Sunday, October 17, 2010

Trespassing (Again)

On the Jewish Sabbath, among other restrictions, I may not handle money, cook, or paddle. The Sabbath lasts from Sundown on Friday until it is dark Saturday evening.

Friday afternoon I pulled into the marina in L'Estartit. I wrote about my day and then literally ran to the supermarket in order to get myself some food before sunset. I was cutting it a little close to the Sabbath. At the supermarket I picked up some cream cheese and three loaves of bread for my next three meals. It would be a pleasant change from lentils and rice.

Shortly after getting back to my boat, my day of rest began. As I ate my meal, I watched the sun disappear behind some mountains and the last vestiges of its color leave the flat water of the harbor.

I did some thinking. I had been given permission by one of the fellows who worked at the marina, Really Nice Marina Guy, to leave my boat there and I had told him that I would sleep on the beach. I had also been invited to use a changing room in the marina to get out of my wet clothes and into something dry. Huh, a changing room.

I found Really Nice Marina Guy and asked him if maybe I could sleep in the changing room that night. He didn't think so because other people might want to use it. "Stay here, I'll get back to you." He told me.

And before long, he did. "You can't stay in the changing room. There may be somewhere else here that you can stay." He went on. "Right near here is a hotel. The owner is a member of this club and you could probably stay there for 15 or 20 Euro a night." He pointed, showing me where the hotel was.

It was a tempting offer, but the Sabbath had already started so I would be unable to pay, or do many of the rituals associated with checking in to a hotel. I explained "I'm on a really tight budget, so if there's somewhere I could stay for free that would be a lot better. Don't worry about saying no, I can always sleep on the beach." (.למי שחושב על טלטול, למזלי,היה גדר מסביב הנמל)

"Follow me." He said.

So I did, and he took me to an old derelict boat that he told me was scheduled for demolition. The big red and white motorized tub stood on stilts and bricks on the edge of a parking lot only a few feet from the water. It had clearly seen better days, but had a small cabin that might be comfortable. I climbed up a ladder to find that the floor was covered with puddles of water.

I did some thinking. I would explain to the fellow about the sabbath and maybe I could get into the hotel without writing, or presenting ID, or paying, or anything like that, and do those things Saturday night. A hotel sounded like a nice place to spend the sabbath, especially for 15 Euro. They would probably have clean sheets, and shower. The thought made me weak at the legs.

"Maybe I can stay in the hotel, but you see, I'm Jewish, and we have our Sabbath on Saturday, and I can't pay today. Maybe I could stay in the hotel tomorrow night, and pay for both days then?"

Nice Marina Guy tried to be helpful, but it was too much for him. "Could you leave your credit card as a deposit?" He said. He went on to say that I would block the credit card, so nothing would be paid until I was ready.

"This old boat is perfect for me. Thank you so much!"

And it was. There was a bench in there, with some cushions on it. I was careful to keep my things off of the wet floor. There was no wind, there was no rain, and it was warmer then the previous nights. That piece of junk boat was for me a piece of heaven.

I was asleep at my usual bed time of 8:00, and awake again in the morning at 5:00. I went back to sleep for another 3 hours, and my dreams were long and pleasant.

The city that I'm in, L'Estartit, is a lovely small tourist town surrounded by mountains and woods and far from everything. Saturday morning I went for a short hike that took me up a mountain and gave me a wonderful view of the bay, the islands, the town, a far off castle, and mountains in the distance. The morning mist hadn't yet lifted, so the mountains and the islands seemed to be resting pleasantly in it's embrace. Out to sea the cloudy sky let through beams of reddish light, imposing a fiery and magical landscape on the distant water.

A fellow came through with his dog, a lab, and we hiked together for a while. The dog was carrying a plastic bottle.

"I like your dog." I said. I like most dogs.

"Yah, he's alright." He answered. A bit later he went on "He's an ecological dog. Picks up after people."

On the next peak there was a small stone hut that had been there for untold years. More recently it had been repainted with graffiti.

After my hike I had lunch and went to take a nap.

It was a nice nap. A really nice nap. It was the kind of nap that makes angels weep. That is, until I woke up to the sounds of two other men on the boat. A moment later they were screaming at me.

"YADDA YADDA YADDA BLAH BLAH BLUE." They yelled. The men who had barged into my cabin were civilly dressed elder folks and a little on the heavy side. They were also mad at me.

"No hablos Esaniol." I responded hoping this would solve their problem.

It didn't, one of them started yelling "Policia, Policia!" And took out a badge to show me that he was a police officer (Or had been many years ago.)

They went on "Private property! Private property!"

I said right back "I know, so what are you doing here!? I have permission. Capitan de porto! Capitan de porto!" This surprised them. If I was a bum then why would I be asking fore the captain of the port. But they weren't that interested, I still had to leave NOW.

I went to get Really Nice Marina Guy. He came with me right away and explained to them, and then me, what had happened. They were the owners of the boat. The owners who had not been informed that I was given to sleep there. I would have to stay away for the rest of the day.

That night Really Nice Marina Guy arranged for me to stay in another boat that was on the water. Like Really Nice Marina Guy, it was really nice.

Really Nice Marina Guy, and Club Nautic Estartit rock.

Very windy conditions make it dangerous for me to head out today or tomorrow. The rest of the week doesn't look good, what I will do remains to be seen. For tonight and tomorrow night I'll be able to stay in the big boat with a dry cabin that has lots of comfy cushions.


  1. seems like spain is starting to treat you well. good to hear

    and don't underestimate limes. you really have no idea what you're talking about. in fact, limes are really good at disguising the taste of awful beer. i highly recommend them.

  2. FYI, tiltul is spelled with a tet, not a taf.
    How is your pace so far relative to what you had expected? Will this mean a change of plans?

  3. If you where the first to catch it I would honor you. But that goes to the fantastic Shani. Thank you for the correction.
    I am going at a slower pace the I had hoped. Had I not been delayed a month then I wouldn't yet be worried. As things are, I don't think I'll realize my goal of paddling to Israel before Febuary 20th. We'll see how far I get, and I'll do my best to love the heck out of life the whole way.

  4. If ever you need to stay somewhere longer than overnight or Shabbat, you should check out couchsurfing. It would be a great way to have a warm and dry place to stay, be able to take a shower, and meet some cool people at the same time. (I just checked - there are two hosts in Estartit!)

  5. Hey,
    Thanks so much for the tip! Is this your way of offering to manage an account for me? If not, no worries.
    All the best.

  6. Good shot :-)

    Now go set up your profile!