Loc: Cabo Tiburon
Acc: small hotel hut
Dist: 39,5 km
Start: 6:20 End: 17:55
I had a calm night, just hot as usual. But no people or boats or voices at night. Good. As it was actually quite rough out there, I was not surprised to find only one cayuco next morning coming just out of the next big bay where they have a village. The paddle for the open boat must be combined with some bailing of water over board. I think it were three people in there – two paddling the third probably doing the latter…
Another one of those “trade boats” from Colombia was just coming out of the bay while I just had breakfast on the lumpy water. I let it pass, and kept on going my way.
The crossing of the last big bay was not only boring but at least with still just about following wind not too tough in the rough seas. I spotted a village to the right almost at the end of the bay, which had an air strip. I knew Puerto Obaldia was where I needed to go for my emigration stamp from Panama into my passport, I checked again and again my GPS and maps to decide if that is Puerto Obaldia or the village in the last bay which I saw 4-5 km ahead. I also was 4-5 km away from the coast on my bay crossing.
My GPS clearly showed the last village being Puerto Obaldia, and I decided to trust it. It probably also has an air strip I thought… and coming closer I saw two larger houses which either of them must be the Senafront building with the immigration office…if not? I already needed to have plan B in my mind, this is then looking for a boat to take me back. There were a few boats going back and forth so I had some hope, and I was early enough.
And arriving at the village my fear came true- the last one before the border was *not* Puerto Obaldia, despite my GPS map clearly showed it should be. Fuck!
I spotted a Senafront soldier and started to tell him my problem, hoping they’d be helpful as usual. But despite them having a station there and soldiers on the watch on the holiday beach to the left and village close to the right they had no boat themselves. But they could ask around who would go to Puerto Obaldia, but sure I’ll have to pay. Ok, if necessary…. my fault or better the GPS fault…
A group of three people was happy to do the job, but I obviously misunderstood the request of $ – not 16 but 60 was the price for the 20 min ride, back and forth. Well!A lot of money! The soldier said we can keep on asking around…and soon two guys came who were just on their way anyway and were so nice to take me for free. Thanks! The boat driver was very nice, but the second guy was quite drunk…but behaved reasonably.
We got there all right but communication was a bit of a problem, when to go back. They knew I had to paddle in late afternoon around the Cape to Colombia, as the Navy was expecting me. So I thought this business can’t be taking long! The boat owner was also very friendly to help me finding the immigration office, and the job went reasonably fast. Just that they needed two copies of the passport which I had to do next door for 50 cents… ok. First time they need copies but no problem.
I was hoping to get back very soon but now the boat owner wanted to invite me for a beer – sorry thanks! He bought two cans and looked like he wanted to find a cozy place to drink and probably hoping to share them with me, but no thanks! Ok, then he pointed me to get back to the boat he’d be back in 20 min. I saw the other drunk guy also waiting, so I thought this must be right. It was right, but we only went back to the other small harbour around the corner…to take there two other people to board, I understood. The boat owner went away and I sat in the boat with the drunken guy, trying to make small talk and waiting…at some point it seems like he wanted to look for the other guy and went away – just to come back 1/2 hour later with a plastic bag full of more beer cans. He instantly started to work on getting them empty and I got more and more impatient… eventually I understood they were waiting for an airplane to land and to take two passengers from there. But the plane seemed to be delayed, and we couldn’t go off…and suddenly he started also to talk about money…I said let’s wait until your friend is back.
It got later and later and I knew I needed to take action now myself. I spotted another friendly looking guy on the beach, jumped out of the anchored boat and away from the drunken guy, and started to talk to the friendly looking one. He knew a guy next door with a boat and he’d be happy to drive me back to the other village beach for 30$ – no negotiation possible…ok, I had to go or I’d stay here or there the whole night! I agreed on the 30$, and we went off reasonably soon. I think the drunken guy from my old boat didn’t even notice I went away with another boat…
I was back at my boat at 4.50 pm, and knew I’d be making it around the headland for Colombia in about maximum an hour. The Navy boat must be waiting there for me somewhere as planned!
One of the Senafront guys told me I had to go to the office again from the beach to the village – about 1 km – for signing some paperwork…WHAT? I needed to leave NOW – it’s late! What kind of fucking paperwork??? My passport is stamped and all is good, there can’t be anything left! He insisted, and I couldn’t resist…I showed him my anger, and also to the other guy who expected me. It turned out he just wanted to check my passport if all was ok, wrote unnecessary details on a piece of paper, and then he suddenly told me I couldn’t leave tonight only tomorrow! WHAT??? WHY NOT? It’s too late he said…WHAT FOR??? To paddle around the headland to Colombia…it will take you two to three hours…
Hahaha…it takes me less than an hour, I said…but actually I needed to get loud and to insist hard I wanted to go NOW and not tomorrow and that he had no right to keep me there on that beach and village. My passport is ok, and I am a free person to go where I like to, and the Colombian Navy is waiting for me…and so far the Senafront guys have been helpful and not assholes…”No, you are going tomorrow! You need to eat at that restaurant and to stay in a hotel!” Aha…that was the business plan… I became louder and clear about my intentions, and eventually he realized I was serious to leave NOW and not willing to spend money on that holiday beach as he may have been hoping and he waved me off. FUCK YOU! Bye, bye, Panama…so far you had been treating me better than those guys!
I quickly packed my electronics back into my kayak which I cared to rather take with me, and pushed my boat hard back into the water. Sure it was a heavy breeze eventually this afternoon, and the sea was BIG. But I was just in the right mood to kick in hard – about 1 km against the wind, then another km 90 degrees to the wind, where I already spotted the Colombian coastguard boat waiting for me. Yahoo! Back to Colombia with nice helpful people! They waved me a “Welcome back to Colombia!” I was digging in hard in the quite big sea around the headland, just in the perfect mood to “play” with the very lumpy 2-3 m sea. Soon we turned around the second corner and into calmer water, and after another 3 km we reached the small calm bay of Cabo Tiburon. A few yachts were anchoring, and it seemed also to be a small holiday village.
The navy guys landed at a jetty, but I chose a small beach 100 m to the left. They took me to a small hotel hut, where they also were staying as this village had no Navy base. Thanks! The hut was very basic, but all right, and it had a ventilator! Perfect for my skin! Just that the electricity went away tonight for already four or five times, but always came back soon…no problem! This holiday village looked to me very modern and clean, different to Panama with it’s straw huts in the Kuna villages.
But the village with the immigration office was also the *next* one here on the Colombian side… we will go there tomorrow with the Navy boat I don’t need to paddle tomorrow and can relax my skin. Thanks, guys! You are sokind to me! I am feeling very happy to be back to Colombia!
The plan is to cross the Golf after at least one rest day, but as soon as the weather allows, and to land on such a huge supply ship as I saw the last day on the Pacific side. Nice! There I’ll talk to the Capitán about how to proceed the next days until Cartagena – security wise. Colombia here is not all safe yet…Thanks for looking after me!