Woke up in time to jump on the bus to Colon for last minute things for the boat, and just for something to do. I have been introduced to “Mate”, it is a southern South American Drink with is a plant ground up. They pack a tiny cup full of it and with a straw that is flat at the end with lots of little holes sitting at the bottom of the cup. They pour a small amount of water into one side of it and you drink it until it’s gone, then pass it and fill it up again, and so on and so on. At first taste very bitter and not good, but after two days of sharing it with my friends from Uruguay I am becoming fond of it. We drank it all the way to Colon. Colon is kind of a dump of a port town, ran down and seemed a little sketchy. We ran errands, got groceries for a few days, playing cards, Pina Juice for our rum, and lunch. Was very strange and didn’t really like being in a bus for two hours each way, MISS MY BIKE. If all goes well we will board the sailboat tomorrow night and leave early Thursday arriving in Cartagena on Monday.
A lot of sitting around and waiting all day. Played a lot of pool, walked around stretching the legs. My feet have been getting worse and worse, so I stopped taking the Uric Acid medicine a day ago and my feet are hurting less. Who knows, I stopped eating red meat, beans, and drinking beer (which was the HARDEST!!) We had dinner and were told we would get on the boat around 7pm, 7 came and went, then we heard 8, 8 came and went. They showed up and they sat around and waited finally talking to the owners of the boat, we were told it was time so we grabbed our stuff and headed for the gate. Nope we waited another hour and asked again only 10 more minutes, about another hour and then they said ok let’s go!! We got on the boat around 11:30pm. Hung out for a little bit and figured out where we were slipping. The sleeping arrangements were two double beds (for the couples) a bed for three which we had 2 girls at the last moment that were going to meet us on the boat, and a single bed. On the way to the dock I was hoping for two beautiful women to join us. We arrived at the dock to meet the last two people; they were a very manly lesbian couple.. Haha couldn’t have written it better. The two girls who were a couple were not happy about having to share a bed with a guy, the captain gave up his bed to Matt and everyone was happy. Oh I am pumped I get to sleep in a Coffin, I just fit in and there are high boards all around making a nice tight coffin. So we are off, three couple, Matt, and myself.
Oh and arriving in the night I notice they did the worst possible plastic jobs on our bikes. They just laid a tarp on the top the engine and all was exposed to the salt elements. Nothing we could do till tomorrow morning.
Shane an English guy made a bet with his girlfriend and me that five bucks to the last to puke from sea sickness.
Matt woke me up telling me if I wanted to rewrap my bike the time was now. Quickly got up and tried to rewrap, very hard with them all ready tied down to the side of the boat. With me hanging off the boat by one hand I was able to wrap the bottom of the bike pretty well, at least covering from getting salty splashes. We will see. Fingers crossed and a nice fresh water bath when I arrive.
After only 45 minutes of sailing four out of the eight of us were sea sick and puking over the edge. Shane and his girlfriend were the first…I WIN!! We sailed for 8 hours wasn’t to rough but nobody felt great we all slept as much as possible and finally arrive to the San Blas Islands, BEAUTIFUL!!!!! All of these little islands everywhere covered in Palm trees, full on out of a movie. A few of us swam for the island and the rest took the dingy. We walked around for awhile as our captain dealt with our passports and our moto permits. We headed back and had lunch, local Kuna people paddled up in dugout canoes selling fish and we bought one. We had a few drinks and just relaxed for the day letting our bellies get used to the constant movement. We had an amazing fish dinner with salad. Everyone had a relaxing evening and headed to bed around 9ish.
We pulled anchor this morning and headed for Captain Isreals favorite Island, and let me tell you he wasn’t kidding hands down one of the prettiest islands I have ever seen. We swam over and walked around ran into the French family who had been at the other hostel who had invited me to stay with them when I make it to France. We stopped for a swim on one beach and everyone joined, the English decided to do a sweet front flip off of a tree. (Which was actually a ¾ flip and landed straight on his back we all fell over laughing) We swam for awhile and then headed to the boat for lunch. Been very relaxing, I got a little bored and swam back to the island and walked around it twice (about 10 minutes). We hung out for the evening having a few drinks and just good time. I really enjoyed talking with the Uruguay couple Mearison and Anna; I will defiantly go and visit them in May. The Lesbian couple are from Northern California and are very spiritual hippies; we will leave it at that. The other couple started off okay, ended very crazy. They were both international teachers, he had been fired from a school in Mexico and after being fired he had marched around when the parents were picking up their kids with a Hitler shirt on saluting. (Yeah he is also clean shaven bald)… I hadn’t talked to her much and then one morning he accused me of flirting with his girlfriend, I thought he was joking…he wasn’t. It was a very strange situation. Matt who I wasn’t sure of in the beginning has turned out to be a pretty good friend (teach me to judge by the cover).
We got yelled at for being messy and had to clean the boat. (But don’t forget the Captain had a rooster on board crapping everywhere…) We pulled the anchor and headed for the last island; we arrived and were giving well used snorkeling gear. The reef cool we swam for awhile and walked around the island. Then got back on the boat for lunch and then started our 30hr sail for Colombia. It was pretty rough and we just had sandwiches for dinner, I slept wasn’t hungry. I was woken at 12am to do a two hour watch guard shift for lights with Matt, so we just stayed up till 2am talking about his Navy experience and private security times in Iraq. We raged through the ocean sometimes hitting 4 meter waves, pretty crazy at times. Was weird the whole time we were out “sailing” he had the engines running. We arrived into the port of Cartagena Colombia around 11pm. Without too much words, the Captain and first mate jumped on the dingy told us they would see us in the morning and left for shore. Haha
My Dads Birthday, HAPPY BIRTHDAY POPS!!!
We woke up no sign of the captain, we made breakfast and then he showed up on a ghetto little speedboat. He told us yesterday we would unload the bikes on the dock nice and easy. Well he showed up and I was still half asleep and was told to load my bike onto this 8ft long speed boat…WHAT!?!? Screw it I called dibs on going first, Matt was pissed he did not want to put his bike on the boat. He told the captain that he didn’t like it and the captain told him to find his own damn boat because this is what we get. Let’s talk about this boat, 8ft, three dudes having hard time standing in it without almost flipping it, 1/8 of its full of water, seats they didn’t come out, and we were going to balance the bike on the seats and take it to shore. Haha Oh well I made it this far, we swung the bike over the boat and dropped her in. My bike teetered on the engine guard on the seat the front and back wheels were in the air. (To sketchy no time for picsL) I got into the boat and head the bike as tight as I could if it leaned either way it was going into the water. Making it to the dock they basically grabbed the rear tire and dragged it onto the dock. I got on it and started it…… nope nothing notta just a little weird electrical noise. Matt showed up not happy with his back and I helped lift it onto the dock (not drag it). He helped me push start it and got it running, wouldn’t hold a charge. We met the boat at the dock and had to balance on a single piece of wood about 10ft above the water for about 100feet to get to the boat. Grabbed our stuff and headed to put the bikes back together.
I had only gotten one Pannier on when I was told to follow a random car to the Bike Permit building; I asked if we could wait till I have the bike back together. Nope now or at 2pm, so we raced over with him leaving all of our stuff with the captain at the docks. Ran around got all of the paper work done and just needed inspection, nope not till two. So we headed back loaded up our bikes and headed into town for lunch and cash. We found a hostel and dropped our gear off. We went back to get our permits and sat there for two hours finally getting an answer of that we had to come back at 5 when they close or in the morning. So we headed off and lost each other but both found a place to wash our bikes off with fresh water and soap. We met back up at the permit office and around 5:45pm kid walked out with our permits, said thanks and walked away… We went and asked if we needed inspection nope just leave, ugh what about insurance nope you are all set. Okay weird and a little shady. There was a huge pool party and BBQ at the hostel I hung out for a while met some nice people but was tired and went to bed around 1am when everyone headed out. After keeping the bike running for about an hour, she now holds a charge and is ready to rage SA!!
Over all I would say that the sailing experience was not a bad one but nor was it a good one. I am glad I got to see the San Blas Islands they were amazing to say the least. Just is a downer and left a bad taste in your mouth when you pay so much for something and treated pretty poorly. The captain knows we won’t be returning with him so he just acted as if we were supposed to be grateful for the chance to sail with him. I fell bumbed at myself for not being more stoked on the passage, but it really was a bumber. My advice to anyone else traveling with a bike, take the FERRY that is “starting mid March” From Colon to Cartagena, and supposedly it will be half the price. You don’t stop at the islands but if you want that just take a 3 day trip there and camp with launcha boats for cheap.
I ran around trying to find out if I did or did not need insurance, everyone here says no but all of my information and internet says yes. After talking with other riders I decided I didn’t and will just use my home insurance or bribe if I have to. I also realized I lost my old beat up board shorts sometime between leaving the boat and getting to the hostel. So I found the black-market area and boat a pair of Stretchy Ripcurl shorts $70 at home for $20 here. Went for a nice run and then walked for 4-5hrs all around town and up to the fort. Trying to feel normal again after being at sea for 5 days. I have notice my attitude has change in the past month, but it will be back to normal once I start ripping some South American DIRT!!!
Met another Biker from Sweden, who is absolutely crazy!! But he is very nice and helpful; he traded me his $40 Colombian map that he had gotten off another guy for a fresh squeezed juice. He suggested for me to check out a moto shop in Medillen called Africa Motos, he claims its best shop in all of South America. I will go there on Friday have them check out my suspension (starting to sag bad) Also see what parts they have, grab a chain and sprockets for later. While walking around with this guy I notice he doesn’t move for anyone he just plows through everyone men, women, and children. He had some insane stories. He has ridden all over the world, he also hooked we up with every lonely planet book I might need via thumb drive. He is so crazy and interesting I would love to ride with him knowing full well we most likely would go to jail, but he is heading north for Panama.
Well I think that sums it up for now, I am going to go tear down my bike and see what I need from the shop. On the road tomorrow.