13 August 2007

Chasing the Ana update

Sunday, August 12, 2007

CTA Clarification on Bullets, Catabatic Winds & Ground Crew Support

Carrie of http://www.kayakscuba.com/ checking in here.

I spent the afternoon with Derrick and Taino. Derrick asked me to clarify a few things. First, on the automatic weapons fire, the men were paddling in an area near a firing range, which is how the bullets seem to have found them. Second, both Derrick and Taino saw the warning flags and were smart enough to paddle well clear of the warning area. However, it is likely that the protection intended to keep bullets from entering the water area is no longer effective. Also, the bullets were flying far outside the designated areas, so it is possible that someone was using land next to the firing range as a practice area. For this reason the US Coast Guard would like to have me report the incident to the local police so that someone can check up on this. Taino informed me that a local resident told him that 2 boaters were accidentally shot and killed in this same area 2 years ago, so certainly measures must be taken to protect those who use the seas.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program!

Anyone who imagines for just a moment that Derrick and Taino are paddling in calm seas, in a gentle breeze, near a small tropical paradise are welcome to experience the catabatic winds encountered by these two experienced paddlers after they crossed the bay at Mayag├╝ez. Taino and Derrick both said they rounded a corner and force 5 katabatic winds hit them so quickly they had time only to react individually. Derrick chose to take a right, while Taino paddled left. Derrick checked to make sure Taino was making way while Taino did the same for Derrick. Outcome? Both paddlers arrived safe and sound at the same destination. Imagine, Derrick paddled these katabatic winds with bruised ribs, while Taino struggled with a stuck rudder. What a superior set of paddlers!

After that dramatic landing, Derrick encountered a small girl walking her pet goats along a shoreline. Goats, called cabra, are a popular livestock on the island and are most commonly served near the Christmas season, called Navidad, in a fricassee of local vegetables and sauce. The goats are also milked for delicious cheese, queso, and there are also competitions for goat milking held in certain areas of the island. If you ever get the chance to try cabra, or queso de cabra, served Puerto Rican style, I am sure you will love it.

Finally, I would like to give a special thank you to Nydia Kein of our CTA Ground Support Team. Nydia has returned home to Wisconsin USA. When you are out on the water there are many people who are working to make things happen for your great adventure. One of those people in Chasing The Ana has been Nydia, who did research, made contacts, transported kayaks and gear, and flew to Puerto Rico ahead of the team to prepare for the arrival of Derrick and Taino. One of the goals originally set for Chasing The Ana has been to bridge cultural gaps, so I would like to share a parting note from Nydia.

Nydia writes: Back from Puerto Rico – I was reflecting on the trip and want you to understand how fortunate I feel having been able to have the opportunity to share moments with all of you.

Carrie, you, your family and friends made me feel at home, sharing a cultural bond/island that retains a special place in my heart. Your trust and unconditional support of all of us was an exceptional gift. Thank you for everything, my best to you and your family.

Taino, it was a pleasure. It was great to meet someone that clearly shares my love of kayaking and would go to this extreme to finish a dream. It was great to see the children in Puerto Rico looking up to you. Seems like your greatest accomplishment on this adventure may be the understanding that you have left an "I can do it" in the hearts of the children, that's a wonderful tribute to the memory of Carrie's son.

I hope we have an opportunity to spend some time on the water in the future, stay well and keep in touch.

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