Loc: Playa Chiquirin
Acc: room in the port
Dist: 36,4 km
Start: 06:00 End: 14:35
Until the evening, I am finally breaded allover with fine sand inside my tent, gear and body, it finds its way through any opening I need to leave for ventilation. Well, one just needs to accept this when spending the afternoon and sleeping at night on a hot windy beach. At least the sweat pouring is not as much due to the constant breeze.
My watchdogs of the night arrive late at seven, already in darkness. I was missing them already! But not I need them here. The two escort boats stay offshore. I am just busy with my writing in a wind lull, not to get too much sand on the laptop keyboard. Suddenly, I see some shadows approaching. Ah, here they come! I grab my strong flashlight and shine them right into the face. And they really lift their hands like they surrender! Not often I am able to control six fully armed policemen like this. They are extraordinarily friendly as all of them, maybe a bit too much as I stay inside my tent as I am just busy with my laptop. All of them are maltreating their phones, either calling, taking pictures, or typing or speaking to Google Translate while sticking the results into my tent opening for me to either read or listen to the output. Well, I am patient. Yes, I am fine, I do not need water or food, feel safe and appreciate your presence, and I fully understand all of you are also very curious about me, but finally, I would like to continue my work and have a bit of privacy! Or does anyone feel the need to stay even inside my tent for the night watch?? At least they understand my humor. I have to tell them they should please not stand all night right besides my tent, I am not that unsafe here! They finally move maybe fifty meters away, for my feeling it could be more, but oh well, all good, they are only keen to do the best job. They also light a small fire to chase the “wild animals away”, in this case likely the bugs. I finish my office work, and fall asleep.
Next morning, I am up as always in darkness to make the most out of the calm morning hours. Their reflecting vests are easy to spot close by in the moonlight. Thanks, guys, I slept well and safe! How was your night?
The surf belt in the almost high water in the morning is much wider, but does look lower than on the last beach. I have to follow the same packing strategy, as the freshly soaked sand is deep and soft. For the last meters to get afloat, I have to wait longer for a higher wash. My pride does not let me ask for help from the policemen, if they do not come up by themselves. At least today I am lucky when I am happily afloat, I can paddle out almost straight away and only have to jump over three not breaking and not too scary high wave piles. All good! I wave to my beach guards and turn in to tackle the final end of El Salvador.
It feels like this morning, the wind will not come up too early, as the sky is covered with a cloud bank on the eastern horizon. I have some hope to get around the corner and into the Golf with not too many problems. The only issue is that the tide is running out until abut eleven in the morning, and I am not sure how this will concern the conditions at Punta de Amalpa. I will have to give it a wide berth due to long exposed rocky lines.
The ten kilometers before the point show a bunch of easy landings, maybe I should have been fighting a bit longer yesterday to get to a closer starting position. But as I was not sure, I better played it safe. I notice lumpy conditions as soon as I come close to the point, and my GPS shows moderate to low speed, not only due to the now already moderate headwind. There must also be the current not liking me to turn around the corner at this time of the day! But I still make progress, slow with two to three kilometers per hour, but I do! I am fully in my element, knowing I could turn around anytime when thins get too tough. But that vocabulary comes very rarely to my mind! I grit my teeth and punch into wind, waves and current until the next Punta Las Mueludas, where another small tide race keeps me working hard. Bt oh well, I came so far, I will also get free of this one!
And sure, I do. I am not even aiming straight around that point into the bay for a rest at Playa Tamarindo, but I keep on going straight across the small, sheltered bay, aiming for a small beach before the mountain area starts at Punta La Bolsa. There, I say to myself, I will decide to either stay or just have a brief lunch stop.
In the middle of the corner, right in the lumpiest area with the strongest current, two fishing boats come close by, but I raise my thumb and point to them that I am ok. They seem to only shake their heads, and speed off. My two watchdog boats are close behind me, but I think the fishermen were as always just worried about my well-being, not seeing me as a pirate’s pray. But who knows?
After the calmish crossing of Playa tamarind’s bay, I finally stop on the sheltered beach behind a sharp point and have my second breakfast portion. On landing, I almost overlooked a just now rolling in small breaking wave and get side-broached in. Never underestimate the surf, even here in the shelter! I text to my contact Roberto, port captain of the port of Acajutla, to announce my arrival at the northern end of the Golf to his fellow-port captain of the big port close to La Union. They promised me a pickup to organize the exit stamp and the necessary PCR test for Nicaragua. Thanks so much! Sure, I will arrive tonight and not stay her, only fifteen kilometers before the finish line!
He headwind funneling down the Golfo de Fonseca ist strong, but the now running in tide is stronger. But sure, wind against current creates even more lumpy waves, even at the smallest point. I dig through all of them, not even keen to rest another time on two possible beaches. Shower and clean room, here I come! The current up the Golfo is creating another strong tidal rip when I turn into the narrow spot between the Isla Zacatillo, but it does not worry me too much as I paddle close to the rocks, still with friendly speed. Not sure abut paddling the other direction though, but I could also start over again from a beach before the narrow spot.
I land on the sheltered low-tide beach of Playa Chiquirin, a fishing boat beach with not really swimming quality. I call my contact Roberto that I have arrived, and he says people from the big port will pick me up soon! So nice, thanks! Two local guys come up to me to ask my whereabouts, and one helps to lift the kayak to a shady spot close to the road. I finally quickly change in the backrooms of the local restaurant into dry clothes, a good decision given the longer ride on the back of the open port truck to their guest house.
Finally, two police trucks arrive, and eight well-armed officers do their best to look important. As Roberto says I should wait for the truck from the port, I talk to the main police officer, who gets the notice to escort the truck to the port. What a buzz and march-up of uniforms again just for my arrival! All want pictures, but soon we load my kayak and bags on the truck bed, and I sit on top of my stern as always to hold it in position with the help of another person. The two police cars drive behind us, coming dangerously close to the nose of my kayak anytime my driver breaks down for a speed bump. As always, I am most worried about my baby getting driven through the backcountry. But though a mountain road, the path is relatively well-paved, and we soon arrive in the well-secured port area. I get a room in a lovely unused guest house with kitchen, living room and own bathroom, as nice and even larger than in Acajutla.But unfortunately, also without any wifi, as my phone still does not do a hotspot. So nice to look after me, thanks to all people and authorities involved!
I enjoy the well-deserved shower, and like to switch on the washing machine in the bathroom. Unfortunately, after the water runs in and I already added the soap, the beast quit works, and I let the laundry at least soak for a while in the soapy water before I squeezed the pieces a couple of times and dumped all in the shower for rinsing. Thank goodness, the laundry wire lines outside took it all, dripping as it is, and overnight, the warm breeze will dry it off. Job done! Only the washing machine stands there, filled with dirty soapy water and does not do anything anymore, so sorry!