Panama – Colombia

Thirty countries over Five continents and counting…

We had to ride the bikes up a 200mm wide plank to get them on the catamaran. It was a little hairy to say the least, the boat was bobbing up and down and swaying from side to side all the while this was going on. It took about five guys to get each bike aboard. They were then lashed down to everything in sight. This made walking from the back to the front of the boat nice and difficult too, especially in the rougher seas. Our captain cleared immigration for us but I don’t think he bothered doing anything about the bikes. I think I’d better stay away from Panama for a while. 

We set sail for the San Blas Islands along the coast. There are hundreds of these islands on route to Colombia sheltered by coral reefs. Once we entered the reef the seas were calm and gentle. The Islands them selves range in size, from a bit of sand with a single palm tree to larger islands that contain a few houses inhabited by the Kuna people. These people live real primitive lives, existing on seafood and coconuts. They get about, travelling from island to island in dugout canoes. They can move surprisingly quickly in these tiny hollowed out trees when they want to trade with passing vessel’s for coca-cola and beer, mainly beer. We also purchased a bucket load of crabs and lobster off some of them for 20$, a pretty fine deal too.

We spent two days and nights sheltered in the reef snorkelling and spear fishing. As I was returning to the boat after the last hunting session I happened to spy something stir in the sand about ten meters below. I dived down quickly to get a closer look, there below me was a stingray hiding and half buried in sand. I wasn’t sure if there was any point in killing it, I didn’t even know if it was eatable. I returned to the surface and pointed the prize out to (the cheese eating surrender monkey) Kerman. He gave me a thumbs up so I dived back down. I knew I had only one chance and I knew the shot had to be between the wings and body. I got to within a metre of it and fired the trigger, nailing the stingray to the sea bed. They have a poisonous barb that was flailing about wildly so I just towed it back to the boat holding the gun firmly in my hand all the while making sure to keep an eye on  the barb making sure it didn’t get too close. Once we climbed on board and hauled it in Kerman quickly threw a towel on the barb and stood on it. I took out my knife and cut away the danger. The ray was then butchered and served up for dinner along with crab and lobster. I have found myself a new hobby I think.

After dinner we set sail for Colombia, the crossing was surprisingly calm and even enjoyable. Fritz had sea sickness patches, one of which I put behind my ear and I was almost perfect the entire crossing. We arrived into Cartagena around 1am but spent the night on the boat. That day we spent strolling the beautiful streets of the old city. It’s a beautiful city full of friendly helpful people. The next day we went back to the boat and removed our bikes. Getting them off was nowhere as hard as getting them on but it was still a difficult process. we then spent the day clearing the bikes through customs and getting insurance…

Tomorrow we head out to explore the country in the direction of  Medellin…

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3 Responses to Panama – Colombia

  1. Steve Joyce says:

    Good to see you arrived in Sth America safe Kev, wondering could I catch some fish like that down the weirs.. Shopping trolleys more like! Safe journey..

  2. Trish says:

    Glad there was no sea sickness and the weather held out for you. Such a hard life by the sounds of it-cruising on a cat, eating fresh seafood and having beer delivered to your boat. Really roughing it! X

  3. Di says:

    Kev stay away from sting-rays! Sheesh! You know what happened to Steve Irwin….

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