Chasing The Ana – Final Thoughts
You can’t truly take in the scope of the land until you get far out to sea. In the same way you can’t properly describe any major event in your life until you allow some time to pass.
The CTA expedition as I have said many times was a first step for me into the world of sea kayaking expeditions. I certainly will do more of these trips in the future. On expedition there is a certain clean, linear definition of day to day life. You get up, eat, paddle, land and sleep. Then get up and do it all over again. Chris Duff called it “cyclical”, I call it repetitive, but in the end it serves like a chant that brings your mind into new and unique awareness.
For me CTA was in someways a knife blade separation between the human and the natural existence. I saw the best and worst of human nature and the strength and weaknesses of my own character along the way. I came into CTA riding a hurricane wave of life issues that CTA helped in many ways to sort out, much to the chagrin of an often adversarial audience. Still, in the end everyone did their bit to make it happen and for that I’m truly thankful.
Just as on the land, the days on the water were full of challenges. Each day provided a new landscape in which to fail or flourish. Luckily the failures were few. Other than a few rough launches and landings I was happily surprised with what I could do from the seat of my kayak. I can’t help but credit all of the talented friends and instructors who gave their time and inspiration over the past few years and unknowingly helped me reach this goal as well.
Puerto Rico is a beautiful Island and as the cliche´ goes “a land of contrast”. The ocean was rarely the calm, blue, tropical seascape you see in the postcards. In fact most of our days on the water were in 4-6 foot seas and force 4+ winds. Some days much bigger. In those conditions the tropical heat was rarely an issue. The natural environment was amazing but heavily scared by over population, lack of civic funding, and the many issues that effect a population steeped in poverty. In many places the demarcation lines between rich and poor were amazingly graphic. Wealthy enclaves for tourists and affluent locals often stood as walled encampments surrounded by the rest of Puerto Rico’s native population. As you would expect we were most welcomed when we were away from those enclaves.
The locals we met along the way were amazingly generous and helpful. In fact, the only times we we were treated negatively was when we came to affluent Yacht Clubs and Marinas. As sea kayakers we were pretty sure that marinas would be sure bets to find a little corner to set up a tent over night in an urban area. However twice we faced issues with the management who were less than supportive. We certainly had no expectations of strangers, however I personally was surprised that of all people, these would be the ones who were the least helpful.
Over the next year I will be writing more and presenting on many aspects of the journey including; planning your first expedition, Trip reports, video presentations and more. Any trip that involves, automatic weapons fire is worth a few minutes read. LOL! I appreciate the invitations to share the story and the sponsorships and personal support that made the trip happen.