Saturday, March 1, 2014

Day 102


Yesterday I used the smoke-filled Tabachiara in Torre Colimena to recharge the internet access on my phone.  Tabachiarias are all purpose corner shops where anything can be purchased except healthy food.  

But the internet on my phone didn’t work.  The fellow who was there at 7:30 this morning didn’t know anything about phones.  It was his daughter who helped me yesterday. 7:30 was too early in the morning for her.

“Come back at 9:30.”

By 11:00 I was on the water and on my way.  Yesterday the forecast made today look like a no go, but this morning, that was no longer the case.

I used my new storm paddle and tried a new bungee system for stowing my winged paddle on my front deck.

I paddled along beaches and interesting porous rock formations.  Above the beaches I saw houses and forests; above the rocks, big square towers.

I was paddling close to the rocks around a point.  The waves weren’t very high, but they were spiking up and crashing, indicating the water ahead was very shallow and I best go around.  I didn’t want to go around since that would take longer.

Instead I got hit by one of the waves and as I struggled to get free by turning into it, I capsized.  I was using my storm paddle and had it extended on the port/down wave side for the most turning power.  The wave sucked my starboard side under and I am not yet sufficiently skilled with the storm paddle to hand shift and scull.  Instead, I sculled without hand shifting, my gut reaction to going down, and consequently, sculled without a paddle.

My elbow rested on an underwater ledge.  I tried to use my hand to push myself up off of the bottom, but my hand was past the ledge.  I set up for a roll with the back of my shoulder supporting some of the weight of the boat and me against the rocks beneath me.  Sandwiched as I was, it was a new sort of roll, but it worked well enough.

My winged paddles slipped out of their front bungee binding and dangled in the precariously in the shallow surf.*  I quickly twisted them around so that they were on my spray skirt, lest they get caught on the bottom, only they were too long.  For the remaining 20 seconds of my flight from the surf, I paddled with the blades of my winged paddle in between my arms and arched my back sharply to keep them out of my face.

I was out of the rough spot.  I fixed my paddles.  I relaxed.  I was wet so the sun ducked behind clouds.  Steady paddling warmed me up.

Overall, the swells were moderate, and in the right direction. The area around Porto Cesareo is designated as a marine park, reason in itself not to skip ahead with the crossing I attempted the previous day.

There were a bunch of islands around the port and a healthy wildlife consisting mainly of scuba divers.  Just as I pulled into the port, a perfectly sized cresting wave hit and I surfed it in hoping that my super cool moment had a witness.

The port was full of boats and in the center of town.  It seemed like the perfect place to steal a kayak, so I asked where the Lega Navale was.

I paddled under a bridge and continued just past the edge of town to an isolated port with a guard 24/7 that was happy to host me in the room next to their office for the night.  Friendly faces, internet, a port a potty, and a cold water hose shower are all this fellow needs to feel really great.

*In the Gulf de Lions I lost a paddle this way.

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Nautical miles paddled: 8.5

Tota l since Naples: 541.5

Current location:  40.253525,17.905493

Every supermarket in town is closed between 14:00 and 17:00 except for the one I waited patiently outside of.   That one closes at 14:00 on Mondays for the rest of the day.  I haven’t studied much WWII history, but I’d like to think the numerous bunkers in this region are in tact because the allies had enough sense to attack while every single Italian in the country was on break between 14:00 and 17:00.

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