It was raining out in the morning as we left the campground at 4:30 am. We were lined up so we could use the few headlamps to light the pathway. I was leading the loosely arraigned unit in a military single file fashion. As we approached the dock, I paused to be sure that all were here and we were at the right dock. There are no street lights or other illumination on the streets or dock. As I paused Charles, a Prosecutor from Colorado in his mid 20īs, charged ahead. He marched up the dock. As we approached the India Kuna, a stern young voice started to yell Halt!! After a few of these I started to yell for Charles to Stop!! He charged ahead! Only after Halt was said about 7 times did he stop and raise his head, he couldn'tīt help but notice the young security guard with the very old rusted AK-47 pointed in his direction. Someone on the boat told the security boy and his friend holding the handgun that it was OK, we were passengers. Security boy said in broken English "sorry". I wondered what he thought as he saw what must have appeared to be a well equipped military group marching deliberately toward him. This is the land of FARK and until the last few years was the center of border wars with drug and guerrilla groups. I wonder how close Charles was to having a very bad beginning to his day?
The crew on the boat fed us breakfast on a makeshift stove, it consisted of eggs with vegetables, scrambled together with very good seasoning
. If you looked at the well used pots and pans and the rudimentary wash system, you as did I, would hesitate eating no matter how hungry you were. The coffee was instant but tasted good. Instant coffee in one of the best coffee growing areas of the world, go figure. Lunch was rice with a small piece of what I guessed to be beef, again well seasoned and very good. Dinner was rice and a small piece of what I know was beef. I took two bites but noticed the pink insides and decided to feed the fish when no one was looking.
It was disheartening when the captain was cleaning up the cargo area by throwing all sorts of things overboard, plastic sheeting, glass panes from a broken window, engine parts from an outboard motor, and paper. I gave him a bag of chips (turned out to be port rinds) which he was pleased to receive and enjoyed eating. I watched has he folded the aluminum bag they came in. He folded it neatly as you would if you were going to stick it in your back pocket. He just threw it overboard. Damn. I wonder when they will realize that they need to preserve this beauty?
We arrived at a makeshift dock in the barrio of Turbo. The travel book says that this is a hard working port that has just cleaned up the revolutionaries and is enjoying some Peace
. But as the book also states, running off the revolutionaries, does not a tourist destination make! When the boat pulled up and the folks sitting in their shacks noticed us unloading the bikes we were soon surrounded by every child from blocks around. About a hundred people, mostly kids completely surrounded each bike as it came off. Jene had come up with a plan if this was going to be the case so we were prepared to guard our stuff as it came off the boat. We loaded up with kids hanging on the bikes and on us. I wished desperately I could have communicated better with them, They were very interested in the bikes and where we were from. As we left Ben from New Hampshire KLR would run. It started but would not run or start again. We left him there in the mist of the barrio and throng of people at night....Charles went to find a truck and our hotel. Charles found someone who would run him around on his motor scooter to find a truck. He took off to parts unknown. The scooter driver took him a couple of miles and lost control of the bike once, Charles was able to just stand up and let the scooter swerve under his 34" inseam! Nice to be tall on a small bike. The driver also took him the wrong way down streets and in one place went down a path lined with plastic pipe to keep vehicles off. The bike swerved down this ski race of poles slamming Charlesī knee into one of the posts. They found a truck but lost it in trying to find the way back to the hotel so he could find his way back to Ben. They finally just pushed the bike to the hotel with the help of several kids! Safe in the hotel!
As I was pulling away from the dock two different girls about 14 years old ran out of the crowd and touched my arm. I think they were proving that they were not afraid to touch the ghost!
Our luck has started to turn, our 16 hour trip was shortened to 13 hours by favorable winds and relatively calm water. We waited outside the surf break of a small pueblo for 4 hours waiting for wood to come aboard but left early with out the lumber. we had wanted to visit this very small town just to see what a place off the map would be like. Not a visitor destination of any type they would not have seen many tourists. The captain said there we could get the services of a woman for $5. No worries we stayed off shore and could only imagine if you really would get what you paid for in that instance or perhaps more. Another favorable break, who would have thought after a luckless week? The 60 foot vessel we are on is an old (40 years) wooden craft, but looks and runs much older. It has been used hard and over the years of no or little maintenance shows its hard use. The large pump had to be started every hour to pump out volumes of water from the bilge. As we made our way the pump was constantly producing a full charge out the 2" port