Monday, December 9, 2013

Puerto Lindo, San Blas and sailing to Colombia (28.11.2013 - 05.12.2013)

To get from Panama to Colombia we decided to take one of the many sailing boats which run this route. After some confusion where our boat would depart we headed to Puerto Lindo on the caribbean side. So we took the Panama Canal Railway which runs mostly along the canal all the way to Colon. Colon itself is another rundown, ugly, criminal caribbean city, nothing to see or do here. After a bumpy bus ride we arrived in Puerto Lindo, not so lindo at all. The next day we headed to Isla Grande, just down the road. A nice little beach, some sunken rusty boats and cheap beer. Nice!
The following day we spent with the rest of the passenger waiting to board our catamaran. Our captain was Fabian from Sailing Koala and the boat was called Nacar II. We were in total 16 people on the boat. Captain, cook, three couples from Australia, a couple from London, the Marsh brothers from Canada, a New Yorker, a Sweede and the two of us. The boat was quite cramped, with three people sleeping in the saloon and another on deck under the tarpaulin with the captain. The girl which acted as cook and helping hand was friendly and nice. Sadly she overcooked all the pasta and most of the dishes were quite bland. We guessed she didn't taste the meat dishes as she's a vegetarian...
The crossing from Puerto Lindo to the archipelago of San Blas was quite rough. With most of the passenger getting seasick, but not Melanie. Once arrived between the little islands the sea calmed down and we could go for a swim and visit the tiny coconut islands. The islands are inhabited by the Kuna Indians, where the woman still wear their traditional dresses but the men have taken to western clothing: board shorts, singlets and "golden Rolex" watches. A strange combination. Sadly many of these islands are littered with garbage, some from the indians itself but most of it marine debris washed ashore. 
After two and a half day in the archipelago we entered open sea to cross over to Colombia. The sea wasn't as wavy as on the first day, still some passengers were quite occupied with themselves. The rest of us passed the time reading, playing board and card games or just watching the horizon. Around 40 hours and some visiting dolphins later we sighted the skyline of Cartagena and not much later we had firm ground under our feet again!