Friday, 14 April 2017

Back to Embalse de Negratin

   I've been back to Embalse de Negratin this week for another bit of quiet paddling.  Tuesday, when light winds were forecast for that area, seemed a good day to go.  I still have a lot of the western end of the reservoir to explore, so I launched again at Playa de Freila and followed the shoreline to the east, delving deep into every inlet on the way.

Playa de Freila (the mountain in the background is Jabalcón)

A very basic map of Embalse de Negratin, Granada Province, Spain
   The red crosses on the map are places where there is good public access to the water.  There may be other places, lesser known ones, but I have yet to find them.  Yes, Playa Nudista is a nudist beach - but there is a separate beach area nearby for more modest folk.  At the moment, after a few years of very little rainfall, the reservoir is down to 50% of its maximum capacity - so the shoreline I followed looked a bit different in shape to that depicted on the map.  The spits of land where I stopped for a mid-morning snack, and later for lunch, would normally have been submerged.

Landed on this spit for the mid-morning snack.

........ and on this one for a picnic lunch.
That's Jabalcón in the distance.
This is as far as I could get into one of the inlets:-

If the reservoir had been at full capacity I might have been able to paddle a lot further up that little valley.

   It was strangely quiet around Negratin on Tuesday, only the occasional screech from a few seagulls broke the silence - there was no other birdsong, anywhere.  And, until I glimpsed some small critters scuttle down a bank and plop into the water, I thought I wasn't going to see any wildlife at all along the shores.  A bit of patient waiting and watching revealed those critters to be little terrapin.  With the help of a basic photo guide book to Mediterranean wildlife they were later identified as baby stripe-necked terrapins.  Mine were 'photo shy'.

Terrapin Inlet.
   Much of the terrain around Negratin is pretty wild, rugged and desolate.  More 'stuff' gets added to my 'What If' bag (sounds much nicer than 'Survival' bag) after each trip on Negratin; decent footwear is next to go in.  Plastic sandals just wouldn't be up to the job should the need ever arise to beach the kayak and walk to a road or habitation - not that there are many properties visible from the reservoir.  I think there is a bit of extra 'be-preparedness' required for solo paddling in areas like this.

Bandit country!
   The straight line return leg back to Playa de Freila was a lot quicker than the inlet hopping outward one.

   I'm glad that I went when I did.  Later this week the daytime temperatures soared to above 30°C. (n the shade). I wouldn't want to be on the water for very long when it's that hot, especially when it's flat calm and mirror-like.

   This was only my third outing in my Neris Valkure-1 folding kayak, so it is still too soon to be writing any sort of review, but the kayak is living up to expectations and proving to be pretty ideal for the sort of paddling I want to do.