Yelapa Cascada Paddle, December 28th 2002.

Konstantin was not interested in a kayak camping trip, but suggested that we paddle to a nearby beach that was supposed to have another waterfall up the creek. We paddled for only an hour west along the coastline. Konstantin made one stop at a sandy beach to ask directions to the correct beach. The beach we finally had to land at was made of large cobble stones. Konstantin was paddling a Scupper Pro kayak like the one I have at home, so he volunteered to land first and assist me landing my delicate skin boat. He insisted that I should wet exit as I approached the rocks and let him catch my boat. I stayed in the boat as long as possible and shoved out just as the boat was about to touch the rocks in front of Konstantin. Nature being perverse as usual, I landed on my back on the rear deck of the boat and somehow managed to balance there for several seconds while Konstantin grabbed the boat. I had to work hard to roll off laughing into the shallow water between the rocks. I might as well have stayed in the boat.

We carried our boats well up onto the cobble beach and hiked to the center of the valley to find the creek. A man living in a palapa on the beach confirmed that there was a cascada here and pointed upstream. There was a trail of sorts that crisscrossed the creek and often disappeared into the jungle. Konstantin criticized my lack of attention to where I was placing my feet in the jungle. He suggested that I should carefully scan the trail ahead of me for snakes and other dangers. Then he walked unseeing right past a boa snake sunning itself on the side of the trail. We stopped to take pictures before continuing on.

The waterfall has a large deep pool in front of it, with a large rock for jumping or diving off. Konstantin swam out and found a jungle vine hanging down into the water to stand on half out of the water. I was able to sit on this and use it as a platform to take pictures of Konstantin playing under the waterfall. We hiked back down the trail stopping only to check on the snake one more time. Our attentions on the way out had convinced it to slither off into the brush, but it had come back out into the sun while we were at the waterfall.

The next adventure on our itinerary was getting my kayak back out to sea. Konstantin insisted that a seal launch on this rough cobble beach would tear up my boat. When we were both ready, I waded into the water with my boat in my hands. I waited for a large wave, shoved the boat out to sea as hard as I could then dove into the wave to swim after it. Empty, the boat zoomed 50 meters or more and safely made it out past the breakers. Konstantin tossed my paddle out to me and I used it to help me swim out to my boat. Konstantin launched his indestructible plastic boat behind me, passed me, and was waiting for me with my boat. Rafted together I was able to clamor over the two boats and slither into mine. This is a standard assisted rescue technique that I have practiced and taught to others. Soon we were underway for the short paddle back to Yelapa.

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