Death of a kayak

The kayak is dead… long live the kayak…

As all good stories should, this one starts in Brazil…, you see, my inflatable Sevylor kayak, i.e. the deceased, was just too novel for its own good, and probably also too yellow for the local natives to ignore.

Even before I’d reach the shore from my anchorage of the day, children would inevitably be climbing aboard or seeking a handhold for a free tow to the beach. Mind you, there were times when I didn’t seem to mind if it was treated a little roughly… 😉

I'm not going to interrupt this...

and if the interest had stayed at just wanting to hitch a ride, perhaps my kayak would have survived a little longer. But no…, for some inexplicable reason, a surprising number of people seemed to think that inflatable kayak was a synonym for public trampoline! Even adults!!! Why on earth did they insist on walking all over it in their shoes and then feel compelled to take a nap on it? Right under my nose! The mind boggles…

I’d almost consigned my poor kayak to the trash while visiting Tobago, after a crowd of mini delinquents spent an evening leaping from one sailor’s dinghy to another, deflating the lot. But with a little first aid, Thierry and I managed to resuscitate the craft. At this point it’s innards were securely held together with bicycle patches, but how much patching can keep a kayak together when mysterious somebodies insist on stomping on it while you’re away?

So, what's the verdict doctor?

The straw that finally broke my kayak’s back remains a mystery. Perhaps it was being used as cushioned seating, or as a convenient step to climb over the pontoon fence it leaned against. I’ll never know..

Do tell however if anyone has an indestructible dinghy for sale…I’m in the market. Preferably an electrified one fitted with steel jaw traps to deal with stray budding gymnasts…


Fiumicino to Ponza (70NM)

Leaving Rome

Leaving Rome

Thursday the 24th of April

At first light I cast off to brave the persistent swell at the entrance to Fiumicino. With considerable trepidation I watched the sets of breakers and timed my exit. The rain from earlier in the week had swollen the current, steepening the oncoming swell. I didn’t want to be in the wrong place should a large set of waves break, so I set the engine to full throttle and powered through the danger zone. Safe!

Hoisting the sails I adjusted my course (150°) for Ponza (60NM away). There was not much in the way of scenery but the settling sea and favourable westerly breeze were more than enough to keep my spirits high.

By 19:00 I was carefully threading my way through the shoals off Punta Rossa arriving at Porto di Ponza soon afterward. I had no luck contacting the private “mini-marina” staff by radio so I made fast to the first pontoon confident that someone would not be long in stopping by to extract a fee. I did not have to wait long. A quote of 10 Euros per meter (subsequently reduced to 50 Euro after observing my startled reaction) saw miserly me off to set anchor in the bay (beyond the buoys marking the ferry-maneuvering zone). Contrary to what is stated in my pilot, it is permitted to use this free anchorage.

In the remaining light I set about inflating my tender (a Sevylor diving kayak). Keeping a dry backside in this contraption which has an access hatch at its centre is a bit of a challenge but despite this I’ve convinced myself it was an excellent purchase. (see:

After a brief morning wander through the bustling port and side streets of Ponza in search of fresh bread and a strong espresso, I paddled back to Eileen on a caffeine high, and weighed anchor.