https://www.richardkohler.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Richard-Kohler-makes-history-and-raises-money-for-Operation-Smile.jpg 900 1600 carmen https://www.richardkohler.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/RK-Logo-WHite-Site-300x227.png carmen2023-02-20 13:32:142023-02-20 13:34:47Day 63: The End
As dawn started to creep over the horizon, the shoreline grew and the buildings started to reach for the sky.
The current here was an absolute beast. Osiyeza was flying towards Salvador.
At 15km from the shore it felt a lot closer but because I was heading at an angle down the coast and I was getting closer but at a very slow rate. This was a frustrating feeling being so close yet taking so much time to get closer.
Then the wind died and as a parting gift it started to blow offshore. I just chuckled to myself. ” You’re not going to get the better of me”
As I got within a few kilometres off the beach, I started to see current lines marked with trash. Typical of any coastal city. Rubbish in the water leaving Cape Town and now here but I was amazed at how little there was during the crossing.
I eventually got within a few hundred metres of the shore and paddled towards the meeting point with the locals. Bruno, my biggest local supporter who has set everything in motion in Salvador, arrived in his red RIB to welcome me and do a live Instagram feed of the whole arrival.
As I popped around the corner into the bay, there were so many paddlers and boats waiting to welcome me in. Even the Navy was there. Wow what an amazing sight.
A kilometre later I was guided into the Porto Barra Beach where I tied Osiyeza to a buoy. I could not beach her with the keel still attached which meant to get the Guinness World Record for mainland to mainland, I would need to swim unassisted to the beach.
Not sure how this was going to work out with the legs not having done much for two months I dove in and headed for the shore. I also had to have video evidence that I swam unassisted so I held a video camera in one hand.
The beach was packed with people. There was not a free patch of sand. Eventually I touched the sand and walked out of the sea like a drowned rat.
I HAD MADE IT.
What happened next was sureal.
Bruno shouted something to the folk on the beach and slowly the entire beach was clapping and cheering. Some folks even came and took pictures and said “drowned rat”.
My legs were a little wobbly and Bruno held onto to me as he escorted me into the Galerie Vivo, his kayak club and cafe where I was given an Açais to eat and coconut to drink. Nothing could be more local than these. The Açais is frozen fruit ice cream. The problem I had was it was so cold. After not having anything cold for 64 days this was a shock to the system. I could only eat it slowly and not too much of it. Delicious as it was the ice cream headache appeared immediately.
After some interviews I paddled Osiyeza to the yacht club where guys were waiting at the slipway to take Osiyeza out of the water. I had to tell them I needed to drop the keel before I could take her out of the water. Not an easy thing to explain when neither of you speak the same language. It took me only 20 minutes to unbolt the keel. I dived under and attached a line and float so we could retrieve it later. As I removed the last of the three bolts the keel slipped effortlessly out and dropped to the sea floor.
A rubber duck arrive and we towed Osiyeza to the slipway where six guys were up to their shoulders in the water waiting to guide her onto a dolly and a tractor was ready to pull her up the slipway. I was a little nervous of all this. There were even small waves washing up the slipway. As we approach the slipway I also dived in to help and lift the rudder. In a flash Osiyeza was up safely on the hard. I guess they have done this before. Absolute pro’s. Next was the keel which with, a little muscle, was reunited with Osiyeza on the dolly.
Wow what an incredible yacht club. I am told it’s one of the most prestigious clubs in Brazil and I could see why.
Here the Navy came to do a lovely interview and talked about their vision of the Blue Amazon. Cynthia from the Major’s office came to congratulate me. The mayor has invited Judy and myself to be their guests on Tuesday at their VIP section at Carnival. This is the first time since the pandemic that it’s taken place so it’s even a bigger deal than usual. How exciting!
News must travel quickly. Walking around the yacht club I was being treated like some sort of celebrity. I was being asked for selfies. How utterly bizarre but flattering at the same time.
I was then whisked off to the police/immigration to get my passport stamped. It was certainly the fastest I had travelled this year sitting in the back seat of the car. It took ages to get there and back with many of the streets closed due to Carnival.
The police officer turned out to be none other than Bruno’s brother. ,
Later that evening Judy and I went for a walk to the beachfront to see a bit of the Carnival action. I think I am going to need all the stamina I can muster tomorrow when we join the festivities proper. Can’t wait.
Today was a day of many firsts.
First time this year I have:
Stood on land
Been in a car
Drank a beer
Ate a pizza
Thank you for joining me on this adventure.
It’s been a absolute blast.