Acc: Navy Caraquez
Dist: 48,1 km
Start: 06:45 End: 16:15
Tomorrow’s estimated landing: Punta Venado
Somehow I was slipping off my horizontal ledge I dug last night with the whole tent, and I had to shift my sleeping pad quite a bit. But besides that, the night was quiet but for the noisy surf and the quite heavy rain. I didn’t close my tent doors, just had the fly screen up as usual, and the rain felt just nice and cool. That it was creating also a big puddle inside my tent, fortunately not on the side I was lying on, I didn’t really want to notice.
I noticed already last night that on this steep beach the surf changes by the hour – from a fat dumper close to shore to calm to a breaker a bit offshore with some horizontal distance back surge. When I woke up, it was just the calm time…but I was not fast enough packing the yucky soaking wet and sandy tent, so I had to deal with the breaker and back surge. But all went well, and I was launching into quite a surrealistic morning with rainy fog and bad visibility.
Glad I started the day from this beach, and not with an offshore crossing from busy Manta! Despite the bit of a detour into the bay, paddling close along the coast is just more interesting.
First I had low green mountains,all with a beach upfront – land able, but not camp able. On high tide, it was gone. Any so small spot in river mouths or lower land had a few huts on it, so if I’d be looking for a camp site further along, I’d had to share the rare flat dry spots- or go into the next city.
There were two mixed holiday- and fishing villages in a row, a bit of a change to my day, which sometimes feels like I am watching TV in extra wide screen. They were busy and buzzing all over on this Sunday. Two fishing boats were launching at high speed, and the second one almost ran me over – a close shave! Bastard! Where did you get your driver’s license? Or were you still asleep from the last Saturday night’s party? It still gives me a shiver now…no way for me to get out of his way, and he turned off at really the last second. He was shouting something which really didn’t sounded like “Lo siento!”…
Another jet ski, fortunately the only one in these holiday villages, was shooting up and down, always with different learner drivers on top…I hoped they had their glasses on.
Later, when I could enjoy the peace of the remote mountain coast again, I had a close shave with a suddenly developing far offshore breaker. I had to sprint out, and just over the foaming crest…I had no spray deck on, as it was HOT all day…
In between, I went swimming on purpose, but this gave only a five minute cooling off. Paddling in the tropics is not always that pleasant! You can protect yourself against the cold, but not against the heat…
The last scary moment of the day was a fat obviously sleepy fish bumping into my front left side, sharks used to do it at the stern…
I took the small detour into the bay of Caraquez, to stay at the Capitania tonight. This time the communication worked – thanks for looking after me!
The city looked very pleasant and modern, despite the many high rise buildings. The smell of the lush tropical flowers was over it. The city beach was inside the river, and it was all packed today. A boat from the Capitania met me when I just turned into the bumpy water at the river mouth, and the guys guided me nicely to the Capitania jetty.
It turned out this was unsuitable to get out of my kayak, and I unloaded at the low wooden floating jetty of the Puerto Amistad Yacht Club just next door. Some German words were greeting me – a sailor from one of the about 20 sailing boats anchoring upfront was from Hamburg! The Yacht club restaurant owner was Frank, who came 9 years ago in a sail boat – and stayed…must be a nice place here!
I was greeted by the Port Captain Carlos Delgado Lopéz, and I thanked him for his hospitality. The guys drove me to a Navy building where I got a whole apartment for myself, as it is obviously currently out of use. Still, I always put up my tent, as I love to sleep bug- and mosquito free…
I also got driven to the local big supermarket to shop for fresh water, but which amazingly didn’t carry any fruit. So we drove a longer way into the old city to a local shop which carried many fruits. All set now, thanks! I will do a big shopping in Esmeraldas which needs to last then until Panama City!