Portobelo/Panama – Cartagena/Colombia

The Panamericana, with more than 25000km from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego ‚The longest road in the world‘, is missing a piece. Between Panama and Colombia, there are ‚only‘ jungle and swamps. Ferries around, there is none. Remains a flight or ride on private boats. Between Portobelo in Panama and Cartagena in Colombia succeeds it quite easily. Various skipper earn money by shuttling tourists with their sailing yachts.
We sail in convoy from 2 single mast single hulk boats. Our boat, the ‚Travieso‘, is about 10m long and takes 2 crew members and 4 passengers. The 2nd Boat, the ‚Caiman‘, is smaller.
After some waiting, supposedly for better wind, it is finally starting. For a long time I was looking forward for this adventure. Portside and starboard our recumbents are strapped on the deck. We start in the afternoon and sail for debut the entire 1st night. So everyone can test his attitude to seasickness. Denise remains unimpressed, with most others it is the opposite. I don’t need to vomit, just so.
Part of our trip is to visit the San Blas Archipelago, a group of islands of around 360 islands close to Panama. This area is semi-autonomic under the administration of Kuna (-indians) who call their territory Kuna Yala. The epitome of a dream island – clear, blue water, white, lonely sandy beaches, coconut palms and coral reefs. First stop is the main island with the place El Porvenir. The boat anchors in front of the airport. The runway is bordered by beach, behind one sees the water again. Most islands are so small that they can be rounded in a short walk. Some islands are populated of a lonely palm tree. Although not the most colourful coral reefs, but new for me and that’s why an experience, is snorkelling in the reef with lots of colourful fishes. Some of those lands after they were harpooned promptly at the lunch plate – it could not be fresher. Moreover, there are crabs and clams, which are eaten raw. Unpleasant way, I tested how painful the threads of a jellyfish feel on the skin. Quite painful.
The big crossing – 43 hours, 2 nights, in the 2nd night wind, in which our skipper buckles up and invites tourists below the deck. As much as I am interested in sailing in different ways, for the stay on fluctuating boats, I am not suitable for. After I emptied my stomach, I get by lying below deck. The consumption of food of all passengers for 48 hours drops to zero. This time also Denise feels very bad. The only bright spot are a few dolphins. As we move again and watch from the ship, we are no longer surrounded by water to the horizon in all directions but by the skyscrapers of Cartagena. Until the entry formalities are done and we finally leave the boat and can enter the mainland, it still takes half a day. Time to take care for our bikes. Despite adequate preparations the salty sea is extremely aggressive, makes parts heavily corrode within these 5 days.
Finally solid ground underneath the feet, which for some not feels so stable but also fluctuating.
Despite all the physical adversity a great experience. The crew on our boat was very nice and funny, Angel, the skipper, a far sailed crosser of the Atlantic and good chef. Only Mike, the skipper of the other boat, and his wife, Lilly should be avoided in our opinion. Mike is an unorganized blatherer where you just are stalled and you always get the impression that he wants to rip you. Lilly has invariably everyone, except her husband probably, annoyed that much and dealt with other people in a way, that she risks to get over boarded.
Now we spend some time in the beautiful Cartagena, then we make vacations on a Caribbean island and meet Elisa and Maik.


translated by Denise and Tom

photos to this article: Portobelo/Panama – Cartagena/Colombia : Fotos

8. April 2008 - Tom | english texts | Kommentare :: comments :: comentarios | Inhalt drucken

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