Loc: Bahia Humboldt
Acc: Navy boat
Dist: 41,1 km
Start: 6:15 End: 15:50
Tomorrow’s estimated landing: Panama!
It was full moon last night, and I even had to cover my eyes to sleep properly. we all got up quite early, had to drive only 8,7 km to my last point, and I was on the water at 6.15 am. It was again dead calm and boring. But once I reached Cabo Marza, I was close to the coast again, and paddled among a few small rocky islands.
Jonathan tried to tell me already yesterday I need to stay far away from the coast, as the guerrillas are very frequent here in the north of Colombia, and especially on Cab Marza, and they may shoot me from the shore…I didn’t really believe him, as he actually meant yesterday: “Please cut across the deep bays and don’t hug the coast that we are done earlier!”, and today he meant by instructing me to stay 2 km off the cape: “Pleas don’t paddle in the rocky garden as we can’t drive in there to rescue you, just in case…!”
Fortunately for him I was planning yesterday anyway to cross directly from point to point, as the bays were really too deep and as I was not looking for campsites I rather like to be also done with the Colombian coastline soon. But today I was passing Cabo Marzan very close in in straight line, and paddling in between the rocky islands was beautiful. Surely not anybody there at all. And dead calm and easy with lowest swell. The guys stayed far out and kept on chasing a few boats to check on. All good.
After I started to cross Bahia Humboldt to head to Jurado where I need to get my exit stamp in my passport, I thought why not stopping paddling *now* (3.50.pm) and driving to Jurado (12 km), as the entry is a river mouth and it was high tide now. On Google Earth, the river mouth was blurry, so no idea how it really looked, rather open or narrow. But high tide may be good anyway.If I’d keep on paddling until 5 pm, we would have stopped about 7 km before Jurado, and getting there would be low tide early before lunchtime tomorrow.
How well I did with my spontaneous plan change showed as we came closer – it was amazing big surf on the beach before the river mouth! But we saw a small fishing boat entering the river, and fortunately an other one which was just out there fishing. We were asking the one out there how it would be getting into the river mouth with the big boat,and the guy said he was not sure…so why not jumping on the fishermen’s small boat, and they would drive me and Jonathan right in there, directly landing at the Immigration office! Done deal, and off we go!
It showed it was a narrow windy rocky dogleg entrance, barely suitable for a small fishing boat, for a kayak ok with local knowledge and good timing with the wave guarding the entrance. But nothing for the big coastguard boat with three fat V8-engines! We drove quite some beautiful windings into the river, different scenery than the other muddy mangrovy ones further south. We had to pass a well protected, heavily armed and guarded Navy infantry station, and then were in the middle of the township. Kids were swimming in the not too muddy river water, and wooden houses were , simply built, everywhere on the right side of the river. We landed on a small concrete ramp, and were walking through the mostly wooden village, to the modern immigration building.
We knew the office was open until 5 pm, so it was just worked out! The officer was working quickly, and off we went again! Back to the fishing boat, and back to the coast guard boat waiting for us offshore. This was the best idea I had today, to do the job *now*! Who knows about tomorrow – I assume on low tide the river mouth is inaccessible even for small boats!
The guys paid the fishermen with a canister of fuel,and ordered their usual fish and rice meal…a “drive-in” the Colombian way!
I will be handed over to the Panama Coast guard tomorrow afternoon! I don’t refuse another escort so far – as I have to get my entry stamp in Jaques, but which has a wide open river mouth.
And to get eventually through the Panama Canal, the way will be only going via the coast guard, I assume…let’s hope for the best!