Published: November 10th 2006November 6th 2006
Looks idyllic but full of bloody sandflies that meant Nick and I got bitten at least 100 itchy times each - lovely, thanks for warning us Duncan :)
We left Colombia aboard a Contessa 32 called Good Karma. Captained by a 29 year old American called Duncan who promised great sailing, food and snorkelling and finally some paradise islands! We also had another couple for company, Ida and Paul who we'd hooked up with to find the boat.
It was an excellent trip. We left a stormy Cartagena and 52hrs of fairly rough seas later we had arrived in paradise, Sally only managed to be seasick on the first day after trying Duncan´s only speciality - Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches - don´t bother is our advice!
Tiny islands with coral reefs and coconut palms awaited us. The weather was sooo hot all you could do to cool off was swim which was gorgeous as the sea was like a warm bath.
The sailing was not much to write about as Duncan had it on auto pilot for the whole crossing so he did not have to do much and left it up to the rest of us to cook and wash up for him!
In fact, the trip was quite funny as Duncan did not live up to his boat´s name of Good Karma
and instead had a few hissy fits, like throwing down his torch and jumping into the sea when some string on his torch had come loose - I guess it´s the captain´s perogative to be a bit feisty at sea.
Anyway, after the long crossing of open sea we spent 3 great days cruising in the San Blas Archipeligo. We were entertained by a couple of retirees on their boat, they fed us fresh fish and chilli and even took us to their favourite snorkelling spot where we saw a huge blow fish and a 6 foot nurse shark. There is a whole community of these oldies cruising the Caribbean, much like caravaners but with boats instead! Most of them are alcoholics too which is why they choose sailing as there are no laws against being drunk in charge of a boat - scary.
We visited a Kuna village which was fascinating, they are autonomous from the Panamanian government and one of the most traditional South American tribes still in existence. They are really trying hard to maintain their way of life but I feel the western ways will creep in quite quickly.
We reached our final
destination of Portobello (named by Columbus) in Panama and it was quite nice to be able to get off the boat and wash for the first time in 6 days! I had had enough of the Captain who really lacked any kind of social skills. Earlier I had knocked some of his things overboard and thought he was going to have another paddy but the fact that he was stoned meant this time he didn't!
Anyway, enjoy the pics. We are now in Panama City and planning our route north. Hope all is well with everyone and thanks for all the comments you are sending - keep em coming´...lots of love Nick and Sally
There are more photos below