Mar Chiquita 2008


Baptism for the new Guillemot 2008/02/17

The excuse
The more the finishing of the new kayak was delayed (reasons unrelated to the construcion), the more the desire and determination grew to do the actual baptism at a special place. Carlos (N) had once proposed going to Mar Chiquita, and so we did just that!

Till 2 in the morning of the actual date, finishing details, and even just before leaving, I had to install the backrest, as the poliurethan paint had decided to harden more slowly than foreseen.

A word of advice for Mar Chiquita - take shoeware. The hardened mud was so hot, we could barely walk on it! In the photos, the new kaya is resting on this mud (curative according to some).

And if you pay attention, you can even see the spots of salt.

The experience
After a timid invitation on the local Peperina mailing list, the original 'team' of José María, my wife and I were joined by Heidi. At Miramar, we were accompanied (termporarily) by Erio Curto, and Fabián Carbone, who told us some details of the unique histary of Mar Chiquita.

Carlos Nieto, who phoned us in the morning, and told us he would go too, didn't appear at any of the checkpoints on the way, and didn't reply on the phone either. Afterwards we learned that he went (with his daughter Maria Jose) as far as the toll booth at Córdoba, but had problems with his car and couldn't continue.

Our mini-fleet took off from the Miramar beach, and, taking care no to hit the cement debris near the beach, headed to the West. After a small distance José María detected problems with the rudder, and we 'beached' again to fix the problem.

Not accustomed to breakfast that early in the morning, and not having had anything else to eat afterwards, I started to feel the lack of body sugar... After a few bananas and what much have been a liter of water, I was ready again. Instead of continueing West, we headed East, past the point of origin, and visited the old Viena Hotel, now deserted, when the lake decided to rise. (In the picture, left to right, José María, Heidi and Sabine)


Around 4 in the afternoon, wer decided to return. The heat was nearly unsupoortable (I estimate near 40 C). Windguru's prediction of near 100% overcast failed miserably. We only received maybe 5% of cloud cover. The heat wad so intense that, after loading the kayaks on the roof, we still had to escape to escape, car and all, to the shadow of the trees.

A few km from Miramar, on the road to Marull (thanks Erio for the indications), we stopped to buy cool drinks - ours had long since adapted to their surroundings.

The rest of the return went almost uneventful - José María did manage to loose one the luggage strips, but the kayak was so well tied down that nothing happened.

A weird, near-360 degree panorama of the beach where we lunched - no, it's not an island, the rest of Argentina is behind those bushes!


Though the trip was a very short one, it did offer some indications on the behaviour of the new boat.

The hatch closing system worked nicely. The first leg of our outing did have a bit of waves, and the bow went under a couple of times. No water found inside, except for a couple of drops, probably from the water bottle leaking.

The actual behaviour was, predictable, very similar to the stitch and and glue version, as it was the same design. The rounding of the hull did reduce the initial stability a little, but the kayak remains very stable. On the other hand, probably the rounding again, the boat seemed a little faster.

The bow remained much lower than the SandG version, maybe helped by the 5 liter drinkwater supply stored at the front.

I had made the cockpit a couple of cms narrower, and that seemed to feel right - more controllable and secure. I hadn't found the time to obtain the right rope for the footbraces, and this one stretched slightly...

The few kilometers we rowed weren't enough to make a final verdict, of course, but I'm satisfied. Now it's time to apply the last layer of varnish, for which I hadn't had time before the trip!)

GPS track

The voyage from Villa Carlos Paz to Miraamr

The actual excursion on the water. The track starts a little late because the operator waited too long to start the recording

Evident rudder problems.

A visit to the old Viena Hotel


(c) John Coppens ON6JC/LW3HAZ mail