Loc: San Carlos
Acc: Hilleberg Allak tent
Dist: 43,2 km
Start: 6:15 End: 16:50
Today is sightseeing day. I can rail the coast, the surf is nothing, and the scenery changes by the meter. Something people think I have every day – ‘Coastal Canoe Hiking’, a term my old friend Udo Beier in Germany once created. The first five kilometers are still pure nature. I enjoy the smell of the vegetation, listen to the birds, watch the many fishig boats, and feel fully one with my world. The next five kiometers, small beach houses of ‘normal’ people come up, before the ‘rich man coast’ with maybe ten beach palaces right before the marina entrance starts. I was told I cannot enter the marina at low tide, and I am just passing it half an hour after low water. I see three fishing boats turning in – what they can do, I also can! I like to do a round in there out of curiosity, although I decided on not to take up the invitation to stay n one of the fancy apartments. I just like to be home soon.
The tiny bar break is no problem, but the short river part is really shallow, at least in the middle. To the right side along the wall, there is some deeper water which the fishing boats must have taken. But soon I see them stuck in the turn-off to the marina circle. Even along the wall, they do not have enough water. I take the other side along the wall, but have to get out briefly to drag over a shallow sandbar. But soon, I am afloat again, and in the marina circle, the water is deep. I assume they have been digging a deep hole here, but the tide carries the water into the entrance channels faster than they can dig it out again – if they do it at all.
There is a beautiful artificial beach inside the marina on the northern side – at high tide. At low tide, from afloat, I look at huge massive ugly sand bags, which keep the sandy stripe on top at place. Hmmm, not sure if that is a successful construction. The apartment houses behind holds the place I was invited in, but I do not feel sorry I skip this. It is way too early in the day to stop paddling, and the ‘culture shock’ coming from the wilderness is massive. Three more paddling days including today, and I will be in Panama City and can fly home. The weaher looks reasonable for that.
I paddle around the docks, and see a woman looking very much like she is working here. “Best wishes to Emilio!” I shout at here, as I would at least like to thank the manager for welcoming me here. But Emilio is just coming up to me Some fisherman has alerted him I am on my way in. The fishermen park thir boats on the southern side, the center circle holds a few fancy ships, and the northern side is this artificial beach.
While I chat with Emilio, I see the freshwater tabs right besides me. Perfect chance for a refill! Emilio reaches into my back hatch for the empty bags, and I do not even have to exit my kayak for a refill. I could as well have a shower right under the tab, but I skip this. Nice, but I have to go again! The wether is too easy not to paddle. I stroll along the coast in slow pace, take many pictures of the hotels and the coast. There is beach life only in front of one larger hotel with people in the water, beach vendors and groups of horses waiting for riders in the hot sun. I feel sorry for the horses and the young men doing this job.
Later, the coast becomes cliffy, and some houses fight hard not to get washed away over times. For some kilometers, I can watch beautiful yellow-white sand cliff formations, with houses only high up and a lovely, amazingly black beach on the bottom. The black stuff is only a layer, the beach itself is also yellow-white. I can watch a variation of exotic-looking plants. One snake cactus impresses me as it grew up the hosting tree about twenty meters high, dangling some arms down in spirals.
Unfortunately, the north wind today becomes rather north-east and blows me again mostly into the face. The sea stays low but is choppy at times. I can progress still well, but miss the very calm morning time where I did not really make distance but rather enjoyed the scenery.
I aim for a beach where I saw plenty fishing boats on the satellite images, between a reef and the backside of the marins San Carlos. A perfect place for me, easy to land and calm to camp. I have an extensive shower out of my freshly filled bags behind a tree, and am happy the sun has hidden behind some clouds and it is not as hot as yesterday.
Two more paddling days! I am not short of food, but sick of what I have. But there is no chance I can get anything anywhere easily without leaving my camp before I am in Panama City.