Loc: Puerto Champerico
Acc: Hilleberg Allak 2 tent
Dist: 38,3 km
Start: 07:00 End: 15:00
A long, calm night, I am still fighting my jetlag and am awake early. The tide is falling, so when I have loaded my kayak, I have to wait for a big wash to get the boat halfway afloat to get it dragged further in. It is a heavy barge! My launch is no big deal through low surf, but I get washed by two waves. All easy! I watch the many fishing oats going in and out of the next river mouth, but from my position sitting so low, I cannot make out any unbroken line and think I chose right by landing at the beach before. Wide open and unbroken river mouth are rare here in this area! My landing tonight will be at a small port where I do not know if the entrance is unbroken either. But it is an hour before high tide, and the channel has plenty water. I see a guy playing the harbor master at the opening, signaling me to wait for another boat just coming out. Thanks, man! This was also my concern, as on my approach, I saw at least four boats going out and one in.
I land at a shallow sandy shore, and while making camp, a few curious locals stop by. One young girl of eight, Nicole, became my curious friend and assistant on putting up tent and shifting gear. Conversation went tough due to my language barrier, but it was sweet to have my “personal guide” on this beach. Her mom runs a small tienda for cold drinks at the palapas, and later she pleases me with a small sachet of cold purified water (which I gulped down) and a soft drink (which I do not like very much). Thanks!
I am just strolling with Nicole around the palapas, when I see the people in Uniform coming up – this could only be meant for seeing me, I think. And it was. Harbor master Erwin Loarca (sorry I do not know your military rank…) and two lady assistants welcome me in Guatemala! A nice gesture, thanks! He provides me his emergency phone number and asks whatever I need he would bring to my camp. Now it was little Nicole’s turn to not understand anything, as Erwin spoke well English with me. He also contacted the press and the tourism person in some longer phone calls and alerted all fishermen to keep a safe look at me at sea. Thanks very much, I feel well looked after and very much welcome here in Guatemala! The smaller the country, the more effort they take to stay in friendly contact and keep me safe. In Mexico, I had initially a reception in Ensenada by the coast guard/ Navy, but then they lost contact, but no problem. I South America, I worked close together with the Navy/ Coast Guard in Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, and Venezuela (a little).
The weather is also not today burning hot but friendly, and even at night I am missing bugs in my open tent. Still, I will go out now in darkness and privacy for my deserved freshwater shower and hopefully have reasonable sleeping hours and mostly overcome my jetlag.