Sunday, March 2, 2014

Day 103


In the night the port guard patrolled the docks with a trident and a super powerful flashlight.  The water here is extraordinarily clear with various shades of blue and green.  But near the Lega Navale, it’s just clear.  So the night guard hunted fish.

This morning a couple of young fellows in similar orange jackets showed up while I was packing my gear.  The younger one took some photos and asked me questions for his article.  When the interview was over they boarded their Coast Guard motorboat and zoomed off to guard the coast.

I don’t zoom quite the way motorboats do, but I cruised across the small inner sea, leaving the Lega Navale behind.

The forecast said it would rain so I wore my neoprene jacket and hat.  There were lots of clouds in the sky, but the sun shone through a gap and I was warm.  I was not in a particularly great place to roll and cool off.  The water was choppy and if I did end up swimming, something that has not happened in ages but remains burnt in my memory, I would have to climb up jagged rocks or swim a long ways to a beach.  But there’s the rule - a good kayaker rolls without fear on a whim.  I was hot and needed to cool down, that definitely constituted a whim.

I got so stressed that when I finally did roll it was a barely successful mess.  I was in debt to the sea god for a good roll.

I saw the Coast Guardians in their motorboat towing an enormous buoy with a light on it.  I paddled over to say hello, but they gestured to me to keep away.  At least, I think they did.  Gestures here in Italy, come here and go away, are different than those we use in America.

For a little while, while the scenery was less exciting, I fretted about my financial situation.  If only my regular readers would help me out with five dollars a month in exchange for the entertainment I provide.  If only the people that liked my blog would spread it by mouth and social media.  If only the people who downloaded my book would come through with the recommended donations.  They probably don’t realize how hard writing is.  Oh well, the expedition was a good plan and if it fails because the financial side falls through, at least I’ll know I gave it my all.  At least I had some support from a few wonderful friends and family.  It’s not like I was asking to get rich, anything I raise over the price of the trip I have already committed to the Alliance for Climate Protection.  Sigh.

I passed a couple more towers before hills came to the coast and the rocky shore turned into bright, tree-lined cliffs.  Through the exceptionally clear water I saw rocks and small growing things far below.  I poked my nose into small sea caves.  And I found a pristine cove where the choppy water smoothed out.

I paid my debt and rolled.  I tried one hand-roll, and didn’t get it, but my regular rolls all went wonderfully.  I took pictures of myself underwater.  Rolling well is exhilarating.

The clouds were gone, the sea was full of sunlight and the air sparkled.

I took a break in a bay that was guarded by a fort.  I stretched my legs and approached an elderly fisherman sitting on the rocks to confirm my location on my new chart.  The chart is not waterproof, so I can only take it out on land, but it’s better than nothing.

“Ciao.”  I called to him as I walked up.  He did not respond so I tried calling louder and again louder.  I was now only a few feet away so I assumed he was deaf.

I tried one last time standing almost above him, “Salve”.

He said “GAR GASK Funk!” or something like that which sounded like it might mean “Get lost!”

“I don’t speak Italian.”  I told him in Italian.  I asked him if the town around the corner was the one on my map and he waved with his hand what might have been an affirmative.

I paddled past more small sea caves and four towers in a square that might at one time have been a castle.  I paddled along a beach and got directions from a one armed fisherman in a row boat.  Everything was perfect until the wind turned against me.

Fortunately I was near Gallipoli, my destination for the day. The first port I paddled into had dozens of living room sized boats on land and only a few smaller ones in the water.  It had a desolate, uninviting feel.  The next port I paddled into was populated by a bunch of sailboats, but no large capitaneria that might have showers.  The third port had lots of million dollar yachts, nothing like Monaco, but the most I’d seen in southern Italy.  It seemed like no one would steal my kayak there and I bet they had a place for me to shower and sleep too.

But the dock worker was perturbed by my presence, even after I told him my story.  He brought me to the office and explained to the receptionist about the problem that just showed up.  They found a Canadian to work as a translator.

I could leave my boat there overnight, but where would I sleep?

“Next to my boat?” I suggested.

“No, here you can only sleep in your boat.  We’ll call the port next door.  They have more room.”  There was plenty of room, even a really nice couch that was not for me.

The port next door was not any more inviting, but who would be, the way I was introduced over the phone?

I got directions to the Lega Navale.  I paddled under two bridges and found it sandwiched between a castle and a fortress.  At first, they too were uninviting.  I could not sleep on the dock.  And that was the only space they had.  Docks are not for sleeping on.

I could use their wifi connection to find a place to sleep.  I also got directions to a place that could fix my GPS.  I followed the directions.  There was a nautical shop there and the man outside of it told me no one here could fix my GPS.  After I walked half an hour back to the LNI I found out he was wrong.

Where would I sleep?

“In the parking lot.”  I told the man who wouldn’t let me sleep next to my boat.

“Okay, you can sleep next to your boat.”  And I slept well.

[gallery type="rectangular" ids="3711,3712,3713,3714,3715,3716,3717,3718,3719,3720,3722,3723,3725,3726,3727,3728,3729,3735,3741,3744,3745,3747,3748,3750,3751,3752,3753,3754,3755,3756,3757,3758,3759,3760,3761,3763,3764,3767,3768,3769,3770,3771,3772,3774,3775,3776,3777,3778,3779,3780,3782,3783,3786,3790,3791,3792,3793,3794,3795,3796,3797,3798,3799,3800,3801,3802,3803,3804,3805,3806,3807,3808,3809,3810,3811"]


Distance paddled: 17

Total since Naples: 558.5

Current location: 40.055515,17.97945



  1. An elegant post! Don't forget to drop us a note with your next known address. Naples would have been a good opportunity. It's been far too long since our first and only care package. :(

  2. I have one bar left. I'm saving it for the morning of the big crossing, and I hope enough chia seeds for two liters. I am actively looking for an address in western Greece. I didn't want to give you an Italian address since I don't want to make the crossing with a month's supplies. Thank you!