I don’t celebrate Halloween
My alarm went off this morning at 5:00, as I intend for it to do most mornings depending on how far I intend to paddle.
I packed my gear, made breakfast, and cleaned up Corrado’s sail boat to say one final goodbye.
I met Corrado by my kayak, I packed, and by 8:30 we were out. He in his sailboat, and me in my Inuk. He took pictures, lots of pictures.
I left Napoli. I left the comfort of a warm shower and bed every night. I left the kayaking community there that I had come to be fond of, and all the people at the Lega Navale who were kind to me beyond reason. I left the land of mozzarella.
There was an enormous American aircraft carrier in the bay. Corrado took some pictures of me with it in the background, and then I left him behind too. I was sad to see him leave.
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I was thrilled to be on my way. “Woot!” I yelled out to the empty sea around me.
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The green waves were trying to turn me to the left as I headed on a bearing 185 degrees south towards the famous Blue Grotto of Capri. It was about two miles out of the way, but I thought, well worth it.
Gradually, Capri began to appear out of the haze that was the weather of the day as Napoli disappeared into it.
I expected to paddle about five hours, and much of the way with little or no wind I maintained a pace of over 3.5 knots, which was satisfying. I had some water and food strapped down to my kayak just behind the cockpit, and I stopped to snack the last five minutes of every hour, just as I had on the first leg.
Only something was different.
I was getting sea sick. I wasn’t eating a lot of food, but it was too much. Most likely, this was the result of getting older and not training enough. Oh well, it wasn’t the first time exercise made me nauseous. The rule for when I’m running is that I run hard until I puke, then I can stop. The rule for kayaking is - good luck.
I got to the last five minutes of my third hour. I did not snack, as I usually do, but did have some water. Then I opened my spray skirt to take out my GPS and measure my progress. New kayak smell poured out of my cockpit. With all haste, I closed the skirt over the rim, but I was not fast enough.
I puked, mostly water, some lentils and some pasta. I felt better, if weakened.
I continued paddling to the Blue Grotto. A head wind picked up. The waves got higher and white caps began to sparkle on the crystal clear ultramarine blue sea.
Between the energy I lost and the new conditions, my speed dropped. I paddled for another half an hour, then changed course towards the marina to cut off a couple of miles.
When I arrived, the folk there were happy to let me park my boat and leave it for the night. I used their wifi to start writing this story.
Capri is an island bursting with enormous cliff faces. A thick nearly tropical forest flows down the mountains covering every spot it can in a sea of lush green. From the woods, here and there, are vineyards and old houses that coalesce in a picturesque town center that’s saturated with gardens and entirely free of broken glass.
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I noticed much of this as my host for the evening, a local sailing instructor and racer, rushed me up the nearly vertical roads of the town on the back of his motorbike with a mild disregard for traffic signs. The road swerved, and we did with it. The haze had lifted. I could see the ultramarine sea and the mountains and villages of the mainland with Napoli stretching out in the distance.
My other host was also from the yacht club here in Capri, which I'm told is one of the most competitive racing clubs. He enjoyed sprinkling are conversation with Hebrew sayings he’d picked up along the way.. And they generously put me up in a hotel. I'd like to live one day in a place this pretty, but tomorrow I leave for every day there will be new people, new sights and wonders.
Current location: 40.555801,14.24383