“A little of sun, some waves and a lot of space on the boat”
We are in good mood without any doubts that the captain will take us and we’ll be lucky again and we wait before 8am in the anchorage. But as the time goes on, we need to think about those what-ifs.
When we come back from the shop which is closed till 10 we see Carmen going to us with a uncertain look (please, will it be a good news)… “Children, I met the captain, but he won’t take you for 200… minimum 250!” We are wearing a big smile :). This is our limit and even the the local boats and 2 days journey wouldn’t cost much less. I give Carmen a big hug and we are 100% sure – we will adopt them as our Argentinian parents.
The boat starts to move at 11am with 11 passengers: climbers from Argentina: Camila and Paula, French guys: Manu and Tristan, Hugo from Columbia, our Argentinians, captain Jorge, crew member Adwin from the San Blas islands and we two. Even with this amount of people, everyone has his bed.
After 7 hours of motor sailing, big lunch and feeding the fish (Jan 2x, I once) we reach the first island in San Blas which is administrated by the Kuna people.
We dine on the land and chat at the end of an airstrip which is built on part of island created from sand bags and Adwin is talking about the Kuna’s culture:
- from 300 islands, only 48 are inhabited
- every community has it’s president
- they are independent from Panama
- they do art and plant coco nuts which they then export to Colombia
- foreigner (no-Kuna) cannot buy land or have business here (but he/she can after marrying Kuna)
- they do home-made alcohol “Chicha fuerte” and they get drunk from it (even the children)
- they have many children (10-14)
- women wear traditional clothes and it’s not allowed to make pictures of them
- they smoke weed to be better in diving
We visit the immigration office in the morning. Two guys from USA join us aboard (Chase and Aron) with theit two 650 enduro bikes. Looks like the captain doesn’t care about the space on the boat and another passenger joins us for one day.
Like the sardines in the can we sail to another island and we spend the day on beach, some have shower (everybody but us – we repeat the salt-water washing from catamaran:)) and I try to get some tan to equalize the tan from bicycling.
One would say that 26 years is enough to understand that strong sun can burn the white parts of your skin fast and that it’s not possible to get the same tan in 2 days then in 3 months. “You deserve it”, says Jan when I’m in pain in the evening and can sleep only on the back.
The last passenger leaves us morning and we continue in 14people to Colombia. Wind blows like crazy and the sea is rough everybody takes a Dramomine pill to prevent the sea sickness. In these condition we wouldn’t move with Joe but that’s the difference between paid sailing trip and sailing on your own boat.
We get to the open sea and the shaking begins! The sails are up but just for stabilizing not for speed. The motor sounds the whole time but one while when it dies and they cannot start it for a while. There is not enough place up on board and being inside really makes sick – I go to sleep which is the only position where I can survive and not thing about the movement and the sun burns.
It rains strong and all is gray and foggy outside but Jan doesn’t go for camera to not get sick inside. We talk with Aron during the evening and get to know much about Mormons (the nice young boys in suits with name-tag talking about God).
We get up at 4am for our watch but there are 5 more people and therefore I get back to sleep and Jan fights 2 hours with his stomach to not feed the fish. The next morning is still shaky and everybody is sick.
Then it gets better and the water is almost like a mirror – the time for a bath! Almost everybody jumps to water which is dark blue and clear. It’s not possible to sea land and the depth under us is about one kilometer. Fortunately no sea monster comes to visit us :D.
Later we see a whale in a distance. Everybody is happy about that but we are used to more action. Besides that we are apparently running out of food because today we have just breakfast and something between lunch and dinner – we are hungry!
The evening is worst – we go just on sails (probably we don’t have enough fuel ?!) and therefore the boat is leant to the side. There are 5m waves outside and we jump on them and break them with the nose. Jan is in the cabin and I’m going to join him.
I’ve a stop at the bathroom (I should have rather pee in pants then experience this). The bathroom on boat is small which is not a problem till the moment when the boat is laying on one side and bangs on the waves – then is keeping of the balance impossible … I haven’t even seated yet when the boat jumped, I wasn’t able to keep the grip with one hand and I hit the wall with full force with my elbow. I don’t understand how is possible I didn’t puncture the wall. Now I cannot bend the arm and it really hurts. Fortunately I’m able to get to the bed (our cabin is in the bow which is the worst place on boat in these conditions).
I cannot sleep because the elbow hurts so much, water is dropping on my head because the the hatch leaks, the water is pouring on our feet from the anchor room, the whole time I slip to the side because of the heeling, the fan doesn’t work and it’s like 200 degrees in here, half of the time we levitate in the air and two times I land directly on Jan when we jump on a wave and he refuses to move because he’s got position when he’s not sea sick, the walls are bending, outside is something heavy banging on the board and we saw that the life raft is only for 6 people – I DON’T WANT TO BE ON THE BOAT ANYMORE!
After two hours of suffering Adwin goes around and repairs the fajn. Also the sea calms down. When we get up and outside we can see land and the skyscrapers of Cartagena. Once more time the motor dies but with the last drops of fuel we make it and in half an hour we step onto the Colombian land… Hungry, thirsty, but alive and relatively without injuries :).