I thought I would share with you some invaluable bits of info from our recent boat trip between Colombia and Panama, which was as I described in a recent post…absolutely amazing!
Firstly, we never pre-booked the boat or even did any research online of who we wanted to sail with. Arriving in Cartagena, we headed to the main office of Blue Sailing in the centre of town and had a chat with the guys in there. They have a big chart on the wall showing photos of the 25 ships they manage, along with the dates they are sailing and the amount of people already booked on each. They were very friendly and gave good descriptions of the other people that had already booked so we could work out which boat would be best for us.
We ended up booking a boat called Wild Card which turned out to be awesome. It was staffed by the captain, John, a first mate and a cook/cleaner. The facilities on board were what you would expect, a couple of bathrooms, a kitchen, and bed type things to sleep on. It was pretty cosy, especially when you are well over 6ft tall. It turned out that most of us slept up on the deck pretty much every evening so that wasn’t really a problem. It was much nicer being out in the open with a cool ocean breeze than being downstairs.
I would definitely recommend bringing lots of alcohol. Everything else, the boat either already has or you can pretty much get by without, but run out of alcohol and the party is over. We drastically underestimated our consumption and after 3 nights were left only with a 4L bottle of some god-awful local spirit that we had bought more for a joke than anything. The boat had outdoor speakers so we could play music during the evenings, often we all sat up on deck having drinks and playing games. Being in such close quarters with everyone really brings you all together; the boat trip is definitely an excellent way to make some good friends.
We had one night when the ocean got very rough. Im not talking a slight up and down, I’m talking about the boat flying up to about 45 degrees then crashing back down again. This went on for hours and hours and to be honest it was kind of fun, for me anyway, but not for lots of the others. I would say that about 80% of people lost their dinner that night. Moral of the story, you should definitely take a trip to the drug store before you set off and purchase some Dramamine. It completely stopped me from getting sick, provided I stayed up on the deck and didn’t go down below.
Other than the great people on the boat, the beautiful scenery and crystal clear water, the food was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. Lobster, crab and all other kings of seafood picked straight out of the ocean and brought over to our boat by the Kuna Indians who like on the San Blas islands. After our bland South American diets of beans, rice and chicken it was definitely welcome!
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