Loc: Playa Catarindo just behind Mollendo
Dist: 72,5 km
Start: 4:50 End: 17:15
No paddling tomorrow!
This was a great night’s rest! Falling asleep at 7.30 pm, earplugs in against the noisy surf on the steep gravel beach,feeling safe, no late visitors…
I just heard somehow the six fishing boats starting to drive out during the night, they were all gone in the morning.
We had an easy slip down the beach on a lull, and knew there was a looooong paddling day ahead of us! But again, the sea was calm with low to moderate swell, with no to low wind, perfect easy conditions. We are paddling faster on oily sea with no wind than with a bit of a push from behind and some chop!
Every 5 km we had a short break, and enjoyed the mountains behind the foreland turning more and more green. First were cliffs with a few deeper caletas, then came the wide bump of very low land around the river mouth of Rio Tamboo. The surf around the beach of the low land was big, not inviting at all to possibly go in!
But our destination was Mollendo, where we saw a small harbor on Google Earth. But I also saw it was very rectangular, pointing toward an artificially made harbor with steep walls and no landing for small crafts, which we already had seen more than once. Also we read on the sailing directions this harbor has been closed down somehow, so we had our doubts…
There were three caletas right after Molllendo which may be better suitable to land, and the last option would have been Puerto Materani more than 10 more km ahead. But that we would have only reached at night…
So we had our check on the Mollendo harbor first, and sure it was like we expected – two coast guard officers waiting at the headland of the port entrance, and if we could have used our VHF radio and if we would have been able to understand each other, they might have told us from the distance it’s not worth it in there…but we wanted a brief look ourselves!
The entrance was almost closed out from the surf, but I saw a line which looked safe at least when there wasn’t a fat one coming in.
We paddled through the narrow entrance quickly, and instantly felt trapped…just like being in a lock! It sure had high steep walls, and at the end there were some large rocks which was not even to be called a beach where the surf was running on still very nasty. No way we would land there!
There was no other boat in there via which we may have been able to disembark, and we even doubted there would ever be one going in again!
Only a huge offshore anchored tanker was pumping via a submarine pipeline some petroleum into huge tanks on shore. It had a home port of “Istanbul” – interesting…
After a brief communication with the coast guard officers, we aimed for the second caleta, Play Catarindo, which we also though would be best as an alternative landing. We quickly paddled out again of the trap, and just paddled another 1,7 km into the deep caleta with a reasonablly calm sandy landing beach.
The coast guard was already waiting for us, and we safely landed just 1/2 hr before sunset. They were going to some effort to welcome us! Together with the nice young couple of the local beach restaurant, they were serving on a small table a few yummy bites and coke, very, very nice! Another young lady officer was translating, thanks! It seems that always the lady officers are able to speak some good English!
We were allowed to camp on the small lawn behind the restaurant, and were safely guarded at night via video and watch dogs. After a nice hot shower in their private shed we felt great! thanks a lot for all your hospitality!