I'd always planned on posting my ride report here on ADV, but it took me 4 months to figure out how to upload photos. In my own defense, I wasn't trying that hard. At least I can share my trip through South America with fellow ADV Riders now. You can check out the account of my trip through Central America on my blog.....flypetefly.com. South America will be posted both here on ADV and on my blog.
Portobelo, Panama to Cartagena, Colombia....on a boat.
I’ve been out on a few charter fishing boats in my life. Only one time have I ever gotten sick, and it happened after I saw everyone else on board hurl their morning coffee over the side of the boat. I knew I probably should have purchased Dramamine before boarding the boat just in case, but I really wasn’t too worried about it. Besides, there were hardly any stores open at 9:00 AM in Portobelo, Panama so I wouldn’t have been able to purchase it anyway.
Me and about 20 other travelers boarded the boat that morning. Fortunately the boat was big enough that there was enough space for everyone on board. It was a five night cruise in total, the first three days touring the San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama before cruising two days due east across the Caribbean to Cartagena. The San Blas Islands are inhabited by a group of indigenous people called the Kuna. They are a small population, but they have somehow fought and maintained their independence from Panama, even though they reside just off the coast.
Here’s what Wikipedia says about the Kuna people: The Kuna Indians worship a god named Erragon. They believe that this god came and died just for the Kuna people. The Kuna Indians were driven off Panama during the Spanish invasion and they fled in their boats to the surrounding 378 islands. The chief of the Kuna lives on an island called Acuadup, which means rock island. The Kuna are hunters and fishermen; they are a very clean people. On some of the islands they have opportunities to attend school. Most of the men now speak Spanish, although the women carry on older traditions.
San Blas Islands & The Kuna People
The Captain of our boat bought us lobster and fish from some Kuna fishermen
I managed to get seasick on the first day while out at sea in the late evening. Fortunately the boat wasn’t rocking much the first three days as it was anchored in calm waters around the various islands where we could get off the boat and tour. My seasickness was compounded by the fact that all the desalinized water served on board had a bit of a salty taste to it. I really felt dehydrated on the boat, but I kept drinking as much of the salty tasting water as I could stomach. I was also able to buy some Dramamine from the captain for the ride across the ocean. Fortunately the ride over open water ended up being rather calm.
Finally, Cartagena in sight
Here's where we got dropped off in Cartagena