Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Day 74


I paddled to Santa Lucido,

I was exhausted through most of the paddle as I passed one beach town after another. Small houses dotted the mountains and higher up I saw villages with castles, towers, pastel painted homes and shops.

Down by the water the apartments were blocky and unpainted.  The stairs were on the outside.

Train tracks ran along the sea and a couple times an hour a passenger or freight train would chug passed.

My back had been chafing for a few days now. The first day it was really bad was the one after I camped out and hadn't showered. It had gotten a little better over the weekend, but now it was getting worse. The spray skirt and my shorts were rubbing my skin off with every body rotation and stroke. I needed to fix it. I released my sprayskirt from the kayak's combing.

The chafing was substantially relieved. There was another side effect: My forward stroke drastically improved. My spray skirt had been too tight and I only realized once I paddled without it. The key to a good forward stroke is body rotation. A good spray skirt is elastic enough so that rotation is free or nearly so. Once my skirt was off, I was rotating easily. I put the skirt back on again for comparison, and suddenly rotation was much harder.

I took the skirt off and resolved to leave it off, at the very least, until the chafing healed or I found myself approaching rough conditions. If I find myself in rough conditions without any warning, I'll have a problem, because I can hardly ask the sea to calm down for just a moment while I put my skirt on. Nelo provided the skirt for me with the boat, but despite their promises and my requests, not in advance giving me a chance to test it.

With the skirt off as I approached the last hour of my paddle I found my energy and started making four, four and a half, and even five knots, an enormous jump from the three I had been doing all morning.

Santa Lucido is a small town with a smaller fishing port and a group of old fisherman that hang around shooting the breeze. They were excited to hear I had paddled from Barcelona.

“Dove Sepermerkati?” [where is the supermarket?] I asked them.

The words in their answer included “Hogi chiuso, dominica.” [The supermarket is closed on Sundays.]

I had cooked the last of my pasta that morning. I would have liked to eat, but I guess it was not to be.

One of the fisherman told me to “vinire”[come] to “mea casta”[my house.]

We got in his car and went up the mountain. With great generosity, he and his family gave me pasta and bread and chocolate and chili peppers from the garden. I was even invited to take a shower.

Naturally I showered with my shirt on, since there was no other way it would get clean. My host let himself into the bathroom, undoubtedly to tell me something about the shampoo or some such helpful tidbit, and was shocked to see me wearing my shirt.

I was shocked to see him at all, and commanded him to leave, though my italian was limited I was entirely clear. “Ciao!” He left.

After the shower my host gave me a dry shirt and showed me his enormous vegetable garden, grape vines, fruit trees, cannabis plant, wine fermentation system, and frozen fish freezer from the fish he had caught.

Unfortunately, his wife would not let me stay for the night, so he drove me back down to my kayak. I slept beside it.

The weather for the next day looked grim, but it may be possible sticking close to the coast to make it to the next port some 15 miles away.

[gallery type="rectangular" ids="2901,2902,2903,2904,2905,2906,2907,2908,2909"]

Nautical miles paddled: 21

Total since Naples: 155.5

Current Location:  39.313175,16.043418



  1. Glad you found a method of least resistance (pun intended). Next stop, maybe you can find a barrier salve for your back. Hope it heals quickly!

  2. I'm laid down with at least three days of crazy lightening freaky wave storm, so my body is doing all the great work on its own. Blessed and cursed.