Acc: Reten Naval
Dist: 25,5 km
Start: 6:30 End: 13:00
No paddling tomorrow
Started too late to write this day’s update – now I can’t concentrate anymore being too tired…I’ll write the contents tomorrow.
I was just praising last night’s good safe feeling camping close to a village where I had greeted all the village people and they knew that I’m there. So there should be no one surprised stumbling over my tent at any time.
But obviously this was not counting for two young guys thinking they needed to pay me an extra visit – at 10.15 pm. Surely I was already deep asleep, feeling safe, and woke up very grumpy getting disturbed by them. They just “wanted to talk to me”, started to sit on my kayak what I could just about prevent as it would not like it. Fortunately I had pulled the kayak as usual across my main entrance as kind of a blockage. They then squatted on the outer side, and talked in a low voice in Spanish from what I could only understand the tone of the voice. “Senora, por favor, palabra, conversation…”
I had only zipped open a slight bit of my inner tent, and as soon as I noticed that they didn’t had anything important to say I told them clearly I was tired, sleeping already and that they should better be gone now. Even if they may not have understood me fully, the tone of my voice must have been clear I was not interested in *any* conversation at this time of the night.
They kept on talking, banging on my kayak: “Senora, por favor…” – continuously. I one last time briefly unzipped the top of my tent, shone them my strongest flashlight into their faces, and told them now louder to just f… off! No success yet…again: ” Senora, por favor…, senora, por favor…senora, por favor…”
My nerves were stronger, as I simply now didn’t do anything anymore, no reply, no movement. just letting them run out of steam, and hoping they didn’t move on to more violent actions on my kayak, tent or even me. I surely by myself was checking all the time my options now – I should have taken at least my very loud marine emergency whistle inside my tent, as that noise would hopefully woken up the friendly village people 100 meters away. Or my emergency flare…I just had my strong flashlight, and my knife, which I didn’t really like to use for defense…all my communication devices like phones were useless in this case.
Fortunately they eventually after about 20 min of bothering me decided there won’t be any success in “talking” to me, and they went away. Would they be back, with maybe more people?
I sat upright in my tent for about another two hours, after I quickly picked my whistle out of my kayak, listening carefully to any of the many crackling noises in the bush behind me. But they may only have come from animals or from the poor souls on the graveyard…maybe those two guys have also been only zombies coming from there? I think when I shone them in their faces with my strong flash light they have been black…
Maybe with the local girls, they have success with this method, but not with a strong Teutonic German woman! Still, my urgently needed rest on this night was fully disturbed, and I may have fallen briefly asleep after midnight for maybe a few hours. I was quickly launching with first light in the morning, with nobody showing up any more – fortunately…it was such a nice camp site with a warm welcome from the local village people as usual!
Certainly, my paddling power for this day was low, but I at least could make some 10 km in easy calm conditions. But the horizon showed dark as usual, announcing some rain. But this time, it was not only “a bit” like I experienced it the other days in the tropical zone, but a heavy squall with winds around 20 knots – surely out of due north east, exactly where I was heading to. I even had to put on my light wind breaker with that wind chill and being all wet, even though it was all warm air, water and rain.
I kept on ploughing into the headwind, not willing to turn around or to give up – this can’t last forever! But it seemed to…and I decided to turn right 90 degrees to head at least to the shore where I spotted a village earlier on. Glad I had my GPS, as the visibility was nothing worth.
I slowly made my way with maybe 3 km/h toward the village, when eventually after about an hour the squall and wind got less, and I could even see the village!
But now I regained my energy, and decided to paddle at least until Atacames, half way to my planned destination Esmeraldas, despite still having headwinds around 15 knots. But if I don’t paddle in those conditions, when else? There will be many headwind days all along the northern hemisphere area…
I spotted at least one nice camp able beach, but after that experience last night I really preferred again the shelter of a Reten Naval, which I knew Atacames had one. That Atacames was a huge holiday factory village and the Reten Naval station right in the middle of the long wide crowded beach, I didn’t know….but this was the best option! Noise considerations now loose over safety…
I decided to land on a spot almost perpendicular to the Reten Naval station, which I easily could make out by the large antenna again. There were some paracending guys active, that sort where you get dragged behind a motorboat on a round parachute. They were just friendly and perfect to watch my kayak while I was walking up to the Navy station.
Fortunelty the Navy guys knew about my trip, though I was announced this night for Esmeraldas. They warmly welcomed me to stay, and gave me a room, shower and some lunch. There is nothing like the “Hotel Naval”! Once more thanks to the Ecuadorian Navy! I think without their support and possibilities to stay I would have a much harder time to paddle safely in this area.
After already a good afternoon’s rest, I decided to have a brief walk along the beach promenade road, with many bars and restaurants, souvenir, hair braiding and tattoo shops, and simply loud music on *every* site. Noisy, but this is where the Ecuadorian holiday beach life was! I felt actually a bit lonely, not being able to enjoy that much of the local offers being just by myself. But you can’t have it all! This is not a touristic hotel holiday trip with friends, rather a “Tour de Navy” trip. Much more my thing anyway…
My room has wifi, a nice breeze, and is left for me from Dany, an Ecuadorian Navy Seal. I know some of them! (My son’s father was a German Navy Seal…)