Preparing to tie alongside...
Ismail Karahan on the left, our translator Yigit Bozkurt on the right.
With Lt. Herrera at the Guarda Costas.
My rowboat finally on the hard.
Boat is secured...
16 March 2012
As you know, I concluded my crossing on the Atlantic at Guiria in eastern Venezuela on day 154 this past Sunday.
My friend Ismail Karahan from my days during graduate studies at my alma mater Bogazici University was in Guiria waiting for me. He had already found a bicycle on loan, teamed up with the Guarda Costas and engaged the military in this eastern port town. The location was sensitive, being one of the major corridors for drug running. Everyone had been concerned about my safety during landfall. Though I had their permission to take my boat to an adjacent bay due west had the ENE winds not allowed me into port, the military wanted to be there to ensure my safety -- random armed robbery is common in this country.
Lieutenant Herrera Istillarte Jesus from the Guarda Costas, reviewed my papers on Sunday after I tied alongside the cutter COLIMBO, also confirmed that I had the necessary safety equipment on board. He later offered help and friendship to make sure that the immigration office knew of the circumstances around my arrival.
We later arranged the use of a crane in the port, and the young engineers Carlos and Diego helped me load the boat on a flatbed truck. Help from Lt. Herrera became essential to secure the truck at the Guarda Costas facilities, and to arrange travel documents for the truck after Ismail left to catch a plane out of the country.
There were no warehouses or marinas at Guiria. We moved my rowboat to Puerto La Cruz near Barcelona to the Marina Amerigo Vespucci. On Thursday, she was finally on the hard resting on four truck tires. Carupano on the north side of the Peninsula de Paria will be my launch site on the Caribbean toward Cancun or Texas. If all goes swiftly, I will have bicycled from Guiria to Carupano (about 130 km) this weekend, and should be rowing again mid-week, weather permitting. Piracy will remain a serious concern during the first 48-72 hours until I am past Isla de Margarita.
During my stay in Venezuela, CAPEX Industries team in Venezuela took on my journey as a special project, providing all manners of support, including a translator. They specialize in the acquisition, handling, storage and international transport of petroleum coke, a byproduct of the oil refining process. I am grateful for their kind and vital support.
Venezuela Coast Guard put up a forum page about me which has some pictures taken from VCG cutter PUNTA MACURO.