Crossing Continents

Porvenir Travel Blog

 › entry 15 of 25 › view all entries

Wow, I know I say this every journal entry, but seriously, the past 6 days on the boat have been the best experience of this trip by far.

First of all, here is the crew... Jorgelina, an Argentine artist; Mat, a Kiwi cafe owner; Susie, a Kiwi chef at one of Mat´s cafes in Wellington; Roman, an Austrian architecture student; Raquel, a Spanish school teacher; Rumi, a German massage therapist; our German capitan, Andreas; then my friend Suarez and myself. Pretty international, 4 continents represented and three languages?

So, we took off from Cartagena late Thursday night. While departing, everyone was completely silence because we were all staring at the lights and beuty of the city during sun set. However, two hours later, the boat became a little more silent once the waves began to pick up and everyone became sea sick. I guess I got lucky, because I didnt feel anything, but the German girl and Argentine got it bad, really bad. Being sea sick does not look fun.

After the fist night, the waves calmed down a little, but it was still pretty rough, and thats pretty much how the rest of our journey at sea went. Every night, the guys would take turns doing night shifts to watch out for on coming boats.

The two Kiwis, being in the restaurant business and all, would cook up amazing food for all the crew every night. The German girl would give free massages which was pretty cool, and, during the rest of our free time, we would just converse in either English, Spanish or German. Yep, believe it or not, after being in a small cramped area with three German speakers for 6 days, you learn the language pretty fast.

So we sailed,and sailed, ate and ate, talked and talked, took turns doing the night shifts, drove the boat and either slept on the deck or sun bathed all day for a few days. During the night, there would be a few storms that passed through making the waves and weather a little violent, but it was actually pretty fun fighting throught the elements.

Actually, after one of the storms, the next morning, was absolutely amazing. By far one of the most beutiful things that Ive ever seen in my entire life. It was early in the morning and I just got done doing the 5am-7am night watch. The sun rose over the horizon to turn the whole Caribean sky orange and light blue. Then, a pod of dolphins came swiming up to our boat and began to show off and do tricks, doing wierd and crazy jumps. To make things even better, there was a rainbow stretching from one side of the horizon the other. It really was so amazing, I felt like I was in a movie.

The next day, we finally made it to the fantastic San Blas Islands. Thers about 400 of them off the coast of Panama, so our Capitan just sailed up to one and dropped the anchor about 30 meters from the shore. We were all so excited to see land after 3 days that everone jumped off and swam to shore upon arrival. We all laid in the sand, explored the island and went snorkling at the nearby reaf, very cool. My friend Suarez and I got adventerous and took the row boat to explore other deserted islands. Afterwards, I made a spear out of bamboo to go spear fishing to try and catch our crew some dinner. However, no luck, those little bastards are fast!

So after a long day of exploring islands, snorkling and spear fishing, the sun droped and the moon rose, starting the begining of our back to land party. We all cracked open the bottles of rum and had our own party under the star lit sky.

So picture this, a few young crazy travelers from all over the world, a few bottles of rum and a celebration of being able to see land for the first time in several days... yea, it wa crazy. Thats why we decided to jump off the boat in the middle of the night to swim to shore. Actually, I think it was my suggestion, but I was just joking, but everyone esle seemed to take it seriously. So, everyone stripped down, jumped in, and began the night swim to the shore.

We didnt care about the Portugues man-of-wars, the jelly fish or even the sharks, we just wanted to prove to ourselves that we couald make it to the island, But, while swiming, we noticed something quite odd. There was a king of algie in the water that lit up upon touching it, so when you would swim, the entire area around you would light up like electricity. It was straight up bad ass.

As you can imagine, a few crazy kids swiming in electricity water in the middle of the night around a few deserted San Blas islands with the moon and stars iluminating the sky was very, very, very cool! We made it to the beach, finally, after a good 30 mins of swiming, and then just laughed at the fact of what we just did. Although maybe a little stupid, it was worth it, and it will be a memory that sticks in my mind forever.

After a long night of swiming, we woke up early the next morning and headed to another more populated island. We arrived, bought some fresh fish, grubbed and relaxed. Then, out of no where, we see some of our Ausie, Irish and English friends that we met in Cartagena a week earlier come strolling up on the beach coincidently. They did the same exact trip that we did except with different capitans. From what they told me, their trip was horrible. Their captians were crazy, psychotic, and drunk the whole time, they had no bathrooms and had very little food. Man, it almost made my trip seem like a 5 star cruise. I guessed I lucked out, I had a great crew with a really chill capitan. Its about time my luck payed off!

So we all sat around a fire and told stories from our Caribean adventure while, at the same time, celebrated the English girl´s birthday. After passing out on the beach for the night, we woke up at the break of dawn to head back to mainland Panama. Its been the first time I have stepped back in my own continent for months, it was kind of wierd.

So all in all, the boat ride was splendid. Chilling on the open sea with no other sight of humans or land for three days while getting free massages and great food from the Kiwis, then finally arriving to land to lay on an amazing deserted beach and going spear fishing and island exploring, then having a birthday party on another beach the following day, PLUS the most spectacular sunrise that I have ever seen in my life with a pod of doplhins and a rainbow was, as you can already tell, one of the best weeks of my life.

I highly recomend that anybody traveling from South America to North America, or more specifically Cartagena to Panama, do it by boat and not by plane. Its a great chance to learn a little bit about sailing, see some amazing deserted islands and just have fun doing other water activities... like taking a night swim with glowing algie!

We made it to land, then began our journey to Panama city, where I am now. Ill write back tomorrow with details, as for now, I need to get some breakfast and have to find a bus to Costa Rica. Chau!

ltrye says:
wow, sounds heavenly. I just took a day trip by sailboat in Belize and it made me want to go for an extended period and possibly learn the ropes - maybe I'll do your trip!
Posted on: Aug 11, 2007
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photo by: tristan_suarez