We started of with a happy, strong and excited crew when we left Cartagena late Thursday night. To leave a big city by night is always a good experience; you are steering towards the dark open water meanwhile you have the lights and silhouette of the city in your back.
Before we reached the first of the 348 islands in San Blas we had to cross 200 nm of open water. We had calm seas and a very weak wind from the back that did a poor job when it came to push us forward. The first 24 hours we only used our sails but on day number two we had to use one of our engines from time to time. The dolphins visited us two times during the crossing and we also managed to catch our self a fairly big tuna that we cooked on the barbecue.
Nowadays I strongly suggest all new crewmembers to take seasickness medicine before the trip starts but I am not very successful on this matter. It seems like it is a macho thing not to take it!? You know– I will fight it or I wont get seasick is normally what you get from new crewmembers when you offer them medicine. The truth is that 80% of all people that steps foot on the boat get seasick in the beginning and this crew was not different from others. A couple of hours into the trip the damn sickness knocked almost everyone out. I feel sorry for the “sick” people but there is really nothing we can do to help them.
The San Blas Islands
To navigate in the San Blas region is very hard. I was warned by many captains before we left Colombia to stay switched on all the time and beware of that the charts is of by more than 200 meters in some cases. With this information in our “back pocket” we made sure to arrive in daylight so that we could have at least two people on deck looking over the shallow water during our approach.
We stopped at three different islands during our brief stay in the region. The place seems amazing and all over the place you will find small sandy islands with palm trees on them. On the populated islands you will see very basic houses build by palm leaves that are inhabited by the locals- the Kuna Indians. I can’t really tell you anything about them and their ways because I have only met a few so far. I gave one guy- a Kuna chief called Julio a bottle of rum for letting us stay right outside his island (or his living room if you want). On our third island they came paddling out to our boat and wanted to sell us lobsters- we bought 4 lobsters for 15 dollars (gringo price) and made us delicious lobster pasta.
It is the WET season over here right now and it is raining a lot. We get sudden rain showers all the time and sometimes also together with seriously strong gusts of wind. When this happens it is very hard to see anything, it feels almost like being in a snowstorm.
Bay Dreamer with crew left the San Blas in the afternoon three days ago and we reached our final destination- PORTOBELO after 12 hours of sailing trough rain and thunder. Three miles out we spotted another sailing boat in the mist drifting against the shore and we understood they where in trouble. Their engine was broken and the current was now in control of their vessel so we decided to tow them into the bay. It´s a bit tricky to tow a heavier sailing boat when the waves are pushing you forward- but all went good and we thank them for the bottle of wine we got!
We wish our crew all the best and thank you for your stay onboard Bay Dreamer!