Today I paddled from Brancaleone to Locri. At first the sun was bright, the day warm, and the sea so calm I could have nodded off during one of my breaks.
I thought I was making pretty good speed, so I took out my GPS to check. It didn't turn on. I opened up the back and took out the batteries. One of the connections was rusty, so I cleaned it, with my shirt.* And then tried to turn it on again. I saw the Garmin logo, then the screen went blank. I tried a second and a third time with the same result.
In the afternoon a headwind picked up. I paddled under a bank of clouds. The bright green mountains and their jagged red peaks darkened foggy and gray. I got rained on, and the temperature dropped below t shirt levels. In my t shirt, I was cold.
At 14:00 I arrived in Bianco and decided it would be a good place to stop. I could have continued for another two to three hours to arrive at a town with a port, but without any lights or gps I didn't want to risk paddling in the evening in the cold.
I pulled up towards the beach, scraped my hull while getting washed up onto the sand, then grabbed a hold of said sand so as not to get pulled back out. After that a couple of waves dumped enough water and sand in my boat to anchor me and I got out.
I tell my kayaking students that whenever they do something that fails spectacularly they should tell anyone who saw it that's exactly what they were going for.
I walked around town looking for a wifi connection, and couldn't find one.
I did find an orange tree with fruit hanging over the sidewalk. I climbed up on a car to pick the ripest one. It was a really tasty blood orange. Juice dribbled down my beard and fingers leaving them sticky. The color of blood oranges freaks me out a little.
The supermarket was closed, but I found a small flea market where I bought some homemade pickled peppers stuffed with tuna. They were spicy. Without internet or all the data saved on my GPS or my smart phone, I'll have to stop at the port tomorrow to try to learn what's ahead. Tonight, it looks like I'll be sleeping on the beach.
The few people I have managed to casually tell my story to preferred to believe that my story about kayaking from Barcelona would have made more sense if only I spoke better Italian. So they nodded and smiled.
When I look in the mirror I see my wild hair, unkempt beard, wool hat, tired eyes, and bare feet. I see a fellow who could have been an extra on Northern Exposure, and I know my life is going in the direction I had hoped. I'm an adventurer exploring the world.
Other people see something else. Two women who I happened to be walking behind crossed the street to let me pass. An older lady who was walking in the opposite direction kept at least 10 feet between us as she went well off the sidewalk. I don't like that I scare people, but I choose to blame them for being scared and not having watched enough Northern Exposure as kids.
*I washed my shirt last Tuesday.
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Nautical miles paddled: 18
Total since Naples: 289
Current location: 38.236571,16.270035