The “civilized” coast is plastered with concrete and rocks!
Loc: lock before Anna Regina
Dist: 54,7 km
Start: 4:00 End: 16:50
I had announced to my friendly hosts I’d like to start early in darkness, as my goal was today to reach “civilization” at Anna Regina. There was one option to stay before, inside a small channel, clearly visible on Google Earth, but I had no idea what I could expect there!
I could paddle out of the river against the tide in darkness at reasonable speed, and was out at sea when dawn lifted up. I paddled again on muddy shallow water, the high light of the day was a huge flock of pink flamingos standing close to me. Nice! The channel position came up too early in the afternoon, and what I saw was not too inviting. The water seemed to be overgrown at lower tide, but some solid higher sides were not too bad. Still I decided to not go in, but to keep on paddling. If I’d not make it to Anna Regina, I may make it at least to the inhabited area and will find a landing spot anywhere I like. Well thought! What I didn’t have on my mind or took account of, was once the housing area started, there was also a continuous solid concrete or rocky wall, protecting the flat land with the houses from getting flooded. Don’t I know this from home??? At the very beginning of that area, I spotted a tiny harbour with small boats, but as I was making good speed by now, I postponed my landing, not yet realizing this wall is endless…
The water was running up the wall more or less violent, fortunately mostly less, so with some effort I may have been able to land on the calm water at that wall. But dragging the boat up would have caused some deep scratches, so I waited and waited and paddled hard to get more choices in the remaining day light. Some fishermen were sitting around on the wall, probably willing to help me land in some way, but I still waited for a better chance like another tiny harbour and paddled hard… nothing. There were a bunch of small boats moored off the wall, but the fishermen seem all just to climb up and over, no stair case or such to be seen, bar one which was in an area of lumpy water. A bunch of locks shut down the small drainage channels from the sea, and one bigger one gave me the chance. It had a low concrete platform on the side, but nothing to see if it would be a landing for boats. But the platform was only 30 cm above the water line, and the water was calm before it. I could get out here by myself!
I dragged the boat up I with the spray deck under, on the concrete edges, to protect the hull from the worst. It worked actually quite easy now! But really, so few reasonable chances in this civilized area…I found a nice flat grassy spot right besides the two big drainage locks, some wet fields and a channel was to be seen in the hinterland. All houses here look well maintained and clean, at least from the distance what I saw from the water. Also the concrete or rocky wall along those 15 to 20 km was in good shape. So there must be some money generated in this country!
A local which I waved to earlier came up soon curiously, very friendly, joined soon by two more older fishermen, all very impressed by my actions. I had no scary feeling here at all! At 9 pm, the locks were supposed to be opened to let some drainage water out, but fortunately nothing happened to disturb my sleep. Only at 3.30 am, a guy came, shone briefly on my tent with his torch, sat behind my tent on the concrete wall smoking a cigarette. What the heck was he doing here this early? At some point, me not sleeping for half an hour or such, I heard a boat engine starting. Must have been simply a fishermen starting early in the morning…how did he get to his boat? Did he swim?