San Blas Sail
Trip Start Jan 11, 2012
38Trip End Aug 09, 2012
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
The yacht was owned and captained by a retiree called Vlad, but by the end of the trip all four of us were using our own unique nicknames for the captain, names that he probably wouldn't appreciate very much. Unfortunately he was a bit of a , but we'd rather not dwell on the solitary negative aspect of the trip
After successfully navigating through Cartagena harbour we set out into the Caribbean Sea for the 36-hour open ocean leg of the journey. The Caribbean Sea is certainly not regarded as being particularly treacherous, but nonetheless all four of us deliberately overdosed on seasickness tablets to prevent bringing up our exceptionally bland brown bread and processed cheese that was meticulously prepared for us for dinner. The night was restless to say the least and we all woke up early for some brown bread and processed cheese for breakfast (sprinkled with some more seasickness tablets of course). The wind had died overnight so Captain Stingy fired up one of two 9 horsepower engines and pushed the throttle to 10% above idle. At a blistering 4.5km per hour we tore across the Caribbean towards Panama
We watched a glorious Caribbean sunset from the front of the boat and then decided to chance our luck at some fishing. Captain Clueless informed us that no fish live in such deep water but by that stage we weren't interested in taking anything that he said very seriously. 15 minutes later one of our lines started screaming and after a brief tussle I landed a decent Barracuda. Expecting to be spoilt with good seafood for the next three days, we returned the Barracuda to the ocean, but in hindsight we definitely should have devoured that damn fish! We'll leave it to your imagination to work out what we ate for dinner that night. Clue: it's brown and tastes like nothing.
After another restless night we awoke before sunset in order to have another crack at some Barracuda. Just as the sun started to appear above the horizon we heard that glorious sound that every fisherman craves. I immediately grabbed the rod and tried to hand it to the Good Doc as this was his fish. For some bizarre reason he didn't want to take it, a decision that he soon regretted after witnessing the spectacular site of a sailfish launching into the air
Our fortunes had clearly improved significantly since our departure and a few hours later, when we arrived in the San Blas Archipelago, any grievances about Captain Cooked quickly evaporated. The islands were ridiculous. It was genuinely difficult to come to terms with how beautiful they really were. We've all seen postcards of the perfect island paradise but we never thought that they actually existed. I guess that this is another time when photos provide a far superior description of the scenery than words. It really was that amazing.
We spent three full days in San Blas where we indulged in all sorts of island activities. During the day we would swim, snorkel, explore the islands, pose while jumping off the boat, break coconuts for a laugh, catch fish using polony and then we'd do all of that again. At night we would lie at the front of the boat and count satellites and shooting stars
Each day we moved to a different island, each one no less picturesque than the next. The food for those three days was seriously disappointing and Captain Grumpface wasn't shy to berate us for the most ludicrous things, like using too much water, spilling soap when trying to help clean the dishes, putting too many beers in the fridge, not closing all the windows when we weren't in our cabins and even forcing Don to eat more plain rice. So that sounds pretty unpleasant, which it was, but all of that was still brushed aside (sometimes after a few strong words back to the skipper) when we returned our gaze to our surroundings. Before we embarked on the trip my brother Giorg told me that San Blas is the most beautiful place that he'd ever seen. He may be a crazy Italian that likes yoga, but it's impossible to fault him on that description. And he's seen a lot of places. No more travelling when that critter arrives though!
After 3 days in paradise with some awesome company (one obvious exception), we arrived in Portobelo, Panama where we had to wait for a few hours before disembarking as the captain was unaware that the immigration office was closed on weekends. Eventually the stamp man arrived and we stepped onto dry land. The trip was definitely plagued with an array of unfortunate incidents but it will still feature prominently in our lifetime highlights reel. Even the less enjoyable moments will still make for some entertaining talking points when we reminisce about the journey one day. A bad experience is always better than no experience. Except if that experience is being punched in the face by Mike Tyson. But Iron Mike can punch me in the face whenever he likes if I can spend the recovery time on one of the San Blas islands.