Sunday, March 30, 2014

Day 114


This morning I did not want to get out of my sleeping bag. So I didn’t.

I was on the water by 9:30. While I packed I chatted with some sailors who were about to embark with their 40 foot boat to England. They do about a hundred miles a day.

I headed due south. A field of crashing waves spread out ahead, maybe half a square mile. I could go wide around them, or cross through. I went through. I got hit twice and supported myself on the bursting foam until the wave underneath me lost its fury, then pushed on.

Past the surf zone two meter swells floated me up and down. Their low frequency made them intimidating but not challenging.

I could just make out the fort at the northern end of the Levkas canal. As I drew close I saw a green light. The rule is “red right return.” The red light is on the right side when you return to port. At least, that’s the rule in America, in Europe the rule is “the opposite of red right return.”

The light was green, which meant I had passed the entrance to the canal. Huh.

I looked back the way I had come and didn’t see any canals. A sailboat and a fishing boat were headed in my direction. I watched and waited. They passed me and disappeared around a subtle curve in the beach. I followed them into the canal.

A small harbor is built up against the fort. I paddled around the fort, a sunken 50 foot steam ship and under a drawbridge. On my right was a road and on my left, a low grassy sea wall that separated the canal from other water that may have been a swamp.

I paddled past a large port and the city of Levkas, which was celebrating Greek Independance Day loudly.

I continued down the canal. The island of Levkas and its towering mountains were to my right. The swamp and mainland Greece to my left. I saw a couple of herons fly off. I passed a broken old stone tower that jutted from the water and a small fort on a low rise adjacent to the water. I had an excellent current. At the end of the canal is a small bay and village. The bay is overlooked by a larger fort and populated by a couple of rusty sunken ships.

The inner sea beyond reminded me of British Columbia’s fjords. The water was flat and mountain-islands surrounded me.

I paddled off my chart. I looked at a map in the morning and had a good idea of where I wanted to go, but I asked a man working a fish farm just to be sure. He thought it was cool that I was going to Miticas and confirmed for me that it was at the end of big range. The set of mountains after that was an island.

“How far is it?” I asked.

“About an hour by car.” He told me.

The sea route was definitely shorter. I wondered how fast Greek people drive or how direct the roads are.

I began to cross the mouth of a bay. The current from the canal translated into a tail wind. I turned around. Ominous dark clouds with patches of doom were coming over the mountains. If I turned into the bay I could call it a day at Palairos, but that was in the wrong direction. I also didn’t want to waste the wonderful tail wind I was enjoying, so what if I got rained on.

Behind me Levkas was being enveloped by the storm. The wind jostled me along. The clouds got closer and began to pull ahead of me. Small whitecaps appeared everywhere and by sprinting from the troughs between waves I was able to catch and cruise them.

The clouds enveloped the peaks ahead and by the time I finished the crossing, the sun shone. The mountains got rained on, but not me.

A swarm of birds made shapes in the sky and chirped madly over the island across from Miticas. I pulled up to the village.

A few small docks extended from buildings on the water. I asked an old man if this was the port, or if there was a real port around the corner. I used hand gestures as much as possible, because I didn’t know if he understood me.

He made it clear this was the port. I pulled up on a small beach next to a bar and unpacked my things.

The old man indicated he wanted my help by handing me a saw and pointing to a clump of wood under the tail end of his beached boat. I got on my hands and knees in the water and did his sawing for him. He had no idea where I might find a free shower.

I asked in the bar, “Do you have wifi?”

“I don’t understand.”


“Are you speaking English?” The man asked me.

“Yes, WI-FI.” I tried again.

He didn’t understand. I looked around helplessly and saw a sign that said in English “Free wi-fi!” I pointed to the sign.

“Oh, wi fi, why didn’t you say so?”

After working on my blog for an hour I was asked to leave.

I found the port. They didn’t have a shower.

[gallery type="rectangular" ids="4039,4042,4046,4048,4051,4053,4054"]

Nautical miles paddled: 23.5
Current location: 38.667845,20.943545

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