Loc: Puerto Pizarro
Acc: Navy boat
Dist: 60,1 km
Start: 6:50 End: 16:00
I was riding for a while a narrow foam belt between two currents on the otherwise deadly boring calm water. This belt had at least some interesting flotsam and jetsam in there…I am so easy to amuse today! I saw a probably very venomous black and yellow snake floating in between the many logs, empty bottles, coconuts and leaves. But I missed to take a picture! 🙁
Later, I had again, like the other two days, many, many fish eggs glued to strings in the water, that I couldn’t did my hand in on a paddle stroke without touching a jelly something. But they are not burning like real jelly fish, they are just a bit yucky to lift up and to have them on my lap, paddling with open cockpit.
Fortunately the current going north was still strong, about 3-4 km/h, regardless of the tide. I just could feel some anti-current strips where the large river mouth came out, despite me paddling quite offshore from cape to cape. But this additional help didn’t really make my paddling harder, as I made my planned 60 km relatively fast. Sure I could have paddled further, but I was honestly bored to death!
And I knew that the guys would ride into a rive mouth again for the night, and it was about 15 km to the shore. So I finished at 4 pm, jumped on the boat and off we went! Carlos, the driver, knows obviously only one speed – full power!!! Twice a pillow flew off the boat, and we had to turn around to fish it out of the water. And the rest of the load spread itself out flat on all those bumps. These boats can’t live long on this stress!
But when it came to entering the river mouth to reach Puerto Pizarro, Carlos proved to be a chicken…or just being cautious? I judged the waves on the entrance low and non-violent and only being a very narrow belt. We saw one slow fishing boat coming out, and one other going in. So what’s the problem? But I am no motor boat driver…and I didn’t say anything. With my kayak, I’d have gone closer, and probably easy through and over the few and low waves of the bar.
Carlos was calling the Navy infantry guys inside the river station for a pilot boat, finding the deep water channel easier with their help. When they came and we drove through, it was really just easy with three of the strongest engines! But their embarrassment of being stuck on a sandbank…
We were arriving at a typical indigenous river village with no road access. People here are not really wealthy, living probably mostly off catching fish. A bunch of naked kiddies were playing at the low tide river beach, and a few fishing boats were floating inside the small harbour bay.
At the end of the village was a big floating station for the Navy infantry, it was looking like a real huge house with garages on pontoons. About four of those heavily armed Navy Infantry boats could park under the roof, a few were moored outside. At the rear end of the floating station, there was accommodation for about twenty soldiers. Inside the village is another battalion with about hundred men. They are stationed on almost all river entrances to keep an eye on the potential drug runner boats coming from up river where they grow the stuff, and I don’t now how much they can do to prevent them growing the drugs at all.
Life in such a Navy Infantry station is quite a real soldier’s life! At least I am well protected again, and get to see villages and insights into the Colombian Navy’s jobs no other tourist gets to see. Thanks for looking after me! At least so far I never heard any shots anywhere out of the many guns each soldier has…