Loc: Rio Verde
Dist: 30 km
Start: 7:20 End: 14:05
Tomorrow’s estimated landing: Olmedo
Why didn’t I listen to my experience, and put up my tent inside a room, if possible, to have a peaceful bug free sleep on the mattress I am used to?
The Navy accommodation looked so nice – relatively new houses in almost a separate Navy village, with a big room, well clean, even with air condition, TV, fridge, towel and toilet paper…thanks again to “Hotel Navy”!
But the mattress was just too soft for my back, being used to sleep on the thin inflatable Thermarest, and the so bug-free looking room was obviously not…I got several new bites, or they came maybe even from the time dealing with the passport stamp in town, and all scratching and cooling gel didn’t really help.
After I tried only my sleeping pad on the floor, I gave up on the bug-free idea, and eventually resigned myself to put up my tent at midnight. Since then I could sleep a bit, earplugs in against the air condition noise.
I got a pickup at 6.30 am as planned, and after some little waiting here and there for the right person to show up, I could launch at 7.20 am, well in time for the short 30 km paddle to Rio Verde.
The information at Atacames was wrong about that there being another Reten Naval, but the Port Captain solved the problem by contacting the local municipal people.
I got easily flushed out of the large river mouth with no single tidal wave, and headed straight to the headland in the distance.
My Navy escort boat today probably kept the almost hundred small fishing boats out there at bay, mostly manned with two black guys. I was quite sure they may have come up way more than they did anyway, being friendly-curious, but the obvious sight of the Navy boat made them probably think a bit…
They were fishing in an interesting way for shrimps, setting up a very small boat with a very small engine as a tiny trawler, dragging the net, attached on two weights on two paddle-size outriggers with highest engine power very slowly over the ground. It eventually sounded like a huge bee hive I was paddling through – or neighbor’s many lawn movers in a large garden colony. At least the local boat engine sellers make good money, as I think an engine doesn’t hold up long being treated in this way. The catch was poured on a piece of wood laid across the boat like a tray table, and was already being sorted while trawling for the next load.
The narrow river mouth of Rio Verde came up with a large area of small white tidal waves, it looked obviously even for my Navy boat a bit strange. They were asking a local fishing boat how to get into the river best, and one of the Navy guys jumped in the small fishing boat to escort me into the river mouth. The a bit larger Navy boat stayed well outside the river on low tide. They seemed a bit concerned about me in those confused tidal waves, but I saw they were neither high nor trashy, just bumpy fun! Well, if you participated in the “Brandungsübungen” with Udo Beier and you are able to perform a low brace…(sorry, a local German joke…)
I think I elegantly surfed through the bumpy water into the calmer river water area, all eyes of the local fishermen on me in many boats speeding by, and my Navy guy probably was hoping he doesn’t have to rescue me… All no problem and just fun!
I had to paddle a bit harder against the current, but stayed very close on the right shore, and it was much less hard than yesterday into Rio Esmeraldas! Everywhere, complete fishing families were sitting in the boats or on shore and were working on the pile of freshly caught shrimps. A full family business! Surely curious eyes were looking at me everywhere, and I’d have loved to film the scenery on the shoreline. But I even was so polite not to take any touristic pictures, just waving friendly at everyone, getting many friendly waves back. I was busy with the current of the river anyway…
I felt a bit like circumnavigating a different continent, as even on the other river side the same picture – only black fisher men with their families working on the pile of shrimps. I saw one of the next villages tomorrow is really called “Africa”… South America is such a melting pot of cultures.
The river was now on half tide, displaying enough sandy beach to land easy. I unloaded, and many helpful hands were carrying my gear up the shore. A pick up car from a municipality guys came, and kayak and gear got loaded, and driven into town to the city hall, which actually looked quite modern!
I got greeted by a whole team of municipality members, and the mayor of the city came to greet me and to welcome me. Thanks for the honor! I don’t know how they called also a TV team so quickly…I gave a brief interview, many pictures were taken in front of the city hall with the kayak, and the mayor decided to present me a hotel room for the night. Many thanks!
My hotel room is in a back yard, very quiet, with a ventilator on occasional electricity. The bed has a nice hard mattress and even a bug net! Best conditions to get a full rest this afternoon and during the night…
Another thanks to the Ecuadorian Navy looking so well after me, and to the city of Rio Verde, treating me like a VIP guest!