Saturday, May 12, 2018

Sailing around the Darian gap

I took about 2 weeks rest after reaching Panama city. 2 friends of mine flew into Panama to meet me for the 5 day sailboat trip from Puerto Lindo through the Caribbean San Blas Islands to Cartagena, Colombia.
We spent a day checking out Puerto Lindo

We hung out at our hostel hosted by an expat American who churned out excellent pizzas while we played pingpong and hunted crabs in the yard through the window with an air rifle. Best hostel crab shooting ever.

The 5 day, $550 crossing left port at 8pm
to arrive Porvenir by early morning .
Here, at the start of the San Blas Islands is where we got our passport exit stamps. I had a chat with the captain about the Kuna people's independence from Panama and their ability to regulate foreign companies from profiting from their islands by closing the mainland road to the nearest port, allowing only those, like our captains, who do overnight trips to access the islands and pay them a visitors tax.

Some heavy rain.
Some great food
Some surgery. To remove mosquito eggs laid in a guy's foot. The sailors had scars from such excisions all over their bodies.
The San Blas Islands are truly special. The only place I've been that is close are the Gili islands in Indonesia.
This area is a slice of paradise
Although the few people who live on some of the islands might see it differently

After 2-3 days hanging around the islands and cruising through the tranquil, reef protected waters, we set sail towards Cartagena: 32-48 hours away.  It took us 36 hours.
It is not pleasant, sailing in open waters. Most everyone on board did not feel well, about half the passengers vomited.
But we did have the pleasure of a pod of dolphins overtaking our boat at speed.