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Sailing to Colombia

via the San Blas islands....


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As I mentioned previously in my last post, I did not want to fly over to Colombia so the only other option (other than taking a machete, making my way through the Darién Gap and taking the risk of being kidnapped by the FARCs) was to take a boat and sail to Cartagena. The prices are quite steep (between 500 and 550 US$) but so are the flights between Panama and Colombia and besides you get to visit some of the most gorgeous islands in the world, the San Blas islands.

[It is possible to find a similar journey for a cheaper price (350 US$) but this is by speedboat where you go through the islands and by doing this way, you are being dropped straight at the Colombian's border and not in Cartagena.]

So in Portobelo (Panama), we got introduced to Ariel and her crew Hannah and Max who were going to be responsible for us for the whole trip (6 days). Ariel owns the boat but for this trip she had also hired a captain who has sailed on all the seas of the globe, Chris, a South African national.

So in the morning of the 5th of September, the 4 crew members and us the 8 passengers raised the anchor and started to sail aboard a nice sailing boat called One World. More information about the boat and crew can be found here.

During the first day we were supposed to refill in gas in one bay nearby but unfortunately due to technical issues of the gas station, we had to stop for the night there instead of sailing overnight to the islands. Anyway not a problem as the next morning we were leaving the bay at 6am and a few hours later, we would reach the first islands and had a first gasp on this piece of heaven.

The first days were therefore dedicated to do some snorkelling in the reef around the islands,fishing, making a campfires, sailing to different places and swimming around the boat when we could. In the last two days, we started our journey from the islands to Cartagena and arrived in the morning of the 10th September, in the Cartagena canal, with a view on all the skyscrapers of the new part of Cartagena.

The whole journey was just fantastic, the crew was very friendly and professional, and our whole group was a good mix of European culture with the British, Irish, Italian, Swiss and French countries being represented, all getting well along with each other! :)

And if I had to choose a highlight of this journey, this would probably be when we stopped in the middle of nowhere to swim around the boat. At that time we were right in the middle between Panama and Cartagena with no coast in sight. We were swimming in the most blue water I have ever seen, with 2000 meters under our feet.... A truly amazing experience.

And here are a few pictures taken from this trip:

Our sailing boat by night

Our sailing boat by night


First catch (and last) the first day!

First catch (and last) the first day!


Jumping off the boat

Jumping off the boat


Sunset

Sunset


Our campfire

Our campfire


One of the San Blas islands

One of the San Blas islands


More islands

More islands


Captain Chris

Captain Chris


A compass, apparently I have been told it can be useful on a boat...

A compass, apparently I have been told it can be useful on a boat...


Our companion for a part of the crossing, quite tired

Our companion for a part of the crossing, quite tired


People chilling out

People chilling out


Another sunset...

Another sunset...


The first fort of Cartagena, when entering the bay

The first fort of Cartagena, when entering the bay


The skyscrapers of Cartagena

The skyscrapers of Cartagena


A cargo ship exiting the bay

A cargo ship exiting the bay


A statue in the middle of the bay, not sure what is represents...

A statue in the middle of the bay, not sure what is represents...


Our fantastic group (From left to right, top to bottom: Max, Rory, Aidan, Archie, Pablo, Fabian, second row: Chris, Ben, Hannah, Ariel, Stephanie and myself)

Our fantastic group (From left to right, top to bottom: Max, Rory, Aidan, Archie, Pablo, Fabian, second row: Chris, Ben, Hannah, Ariel, Stephanie and myself)

Posted by manolo84 21:47 Archived in Panama Tagged boats snorkelling english

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Comments

Nice trip and blog. Just watch out for your spelling of the countries names. That can get you in more hot water than the FARC could ever do to you.Also, when visiting those countries, as an American, your good will and respect for them goes a long ways to be treated well by the "locals". (Don't write natives). Enjoy your travels this time of the year the Caribbean seems delicious! PS: the Statue on the harbor is that of the "Virgen del Carmen", the patron saint of navigators. I must admit that I am a bit jealous but in a good way. De nuevo, Buen Viaje!!

by L. Lucky Guerra

Thanks for your comment! I guess you are actually talking about the previous post and not that one where I had already corrected the country name. Yeah, I don't know why but for some reason I was sure Colombia was spelt "Columbia" in english, until I found out yesterday that it wasn't... :) I have now corrected the previous post.

But not sure I get your comment about "the locals", of course you should always try to approach them with respect and with a smile, but it's also true that some of them just see you as an ATM and not just a regular person... (by the way I am not American... ;) )

And thanks for the tip about the statue!

Take care

by manolo84

My bad! I had the idea that this was a blog from some American "aventurero" in the Caribbean. The comment about the "locals" was directed to American tourists that when traveling overseas tend to call the people they encounter as "natives" instead of "locals" (which they reserve for the folks the encounter inside the US). I myself am an immigrant to the US and have lived here for 35 years! So now as a middle aged person find it my cause to educate my fellow Americans about the world.(LOL) Where is your next stop? Why are you doing this? Are you a student, writer? Where are you guys this week? Anyhow, if you choose to I can post in "espanyol". Be well y buenas noches

by L. Lucky Guerra

No worries at all! I'm actually happily surprised that people I don't already know follow my blog.
Basically I just took a year off work and decided to travel around the world. The blog is mainly aimed to my family and friends, to give them some news from time to time and to let them know that I am still alive. And thanks for your offer but all my spanish speaking friends speak at least english or french so that should be alright.
Thanks again and take care!

by manolo84

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