I started the morning quite late, about 9:30 by the time i got dropped off at Wong Mau Chau. From there, it's a long crossing (across Mirs Bay) to Tung Ping Chau - 11 kilometers one way. By 10am the rain had started ... and with it, the wind! Was the wind at my back?? Silly question. Of course not. It's all part of the fun - wind is always in your face!
Now here's the dumbest thing I did during the whole trip (fellow paddlers will think i'm a fool, rightly so) ...
As the wind and rain picked up, I tried to maintain my course heading towards Tung Ping Chau (roughly 10 degrees northeast) using "guess work" and the general direction of the waves. Duh. Problem was, i couldn't see land (or anything else) so i had no "true" heading. I was just blindly paddling (too lazy to pull out my compass) .... I figured the rain would stop soon and Tung Ping Chau would magically reappear directly in front of me. Of course the rain never stopped and after about 50-60 minutes of paddling an unknown rock/island appeared in the distance. Long story short ... i was about 90 degrees off course and paddled about 4km in the wrong direction. Woops. (okay, so that's another one of my 'secrets' i want you to keep to yourself...shhh).
By that point, the rain was thumping and i was ready for a break. So i stopped on this tiny rock-of-an-island, again assuming the rain would stop soon and i'd be able to carry on my merry way. Of course the rain did not stop. It didn't give a damn about me, nor my plans to paddle in "fair weather". With the clock ticking and only so many hours till dusk, I decided i'd better get moving. Back in the kayak - due north to Tung Ping Chau. Quick break and a bit of lunch on the beach (where i took a nasty slip and sliced my hand in about 4 places), then back in the boat for the return trip across Mirs Bay.
Reached Crooked Island by about 4pm, at which time the sun came out!! My spirits changed immediately. After paddling in the rain for 5 hours+, it's amazing how a ray of sunshine feels like a ray of hope. I still had 2 hours of paddling ahead of me, and felt rather beat up, but with land in sight and the sun on my face ... ahhh, time to smile ... life is good again.