San Blast!

Trip Start Aug 03, 2011
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Panama  , Kuna Yala,
Friday, November 18, 2011

Florian and I departed early from Panama City joined by Rares and Brad for the 2 hour jeep ride across the country to the Caribbean – I think it would be true to say that the road through the national park to our launcha departure point, Carti, was the closest thing you could get to a rollercoaster. We were joined by a motley crew of Aussies, an (Australised – if such a thing exists) Kiwi and a couple of Chileans.

Upon arrival at the coast we enjoyed breakfast before jumping aboard the launcha for the
60 minute ride out to where the two boats, Impetus and Casaopeia, that would be our homes and transport for the crossing to Colombia for the next 5 days were anchored. As the launcha journey drew to a close we found ourselves in an idyllic landscape of small scattered palm drenched islands, turquoise ocean and white sandy beaches (that would appear to be a continuing theme so one shouldn't complain).

Upon boarding our vessels the two Captains, Aussie Dave and Norwegian Arvid (who had a remarkable resemblance to Vigo Mortenson and will be referred to as Aragon from this moment forward) stowed our gear and we were left to our own devices to enjoy the island paradise we found ourselves in (which involved swimming to an island 30 metres away and drinking cool beer shaded by glorious palms. That first night the Chileans decided they would try there hand at spear fishing on the nearby reef., they were of course, highly successful and we feasted on a not unsubstantial Snapper!

I was to be a passenger aboard Impetus, the more modern of the two boats (fin keel) and found myself with two Aussie surferes, Jay and Ben, Pepe and Fransisco, the Chilean Surfers and the other Antipodeans, Amy, Murray (who I had briefly met travelling to and from Monteverde in Costa Rica) and Shon. The other boat housed Florian, CatalAna, Edgar another Catalunian, two Munich based Germans, Martin and Matthias and two Kiwis, Piki and Sarah.

I successfully negotiated a daytime exchange to Casaopeia to hang around with the European contingent who I knew, returning to Impetus at night (the boats were rafted together) where I opted to sleep on deck (definitely the best place) and we enjoyed the next few days cruising around the idyllic islands stopping to swim, snorkel, Kayak and enjoy a generally slow (somewhat monotonous at times) pace of life.

The third night, we anchored off an uninhabited island where Edgar and I enjoyed a spot of competitive coconut opening – clearly coconut opening is not my vocation and despite successfully procuring said coconut from a tree swiftly, the art of opening it proved beyond me (I did it eventually but it took me an hour – unfortunately I didn't have an ice skate to do it Castaway style) – Edgar meanwhile managed three in swift succession. That night we constructed a sizeable bonfire on the island and enjoyed our very own desert island party – this included me deciding (possibly under the influence of a Chilean Merlot) that it would be a wise idea to do a spot of bonfire jumping – so having prepared by dousing myself in seawater I successfully carried out two traverses of the raging inferno, fully expecting others to follow, demonstrating their ability in “danger athletics” - as it transpired, of course, I was the only idiot to do it.

The following day Florian, CatalAna and I grabbed the sea Kayak and paddled our way to our very own little island which I was able to walk around in around two minutes – when we returned to the boat the order we had placed the previous day with a local for “supplies” to be brought onboard had been delivered – it felt like we had really found treasure! The fleet moved down the coast to our final stop in the San Blas Islands, a small Kuna (the indigenous people of the area) village (which even had a bar selling cold beer!) in preparation of setting sail on the open ocean to cross to Colombia. Little did I know, that the next blog entry would not be about Cartagena...........

Somehow, during the general frolicking on tropical islands I found myself suffering my first great equipment loss of my travels, not a loss as such more of a waterproof bag "operator" error, resulting in the drowning of my camera, I was less than happy!



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Comments

Pauline on

Obviously being on Asian time, I've only just caught up with your blog. It looks like you having an absolutely amazing time, I'm so jealous!!

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