Wed 16/02-2022 Day 668

Pos: 13.2236,-88.7165
Loc: Usulutan
Acc: Hilleberg Allak 2 tent
Dist: 25,4 km
Start: 06:00 End: 11:30

When I set camp on this flat amazingly white beach last evening, I thought why I not topped up ALL of my water bags. I felt stupid to by single liter bottles for a dollar each, the only ones available on the next to me beach restaurant. So I thought it would be enough for the next section until I reach areas with houses again. But I had my doubts and asked my contact Roerto Mendoza if the Navy guys tomorrow following me could spare me some water from their boats, if they have some? What happened was an instant tent service at seven-thirty by two marine soldiers – they brought me three tiny plastic bags of water, maybe together a liter, plus two bottles of Gatorade (well-meant, but that sticky sweet stuff makes me even more thirsty) and six apples. Very nice, thank you! It could have been a little more water, but it will do for the next landing spots.
An hour later, strong flashlight woke me again, and I saw two soldiers trying hard to use their motorbike on the soft sand of this beach. Ok, it seems like my sleep is well-guarded again…
This morning, three local men are gathering around my kayak on my launching time. Thanks, I never mind a push-in help! I am waiting patiently in the soup zone for a chance to break out of the surf, it takes long this time, but finally works. I just noticed already once getting afloat that my new double-layer seat pad does not work for me though I tested it on the beach. Well, as I threaded it carefully on its three loops on the attachment bungees, the only choice to get easily rid of the new top pillow again is to balance on the cockpit rim while simply cutting the loops off. It works, back to the old working style. I just need to relax my bum occasionally a bit more often!
Today’s sea is not as calm and smooth in the morning like yesterday, progress is slower. But I make progress – until at eleven, out of almost nothing the wind breezes up to twenty-five knots. I think about it for maybe ten minutes, but see this is too much to hold into for some hours. I need to land, here, whatever here is.
I see some end of a long fence from a farm with three palm trees, a good spot to aim for. The surf is looking from offshore doable with not too nasty monster breaks on the big sets, but as always never underestimate the surf. I think I time it fine, rush in, but get caught by a following wave and have to hang in a high brace sideways for some ugly seconds while side-broached on roaring foam to shore – but upright! I just recovered from the ride, and keep on rushing in, when another line does the same to me until I am beached. What a ride, the surf belt is just too wide and confused wild to be able to time it properly. But I am in.
Looking back out, I suddenly discover my already almost missed watch dogs, it looks like there are now three boats out there looking out for me? Poor guys, they have to stay offshore, and I see two of them rafting up to anchor together in the lumpy sea and strong winds. These are different boats than the other days, they have only fluttering tarps to protect them against the sun. But they are tough and stay out there all afternoon, as far s I can see.
I set camp, but soon check my position and realize I am only three kilometers away from the river system ending up in the wide Bahia de Jalisco. When I see the nasty roaring sea with white foam on top and wide surf belt out there, my thoughts are wandering…we are in Latin America, all my local authority contacts were so helpful, maybe they might have fun to organize a short land transport to the river? Then I could paddle at least a day in peace on calm inland water, see some different scenery and relax for at least one day on the water…
I text to Roberto Mendoza, and it sounds like a he can make it work! At two o’clock, he texts me in about forty minutes, a police patrol is arriving with a pickup truck to assist me. So nice, thank you! But at three-thirty, no one has arrived yet beside two private security guards of the farm area and a young cowboy on a horse. I chat with all of them, explain my situation, and wait for a while together with young cowboy Emerald. To chase his cows seems not to be so important anymore. I share my many apples and give him a bottle of the dreaded Gatorade which he appreciates. But the empty bottle, he throws just in the bush. I cannot help to pick it up and to show my non-appreciation. Not sure if he understands, as bottles and trash is everywhere in the bush. We try to assist our Spanish conversation with the phones, but soon he hangs on Facebook movie clips as any other young person on this world.
Meanwhile, I have already taken my tent down again and packed my bags, and even shifted them with the kayak a few hundred meters up the track. Emerald rides off on his horse, and the two private guards, still armed to the teeth, come back on their motorbikes. As no one has shown up yet at four-thirty from Roberto’s call, they finally try to help me by calling their own local police station, which seems to result in another police party of three people, two guys and a girl on motorbikes, arrive on the public side of the track, which is guarded by barb wire from the beach. I have meanwhile moved kayak and bags to the private side, as the guards say their police car will arrive there.
I chat a bit in good English with Alex from the motor bike police, but they cannot do much from their end with bikes only, standing on the other side of the barb wire gate. But finally, after many calls on all ends, around five, a police truck shows up on our side! Four guys, and the local farmer, an old, weathered face with the farmer’s arms, a machete in his hands. Just before they arrived, the private guards have opened a few coconut, and I enjoy the fresh coco milk and pour the rest in my drinking bottle. Not sure if the farmer has to say a word on this help-yourself mentality?
The main guy from the police car seems to have no idea who I am, and seem not to be the ones called by Roberto. He keeps maybe fifteen minutes busy checking on my passport. The other three policemen on the other side of the fence seem not to interest him. But those have already contacted Roberto, and sooner or later, the sun is slowly setting already, everyone knows after endless calls what it is all about. The main guy from the police car finally starts to smile after looking endless time very “official”, and we all load my bags and kayak on the truck. As they have those fragile plastic lights on the roof, my baby has to travel diagonal upright, padded with my PFD and spray deck on the edges. Two guys and I stand as usual on the truck bed and hold my kayak manually in position Off we go! But not before the four policemen loaded a few more coconut on the truck bed and after they all enjoyed a fresh drink…

The farm track is bumpy, and I have to remind my police driver not to let the manually held kayak jump. Dusk is slowly arriving, but on the two and a half kilometers of dirt track, I can still admire a tropical flora which I have not really seen yet, with form me unknown beautiful huge wide thick trees and amazingly green fields and for me funny looking funny cows with ears longer than their heads.
Reaching the main paved road, I am hoping the promised police station where I should spend safely the night is already in the first village, but no, we keep on driving and driving…oh well, all has to be driven back tomorrow morning! I spotted already early a bit of “my” river, and would have loved to just set up camp there…
We keep on driving through now darkness, barely any lights on our police car, navigating around free-running unlit cows and horses, unlit bikes, unlit on the wrong side-parked trucks, unlit speed bumps and overtaking cars with more or less lights, while watching on the top for low-hanging cables. I cannot say I like this long ride with my hand-held baby in the darkness, my boat is in most danger when not on the water but on the road. But I appreciate the assistance!
We reach an obvious border where the responsibility of the three policemen on the motorbikes starts, as now motorbike policeman Alex has the word and even demands to briefly see my passport. He guides our convoy finally to a newish backcountry police station, where I am supposed to spend the night in safety. Thanks to all of the guys involved!
Am I now supposed to sleep in the “prison”? No, there is even none, I could have a bed but prefer my own four walls. But I appreciate a shower and fresh cold drinking water! I have only hot water in my bags, yuck. I refill some of them, and go to sleep in unused low city noises, but no surf noise. Earplugs do the job here!
This kind of “official” help by the local authorities would have been unthinkable in Germany. But I know form my other travels, in Latin America, there is always a way, and usually a very friendly one, even if it takes sometimes a bit longer. Muchas gracias!