Thursday, May 8, 2014

Day 126

Day 126

The goal for the day was to make the 15 mile crossing to the desert island of Giaros and then paddle around to make camp on the beach on the far side.

The forecast for the morning was calm, for the evening terrifying.  And in between, the winds would incrementally strengthen from the south.  We set out early and the weather, fortunately, came late.

The island's walls were gargantuan gray cliffs.  The lines separating the layers of stone squiggled and bent as though the rock had been folded over on itself and twisted a thousand times to build the mountains.  In a cove I found the uprooted trunk of an ancient redwood.  I felt it, and felt stone. 

A half pipe just wide enough for my kayak seemed to have been carved out of the rock and climbed hundreds or even a thousand feet up from a small beach.  Lines in the rock marked off  more centuries than strokes I've paddled and so close together that a mouse would have felt constricted in their maze.   

A stream trickled out of a low cliff and goats subtly watched our progress.

The beach was sheltered beneath an old brick prison.  The water was clear and I felt good, so I wet exit* to swim the last 20 feet to shore, then changed my mind and performed a reentry and roll. 

After landing, George and I set out to  explore.  I walked barefoot through the grass and gasped in pain as though a thousand tiny needles pierced my foot.  This was because a thousand tiny needles had pierced my foot.  I inadvertently brushed them off of a small plant that stood out no more than a mime in Paris.  I hobbled a bit, massaged away the pain, and walked it off - until I was struck a second time.  I learned to beware of the mimes.

I found a well with water in it.  I wondered if it was potable, but decided not to find out.  Goat skulls littered the island, oddly the remaining remains of the long gone goats were less frequent.  Shotgun shells may have provided an explanation.

The abandoned prison was on the hill over the beach.  It was easily large enough for a couple hundred inmates and apparently in its heyday had housed 5,000.  Graffiti yelled "Never again."  We wandered its halls and its cells.  We found kitchens, auditoriums, yards, and even a stable.  In some places the ceiling had collapsed, in others the walls had holes, but mostly the jail was intact.  Even some furniture had been left behind.

Most importantly, we found showers.  But they didn't work.

Bunnies were outside and their poop was inside.  In one guard tower the poop was easily three feet deep and half buried a goat skeleton.  My only theory involves a herd of bunnies uncovering an abandoned sack of beans while a poor goat was drunk on overripe figs.

George introduced me to some of the edible plants on the island and we lightly boiled them for some cooked greens.

The storm came in time for bed.  George holed up in his tent and I took refuge in the prison.  The only section with no bunny poop had tiny cells and big iron doors.  I wonder if it was used  for solitary confinement.  I didn't want to spend the night thinking about it.  I found an auditorium where the bunny poop was near the walls and made my camp in the center.

The wind blew overhead and the rain came down, but the poop and I were warm, settled, and dry.

*Swam out of the kayak.

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Nautical miles paddled: 18
Current location: 37.600245,24.735761

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