Friday I settled in on a beach in Cap Rizzuto. Some stairs wound up a steep bushy hill face that was behind the beach. The people in the house at the top were friendly and all smiles, but that was the extent of there hospitality.
I charged my gear using an outlet towards the rear of their garden near the stairs. I watched as a cloud front moved towards land sprinkling lightning into the sea.
A storm was coming. I asked the owner of the house for permission to sleep under the shelter of the awning over his porch. I explained that I could sleep in the rain since I had a bivi sack, but I prefered not to depend on it.
He agreed. And after a Sabbath dinner by myself, I slept soundly.
The rain never came. And the next morning, the father of the owner of the house, who had been friendly the day before, told me to get. I was allowed to be down at the beach, but not up near the house.
I didn’t know if this was because the family thought I had lied about the rain, or he just didn’t know that I had permission to be up on the patio, but he felt I had somehow betrayed him and I needed to be gone.
I paddled this morning into a headwind that steadily grew stronger. I asked some fishermen on a boat if it would last all day, and they said it would get better in the afternoon.
The coast was a mix of cliffs and beaches. The cliffs frequently proffered interesting rock gardens. In some places stones broke the surface over a hundred feet out.
At the center of the bay there was a rocky outcropping. At the top of that outcropping was square stone mansion with a drawbridge. I suspect it was hundreds of years old. On the point at the end of the bay there was a similarly old fortification and a lighthouse that looked out from over a squat cliff.
Under the cliff I sang a song. When I finished I heard from above me more singing. And not just one voice, a whole choir. When I paddled farther away I saw a church up there.
After crossing a bay, I arrived in Crotone. Crotone is the largest city I’ve been in since Regio Calabria. From the lighthouse I could already see the cluster of apartment buildings.
In the port I found a large Lega Navale with kids sailing tiny training sail boats into the port only moments after I made my own entrance. The fellow who was in charge told me they had a hot shower and that I was welcome to use it.
The rule for my continued training used to be that I roll every time I go out. Over time I have modified it. I roll every time I go out if I know when my next hot shower will be. Lately, I haven’t had that many opportunities. But here in welcoming LNI, I could roll.
My paddle snapped. The water was murky, but I saw the larger half float to the top while the blade and broken bit of shaft slowly began to sink.
I reached forward and released my homemade spare paddle from the bungees and deck lines that secured it. I triumphantly finished the roll. I completed a roll in which my paddle snapped, and felt like the stuff of legend.
I dumped myself out of the boat and tore my life jacket off. Just as my blade disappeared into the murky depths of the port I dived down after it.
It was really cold down there. I didn’t find it. A true hero would have.
I swam back to my boat, flipped it upside down, entered it underwater, and rolled back up with my storm paddle, no longer a spare.
The showers here are really hot. The people are very friendly. I’ll sleep inside tonight with everything I could want in life, except for a spare paddle.
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Nautical miles paddled: 17
Total since naples: 373.5
Current location: 39.079587,17.13549