Sailing from Panama to Colombia
Trip Start Dec 08, 2010
88Trip End Oct 22, 2011
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I read a lot of information about the trip and especially about the boats and captains - inclusive some real horror stories; I had booked the boat via a hostal in Panama City which had quite a good reputation and also my boat and captain had received mainly positive reviews.
Still I had no idea what to expect from the trip and especially the captain - and from talking to my fellow travelers I was not alone with that thought.
Four of usmet at the hostal and we went by bus from Panama City to Portobelo, from where the boat would leave
The first impression of our captain Federico was positive, as well as his boat "Sacanagem". I didn't now what I expected, a long-haired smelly pirate with yellow nicotine teeth and a parrot on his shoulder? Nothing like that, Federico was a fun, trustful guy (with short hair), that told us first about the saftey equipment and rules on board before anything else. He was a French-Brazilian, who had sailed his whole life and was now married to a Colombian. He would tell us many stories and entertain us with anecdotes, tell us about sailing in the region and the history and culture of the islands and indigenous people. His boat was a 43-foot yacht, especially built for charter, so even if we were 10 people on board, we had surprisingly much space.
Our group was a mix of many characters and nationalities, but it was a fun group: Coco & Melanie, two sisters from Schaffhausen in Switzerland; James & Ilona from Melbourne, Australia; Eddy & Lindsay from Vancouver, Canada; Joel from Basel, Switzerland; Ashley and Julia from New York, US; and myself.
After the captain had gotten the exit stamps for our passports we set sail up the coast of Porvenir and to an island on San Blas archipel - Chichime - , a rough 13 hours sail with big waves, half of our crew got seasick immediatly
The next morning we awoke in paradise, palm-fringed beaches, azure blue water - perfect. The whole day we went swimming, snorkelling, cruising to the island in the dinghi and relaxing. A kuna indian came by to sell Mola, traditional woven fabric. For sunset it was Cuba libres on the deck... The next morning we set sail again to go to Cayo Holandes, and island that is even nicer. What did we do: Same as the day before, snorkelling, swimming, eating wonderful food (i.e: really fresh Sahsimi) and a giant bonfire on the beach at night. We even met celebrieties, next to us ankered Laura Dekker, the youngest solo worldsailer at the age of 15.
As the weather was quite rough, the captain decided to stay another day before heading to Cartagena, and we were more than happy, after all we were in paradise. And that day we got lucky, we saw a sea turtle and various flying eagle rays
The wind died down and so the next day we had to set sail for Cartagena, a trip of about 40 hours on open water - without seeing any other boat or land - only some dolphins joined us partly. The mood got quiter, most people were drugged with seasickness pills. Next to the captain I was the only one to "survive" without.