It’s 1.30am. We’ve just arrived back on the boat.
Twenty hours ago, at 05.30am, we found ourselves crawling out of bed, jumping into the dinghy and onto our bikes to the local town to catch a bus to the capital, Montevideo.
We had an appointment with a yellow fever vaccination (in which we paid to be given a virus! ), a 5000mile project school presentation, a dentist and a bicycle shop for two wheels for the running trailer……………….
Rain hoses from the pitch black. I can just make out Dave a couple of metres in front, but soon he’s a ghost, powering into the distance to buy the bus tickets and narrowly missing a posy of three horses sleeping on the road.
7 miles to go.
Thank goodness the bus is there. I empty two satisfying torrents of water from my boots and the police lady chuckles. The bikes are locked and we slope onto the bus, in a trail of sopping clothes.
Two and half hours later and we’re in Montevideo; freezing. We will have to be meticulous in the south in a couple of weeks, wet clothes are lethal in below zero temperatures, driving rain and a half a gail blowing.
Two vaccinations, 30 excited children and four teachers, an abandoned dentist chair and no wheels later and Manolo and Rubia, the gorgeous farm dogs, are coming to greet us.
Luckily there’s a moon. We dive down the hill to the stack of wood where we leave the bikes and look out over to Lista Light. A wall of shimmering water greats us. Tables and benches just nose out of it. A tiny tip of the post to which we secured the dinghy shows above the flooded river, miraculous.
Dave volunteers to wade out and grabs the dinghy before it floats away. Battling against the wind, we paddle to Lista Light and finally flop aboard.
Water will both be an ogre and a friend during our expedition. When it’s cold and abundant we’ll be cursing it, but when our tongues are fat and mouths like cotton we will be summoning it.
Either way, like tonight, water will haunt our days and we will both be dreaming of water.