Sailing to Colombia!

A dream became true. I was sailing within a bit more than four days from Panama to Colombia on a Catamaran. It wasn’t that easy to choose a boat once I was in Panama-City. But the hostels there have a lot of boats and information to offer. The prices are around 450/500 US-Dollars. And as we didn’t want to hang out in Panama-City the decision was made quite quickly as the Catamaran Buon Vento with the Italian captain Edoardo was leaving within the next days and the pictures from the website looked pretty convincing.

We were picked up in our hostel and left for Puerto Lindo a little port in an innocent fishing village next to the beautiful San Blas Islands. A little rubber boat overloaded with people and backpacks brought us to the Catamaran where we took over our rooms. Roman and I were less lucky as we had a single cabin in the front of the catamaran only accessible from the outside of the boat, which was pretty uncomfortable when it was raining we found out later, and in the form of a triangle. We were even not able to stand up in our cabin and in mine a smelly filter made it impossible to sleep there as I was really sensitive due to a thore throat and a bit of seasickness.

Soon after we left for the islands Chichime where we arrived just before sunset, had a delicious dinner with lobster and octopus pasta and went for a night swim around the boat. Did you see the movie “The Beach” with Leonardi Di Caprio? Do you remember the plankton? This is exactly what we experienced? We jumped into the water and by every move we were surrounded by beautiful shining plankton. This was already the second time a had this experience but it is always a great wonder. I slept outside in the net in front of the Catamaran until the rain came during the night so I had to move inside the boat where I slept on a bench in the kitchen.

The second day we were around Cayo Hollandes and went to a beautiful beach. The captain stopped the boat next to the beach so we swam the meters left and walked around the island. It didn’t took long until the men where trying to get ripe coconuts down from the coconut palms. It wasn’t easy to take them of the trees nor to open them. But they did their best so we could enjoy fresh coconuts directly from the nut without any straw or so – a great Robinson Crusoe feeling. Fascinated by the underwater world I asked the captain where the best snorkeling spots are and persuaded my brother to join me. We saw beautiful corals and many colourful fishes. We were in real paradise. Therefore, we were not disappointed at all when we swam back to the boat with smiling faces that the others already ate lunch and the delicious seafood risotto wasn’t that warm anymore.

The trip was full of adventure and funny happenings. Once we were sailing to another island, this time without the support of the motor of the boat, my brother asked the captain if he can jump into the water. The captain agreed. So my brother jumped but passed very quickly on the side of the boat. You don’t feel the speed once you are sailing, that’s the point. He made it to the lether of the boat in the back when the captain throwed him a rope. So my brother took the line following the boat. But it took only a couple of seconds until the rope broke and he was already at least 200 meters behind us. So we had immediately to put down the sail. Another guy burned his fingers because the rope of the sail went really quickly through his hands. From that moment on my brother was definetely the craziest guy on the boat. But he’s also been captains sailorman number one as he made a really good job helping with all the sailing work.

After dinner in the next place close to another one of the 365 islands of the San Blas archipel, there was that beautiful heaven full of stars followed by impressive lightenings. It was a special ambiance being in a pretty deserted place in a such a stunning environment. You look around, see this beautiful nature and you’re just happy, although you feel vulnerable being away from any civilisation.

The other morning after breakfast we left for another place. Once we arrived surrounded by various islands, the captain explained us that the best snorkeling is out on the reef where the waves break. It was a pretty long distance. It took my around 40 minutes to swim out there with fins and I’m a pretty good swimmer. So it was definitely a distance between one and two kilometers. Of course I didn’t swim that distance alone. There was quite a long part where I saw only dark blue water under me and it was a bit scarying swimming that far away from the boat. But it was definetely worth the workout besides I don’t mind swimming that much. I saw many beautiful corals, a scarying lionfish, stingrays and swarms of beautiful and colourful fishes. And I was absolutely alone on that reef. The couple I swam out with returned and the guys with the kayak where around 200 meters or more away from me.

I completely lost any feeling for the time as it usually happens to me when I’m enjoying snorkeling. The heaven darkend more and more and I swam to the people with the kayak. Denise, an American girl decided to return swimming with me. It started to rain, so heavy that we almost couldn’t see the boat. It was really scaring and I thought that we have to get back as soon as possible. I was right, Denise saw some lightenings under water. When we arrived at the boat, the captain already started the motor. He suggested to extend the trip for another day as the wheater wasn’t really good. But unfortunately there were some people in our group who didn’t share our opinion that we are on a once-a-liftetime experience. So we left for the open sea.

The wheater was better and we saw some dolphins. It was so amazing, they just appeared next to our boat and then swam for five minutes in front of the boat. I was laying on the net of the catamaran and watched them from a distance of maybe 1.5 meters. At that moment I felt like the happiest person on earth. And that was definetely the start for a very emotional night. Once the sunset was over, we saw a beautiful heaven full of stars, lightenings in the far and the plankton below the net of the catamaran from the movement of the boat. I didn’t know where to look at, it was such a beautiful scenery.

After dinner the captain instructed us to take over night shifts for two hours in pairs and not to walk on the frontside of the boat until sunrise. We had to call after him when the wind changed, something was strange with the sail or when we saw another boat which just looked like some lights. When my brother and I had our shift, there was a boat with a very bright and pretty big light. We were guessing what it can be. The captain told us that if a boat stops in the middle of the ocean, it puts all the lights on. I was full of adrenaline thinking that it might be a drug smuggler boat as another boat appeared next to it. But the light became bigger and closer until we saw it must be a cruiseship. And then the rain came again, the ship disappeared but was visible again after a couple of minutes. We’ve got wet sitting on the top of the boat and looking around.

You feel so vunerable when you are in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight. If somebody falls of the boat, it is very hard to find that person. Furthermore, you don’t know what to expect of the power of the nature. Heavy rain and lightenings are fascinating and scaring at the same time. I had to take some seasick pills and not to move too much.

The next day we were just laying around trying not to move too much in order not to get seasick. After a couple of hours we saw land and soon after the skyline of Cartagena, Colombia appeared. Once we were driving into the harbour of Cartagena, we had a stunning view to the city and the harbour. There was the cruiseship we saw at night… It was such a great feeling to arrive in Colombia by boat.

We spent the last night on the boat in the harbour of Cartagena with a great view and left the boat in the morning to discover Cartagena…

 

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