The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

Retire early, be passionate, don't worry, die poor

Monday, August 26, 2013

Kayak on a Boat

My new fuel-efficient recreational vehicle.
After driving 350 km, I reached the port of Olhão at 2 pm. It was a hot day.

A "parking guy" pointed me into a vacant spot near the marina. I tipped him one euro. He smiled and reminded me to hide the GPS.

When I began pulling the Bic Bilbao on its rear wheel over the rough pavement, it made a loud rumbling noise which, naturally attracted another "parking guy" who invited himself to pick up the other (heavy) end. 

When I told him it was not necessary, he replied cheerfully: "Amigo, I have nothing to do except help people, that's all I have in life." 

Those words cut into me like a knife. Here I was about to paddle out to my anchored sailboat and this poorly dressed unshaven guy was hustling tourists to survive. He was not a drug addict working for his next fix - no, he was just another unemployed young man struggling to make it through life the best way he could or knew. 

When we finally reached the ramp under the blazing sun, I turned around and saw him all sweaty and out of breath, but still smiling.

He asked me if I was paddling out to the island. I joked that I was going to Culatra if I didn't sink half-way there

"Have a good trip," he said cheerfully and began to turn around.

"Wait," I interrupted, "thanks for your help...have a cold beer on me." I was ready to give him a fiver but realized that my wallet was already packed in the bag. I only had 1.50 euros in change in my pocket, which I gave him with an apology.

He smiled, "I was just helping you amigo."

The kayak route. This Google Earth shot was taken during a very low tide showing normally submerged sand banks. This is roughly the same route the water taxi took, as explained in my last post.
It took me about 45 minutes to travel nearly 3.5 km. In reality I must have paddled at least 5 kilometers - somehow I kept going way off course. I think it was the tide.

Jakatar was exactly as I had left it.

It was tricky standing on the boarding ladder, holding on with one hand and trying to untie all the knots holding down my waterproof bag with the other hand. Attaching a line to the kayak's front handle with a bowline knot was impossible using only one hand.

I got back on the kayak, leaned forward on the the skinny bow with line in hand and quickly found myself in the water as the kayak rolled over. Performed that stunt three times because I can be stubborn or stupid - you decide.

At least I practiced rolling the kayak over and getting back on, just like I'd watched on Youtube. Finally got smart, jumped in the water and tied the damn knot using both hands. There, problem solved. I still felt like an idiot, though.

Culatra holiday
Main street, Culatra. That's not Ana, and I swear she just happened to walk by, really.
Culatra beach
Follow this "road" all the way to the ocean-side beach.
Culatra food shop
Food shop

Culatra restaurants
My favorite restaurant, people-watching hangout, café, bar and free bathroom. If I pick the right table I can also keep an eye on Jakatar.
Funny how I was away from the boat for 2 weeks or so and didn't lose a minute's sleep over it. When I'm there, I keep an eye out for other boats anchoring too close and so on. Is this nutty or what?


  1. A nut does as a nut knows. Good to hear Jakatar is good (gotta get me that Rocna).
    Main street... Hmmmm.
    It is so great to meet people who are so genuine with there kindness. Very rare these days.
    That is one hellava kayak ride (sounds painful). Falling in the water must have felt kinda nice this time of the year. Try doing a bow line upsidown at the top of the mast dangling from a chair. Took me 10 minutes!

    1. The kayak rides were great. Never have to worry about failures, running out of fuel or grounding and it's a good workout.
      It also allowed me to explore Catamaran Ranch, which is my next post.