Panama to Colombia!!!

Trip Start Sep 03, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
On Santana the boat

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wow what an amazing trip it was sailing across the Carribean from Panama to Colombia! The Pan-American Highway does not connect Central America to South America so I considered many other options on getting to Colombia from Panama such as flying which wouldn't have been much of an experience at all and would have come pretty close to costing the same. I considered trying to find a cargo ship that I could hitch a ride on for a quarter of the price but they are never on schedule and it would have been super boring I am sure. Crossing the Darien Gap by foot which is by far the most dangerous way of switching continents didn't sound like a good idea. I also attempted to find some private sail boats headed in the direction I wanted to go but with no luck I decided to go with the easiest and most enjoyable form of transportation, Santana. Santana is the name of the 50 feet catamaran sail boat with Captain Gisbert and first mate Luis. The boat was very comfortable. It held up to 15 passengers with a bed for everyone. The 3 daily meals were by far some of the best meals I have eaten in the past 7 months of my travels. There is a cold fridge on board for the passenger's snacks and beverages. The small two man canoe was fun to use around the islands along with snorkeling gear. After a nice dip in the crystal clear waters we were able to wash off in the fresh water shower and I am sure the ladies appreciated the male and female toilets being separate and super clean. For those of you wanting to transport motorcycles they will be safe and accepted on Santana. There was a total of 16 people on board and plenty of beds for everyone. We set sail from Porto Lindo super excited for the first thirty minutes going up and down and up and down and side to side until people slowly started to feel the discomforts of the rough water. There were only a few of us left enjoying the ride. I was doing great until my friend Thomas got sick upwind from me! I have a really weak stomach for stuff like that but I was able to hold it together and get to the other side of the boat before it was too late. Thomas being the nice guy he was decided he needed to come to the other side of the boat to apologize for getting sick on me, it was a very nice gesture but the fact he still had vomit all over his shirt pushed me over the edge! All I could think was man just get away from me but it was too late, I lost control. I have never liked taking drugs not even Tylenol or motion sickness pills so I chose not to even on this new experience on the open seas. I wanted to see how my body would react in it's normal state and I am pretty sure I would have made it through the whole trip if it weren't for that first little incident. Thomas is a great guy and I totally forgive him. It took us about 8 hours to get to the first part of the San Blas islands and what a great feeling it was to get off that boat! The boat was anchored a little ways out from the island so we all jumped in with excitement and swam over to the very small island and struck up a game of beach volley ball. It was great fun and followed by an amazing dinner on the boat. The next day we woke up with the sun and took an early morning swim in the crystal blue waters before breakfast. After breakfast we sailed for about two hours to another one of the 365 San Blas islands and dropped the anchor again. We were able to snorkel through some beautiful reefs and see some of the most colorful fish I have ever seen. We were able to purchase some fresh lobster off of the Kuna people living on the islands and Captain Gisbert and Luis prepared them for a little pre-dinner appetizer and they were amazing along with the Captains special sauce. After dinner we made dome drinks and climbed up on the cabin Santana and attempted to count the millions of bright caribbean that were lighting the sky. The third day was pretty much the same. We took another two hour ride to some more of the islands and swam and snorkeled and rowed around taking turns in the kayak. We knew the following day was going to be the start of the long 36 hours of non-stop sailing across the wide open seas with land to be seen. We set sail at six-o-clock in the morning and the journey began. We all started to get pretty bored after the first couple of hours when out of nowhere a dolphin swam up beside the boat! We were super satisfied with seeing that one dolphin so you can only imagine how excited we were when we saw 10 more rapidly gaining on us! It was one of the most amazing sights I have ever seen...11 dolphins swimming and jumping directly in front of the boat at exactly the same speed as the boat! We were able to sit on the front of the boat and watch them for at least twenty minutes until they decided it was time for them to return back to their favorite spot in the middle of the ocean. This five day trip from Panama to Colombia alone was like taking a vacation from travels and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Many thanks to Captain Gisbert and first mate Luis. So be sure and check out the website
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Yansci on

That sounds like an awesome experience, Trenton! I would have enjoyed that trip. Except for the seasickness, of course!!

Your Mother on

I have really missed your writings! This made me feel ALMOST like I was on a
vacation. I have a feeling you might get the Captain and Luis some more sailors.
I'm so glad you had such a wonderful time

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