The next port was ten miles away. I expected force four headwind all day, brutal but feasible. I expected to be on the water for four to five hours, which meant I could start a little late.
The night before it had rained, and inside my sleeping bag seemed to be gradually soaking up more and more water. I didn’t know if my sack was leaking or if the rain was causing substantial condensation. I bought the sack to replace the tent that was stolen from me in Barcelona. As I lay there on the beach next to a small fishing boat, I grappled with the idea of finding shelter. I went back to sleep.
The glowing hands on my watch read 4:30 in the morning. Since I didn’t have far to go, and I told myself that by sleeping in my bag I could dry it out before storing it, I went back to sleep.
At 6:00 the fishermen came to take their boat out. Since I had gear hanging on the side of it, I got up and started my day. Besides, it was important that I pooped before the sun came up and the back and forth water would no longer be a viable option.
There was no force four wind. So I decided to start right away.
Everything was ready, and a fishing boat was coming in to the beach. They were calling to me. How could I help? What should I do? Another man on the beach was running and showed me how to help them get the fishing boat in. A cable ran from the sea to a rusty metal cylinder on an axle. At the top there was a metal loop and the fisherman picked up a six foot metal rod and ran it through the loop.
The two of us then pushed the rod, turning the cylinder. The cable wrapped and pulled the fishing boat. The fishermen down near the water put smooth logs under it so that it wouldn’t drag in the sand. As we pulled it onto new logs they ran to the back to pick up the old logs and moved them forward.
Up at the cylinder we huffed and puffed and pushed. The man I was working with was smoking, which made it harder to breath.
After a number of rounds, the boat was sufficiently high on the beach. And I had warmed up after a cold night in a damp sleeping bag.
I launched from the beach without taking on too much water. I scraped the hull on the sand only a little. I might be getting better at it, but I’m not sure. I ended up hitting the waves backwards, but I’d like to think it takes talent to launch like that.
At first the sea was calm and the cloudy dawn was beautiful. Rays of orange light pierced the clouds near the horizon and illuminated the sea.
Ten miles should take about three hours. The first two were easy and pleasant. The third was full of the fource four wind. It drained me. By the time I pulled into the Roccella’s port, every three strokes I wanted to take a break. And once I was on the dock, I lay there dreaming with my feet over the edge in my cockpit, without any sense of time.
Eventually I found my energy and pulled my boat up. I went to the captains office run by the coast guard to ask if I could leave my boat in the port overnight and maybe find out about a shower.
“What’s your boat number? Can I see your passport please?” The woman asked me. Uh oh, she was going to try to charge me. Rats.
I gave her my passport and began filling out a form that wanted to know my port of departure, and all sort of other information.
I did the best I could while I waited for my passport.
Technically, I might not be in Italy legally. When I entered the EU I was granted three months. But my passport was old and has lots of stamps in it. Maybe they wouldn’t find the right one, where I entered Norway in August. That was less than three months ago, right?
The captain came out with my passport and asked me to confirm that the Norway stamp was the most recent. I did. He also told me that I should write Israeli next to my nationality on the form.
I had written American and given them my American passport. I’m proud to be Israeli, but it bugs me that they can access that sort of information about me.
“Where are you headed when you leave Italy?” He asked me.
“Greece.” I showed him on a chart on the wall where I plan to make the crossing.
“You’re not allowed to do that in a kayak.” He told me. “It’s not possible.”
“We’re done here.” He said. “You can shower over there.” It seemed as though I was off the hook.
An older man walked with me to the shower building to unlock it. The bathhouse was full of old bicycles, but there was a path between them to a shower.
“Aqua calde [hot water]?” I asked.
“Ci.” he assured me.
I put my pack down next the shower and the man was trying to say something to me. Was he asking how long I would be?
“Venti minuto [twenty minutes].” I told him. No, that wasn’t it. He was asking something else. He rubbed his his index and middle fingers against his thumb.
Oh, that was it. “Quanto costa [how much does it cost]?” I asked him.
“However much you want to pay.” I understood from his Italian.
I knew my own international symbol. I pulled my empty pockets inside out.
He understood and said that was okay. My shower was cold.
That night I slept in the Lega Navale offices in the port. It had been a long time since Lega Navale had hosted me. Life was good.
[gallery type="rectangular" ids="3148,3149,3150,3151,3152,3153,3154,3158"]
Nautical miles paddled:10
Totall since Naples: 299
Current location: 38.328465,16.43339