Tue 19/02-2013 Day 399

I was even allowed to 'try' the heavy machine gun in the bow...


Pos: here
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…

Puerto Pizarro jetty at low tide

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.

Puerto Pizarro floating Navy Infantry station


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.

The floating 'garages' for the 'Piranhas', the well armed flat motorboats of the Colombian Navy Infantry


A sleeping room for the basic crew of the floating station


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…

On the seat of a 'Piranha'..

The wooden jetty leading on dry muddy land from the floating Navy Infantry station


...and the jetty back to the station...



6 comments on “Tue 19/02-2013 Day 399


Dear Freya,
I recently read “Fearless”, looked you up on the Internet, and have been reading all your posts from this trip. I am slowly catching up to where you are now, just finished reading about your portage in Chile. I can’t stop reading!
You have a gift of writing so that it feels as if the reader is with you. And for making us feel as if we know you, and care about you. If you want to, I am sure you could write books of all your adventures. Maybe a project tor your old age!
You must be a great inspiration to many young women, demonstrating to them what we can do under our own power. And for sure to one not so young woman. Maybe for my 60th birthday I could paddle around Lake Superior…
I wish you fair winds and no more portages for the rest of the trip. I will be with you, reading every post. At least once I catch up, don’t want to read ahead!

Randall Lackey

Watch for the Coral snakes.Theyre suppose to be pretty bad.Hopefully youll not ever get to hear their guns firing but at least they are there if needed.Safe paddling.

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