Mon 06/05-2013 Day 475

P5050015.JPG
The Gulf of Venezuela is almost as salty as the Dead Sea...

 

Pos: here
Loc: boarder Colombia/ Venezuela
Acc: house in mining company Cerrejón
Dist: 26,1 km
Start: 5:00 End: 09:30

The campfire the boys started yesterday for pleasure, I assumed, turned out to obviously a “watch fire”, as at midnight, when I woke up briefly, the fire was high and one guy was on the watch, looking frequently around with his probably night sight binocular into the dark night. What for? Protecting me and my tent from the many donkeys and goats around?

Now I put one and one together – the careful check around when we landed, the 1/2 hr trip into the bush of three men well armed with their guns and pistols, maybe even the talk with the locals that afternoon who might have told them of some observations…the guys are fearing suspicious elements being around here in the border area! It all looked so peaceful to me paddling and landing…but they must know. Narco traffic bloody active here, and FARC is not out of question either in this area. I couldn’t say my sleep was better after this insight, but I covered my eyes with my sleeping mask and trusted the night watch.

At 4 am, the guys started to move the boat noisily off the anchor, although I wanted to wake only half an hour later…oh well, not going to argue with some one being early… and this is the last night on the beach for now!

Paddling was of the easiest again, dead calm water and low wind coming amazingly from the west from the land. I had to watch some jutting out reef spots in the very shallow now crystal clear water when I paddled close to the shore, that was it. It was overcast, and a few rain drops were falling down from the dark sky. But soon the rain increased, and the wind changed to the east within minutes around 9 am. No problem, I would be at the border soon!

The rainy season obviously had started now, the attempts of the last days of the grumbling thunderstorm and few rain drops seemed to have it’s highlight today. It was raining even on the drive back almost all the time!
We stopped at the level of the police station which was marking obviously the border, my plan to paddle to the headland tip was obviously 1.8 km too far. Finish of this leg!

I put on my tiny wind breaker jacket and pants, expecting a long 160 km and chilly ride back to Puerto Bolivar on the coast guard boat. My boat got strapped and padded well, and the boys wanted me first to sit with them on the stern area for “security reasons”. I shouldn’t  have been there, as despite I was sitting with the back to the wind and the sea was calm enough for no bumping and jumping, I was soaked withing minutes from the rain and was freezing very soon.
I insisted to move to the bow, sitting down in a more or less wind protected spot on the ground, pulled out my e-book in it’s Aquapac, added a layer of fleece to my soaked gear which didn’t really made a difference, and tried to survive the trip without getting frozen to the bones. Just about… 🙂

3 1/2 hrs driving on calm seas with rain would be ok if you’d be warm enough and not soaked, but I was neither of that. Still all better than high seas, jumping and bumping and standing all the time in the stern like I did on many other long rides!

Arriving back to Puerto Bolivar, I was stiff from cold and squatting in my corner. But I had the outlook of a long summer break at home now! I washed my kayak, and took pictures of all the many “war marks” and repairs my poor baby had to suffer since Valparaiso. But it sounded like Point 65 is happy to outfit me with a new boat very soon! I am happy to have paddled my own specially designed Point 65 “Freya” kayak, as it proved to be exactly the model and style I need for such a trip. Teething problems are normal on a new model, but with my feedback the serial production will have implemented all my notes. I can say, the “Freya” kayak is now a thoroughly tested and well designed expedition kayak! There is nothing better on the market for my needs (and surely for anyone else’s needs on challenging trips…) !

Thanks to the guys of the Armada de Colombia to have supported me in such a great way all the time in their country. I felt safe and well looked after, especially while camping! See how Venezuela will go in August…
I will be on my trip holiday until I am back in Colombia on August 14th!

25 comments on “Mon 06/05-2013 Day 475

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Randall Lackey

Congrats on finishing this leg of your journey,while I was away finishing mine. I completed my first long river journey on the Alabama Scenic River Trail here in Alabama,USA.Its a diagonal crossing of the state, 7 rivers total trip of 631 miles.The first of my journeys, inspired by you.I completed it in 24 daays.Back home now and catching up on the last of your postings until August.Thanks for all you have given us readers.Randall

Robert Knopel

Herzichlen Glückwunsch , great finish stage. Thanks also to the Colombian Navy to keep and protect you in a incredible way.
Have a nice trip home and recover your power.
Best regards from Iquique/ Chile

Ricardo

¡Felicitaciones Freya, bien hecho! Magnífico también el apoyo de las Armadas (Marinas) de Chile, Perú, Ecuador y Colombia. Felicitaciones a ellas también.

Glenn Wilkes

Enjoy the break and return to the Caribbean “recharged and energised”. I will try to contact you when the time comes closer to your brief crossing into Trinidad waters. We look forward to helping as much as you want and need.

Karen

Congratulations Freya! Thank you for sharing your expedition with all of us. We all appreciate it.
Thanks to all the bloggers for sharing their ideas.
I hope you heal and rest well in the coming months. Enjoy being with your loved ones, celebrate their changes. As you bring home your joys and insights to Peter know he too shares in your merit.
May all the oceans and seas that have meet your paddle become healthy and blissful.
Compassion, wisdom, tolerance and awareness,
Karen

Richard Mason

Congratulations Freya and thank you for all your posts.
Enjoy your summer with your family.
I look forward to following you again from August 14.

Giancarlo

Congratulations Freya ! I will miss your daily comments.Have a nice time in Germany.

Frances Price

Congratulations on completing this leg of your trip, Freya! It’s hard to believe I won’t have your blog updates to enjoy over the summer, but I am truly glad of your time to rest and renew yourself. Plus I can always look back through your marvelous photos.

Thank you again for sharing your voyage with us; I shall look forward to August!

Udo Beier

Congratulation Freya,

for finishing your 2nd Leg Paddling Around Southamerica.
You paddled on your 2nd Leg in a shorter time (228 instead of 247 days) – more Kilometer than on your 1st Leg.

Be happy that you reached the border of Venezuela. You are still fit and willing to complete your continental tour. That is okay! Noboy complaints it. Georgetown can wait. It does not matter if you will arrive there in June or November 2013. …. and Buenos Aires must wait too!

By the way, for your German speaking fans I have written a small report in the Forum of the German Canoe Association (DKV):

http://forum.kanu.de/showthread.php?t=7838

Save landing on the airport of Hamburg. Sorry I can not welcome you, as I will paddle on the rainy, windy and ice North See at the day, when you will arrive her in Germany.

Best wishes from Hamburg: Udo Beier (Speaker of the German Sea Kayakers (DKV))

Edda Post author

Well Barbara G, the crocusses nearly waited. I believe the festivities got delayed this year?

Congratulations on doing this stage, mother is right impatient to see you again.

Barbara G.

Congatulations – and have a good trip home! You’ve missed the crocusses, but otherwise it’s becoming very pleasant here in town. Have a good – well, what? Holiday? Anyway – enjoy the break!

Jörg Hofferbert

Hi Freya,

i wish you also a good comeback in good old germany. For Venezuela i wish you al the best. Your crossing from Columbia was courageous again. You are a fantastic “girl”.

Meike

Herzlichen Glückwunsch Freya. Du hast es mal wieder geschafft. 🙂 🙂 🙂
Wünsche Dir einen guten Heimflug und einen schönen Aufenthalt Zuhause. Das Wetter ist inzwischen auch viel besser geworden,…….der Frühling ist da :- ] Also wirst Du den Frühling so richtig geniessen können.
Solltest Du meine Hilfe brauchen, kannst Du jederzeit anrufen

Alles , alles Gute, werde Dich vermissen

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