Tag Archives: landslides

Derrumbes Past Medellin

Waiting behind a sheet of rain draining off the roof of a small tienda were a group of stranded travelers.

“It is far too dangerous to cross right now, please wait for the bulldozer.� Somebody offered, even stepped aside to make room under the shelter.

It was true.  Rocks were continuously tumbling down, some encouraging smaller slides to pile up against the mass of earth slowly taking over the final piece of road.  We waited for about five increasingly uncomfortable minutes; our clothes of course dripping wet, our bike shorts like soggy diapers.  Rocks kept scrambling down the sloppy earth.

Against their wishes I decided to go for it.  I backed around to get some momentum, hoping to get through the slide as quickly as possible.  A path large enough for a motorcycle or bike remained, but was filled with boulders, larger than my head.  Smaller stones sunk below the huge flooded puddle that marked the path to follow.

I watched the rocks sliding down from the very top and started pedaling across, trying to time my entrance as cleanly as possible.  Once in the slide, I could no longer watch the falling rocks, as I had to pay attention to the technical riding in front of me.

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Turbo to Medellin

To enter the port of Turbo, we paddled through the maze of mangrove forests, a twisted conglomeration of roots and branches rising out of the water. Shanty houses edged up against the water and began to turn on their lanterns as night poured in.

Merchant ships that run products up the coast to-from the Panama Canal squeezed into the narrow channel that was lined with houses on one side and the streets of Turbo on the other. Smells of diesel fuel, sewage, and fish saturated the heavy tropical air as we paddled through the filthy water looking for a ship known as the ¨Nuevo Jerusalem¨. Arrangements had been made to carry our kayaks back to Capurgana, a beach town and tourist resort further up the coast.

In Capurgana, Juan David let us “kombuchar� in front of his vacation home. Drinking a bit of rum “en caja� (from a box) later that night, we told him about our plan to paddle until we could sell the kayaks, and that we imagined the most likely place would be Cartagena. Many calls were made, and eventually he agreed to buy them, putting us back on our bikes in Turbo.

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