Loc: Capitania in Playas
Dist: 45,2 km
Start: 6:40 End: 16:50
Estimated landing: Chanduy
I slept well and undisturbed – no one around anywhere on land or water. Good.
This morning the water’s edge was a bit closer, yesterday early afternoon I had quite a bit to carry to the high tide mark, maybe 100 m. Enough…
As soon I was launching, a small motorboat was approaching – pirates already up this early? No, it was just a young Navy guy checking if I was still alive and if I’d be heading straight to Playas – yes, all good, thanks! He left again soon, he was very sorry actually, but was soon replaced by the bigger boat from yesterday. They stayed for about 6 km, and also left…no pirates to be seen on the horizon?
At about 25 km left, another small motorboat came, I was already straightening my shoulders, but was just happy to see three other Navy guys now escorting me longer. Until about 9 km before Playas, then they also headed off without notice.
And now? Where to go? Being on my own, I’m used to looking for a safe campsite myself, as there was no clear call where to go and if I’d be getting offered a safe spot in Playas city to camp…but maybe it was just my own bad communication in poor Spanish?
Anyway, I decided to head to an area of beach with no houses, and made my first landing through the easy but wide surf. It was not to my satisfaction yet, as I spotted some more fancy hoses further up the beach, and in a fancy beach housing area I assumed it would be a bit more safe to camp. What should I do on a crowded city beach?
I landed, and carried all my heavy gear bags about 120 m up the hot beach, again on low tide…three loads plus dragging the boat. I could have camped just between two inhabited fancy properties in front of a wild area, but spotted a shady open beach hut close to the house to the right. I found a guy to ask if I could put up my tent there, and he agreed. Perfecto!
I moved my gear to the shady roof, and was just about to put up my tent, as I spotted my old escort boat out there – sorry, too late, guys! You were heading off, and I took action… no way I’d carry and drag everything down the hot beach again…
But just then a 4-wheel motorbike with a Navy guy came, obviously called by the boat to pick me up. well… if you take my gear bags…and soon he found another guy to get my boat back to the water’s edge, and I could paddle another 5,5 km unloaded onto Playas city beach.
The Navy offered me a safe place to camp inside the Capitania, including shower (very appreciated), security inside a fence (definitely very much appreciated) and street noise (less appreciated…). But I rather was able to forget the latter… thanks to Claudio, the Port Captain of Playas and his guys, to pick me from the beach and to give me a safe place to stay!
Sure, the obviously now daily security escort and safe campsites feel like paddling as a VIP, but also less free. But rather unfree and safe than free and unsafe… it is not for the very easy water, it is for my peace in mind and body. Thanks, Ecuadorian Navy!
Tomorrow, I’ll also get an escort and a place at the Capitania in Chanduy. At least I’ll know then for sure…and an officer of Salinas already mailed…I’m getting nicely passed along! Now it’s all about endurance…