Rowing on the Caribbean...
April 2, 2012 - Day 12 15.1715N,73.0075W
Apologies for keeping you wondering but technical troubles are keeping me from dispatching and reliably emailing. I began having communication troubles soon after my launch from Carupano. My connection drops before my emails can be exchanged or dispatches posted. I will attempt posting this dispatch without any images to see if I can sneak one past the problem.
Please make sure to check the [ORS MAP] page for daily tracking from the top right corner of our homepage. Nancy may post less frequent updates in the meantime, or I may try voice recording a few dispatches.
On Wednesday March 21st, I untied from Puerto de Carupano at 20:25 local time. That morning at 02:45 am, CAPEX Venezuela manager Ömer Çimen and the translator for his team, Yiğit Bozkurt were already awake, waiting in the hotel lobby to send me off. Mr. Çimen was once an avid rower, having begun his career on the Bosphorus in İstanbul at the young age of 11. He had continued to row on an 8-sweep team throughout his years at the University of Nebraska later serving as a coach there. He appreciated the challenge that I had shouldered, and with his support I had been able to transition swiftly across northeastern Venezuela. All that I could offer in return was a heartfelt "thank you" and a hug.
Daniel Davila with the CAPEX team picked me up at the hotel lobby in Puerto Piritu, and we drove to meet the truck driver at the marina in Puerto La Cruz. I had not slept at all. After loading the boat on the truck the day before, our return to the hotel had been late. Then I had to prepare additional documents to submit by email to the Capitaneria in Carupano. I dosed off in the vehicle as Daniel drove. When we reached the marina at 4 am, the truck was already idling.
It had been necessary to obtain a "transport document" specifically for the load, the route and the truck. The government had required documentation for the boat, for me, for the truck, for the driver... and had we provided all of those, it would have taken 5 days to obtain the document. We were moving the boat within 24-hours of locating the truck. We took a chance, chose to explain our way at the three checkpoints until Carupano. Two were police, one was military, and after Daniel's well crafted explanation they all let us through.
We had the boat at the Capitaneria by 11 am, and had an exceptional reception. The staff wanted their pictures with the boat and with me, sharing the joy of the journey, making me feel welcome. PDVSA which owned the crane at the port did not charge us to lift my boat off the truck then to put in alongside another powerboat. Captain Jorge Fernandez had received the release from Caracas, so he was able to sign the port clearance document in the afternoon once we completed the rounds at the Customs then at the immigration office.
Daniel left around 4 pm for he had a long drive back. I tried to sleep but could not. With the last few preparations completed by headlamp, I felt the wind calm just enough by 8 pm, that I could untie. I called Tatiana at the Ocean Rowing Society in London to report my departure, then used the grappling stick to lift up the lines from various boats until I cleared them all. I did all this without turning on my white navigation light, and kept that off that whole night when I dropped anchor only about 2.5 nm away from port. Not many saw me leave, and I anchored far enough that no one could spot me by naked eye. I wanted to avoid the remote chance that someone would alert a pirate buddy of his of my departure.
Remember the [ORS MAP] link on the top right corner of this homepage to track my progress. I have updated the Google Earth representation of the journey until Carupano. In red is the actual course that I have followed, and the antipodal track is indicated as a green line.
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The 2011 tax year concluded at the end of December. Thank you for participating in our efforts to raise funds to build additional classrooms at the Mateves Secondary School in Arusha, Tanzania on the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. If you pay taxes in the United States, your contribution can be claimed as a tax-deduction. We will provide an accounting of all funds received and applied toward the Mateves cause, effective the end of 2011, sometime after my landfall.
Around-n-Over has already transferred 6,000 USD toward the Mateves cause. The team will report separately on the foundations laid, walls built... More information is available on our Projects and Score Card pages. Our Board of Directors will continue to monitor progress well into 2012.
Please remember to promote our charitable and educational projects. Your friends can contribute using the Support Us link in the left margin. If Charitable, Educational or Expedition is specified on contributions during 2012, we will allocate them according to your wishes.