When I first set out from Naples I was using a paddle leash. A coil connected the center of my paddle to my kayak. I liked being able to put my paddle down on the water and do other things with my handsץ Sometimes though, the paddle would get pushed under the boat or wander a little farther than I liked. So I tied a bungee loop towards the front of my bow deck so that I could slide my paddle in up front and then stick it under the bungees near the cockpit and hold it on my deck. I removed the paddle leash so that I wouldn't have to carry it, every ounce counts.
This morning I launched from the kayaking club in Catona, a satellite of the one in Reggio Calabria, whose president came to see me off. I crossed the bay in front of Reggio Calabria and then another one with a healthy tailwind. This was the first time since Naples that I had this sort of push and I was very pleased with it.
Off to my right I could see Sicily and her mountains. Farther back I saw Mt. Etna well above the others, it’s snowy heights shone brightly in the sun. The top was shaped like a spoon and smoke rose up from it all day.
My final destination was a port about five miles passed my hosts house, and he had once again, with extraordinary kindness, offered to pick me up in the evening and drop me off in the morning.
However, as I passed his house I thought I might save him the trouble and take out early. I could do the extra five miles the next day which was going to be a short day anyways. I needed to make a beach landing. The beach in my host’s neighborhood is separated by squat sea walls at even intervals that reach a short distance out from the beach.
Since I had the strong tail wind I pulled in just behind one of the walls where the water was calmest. I placed my paddle shaft on the deck just behind my cockpit perpendicular to the boat. I held it there with both hands behind me and leaned so that the out blade was on the sand below, stabilizing the boat.
The small waves were still pushing me back and forth, dragging the blade along the bottom, so I used my arms to pick my weight up and slide my butt onto my back deck. I pulled my legs out and was free of my cockpit. My boat is tricky to exit gracefully.
Standing in the water I grabbed my deck line and pulled my boat up onto the beach.
My host lives in a small gated community about a block away from the beach. I hopped over the gate and went to his home, but no one was there. I had befriended a dog that lived outside during my last visit, but now he was barking at me. I approached trying to make friendly sounds and the dog put its tail between its legs and cried while edging away. So I left.
Back at my kayak my paddle was missing. Rats. At least I had a spare.
When did I have my paddle last? Oh, I remembered. I guess the sea had it now. I climbed onto the sea wall and looked out. I didn't see it, it was after all a windy day.
I ran south on the beach. It had washed up at the base of the next seawall.
I was back on my way. I paddled under some beige cliffs with a really nice house on top. Maybe when I'm a rich and famous kayaker I'll have a nice house on top of a cliff.
I arrived at the port. A sand bar blocked the entrance and a fisherman informed me the port was closed. I made another exit in the surf. This time the sea was rougher and I was less graceful. Sand got into my cockpit and the hull is probably a bit thinner in places, but I remembered not to lose my paddle.
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Nautical miles paddled: 18
Total Since Naples: 252.5
Current Location: 37.925801,15.733255