Crossed over to a shower and aircondition!
Loc: Punta Cardón
Acc: Hotel Punta Cardón
Dist: 43,8 km
Start: 5:50 End: 16:10
It blew 20 knots around my tent almost all night, I had to close my outer tent doors to get some peace. I had no idea if I’d be crossing to Punta Cardón next day, the forecast sounded favorite, but by no way I’d love to be caught in the wind from yesterday afternoon for the last kilometer. I was already on the water, not really sure where to go, and decided to check again the weather. No difference, but when I saw over the land handing a huge thunderstorm-like cloud, I decided to cross. It promised me somehow to keep the wind low, at least lower than yesterday when it was clear sky and sunny all day. Ok, the first hours were actually the most windy ones, as fore casted, still around 15 knots. But it soon got calmer and all around 10 knots, and I made good progress on my 41 km to go.
The only thing bothering me a bit was the massive interest of fishing boats in my person this morning – about 25 boats came along side, single or in bunches of two or three and were asking about my whereabouts. Basically no problem and all friendly, but I can’t tell the guys they are boat number 23 today, and overall probably boat number 2319 asking me the same old stuff…so keep on smiling and be charming, and be happy they don’t bother you in whatever way but are very respectful and impressed – as are all fishing boat people. They also took pictures and videos (Damn the cell phone pest…), but I never stopped paddling any time. But each time I better let my GPS disappear from my deck, you never know.
You have to get used to their usual face masks against the sun, looking like bank robbers with mostly simple old t-shirts pulled over the head and cut four holes in the front. Fortunately at least the main guy talking to me has usually a bare and friendly face…they know at least conversational manners. Fortunately I always can easily make clear I speak only little Spanish, and after a friendly waving and greeting, “Yo soy de l’Allemana, no hablamos muchos Espanol”, telling from which the last big city I came and the next one to go and listing the countries I have paddled they are getting bored quite soon watching me paddling, not able to communicate much and head off – until the next engine sound comes and the same procedure starts over again. But it could be worse! Once early morning has passed and all boats were in from the night’s work, the spook was over.
Punta Cardón was already yesterday lurking all day and night with three high burning chimneys from some oil refinery, it was easy to keep direction even without GS. Coming closer it was looking somewhat ugly, but the many cheap petrol needs to come from somewhere! A huge tanker boat got pulled in by three pilot boats, and I remembered how I was a guest on such a boat in Puerto Bolivar. But I better paddled quickly past, the hissing noise of the burning gas chimneys was sounding dangerous.
And my hotel was lurking! I had a GPS position, and coming closer after passing the industrial area at the first point I was wondering if someone had thought about the accessibility of the hotel by kayak…? “100 m off the beach” was the saying, but it could be a vertical hundred meters? Cliffs were piling up high all along, and curiously I was heading around a few small points until my GPS position made me choose between a tiny, small but pretty beach with one single beach umbrella, or around the next point just 100 m further a wide beach with some restaurant and a playground higher up. I opted for the second wider one, but learned I was wrong! No problem, paddling back was no distance, and I saw my welcome committee stand in the middle of the long steep staircase. Fortunately the manager Teresa Navarro brought a bunch of people, all happy to help me with my bags and kayak. It was quite a long and steep climb! My kayak got stored securely in some shed, and I was happy about my clean and air conditioned room. I always have to wear a scarf on my head in such conditions, and am wrapped in my blanket now after a good shower.
I was able to look into the mirror – oh my god…heat rash all over, and infected scratches from insect bites…very sexy, I took some pictures. Maybe I’ll post one. They even greeted me with a paramedic to treat me, but thanks I think a good shower and cool dry salt free air does the job. I tiny bit of cream here and there, and I will be looking much better tomorrow! Maybe I should give my skin two days of rest, we’ll see.
Actually I was thinking I should use some salt water soap every night before my tiny fresh water shower, maybe it does better for my skin. But very soon you are sweating your ass off again inside the tent and it is back to a yucky layer of sweat and sand (which you never can avoid in such a wind).
Thanks again to the local kayaker Edgar Lopéz and the hotel manager Teresa Navarro to provide me such a great place to rest! Tomorrow we’ll do some press work in return. I only need to get new fresh water and a bit of fruit, no other chores besides online work to do. Good.