Loc: Frank Bay
Dist: 44,2 km
Start: 5:25 End: 16:05
I should have remembered my new luxury item yesterday: An Asian handheld fan to give me a bit of a breeze – when I not have to do other things in my tent. Thanks to Jenny for donating the fancy piece!
I slept all right, not too much attention from the coast guard boys, besides a few curious walkers by. I was to round the south westernmost point of Trinidad today, heading already over to Venezuela today would have been possible, but I think I’d only be expected on that stretch by mangroves and swamp, if I’d not be going up the rivers at night. At east what I saw on Google Earth. So I rather opted to find the other short crossing after another paddle along Trinidad’s coast, to find a beach (or what looks like it on the sat image) tomorrow after 46 km. Hopefully! The tide is right, high at night and morning. For now…
But before rounding the point, I had to cross Columbus Bay. Was he happyt to give his name to what was an oil lake? Dead calm water, but the whole bay was infested with a thick layer of oil. As I had no idea where it starts and where it ends, I had to go through. Yesterday I was already hitting an oil field, but this was small and thin compared to what I had to pass today. Yesterday I still could wipe it instantly off with my sponge, today it was several km and over an hour to pass this yucky field. the result was a thick layer of sticky oil all over my self, my paddle, my paddle leash and on my spray deck and shirt sleeves! YUCK!!! YUCK!!! YUCK!!! I had to get rid of this!
My first attempt to land on a sandy beach to just wipe it off like yesterday with my sponge was not at all working any more, the layer was too thick and too long a time now on my boat and gear. What to do? I had a tiny bottle of white spirit in my repair kit, but would it last for this mess? A fishing boat came by, another… and another was even curiously stopping for a chat. That was my chance! The four men could already see my desperate face, filled their bailing pot with gasoline from their engine and started to clean me and my boat. thanks very, very much, guys! I was already starting to become desperate like a bird or duck who has that stuff in his feathers…
I even had a lot of oil on my legs from re-entering the boat on the beach, and stuck one up in the air after the other for the guy to wipe it off with his gasoline rag. He smiled and said his wife would be killing him if she’d see that he was rubbing a woman’s bare legs…
Eventually they finished their job, and I was happy again! Now I could hit the mud in Venezuela… but after a while paddling I noticed it was not yet all gone, my sleeves, sponge, paddle shaft, fingers and some parts of the kayak were not really clean yet. I just paddled past a fishing spot, perfect! I landed to ask for more gasoline, fortunately my friendly helpers were just also coming in with their boat and I could just ask the people I knew already. On the shallow beach I got an oil can full of gasoline now, and wiped my kayak and the rest clean as good as it went. Not too bad now actually, despite my shirt still smelling a bit, although I went swimming and I forgot a few stains. But I could even soak my sticky sponge, which eventually became more soft and fluffy than before. But it kept some smell all day… paddling with the open spray deck I still had it in my nose. But better a bit of smell left than sticky with oil! I think I rather paddle through sewage with bits in than through oil again… souvenir from Trinidad as it lives like Venezuela also of the oil!
Around the point the sea became shallow and bumpy in some wind, and it went slow. But I got there! I picked not the village Glenn advised me to go to, but am camping on an inviting green mown meadow which may be belonging to a farm, but no one to be seen (for now…). It is a bit wet, but my sheltered corner has a thick layer of mown grass where I put my tent on. All kinds of jumping, biting and flying critters were around, I was covered fully and happy to eventually jump inside my tent. It will be more wet and “biting” camping the next days! Tomorrow will be quite windy, but I will cross over and hopefully reach the “beach” before night fall and find a dry camp spot!