As promised, here is a blast from my not too distant past…But before I go there…Today at the waterpark was excellent. We thought we would finally have a cool day, but the sun came out and heated everything up. This was a small, public waterpark with only two slides, a gigantic pool and a couple of water playgrounds that served to cool us off. The best part was that when Michael and I were pretty much done for the day, the sky opened up and poured along with thunder and lightning to shut the complex down. We didn’t need to drag Keegan away from the waterpark, they closed due to the electrical storm and we hit the road for Pennsylvania. Tonight we are sleeping in Pennsylvania and tomorrow we’ll head into New York. We drove through West Virginia and Maryland to get here! For a Californian that is an amazing thing to think we’ve been in FOUR states today!
The blog below finds us in Colombia preparing to travel to Panama. The date…March 26, 2011.
Now there are many ways to get from South America to Central America. You can take an airplane; quick, easy and safe but expensive. You can buy a machete and hack your way through the Darien, a dense section of the rain forest that is impassable by car; neither quick, nor easy, nor safe. You can smuggle out with drug runners. This is probably quick, but to be honest I did not explore this option. Or, you can sail. Sailing is such a romantic notion. There are many captains offering sailing trips from Cartagena to Panama. Sloops, catamarans, and yachts dot the harbor beckoning to the explorer in you to take a chance and throw in your lot with the seafaring sort. (Can you guess which option we chose???)
We found an enticing flyer and had recommendations from the folks we had met in Cartagena and we chose to sail on “Fritz the Cat” a catamaran that had cabins for 10 and could comfortably hold about 12 people on board. We sailed with 13 passengers , 3 crew, 1 dog and 2 motorcycles. This stretched the boundaries of comfort from the get-go, but we gamely sailed on. Once your money and your passports are in Fritz’ hand, you are not getting your ID back until you reach land in Portobello, Panama.
This is the long shot view of the Catamaran called “Fritz the Cat”.
Keegan’s first job on board was juicing limes for the ever present limeade. No one was getting scurvy on this trip! That is a bucket of “limes” in the foreground. I never want to taste limeade again for as long as I live, but I did think the juicer was nifty.
This is a shot of our “cabin” which they referred to as the “honeymoon suite”. All three of us slept in this space which was hot and stuffy, but at least we could watch ourselves in the mirror. And we had a private bathroom which we shared with the other folks sleeping on this side of the boat.
This is our bathroom. What it lacked in size, it made up for in smell.
This is me on the boat…
I am most likely repeating an anti-nausea mantra since I got seasick on the second day out and stayed sick for the three days we were at sea. I was miserable. I also sat in the sun too long and got terrifically sunburned. You may have noticed the negative comments on the previous pictures. I did not enjoy the trip. I was ready to take a plane from any port anywhere to fly into Panama. That was not to be. Once we were sailing among the islands of the Kuna Yala, I was much happier.
This is Keegan with our captain and the canine companion to the trip. On the whole, Keegan had some fun steering the boat and looking out over the waves and having some sympathetic seasickness that didn’t last too long. He saw flying fish, dolphins and lots and lots of ocean. He and Michael spent a lot of quality time together during the trip. I will see if I can access some pics that were taken by another passenger…I took none, Michael took a few.
The trip was three days at sea and then two days in the Kuna Yala snorkeling and swimming. The last day was again at sea, though not so far out and then we arrived in Panama. A quick bus ride and we made it to Panama City. Keegan became adept at snorkeling and we saw some small coral reefs with lots of colorful fish. An exciting thing for a novice snorkeler! His swimming improved by leaps and bounds (kicks and strokes?) with so much time in the water.
Life lesson: Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it… or, if you find yourself preparing to sail and the ship’s captain assures you that they have meds on board to address seasickness, be sure to carry your own anyway, especially if even the thought of a carnival ride already makes you a little bit woozy.