took a while to notice us but left in a noisy wave once they did. We followed the city's coastline, paddling among moored pleasure boats and more seagulls. The first of the bridges took us between the main city and a compound on the island that reminded me of Mormon temples in Idaho. The Lanzarotians are proud of their ties to Texas, particularly San Antonio and their dead at the Alamo, but I didn't think that the Mormons were particularly international beyond the fundy cults in Canada and Mexico.

The second and third bridges of the tour were much older. Between these, we stopped to explore the Castillo de San Gabriel, which turned out to be a prison over 500 years old. Lanzarote's history with piracy of the arrrgh! kind meant that San Gabriel probably housed a few of them over the years.

We launched again and quickly found the wind again. Looking right as we paddled along the harbour wall, I saw plenty of whitecaps and water slamming into the windward side of the prison island. I was happy to not be paddling over there. Another break from the wind was in sight in the form of bridge number 4. We took a left turn to head under the bridge, the next bridge and entered one of Arrecife's private harbours. The commercial harbour where the cruise boats dock was nearby so Arrecife's outdoor market was in full swing. We paddled around the harbour and stopped for a coffee/tea/juice break at a local cafe. I did not inherit the shopping jean and neither did Brian.

The return journey was significantly faster. I hardly paddled at all. We paddled around the second (Mormon) island just for a different perspective and then headed toward Playa del Reducto. I had a nice, brief surf heading between two rock shelves and was grateful for some more time in the sea to get used to the sucky back part of the waves that were surfing me forward.

We decided for more sea kayaking the next day. I vetoed the Matagorda - Puerto del Carmen trip because we had seen it already from the bikes and if the wind was the same, it would be a long slog back to Matagorda. Instead, we chose Arrecife to Playa Honda and a lazier start time of 11am.

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