Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wet Socks

Day 39:

The weather report promised me a morning of good weather and an afternoon of bad weather. That is to say, good wind and bad wind. So I paddled, cutting straight across the bay of Loano. At first the water was so calm it was glassy, but then the wind picked up a little. Small waves would go in one direction, then another. At times the wind would die down all together.


It was raining when I started. Sometimes it was a light rain, other times it was heavier. A driving rain, or a beating rain. Some times the rain would take a break, in order to rain some more, and the follow it up with another bout of rain.

It was cold. When I was paddling at full tilt I was OK, but when I would stop for even a moment I would be cold. There was very low visibility. I couldn't see the other side of the bay and had to rely completely on my instruments. At times, my sight of land was almost entirely obscured.

A big fishing boat was following me for a while. The captain tried to say something to me but I couldn't hear him. I tried to reach him on my radio but was unsuccessful. For a moment I went into their wake hoping for a free ride, but the boats exhaust was terrible and I quickly pulled away.

I saw a cloud that looked like a dragon snaking it's way along the shore. And then thewind changed. It was one of the worst headwinds yet, my paddles feeling as though they were moving through peanut butter as I inched forward. (mmmmm peanut buuuutter)

I changed my course (44.157578,8.352356) to head directly into the wind, north, rather then towards my target port, northeast. I hoped that once close to land the wind would drop. Directly into the wind was a fantastic struggle made all the harder by doubt. I couldn't help but wonder that I might get close to the shore and find the wind not decreased at all. I made my trip longer in the horrid weather for nothing.

But the black raven of doubt was defeated by the bluebird of happiness as my plan turned out to be a wonderful success. Once close to shore a swell moved against the lessened wind to help me along at a good pace.

I arrived at port Finale Ligure and made my way to the marina office just shy of shivering. The rain had decided to put up a fight, since apparently there were still people who hadn't taken the hint and gone inside.

Their were two people in the marina's office. The man behind the desk and the man in front of it.

The man behind the desk said that kayaks weren't aloud in the marina. The man in front of it spoke to him in Italian, rather harshly, and then told me to come with him.

He helped me take my boat out of the water and without letting me get a word in edgewise sent me into a hot shower. When I was done he handed me a towel. Tonight I'll sleep in the marina's clubhouse. It's warm here. Tomorrow may be too windy, I don't know.

Oh, and my socks are wet. All the clothing I have with me, and it amounts to nothing. I'm freezing because my socks are wet.


  1. mazel tov! the Solstice has come and gone and now the days will be getting longer!Did you catch the lunar eclipse? Did you know there was a Lunar Eclipse on the Full Moon of Solstice? First time in over 500 years!!!
    and btw, fact: ravens are smarter then bluebirds

  2. I may have taken the raven of doubt vs. blue bird of happiness from Garry Larson. I'm not sure.

  3. btw: backpackers wear their wet socks to bed inthe sleeping bag, the convection of your body heat will dry them, the bag will dry too...

  4. True, kayaks are not 'loud!