I woke up at 2:00 AM. It was cold out and I didn’t want to paddle in the dark. I read the newspaper. I made pasta for breakfast. I was ready to launch as the sun came up around 6:00.
As I left the port, I heard a splunking sound behind me me. I turned around and saw nothing. I continued, and a moment later it happened again. And then a third time. For the fourth I was ready and saw it. A big fish was doing something funky with the back end of my boat. I don’t know what, but it seemed like the two of them would appreciate some privacy.
Immediately after the port there were three see caves. I paddled into one of the caverns and went around a curve and then a bend. There was light coming from the other end. I soon looked out one of the other entrances, though the water was obstructed by the rock. The cave was wide enough for me to turn around and head out the way I came in.
After I passed the end of Italy there was a head wind. It continued all day.
I passed at least a couple dozen sea caves. I explored some, but there were too many to visit them all. Some were large enough to fit my parent’s home into, others were more appropriately shaped to line up a school bus or two.
Inside the rocks were purple and green. Outside, the cliffs were red, orange, yellow, silver, gray, pink, and white.
A fishing boat that was off to my right chugged around a corner into a bay. I followed it in, but didn’t see it anywhere. It had vanished. There was a crack in the cliff face and after paddling through it I found the small hidden port. There was just enough room for the three of four moored fishing boats and a small sidewalk around the edge. Three sides were walled by the cliff and the fourth had a boat ramp and a parking lot. I stretched my legs, fiddled with the ropes holding my seat in place, and then returned to the sea and the headwind.
There was a little bit of chafing. I thought my belt was the culprit so I opened up my pants in the the cockpit and pulled them down.
I passed a town and asked some people hanging around the port how far to Porto Badisco. They told me “not far.”
“How far is ‘not far’?”
“5 kilometers?” I suggested.
“Oy.” I felt.
I paddled into the wind.
I turned around a corner and had a view of a blue bay surrounded by green hills with orange silver cliffs and big caves. There was a small town at the other end and a fisherman perched on a ledge told me that the town was Porto Badisco.
I paddled to the town. There was a sort of a harbor that might have been but probably wasn’t the port I was looking for. Some people told me I had arrived at my destination while more told me I hadn’t. Mostly the crash of the surf was too strong to get a clear answer.
The water there stank of sulfur. It was light blue and full of tiny swimming things that weren’t mosquito larvae.
I decided I hadn’t arrived yet and continued on my way.
A fisherman assured me I had passed it. He was absolutely certain, and close enough to the water so that I could be confident we were communicating well. There were no further villages at all between me and Otranto.
I didn’t believe him. I paddled on for another mile. I still didn’t see it. The land above me was uninhabited. I turned around and went back to the stinky water town. On land I unpacked my gps and saw that I turned around a moment too soon.
I got back into my kayak and paddled into the now formidable head wind. That last mile and a half was hard as I crashed over waves and fought into the wind, but I felt good and full of energy.
As I approached what looked like the port fisherman hollered at me from the top of a squat cliff. They waved their arms to tell me I was going in the right direction to escape the sea.
Porto Badisco is a long narrow natural harbor and I was relieved to glide across its crystal clear glassy water to come to a stop on the sandy beach at its end.
A man was there to welcome me. He was a kayaker and showed me the best part of the small beach to sleep on. Then he left.
There was too much water in my front compartment. Not a dangerous amount, but an unnatural amount. I needed to fix that.
I asked at the bar next to the beach if I could use their bathroom.
“No, we’re closed.”
I found another bar that was also the local supermarket.
“But we don’t have any bread” the owner told me. He thought I would give up and move on but I’m not so easily deterred.
“Do you have spaghetti?” I asked.
He was lying. There isn’t a single newspaper stand in all of Italy that doesn’t sell spaghetti. I walked past him into the shopping area and found the spaghetti. Most of the shelves were empty.
“What about this? You said you didn’t have spaghetti.” I accused.
He was unperturbed and said nothing.
“Do you have canned beans or chickpeas?” I asked.
I looked around and couldn’t find any. “What about tuna?”
I didn’t see that either. I didn’t have any protein. Oh well. There was none. Before I checked out I found the bathroom and cleaned my glasses. Armed with clean glasses, I found the canned tuna and checked out.
The next morning I was supposed to wake up at one. I had been really tired all week since I started the sleep readjustment plan, so I woke up 6:00. I felt good.
I went for a hike in the beautiful countryside around Porto Badisco. Shortly after, Roberto came to meet me. He took me to a shower which was important to ward of chafing during the crossing. He gave me epoxy to fix my boat. And he gave me cookies.
He also gave me a radar beacon so that he’d have an easier time finding me. He planned to leave at 6:00 AM. I was going to leave at 12:00, and we would meet in the middle. I strapped the metal disk pipe onto my life jacket.
Back at my boat I searched the front half for possible leaking wounds. I found a couple of unlikely suspects and epoxied them up. I’m getting pretty good at it.
at 16:00 I lay down to sleep.
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Miles paddled: 22.5
Totall since Naples: 609.5
Current location: 40.081523,18.482747
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