Friday morning I woke at 5:00 am. I went out to look at the waves. They were breaking under a meter high. I would launch.
Not so fast, my kayak was full of sand. All that time sitting around doing nothing, now that the sea was calm, I had to clean out my boat.
By 8:00 I was sitting in my boat in the estuary. Where the the river met the sea the current was moving out fast. I watched the waves to time my exit with flatter water.
It seemed like my moment had come, I sprinted out of the estuary with the current shooting me into the surf. I cut through the first wave with the froth passing over my deck belly high paddled hard ignoring the sudden chilliness of it. The second wave was shoulder high and tried to knock me down to the right. I arched my back and turned the end of my forward stroke into a skull as I dropped my head down near the water to lower my center of gravity and recovered. Another two sprinting strokes and I was beyond the waves.
For the first couple of hours I paddled on two to three foot swells that could have put a baby to sleep. I was paddling from the center of bay to the edge. I could see Agropoli in the corner about five miles away. A large rock precipice reached into the sea and an old Italian village sat on top of it.
A head wind picked up, when I stopped for one of my snacks I was moving backwards at half a knot. At the end of every hour I stopped for a snack. I switched between my super nutritious thick chia gruel with seven ounces of chia seeds to a full one liter nalgene and my whole wheat pasta and lentil nalgene. At each break I would consume one quarter of a nalgene, being newly hyperalert to the benefits of eating right while on the water.
I was tired, but I stayed away from that dark place where every stroke feels like moving a mountain and I begin to worry that I’m not having fun. That place where I don’t have enough energy to cry.
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I was tired, but not in the dark place. At the point, I stopped in a tiny marina with three or four row boats for my end of the hour break and I got out to stretch my legs.
Ten minutes later I was back on my way, and for the rest of the day the water was wonderfully glassy flat. It was so clear I could see the bottom far beneath me and a school of tiny fish swam along.
The forest was fresh, fragrant, and took some of the humidity out of the air. Trees twist up from the rocks and I passed a couple of families sitting in their shade enjoying the day as much as I was.[gallery type="slideshow" ids="2502,2503,2504,2505,2506,2507,2508,2509,2510,2511"]
I arrived in Acciaroli. I wanted to find a place to stay for the sabbath. The captain’s office was closed, but there was a shipyard with equipment for lifting yachts out of the water and making major repairs to larger boats. I introduced myself to the folk in the office. They were pleased to meet me. I showed them my blog, they were duly impressed.
They had a bathroom with electrical outlets and a shower. If I could sleep next to my boat and use their facilities it would be a perfect sabbath.
“Could I please leave my kayak here for a couple of nights?” I asked.
“How long is it?” The woman at the desk asked me.
Oh no! It was the bad question. It’s the question that says, “I don’t understand that your boat is only 19.6 inches wide and weighs 18 kilo empty.
No, they couldn’t bring an 18 foot boat into their yard because another boat might need to use the repair ramp while I was putting in or taking out. I tried to explain, I tried to help her to understand, I said thank you very much and left dejected.
I explored. The port was a big place without that many boats. I found an open bathroom. It was clean. There was a hot shower. Holy cow. A free public hot shower. Praise be the name of this city that I’m in. Here in Southern Italy is the pinnacle of civilization, the height of human achievement, a truly wonderful place.
I went to gather my gear, I would make camp on the pier near the bathroom. On my way I asked people if they knew where the Lega Navale was, since for all its wonder, a roof over my head would be a step up from a port near the shower.
One man said he would help me. His hair was slicked back. His shirt was tucked into his jeans, and he seemed eager to find me a place to stay. He began making calls insisting to me that somewhere in this town there must be a “room you can stay in.”.
I was a little worried. I didn’t know what he was doing hanging around the waterfront, but he didn’t say anything about himself so it could have easily been that he was up to no good. A friend of his showed up and they spoke in Italian. The man introduced Stephano to me, as the mayor here. He then took me to a hotel where I spent a wonderful sabbath.
Nautical Miles paddled: 21.5
Total since Naples: 70
Current location: 40.177902,15.02596