I slept only twenty or so feet from the water. And since I heard the waves crashing into the stones with great force, I went back to sleep a few times to procrastinate what would undoubtedly be an ugly launch.
When I was finally ready, the waves weren’t as big as I had imagined. But the beach was steep and the waves were breaking hard into it. I committed myself to getting very wet while launching and began.
I counted the big waves. They came in sets of six. The next set came and at seven I was ready to move, only it was big also. So was eight, and nine. It was a double set. At thirteen the water was calmer and I launched.
I was passed the surf, and balancing very precariously with something big between my butt and the seat. I arched my back so that my shoulders were on my stern deck. With my right hand I tried to use the buoyancy of my paddle for support and with my left I fished around until I managed to free my quick grab bag and get everything in order.
I was off.
I passed a towering castle, then farms, forests, and hills. I paddled through nasty stinky chemical water and used my paddle like a canoe paddle so as not to get the slime on my hands. I passed rivers with reeds. I paddled past purple rimmed jellyfish bigger than your head. It’s the second time I saw one, but this time it let me take better pictures.
It’s hard to take pictures in the surf.
I kept track of my speed with my GPS and I once again found myself staying over 3.5 knots, the speeds I paddle at when I had my winged paddle. I think it takes a little more energy with the storm paddle, and I’m going to lose another day soon so that my hands can heal again, but I’m getting the hang of keeping up a good pace.
I even paddled at over five knots when a scary monster wave was breaking off my starboard. SPRINT! I made it past the break, which would have likely left me stranded on the beach in a very undignified position with sand up my nose.
The wave, still tall but a section not breaking, passed under me pop[ed me into the air settled down.
I arrived in the port of Policoro. Like Laghi Sibar, it’s a town designed to give every house canal access. The water and the streets are cleaner though.
I looked around and could not tell where the port’s office was. I tried contacting them on the radio. They answered! in Italian. I had no idea what they were saying in answer to my question “Dove officio? [where’s the office?]”
When I did find it, it was closed which made me wonder who I had been talking with on the port’s chanel. Next to the office was a bar with a wifi connection and lots of outlets to plug into. I felt like I had stepped back into the first world.
A man there called the local Lega Navale for me, and they told me they could not host me. Oh well, at least I found internet access got to write this post.
I was thinking it would take a really long time for my paddles to arrive in the mail, since my radio which was mailed a long time ago, still hasn’t come. It turns out we put the wrong address on the package. And the package for my phone.
When I was in Laghi Sibari, I hitchhiked into the post office in SIbari to ask them if anything could be done about my mail in the system with the wrong address. They said no, tough luck.
Corrado Fano, the most heroic person I know to whom I am not related, went to the post office in Naples. He rescued my phone from their clutches and learned that my radio was sent back to the states. Thank you Corado! I will soon be coming to pick up my phone. It’ll be an opportunity to let my hands heal.
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Nautical miles paddled: 17
Total since Naples: 465.5
Current location: 40.205312,16.730203