Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sodom, Gemorrah, and Barcelona

Most of my gear was stolen on Friday. Here's the gist of what I wrote in my notebook Thursday night.
I walked this morning to the friendly logistical offices that were willing to take my money in return for my kayak. They told me that my kayak was in a warehouse in Barcelona and I could pick it up just after a third party had finished up some paperwork, which would be around four in the afternoon.
I paid more than half the price of the boat, and received the address of the warehouse storing my boat as well as some forms I would need to retrieve it. The warehouse was about four kilometers from the water, which presented me with a problem. It would be extremely difficult to carry both the kayak and my 80 pound duffel bag at the same time, so I would need a friend to help me so that I wouldn't  have to leave either my gear or my kayak unattended.
Fortunately, at the friendly hostel I'm staying at, it took me only a moment to find a volunteer. Before setting out to the port with my friend to begin my expedition I sent an email to my editor telling him that if I didn't write to him in the next 12 hours he should post that I had launched my expedition. I also invited a couple of my friends from the day before to see me off at a pleasant beach a couple miles north of the actual launch sight. They would wait for me at eight in the evening.
My assistant and I were soon near the warehouse. We had actually walked a ways past it by accident and were closer to the put in. Once we realized our mistake we decided to leave him with the gear and I would go get the boat. Then I would come back with the boat and between the two of us we would get everything to the water.
I walked back to the warehouse to get my boat. It was there and it was beautiful; unfortunately the necessary paperwork had not been completed by four. Nor had it been completed by six, closing time. The fellow who was supposed to take care of it was in the hospital looking after his mother.
I walked back to my friend who had nodded off next to my bags of gear. I woke him, apologized and sent him home.
I found some bushes and put my gear under the bushes. I then covered it up with dry leaves so that it would not be visible from the busy street not far away.
I went to scope out the launch point. It was an old desolate parking lot between dunes with a small rocky and littered beach at the edge of it. While there were a number of fences that had been locked for years to keep people out, most of them had been pushed over or cut through making beach access fairly easy, even for someone carrying a kayak or 80 pounds of gear. Their was a pack of small dogs in the area, climbing the dunes and barking at my uninvited presence.
The beach was inside an artificial bay that would let me get the feel of my new boat without having to deal with waves.
I walked back to my stuff and made camp. It's currently raining and I'm comfortable in my tent. The warehouse should be open tomorrow at 8:00 and I hope the paperwork is done by then so that I can retrieve my boat. I feel bad for the two girls waiting for me to launch from the beach north of here.
The next day I was out early. Shortly after I had packed up my gear it had begun pouring rain. I couldn't leave my gear in the same place I had the day before because my dry bags where not yet in use and I couldn't allow my computer and other stuff to get wet. I found a location not far away that was mostly void of pedestrians, if closer to a busy road, that I thought I could leave my things at. I put on my rain gear and made my way to the warehouse arriving at about ten to eight. After waiting in line for an hour for my boat I was told to come back in half an hour.
I went back to my gear to make breakfast for myself, except my gear was gone.
The police added insult to injury by not believing my story. There was a translator there, at the Barcelona central police station who was unable to understand my English. She explained to me that she only understood British English.
My expedition is still underway, it will just take me a little bit longer to get started.


  1. maybe add a cart to you new gear list?

  2. i recommend making France your end point, and having a FANTASTIC time on the coast of France. Spend two months on the coast, relaxing and recharging! :oD

    then, start preparing to do this trip NEXT August. train harder, think through things like taxes and port charges and so forth - and really be ready to do this with considerably less stress for you and your loved ones.

  3. Recharge from what? spending 2 weeks in a hostel?
    What would I do in France? To stay in France would be more expensive and less enjoyable then kayaking.
    Why wouldn't I want to have an awesome time kayaking with my brand new kayak?
    I did train hard, thank you very much!
    Port charges where thought through, it was a company selected by the retailer that ripped me off and charged me for some very nonstandard items. With money I was able to save elsewhere however, the total fee from day one to getting in the watter was only a little bit more then i expected it to be.
    So far there has been a slight financial and time set back, but nothing that was't aloud for with my original schedule and savings. The only thing I'm really lacking is a partner, but I've been looking for 8 months and I don't think another year is going to help.

  4. and speaking of gear, will you have it sent over from the USA? If it is sent as a gift you may be able to avoid the MOMS tax which in Scandinavia is 25% and is probably standard all over the EU. Not to mention the cost of gear in Europe is probably higher than in the USA. What are water temps in the Med? Will you have a dry suit or any cold water protection? Also, what is the policy on camping by the shoreline? I think in that may vary from country to country.

  5. I just bought a spray skirt here for 175 euro. I'm going to have the rest sent from America. I've written to NRS, MSR, and West Marine asking for a discount. I have yet to hear from any of them.
    I'm expecting watter temperatures to get down close to 60 f. A wet suit with a splash top should be sufficient.
    I've been told that in these parts nobody will give me any trouble for camping on the beaches. I ended up with a bivi sack instead of a tent, which is less conspicuous.
    The store I went to replace my tent at, didn't have any free standing tents.
    Thanks for posting!

  6. yep twice the price that sounds around right.... :-(

    no papers and no invoices on the gear and if sent from a relative's address will speed it's way through Customs and the Tax man.

    good to know about the camping!

  7. speeds through customs esp with it marked as your own property or a present....

  8. Oh Lord I know that there is at least one righteous man in Barcelona! Dov, keep your spirits high and your wits about you. You may not have convinced us to come along but we are rooting for you.