Published: January 15th 2012January 15th 2012
Gapster day 1: Bus from Portobelo to another village and got on the Gapster Boat. Very wavy but fast for 1 hour then one engine broke so journey took 3hrs. Immigration was cool at the island of El Porvenir, played volley ball and drank beer, ate egg sarnies on pretty much a desert island, then to Kuna island (can’t remember the name), dinner with the Kuna. The indigenous people that inhabit the islands are called the Kuna Yala. They live under their own rule. The Panamanian government only intervenes if it’s to do with international law i.e. Drug running from Columbia. The island chain is called the SAN BLAS and they are paradise! I got a chickens foot in my stew! The Kuna Yala’s toilets are just little shacks with a jetty so they literally go to the toilet in the sea. The evening’s entertainment was a mix of piglets running under the table, local kids singing and Adam our guide playing the guitar. We stayed in the Kuna hotel, walls made of bamboo! A mouse ate our food and stole the soap! Nice coconuts though. Had a coconut with rum in called ‘Coco Loco’. The Kunas currency used
to be coconuts so you can’t just climb up a tree and take them you have to pay them for them. We asked a Kuna for some coconuts, 2 hours later we got them!
Gapster day 2: Stuck on Kuna island near immigration island, due to the boat needing the engine fixed. We didn’t mind having an extra day in Paradise! We went to Dog Island (Isla Perro) the engine breaking turned out for the best. The island is a hundred metre diameter desert island paradise, complete with a ship wreck and reef wall to snorkel, nice fish. Plus a couple Kunas have set up a bar and toilet/shower block, great day. Back at the main island the Kuna’s did a traditional dance for us and the children smeared Linz’s lips with dodgy lipstick. Later we had food with the Kuna again, I picked up a piglet and the thing went nuts, it was screaming like hell! Then we cracked into the rum and extreme UNO with the French. Late night swims, drank 1.5 litre of rum between us. Oops!
Gapster day 3: Boat fixed, had breakfast inside the Kuna’s
hut as it started raining. Gecko’s were landing everywhere. Linz had one on her leg! Left Kuna Island, 2hr ride to tiny desert island called Pelican. Two Kuna turned up in a little wooden boat with fish dinner and beers. After a good snorkel, where we saw a big puffer and a star fish do a back flip!!! Then another 2ish hours onwards to a deserted island where we set up camp in tents with bonfire an all. Another snorkel before dark of the island reef, strong current and waves, saw a big blue nurse shark. Marco cooked us up a hearty pasta dinner then we all tucked into a bit more rum but not that much as we had none left and felt pretty hanging from the night before!
Gapster day 4: Packed up tents, One of the lads Sean, admitted he’d been caught red handed doing an aqua poo, funny! No toilets on the island you either have to dig a hole or go in the sea! then went to another island for lunch and snorkel. We saw sea spiders, coral, loads of small fishes. Followed by quick game of sea volleyball (turned
out to be a violent game of piggy in the middle). Onwards to Columbia, on the border a pod of dolphins came to see us into country, see video (it’s on facebook). We finally arrived in a small bay called Sapzurro, really nice highly recommend a visit, jungle meets the sea, beautiful. Out for a meal and decent bed, more than welcome.
In the morning we got a boat from Sapzurro Colombia to La Miel Panama, only about 20min, nice beach with good snorkelling. The people that own the gapster are building a hostel there so we went to see the beginnings down the end of the deserted beach, many sand flies, nice setting though, apart from the armed soldiers in sand bunkers and massive ransom posters for drug traffickers. Back to Colombia, next bay south called Capurgana. We ate at Marco’s (boat skipper) mates restaurant. Got our passports stamped at strange little office in town. Then bumped into Tim & Ron Fandango (Ian) from San Pedro, Guatamala ( 4 weeks previous)!!! Beers with everyone and bed.
Early rise at 7am we got a speed boat from Carpurgana to Turbo
(shit hole), 2 ½ hrs jaw and back breaking bumpy ride south east into the wind followed by 10hrs on two minibuses north to Cartagena, arrived at about 10pm where we found a hostel with a resident Tucan called Luka. Tim & Ron fandango got mugged pissed up outside the main hostel in town, they ended up grabbing the knife and got their wallets back and running off, quite funny.
Cartagena: checked out old town and ramparts, walked around bastillion, had local’s lunch good set menu, then got asked if we wanted to have cocaine and go to a cock fight. On way back to digs I got asked got asked for my coca cola dregs by homeless man, which I happily gave him. We went out for curry that night followed by beers.
Travelled from Cartagena by bus to Barranquilla then to Santa Marta then cab to Taganga, took around 7 hours in total. Taganga is a very pretty bay on the Caribbean coast of Colombia surrounded by big green hills. Found Bay View hostel and booked Linz’s diving padi course .Ate at café bonsai amazing grilled food.
Linz PADI scuba diving, rich chilled + jobs, later ate at Pachamama + cocktails lovely food. Linz saw a stonefish and a seahorse.
Linz PADI, rich chilled + jobs, ate at café bonsai amazing again. Linz saw a crazy rare fish that has little legs at the front and walks on them. Also saw two other similar fish that have big purple wings, they are called Sea Robins.
Linz last day of PADI, Rich went too, visibility low, saw coral, morays, parrot fish, squirrel fish. Linz got 100% on theory test so got free night dive. Got a boat around the corner Playa Grande, expensive beer, but it was nice to chill. Ate at Pachamama + cocktails again good.
Later there was a Party at hostel met some lads that had lived in Bristol for a bit and one crazy Welsh guy.
Taganga: Lie in, chilled around pool. Night dive, not good visibility, saw white puffer, and a plastic bag, lion fish, kept crashing into people. Linz not keen. Pachamama for cocktails (Linz’s favourite was the passionfruit mojito), then ate
pizza, packed bags, Linz went to bed as well tired. Rich went to Miramar hotel balcony bar with everyone and partied till 3:30am, cool bar.
There are more photos below