Let me say if you have never sailed before it must go on top of your bucket list. I’m very lucky and this was my second sail. First being to the Bahamas and my second sail from Panama to Colombia!!!! So before I write, as you know, (or now know) I like to explain my setting. I am on, yet another, night bus in Banos, Ecuador headed to Montanita, Ecuador. I’m jamming to Ocean – Live by John Butler Trio. I have yet to steer anyone wrong so go ahead and plug in the tunes so you can jam with me. I’m looking at a man in his 50’s lightly snoring stretched out in my own seat. I am traveling with three new friends I made, Jo (New Orleans), Edwyn (Ireland) and Amy (Australian). We’ve made some headway together in Ecuador and has been a blast! You’ll hear all about that very soon!
San Blas Islands
So where I left off in my Panama blog is I where I am picking up. So it is the night before the sail and 4:00AM after an unplanned visit to Trump’s casino in Panama City. We had our fair share of “free” rum and ginger at the table. Grabbed 9 liters of wine and two handles of rum and 4 packs of Ramen Noodles to survive our 6 day 5 night sail to Colombia. To make sure I give full credit to the amazing company we used, Blue Sailing, they crushed it! Everything from transportation from Panama City to the port, food, passport stamps, snorkeling, everything! It is a 6 day sail with 2 full days sailing from Panama to Colombia. The rest of the days are spent island hopping San Blas. (Still going to share pictures obvi but go ahead and Google some too) The total cost is around $600.
All the days seemed to blur together (may have had something to do with booze or that I am now writing almost a month later, oops) but I am going to do my best to highlight the trip because it was probably one of the best things I will have done on this big adventure I am on!
So the first few days were spent snorkeling, volleyball and hammock laying. Every island we went to had a very dinky but perfect volleyball net set up. I’m pretty sure I got more volleyball action in three days than my whole high school career playing on C team and keeping a spot really warm on the bench. I’d say Bradley and I really held down the fort for being the two that wanted to party. But that’s okay because usually it only takes one to make a party! But booze and boats and being clumsy don’t mix well. If I could have shown the bruises on my body by the time we left the boat it would have been enough to question if I was just covering for someone beating me. Which also added to the deck hand, Ron, not just totally loving me at first. I assume I became a liability to him at some point so that Southern charm wore off after the first night. But don’t worry, I don’t take no for an answer so he was my friend again before the sail was over. But to be fair it seemed like everything I did or touched would go wrong, but was NOT my fault!! I swear haha. For example, I am in a kayak one night, that had a hole in it…., and me and this girl and paddling back to the boat and it literally starts to fill up and sink…. Which added to Ron’s annoyance with me I am sure. I love the Caribbean so much because of the water and snorkeling. And San Blas did not let down. It was some of the best snorkeling I have ever done. I saw a HUGE lobster, lots of beautiful fish and tons of starfish. One of the islands we were at this girl started yelling that she saw a baby shark so we all throw or snorkel gear on and start swimming out to the “baby shark” as fast as we can to only find out it is this fish that swims at the top of the water and is in fact NOT a shark hahah. She also dropped her phone over the boat while it was anchored and every one of the guys jumped in to try and grab the phone but it was too deep. Well the next day our captain comes back with our passports stamped (which still blows my mind he was able to do that without us there) throws on the snorkel, sees something in the water, dives down 10 METERS grabs her phone and acts like it was no big deal. YALL that is 32 feet down and 32 feet back up. So impressive.
All of the islands are just populated by the indigenous Indians that make a living by selling fruit, bracelets and snacks on the island to tourist. But it’s like these islands still have no one on them. It’s so crazy. One day Bradley and I are laying in the hammock and I shout “OH SHIT” and this little tiny Indigenous Indian woman is just standing over me smiling trying to sell me a bracelet. She was a hard sales woman but I didn’t bring any cash with me on the island. Our last day on the islands before we set sail we had a bonfire and cooked out on the island. Which I am so sorry Bradley but I have to tell the whole truth….. the bonfire did not quite work out as planned hahaha. Leave it to the Texas boy to take charge on a bonfire. But to his defense everything was really wet from the rain all day but everyone loved giving him shit the entire time. Our boat held like 16 people on it and there was only 4 guys…. so it was a guys dream haha. But also made it easy for the girls to stick together and gang up on Brad whenever there was a chance. He made his comeback the last day we sailed by catching a great size Tuna fish that fed the entire boat. What was even more impressive is he sat out there all day determined to catch a fish with what they had and had no luck. The second he threw out his hula hopper he caught the Tuna and so kindly donated it to the boat. You will see the look of pure joy on his face in the pictures.
The two days at sea were so cool. I was surprised that I started to have anxiety once we were sailing. I never got sea sick but I did take Dramamine. But really just had anxiety when I would look out on the ocean knowing I was stuck on a boat with no land anywhere to be found haha. But I got over it in a few hours. If you wanted to go on top of the boat at night during sail you had to harness yourself in. One night I went up there and was the only one and slept for hours. It was the coolest feeling being up there completely alone while everyone else was asleep. I woke up to my body sliding around all over the boat because the waves were so big but I loved it!
Overall let me say, if you have the opportunity to sail DO IT. But if you catch yourself needing to get from Panama to Colombia or vise-versa spend the money and book Blue Sailing. The food was incredible, the people were a blast on Amande II, and it was such an amazing experience overall. We all made such good friends from the boat I will definitely stay in touch with a few of them. Our first night in Colombia, as if we didn’t have enough time together already we all met back up and partied and salsa danced in Cartagena! Please feel free to ask me any questions about the sail and I am happy to answer!!!
Next blog post will be all about Colombia. Let me just say it was BAD ASSSSS. There is a reason I haven’t wrote yet. I have literally had so much fun there I had no time!