Sunday, June 29, 2014

Day 144

I walked along the beach smiling and squinting at the girls. One of them smiled back. A rasta girl had an old dog that looked a little like a chocolate a lab and we started to talk.

She was not bikini clad, but rather wore beat up flower clothing from the 60s. She sat next to a guitar and well worn travel bags.

We shared supplies for dinner and I learned Asha's story.

Asha met her dog at a pound. Clove's eyes connected with hers and it was love at first sight. Asha and Clove left home to travel the world she took her guitar and camping equipment with her.
Their last 100 dollars was stolen in Mexico. After that they supported themselves with street corner concerts--she writes her own music--and selling handmade jewelry knickknacks. They made it to South America and then, somehow, over to Europe. They hitchhiked through Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Greece, where they settled in a valley next to a Cretan stream. Their epic journey had brought them to a place of nymphs, fairies, and sprites, a place where a dog could grow old and be happy, and a young woman could while away her days tending a wilderness garden as the last free spirit.

Things were good, until she brought food to a friend in jail and was incarcerated herself for overstaying her visa. She did not speak Greek and was unable to order her food over the phone as the system provided. As a vegetarian she would not eat the meat spaghetti the church occasionally brought. For four days she was very hungry.

Then she was expelled to Turkey.

She found her way to the mountains around me a week ago and made camp in the woods. This morning, Turkish soldiers broke up her camp and threw her out.

Her dog is old and they're looking for a place to settle down. Maybe if they can make it back to the EU, where there's more money in street concerts, they can save up enough to get to South America where life is good.

Good luck Asha.

Day 144

Asha made camp on the beach a few hundred meters from me. We had breakfast together and she insisted that I take her ginger, walnuts, and fruit with me. I steadfastly refused so she hid the supplies in one of my drybags.

I connect with walnuts. The story is that grandpa Sam was so strong he could crack walnuts with his bare hands, so they make me think of him.

I paddled past pristine beaches and 2000-meter forested mountains just over the water. I explored a sea cave with a single chamber large enough to fit half a dozen elephants in a circus pyramid.

The sky was dark and the tail wind grew strong and even became a little uncomfortable. I paddled along a beach just outside the surf zone. I expected to find a river mouth with a couple of bars a short paddle inland if I decided to stop early.

Suddenly I was in the surf. A wave one and a half times my height broke and rammed my starboard side. I leaned into it, sculled, and used the bursting foam to support my weight. I must have been near the river mouth, but without my glasses I wasn't sure.

I fought to get out of the extended surf zone, and was hit by a few more waves, but nothing as big as the first.

With the surf behind me, I squimted out the shape of cyclists just behind the beach. Cool, my triumph over the sea had been witnessed.

I arrived in the port and climbed out of Icarus into shallow water. I picked her up by the bow and stepped onto a ramp, pulling her with me. My second step slipped out from under me. I dropped her onto the concrete with a bang. As I fell my camera jumped out of my jacket pocket, hit the ground, popped open and into the water. On my hands and knees I slid down the slime to the bottom of the ramp.

My pride was shaken. My hull was dented, but nothing I couldn’t repair. My camera was full of salt water, and no amount of dry rice could save it.

The port was not a hospitable place. Showers cost eight Turkish lira ( ~ $4). There was an unused stand that would have been perfect for me to fix my boat on, but the coast guard wouldn't let me, or even take the time to let me explain.

I wandered over to a water sports center, where I was greeted like a king. I could sleep there overnight, for as many days as I like. They would feed me and be happy to give me the eight lira for a shower.

I met a Saudi Arabian trio, a younger man and an older couple, who had just finished a ride on a speed boat. The woman was wearing a conservative Islamic outfit and headscarf.

My hosts told them my story and they were impressed.

The wife explained to me that even though they were very wealthy, the husband walked everywhere. In fact, now he's famous for it. They were really impressed by my trip.

Later, while I was eating dinner, he walked over and handed me money. I thanked him kindly and counted 200 Turkish lira after he left.

That was a lot of cash to be handed. They were having dinner some 50 feet away so I walked over to thank him again. He, and the other two handed me more money and we talked, smiled, and took pictures.

The younger man asked me what religion I was, "Christian?"

"Jewish," I told him.

The woman nearly screamed, desperately hoping she had misheard me. The younger man asked again.

I was still Jewish.

The older man stepped in. "Great! We're cousins. We are from Ishmael and you, Isaac. We shook hands like long lost family and after another picture, I politely made my escape.

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Nautical miles paddled: 24.5
Current location: 36.262092,29.412096


  1. Glad you still manage to post! Get new glasses damn it, sounds scary!

  2. glasses and camera please.... also didn't you get a shot of the Saudis ?

  3. where was the rasta girl originally from?

  4. One of those bleak States West of NYC that I don't know anything about

  5. They took some pictures before they learned I was Jewish, they never emailed them to me.