Sunday, 17 June 2018

An Early Start, at a New Location

   An early start from home saw me standing on the shore of Embalse de Negratín, at a new launching place (for me) at the foot of Jabalcón, at just before 7:30 a.m. on Friday morning.  It was nice to find that is was possible to drive right down to the water here - and even nicer to find it was still cool in the shade of the mountain.  The summer heat is now building up steadily in southern Spain.

   By 8:40 a.m. I was afloat and paddling into a gentle headwind towards the top end of the reservoir.  This was all new territory for me, and I could have gone in any direction - but that wind was the deciding factor.  It was forecast to freshen  in the afternoon, so, if that forecast was inaccurate and it freshened early, I would have the wind behind me coming back.

About an hour later I was at the head of the reservoir and following a winding channel through thick vegetation - sort of swamp land.  It's possible this channel was created by the The Rio Castril which flows into the reservoir at this end.  I paddled up this channel through very silty water until it became barely wide enough to turn my kayak around, and it wasn't until I had turned round that the strength of the flow into the reservoir became apparent.  Getting back to open water took no time at all.

Fish were busy feeding on flies on the surface of the silty water in the channel.  Some were so intent on feeding that they didn't notice me quietly drifting down on them - and more than once they only took evasive action at the last possible moment.  At times I was sure I was going to run some fish over.

Nearly back to open water.

Open water and the wind has died away now.  Calm enough to decide to head back down the reservoir on the opposite side to where I had launched.

This end of the reservoir is less barren than the dam end.  The slopes of Jabalcón are cloaked with pine forests, there is a larger variety of wild flowers along the shore and much more bird song.

That building on the opposite side caught my attention.  I'm sure it's the same building I've seen in photos of Embalse de Negratín on the web - with just it's roof sticking out of the water.

A break here for coffee and cake at around 10:00 a.m.  Shoals of tiny, tiny fish passed along the waters edge as I sat there, always heading in the same direction - towards the head of the reservoir.    Even crumbs of home-made carrot cake didn't distract them from their journey.  Perhaps these small fry are programmed to get to the head of the reservoir where all that vegetation will offer them shelter to grow large in.

Later, somewhere along here, I saw a fox out in the open.  I assume it had been down to the water for a drink and was heading back to the cover of trees.  I stopped paddling as soon as I saw it, but the fox must have already sensed my presence - it peered at me over its shoulder before disappearing into undergrowth.

My launching place earlier this morning is on the opposite shore, just left of centre of photograph.

Up there is the other arm of Embalse de Negratín, where another river feeds the reservoir.  That will be a trip of its own - some other day.

No comment - just another photograph with nice reflections on glassy calm water.

Packed up and ready to leave.

Up there, at the top of a concrete ramp, is a landscaped picnic area and some amenity buildings - which I've never seen open.  The gangway at the bottom of the ramp leads to a floating jetty/pontoon - or it would be floating if the reservoir was full.  I've yet to find out if this place has a name - at the moment it is just a red cross at the foot of Jabalcón on my map of Embalse de Negratín - shown on the previous blog post.

That opening on the other side of the water is the other arm of the reservoir - but that will be a trip for the autumn, it's getting too hot to spend much time on the water now.  Today's paddle was a three hour one which was plenty long enough - nice and cool when I started early but roasting hot by the time I was ashore, packed up and ready to leave.

   My gps thingy recorded only 4.9 kilometres paddled, but it must have been more like 9 kilometres.  About an hour into my trip the gps unit showed a low battery warning and after that it kept turning itself off.  I hadn't found anything in the manual about what happens if you ignore the low battery level, but now I know - it goes into battery saving mode, by turning itself off!