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Old 03-27-2013, 09:34 PM   #181
Lycan1
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This has officially raised the adventure bar! Wow you truly embody the spirit of adventure. Glad you have company along,even if Wilson is an accidental tourist.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:31 AM   #182
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Fingers crossed that all goes well, Dylan, and that you, Bruce, and Wilson arrive safely.
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Old 03-28-2013, 06:05 AM   #183
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i am following your adventure...keep the passion movin


cheers!
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Old 03-28-2013, 07:05 AM   #184
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lycan1 View Post
This has officially raised the adventure bar! Wow you truly embody the spirit of adventure. Glad you have company along,even if Wilson is an accidental tourist.

Lycan1,

Thanks buddy! But I don't know about raising the adventure bar. I just do it cos I enjoy it :-)
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Old 03-28-2013, 07:21 AM   #185
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I don't always have the time or the possibility to update my travels here in ADV rider. Facebook being more easily accessible I do my updates there. When its possible I update my RR here. What you read here is a copy of my facebook updates.

17th March


It's agonizing to write something here with an old mobile phone. My computer has two problems. Firstly, I lost the charger to it and secondly, I can't use the rest of the battery left because some of the buttons don't work.
I arrived in Pearl Islands two days ago. It was a very slow process. All in all I was sailing at about 2km per hour. When I started from Panama city there was fair wind. I sailed through the night keeping cousre towards Perlas. But by the next day morning the wind died quite suddenly. Since I have very limited amount of petrol, I did not want to use the engine. So I waited till the wind picked up. The previouse night had been an exhausting one. It was physically demanding. I had to move around the sail and fix it in different positions to get the best results. Since this is my very first time sailing (previously I had not even set foot on a sail boat) I hadn't a clue about what to do. It was pure speculations and guess work. However, the next day I was very tired and I decided to sleep while waiting for the wind. A few hours later when I woke up, the wind had come back. But I had drifted westward so much, that I could not use the North Easterly wind in order to keep course towards Perlas. It was pretty gusty and there were fair amounts of big waves. But the boat was so stable even in this rough conditions. I faught with the wind and the sail till the afternoon. When I understood that it was a loosing battle, I decided to use the motor. It took me 10 hours of sailing till I arrived in the first islands of Perlas. I had been warned of the shallow rocks and reefs in the area. So I waited till the day break before I navigated through the islands. It was a beautiful morning. The first two islands are inhabited by millions of birds. Some of them came and hovered over my raft to check me out. The currents of this area is so strong. Sometimes even with the motor I stood still till the engine overheated. I had to try different routes to come forward. Finally I arrived in the island of Contadora which is visited by fair amount of tourists. Here I got to know couple of Spanish sailors. They offered to be my friends and they kept me company and fed me for two days. I was also glad to get some sailing tips from them.



Today I am leaving Contadora towards south. It'll take me at least 3 days to go through the islands. But most of these islands are uninhabited. But I was told that there are plenty of fruits growing in these island in the wild. May be I'll try to pick up couple of bunches of bananas and may be some coconuts to use on the way.
I wish I could show you guys how beautiful the ocean is in the night. There are so much plankton here and they glow brightly emitting a luminous green light as my raft cut through the water. You even see the rope of the life raft which is dragging in the water like flexible flourecent light. At one point the was an explosion like light about 10 meter radious under the raft. It shocked me so much I jumped in the air and hurt my foot hitting a bamboo. But it was a dense cluster of Plankton I had hit. Wen Plankton get excited it's as good as in a fairy tale.
I don't know when I'll be able to contact facebook again. But it will surely be a few more days. My destination, Buenaventura is realistically about 2 weeks away. Hopefully I'll manage to update here before that.
Thanks for your encouraging words. Thanks for your prayers. I can't answer you individually. But I do read your comments with great interest.
Peace and love to all!
One last thing, I wish you all could do a trip like this. It's so bloody beautiful!
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Old 03-28-2013, 07:25 AM   #186
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20.03.2013

After 200km of sailing, I had to sail back 135km. That is without the motor. The engine broke down and I had no alternative since the wind also changed direction. All these weeks it has been north wind. But since two days it's coming from the south. Anyways, I managed to make it to San Miguel in Isla del Rey. Using a mobile phone of a coast guard. Could anyone help me organize parts? I need a ignition timing sensor
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Old 03-28-2013, 07:26 AM   #187
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Not only they towed me,they also gave me food

21.03.2013



I limped my way back up north trying to catch every breez possible. Once I reached the uninhabited island of Espiritu Santo it was the end of my steam. I stood still for a whole day fighting with the current not to get dragged into rocks or get stranded on a beach shipwrecked. Next day I spotted a fishing boat about 2km further into the ocean. With a good portion of luck I managed to reach them and they towed me 15km north to San Miguel. A fishing village which is pretty on a post card but in reality, it`s one class below the smelliest place on the planet.




The coast guards were very cordial. The chief told me that he`s not going into the details of legal side of it knowing that I had no proper papers. "You don`t ask a crazy man for permits" he said. The six law enforcement officers took me and fed me. They tried their best to help me but my problems are beyond their skills. After these few days of adventure, I look more strange than normal. If I tood on a busy street, I`m sure that I will be able to collect a few dollars without asking for it. Here the coast guards changed that by letting me have a shower.
The photo you see here taken by one the coast guards with a mobile phone. You see Courage of Bridget dangerously resting on the rudders when the low tide returned. Since there is no engine or wind to take it into the safe water, all I could do was just hope for the best.
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:32 AM   #188
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This was my last stop before reaching San Miguel. I threw in my anchor not knowing if the rope would be long enough. Fortunately it worked! I managed to keep the vessel away from the breaking waves and the rocks on either side and rowed the dinghy to the beautiful but lonely sandy bay. The reason I so wanted to get there was the coconut palms. As child I have been climbing coconut pamls in contest with my three brothers. Who can climb the highest one was a big deal in those days, a skill that I still haven't forgotten!


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Old 03-28-2013, 09:55 AM   #189
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It's no fun to break down in the ocean.
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Old 03-28-2013, 10:00 AM   #190
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Spending three days in San Miguel waiting for the wind to return was enough. The ocean had turned into a garden pond. The only movements were in the tidal currents. They rolled in twice a day and rolled out twice a day leaving my vessel exposed like a naked decaying body. It broke my heart to see it resting on the rudders which I did not calculate to be on the water for so long. Now they were taking much more than just a beating. It felt as Colombia is on the other side of the world. Reaching it in one piece seems a tough job to achieve. So I started planing. I thought it would be a good idea to find a second-hand outboard engine and be mobile again. That way I will be getting things done. Jim Julien has already sent me the necessary spare parts to Panama City. All I have to do is to get there and get the bike repaired and move down south as fast as possible.



(The mechanic carrying the outboard engine to fix it on my vessel)


With the help of my coast guard friends, I managed to find a secondhand outboard engine. It belonged to the one and only mechanic on the island. The engine didn't look pretty. But it doesn't have to look pretty anyway. All I need is a reliable force to propell my vessel. It took the mechanic about two hours to bring it out of...well... out of wherever had had burried it for a century and made it run. I knew that this could be another adventure. '' Can you give me a guarantee that it'll run for at least two weeks'' I asked him before handing him the 250 dollars (which left me 35 dollars in my pocket till Buenaventura) The mechanic told me that he can guarantee the engine will work for a long time. So I said farewell to my coast guards friends that evening and drifted out of the bay using the tidal currents. Once I was about a kilometer distance from San Miguel, I started the engine and put into the gear and that was the last time I heard the engine play music.

I spent few more hours trying to repair the engine and took it to pieces and put it back together a few times. It's amazing the patience I had developed. I did not curse even once. There were stars in the sky and it was another beautiful night. I soon fell asleep, one part of my body one the motorbike saddle and the other half on the water canisters.

Next morning after waking up I began to search for my luck. ''Now you have two broken down engines on board Dylan'' I told myself. I spent the whole morning wrestling with the engine. But all my energy was wasted. One good thing was, I found Wilson the gecko hiding uder the tool box. I was worried about him since days. The stupid animal doesn't seem to like me. But I was happy that he's doing good. Only God knows what he ate all this time. There aren't any flies for him in the ocean. But coming back to my problem, I now had dificulty reaching the San Miguel bay from where I was. I saw boats coming and going through another corridor. No one seem to have the need to come my way. In the early afternoon, a fishing boat came my way. I flagged him down and he towed me and dropped me off in front of the Coast Guard office. Everyone was amused to see me again. When I told them about my problem, the mechanic was summoned to the office. But unfortunately he had left the island early in the morning. Well, he has 250 dollars to spend! If I was him, I'd go shopping too!!

Again I am into the waiting game. However, this time I felt that I have come home. The strong smell of fish coming from the bay didn't bother me a much as the first time. The usual locals who gathered under the mango tree greeted me. I went and sat with them on the bench and had a laugh talking nonsense with them and understanding nonesense. Kids played in the water swimming and having a great time.....
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Old 03-28-2013, 10:09 AM   #191
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It wasn't that I couldn't find the fault which laid the engine lame. I knew it was virtually impossible to repair the engine without replacing the faulty electronic parts. I also knew very well that the mechanic didn't have new parts on the island readily available. My hope was to get the money refunded and go to Panama City on a fishing boat so that I could fetch the parts to fix the motorcycle engine. But getting the refund for the bought engine seemed quite improbable. The mechanic didn't look like someone with money to start with and secondly, he had gone to the city to spend it all. From other people I heard that he had a drinking problem too. In all theses undesired circumstances, I, at least had the luck to find kind people to look after me. The coast guards kept me entertained and they provided me with food and a shower and if I needed it, the chief officer offered me one of the cells to sleep in :-) But I thankfully declined his offer knowing that my unattended boat would be subjected to plundering. So I spent the time during the day in the office of the coast guards and went to my boat in the night for sleeping.
If all that help wasn't enough, the only female officer in the complex washed my dirty laundry and handed it back everything nicely folded and dry.
When the mechanic returned to the island, he promptly came around to see my troubled engine. He brought all his tools in his possession in two small plastic bags. So we began work. Honestly, I knew that he didn't have a chance to get that engine going again. But I just played the helper role. Since I knew where the problem was (he didn't! because he didn't have any measuring equipment in his possession to do any kind of proper diagnostics) I just let him deal with it his own way. Of course I tried to explain him what I knew. But I knew that he wouldn't believe me in the first place. After all, it was his engine and as a marine engine mechanic, he should know better than me how to repair boat motors. We took the engine apart and put it back together many times. Every time he replaced different parts with used parts. Probably all those used parts he used were broken in the first place! It was a long day and it wasn't much fun loosening and tightening nuts and bolts half of the time with a hammer and chistle. Hour after hour we worked under the hot sun on this windless day, without success. However, I played it cool and without hurrying him I helped him whenever he needed help.
The frequency he lit cigarettes grew shorter and shorter. But for smoking I sent him off into his wooden boat which was tied on the star board side of mine. With more than 100 liters of highly flammable fuel on board, it was too dangerous to have him on my boat smoking. At the end of day, when the last birds had flown back to their nests, he went back home promising me that we could continue our struggle the next day.

However, things didn't look any better the next day. But towards the midday, the mechanic removed the outboard engine from my boat and took it home whilst I took a nap. A few hours later I saw him speeding towards me n his boat. He obviously had an engine fixed to his wooden vessel which he didn't have befor. I was happy to see him and I knew that he had found another solution. But about 100 meters before reaching my boat, I saw him slow down and then there was absolute quietness. "Oh, not again!" Sure enough, it was another engine. The look of the new engine he had was twice as bad as the one he sold me but it ran like a ferrari until.... it broke down. When I saw our mechanic's intention, it was time for me to put him out of the misery. I told him that I wasn't interested in his engines any longer. I need my money back. With a sulky face he told me that he couldn't give me the money back straight away. He needs four days to scratch the 250 dollars together. Later when he was confronted by the coast guard chief, he stuttered. His face turned down to the ground and with a faltering voice, he promised that he would give me the money back. I knew that the money was gone forever. But I felt very sorry for the man. How hard it must be for a mature man to loose face in front of people that he lives with and to find back 250 dollars which he has already pulverized. Time is something that I have and I could wait for the money as I wait for the wind to return. But I'm surely in a lot better position than this poor man in many ways. So I blessed him in my heart. If he brings me the money I'll be happy. But if he doesn't, I'll still be happy and hope that he had invested the 250 dollars in something good! (Pardon me for the many mistakes you'll find in my text. I have no time to re-read what I write)
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Old 03-28-2013, 10:12 AM   #192
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26.03.2013




(A dog waiting for his master impatiently)



With the full moon only a couple of days away, the tides seem to have an extra strong effect on the landscape of this island. As a result, the people in San Miguel take a harsh treatment from gods when they pull the plug out causing the entire bay to drain off. Since the bay ground consists of mud, moving in and out of San Miguel becomes a very messy exercise. If you want to leave the island in low-tide condition, you will have to push your boat about 200 meters through the mud into the deeper water. Walking in the mud isn't an easy job. If you're wearing shoes, it means you could lose them easily. Also, Sharp objects which are laying about in the mud raise the chances of you getting injured. I painfully learned this on the very first day when I arrived here. I cut my heel with something sharp while walking in the mud. With that introduction I would like to share something I see this very moment.
Four young men are pushing their boat through the mud into the water. It's a long push for them and the men are accompanied by six dogs. When the men reached the water, they jump into the boat and leave without the dogs. Sitting in the shoulder deep water, dogs just stare at the fast moving boat vanishing into the horizon. After a couple of minutes, one of the dogs starts howling. After a few seconds, two other dogs join in and they continue their lamentation in unison for about 20 minutes fixing their eyes into the ocean. On this island, I have observed strong relationships between humans and dogs more than anywhere else. The love these two completely different species share is incredible to watch. It fascinates me every time when a goods and passenger boat arrives, how dogs swim out to the deep water where the boats anchor. They reach the boat with enthusiasm and circle it until they sight the respective masters. Love is a complex thing to define in words. But these subtle observations of these (extra) ordinary events make my heart pound faster and help moist my eyes now and then.
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Old 03-28-2013, 10:21 AM   #193
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Dry docking not by choice
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Old 03-28-2013, 10:41 AM   #194
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Originally Posted by garfey View Post
Fingers crossed that all goes well, Dylan, and that you, Bruce, and Wilson arrive safely.
Thank you!
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:36 AM   #195
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Hi Dylan, wow, what an amazing adventure! If D-day ever comes, I hope I get stranded with someone like you.

5 years ago I crossed the Darien Gap on cargo boats and I did not have the proper entry stamp that I was supposed to get at a tiny landlocked resort town called Sapzurro on the border of Colombia and Panama.

The DAS (immigration) and Dian (vehicle permit agency) are some real jackasses when it comes to flexibility. When I arrived in Turbo, Colombia the DAS refused to give me the proper entry stamps. I ended up having to ride all the way to Cartagena without a proper entry stamp. Luckily, I never got pulled over.

Once in Cartegena someone gave me the tip to go to Club Nautico Cartagena http://www.clubnauticocartagena.com/ and talk to the owner and get him to "add" me to the manifest of a recent incoming sailboat. I think I paid $40 to have that done and than I went to the DAS and got my stamps.

My advice to you is to first go to the marinas in Buenaventura and explain your situation and see if they will add you to the manifest of a recent sailboat that came in.
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