Doing the Darien Gap by boat.......

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by batesy145, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. batesy145

    batesy145 Adventurer

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    Hey all,

    Trying to do some homework on crossing the Darien Gap (North to South) from Panama to Columbia.

    Can anyone offer some advice on doing it by boat? I have emailed a few outfits that say they can do it and have done it. Their websites look professional but I guess anyone can make a nice looking website.

    Anyone with personal experience in dealing with the company below in regards to shipping a bike should speak up.

    http://www.skipthedariengap.com

    Boat is my preference (large sailboat that I can also ride on with the bike), if this doesn't work for me I guess I will use Girag air cargo. Everyone else seems to use these guys. I can then fly myself or sail down and meet my bike at the airport.

    Thanks in advance
    #1
  2. TeeVee

    TeeVee His mudda was a mudda!

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    no personal experience but the two couples i know that took the stahlratte were happy. it's a big steel sailboat.
    #2
  3. Blind Warrior

    Blind Warrior Lost in the Ozone

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    This is a new development, though I have no idea if it is real:

    http://sanblasferry.com/

    The first sailing is supposed to be in three days.
    #3
  4. batesy145

    batesy145 Adventurer

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    thanks again guys! I will check out both options.
    #4
  5. Dr. Benny

    Dr. Benny Enjoying the Journey

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    #5
  6. tlucas

    tlucas Adventurer

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    There are dozens of boats commuting between Panama and Colombia, a couple leaving every week. Check out bluesailing.net and sailcolombiapanama.com. They are $450-$550 per person and about the same per bike. I crossed on the monohull sailboat Maratonga with captain Humberto Guzman through bluesailing.net and it was fantastic.

    Good idea to talk to the captain before booking. If he/she's an asshole or has a screw loose, go with a different boat, as it makes a big difference.
    #6
  7. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

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    Don't know when you made your trip and if you went all the way to Cartagena or to Turbo:ear

    I could be wrong but...

    Not so sure this is totally true after Fritz the Cat boat sank outside Cartagena awhile back the Colombians set new rules on what boats could bring bikes into port there which AFAIK where the Stahlratte and the Independence two of the largest and heaviest steel hauled boats making the trip with motorbikers along with their bikes.



    The most interesting bit of information is the news of the San Blas Ferry mentioned above already that may or may not be related to Fritz the Cat's old captain that will be a proper motorboat designed to carry many bikes and overland vehicles, that will be a big game changer in the ways past especially nice for those on four wheels...
    Tomorrow is supposed to be the their first sailing:eek1

    Edit: owned and operated by Fritz Breckner
    #7
  8. TeeVee

    TeeVee His mudda was a mudda!

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    i was the one that posted the tidbit about the owners of the "new" ferry being the owners of the now departed fritz the cat. i won't swear to the accuracy, but i googled the name of the owner off the new website and one came up as the former owner of fritz the cat.

    no surprise there is nothing on the new site related to fritz the cat :evil
    #8
  9. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

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    See my edit, it is owned by a Fritz for sure, just don't know if it is the same Fritz or not, someone ought to remember his last name around here:ear
    #9
  10. TeeVee

    TeeVee His mudda was a mudda!

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    ah, missed that. sorry.

    the old website is still up: http://www.fritz-the-cat.com/
    scroll down to the very bottom right and you'll see fritz breckner in the copyright info. same on the san blas ferry site.

    this is how i came to the conclusion, albeit circumstantially, that the owners were the same. if nothing else, the "copyright" owners are the same.
    #10
  11. markharf

    markharf Been here awhile

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    A ferry which no one has seen or knows much about but which is due to sail momentarily. Seems like we've been here before.
    #11
  12. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

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    This one looks a whole lot more convincing to me and Fritz knows what kind of money can be made. I'd be more likely to bet for than against this one, he'll at least it's got "SanBlas Ferry" painted on the side.:rofl
    #12
  13. batesy145

    batesy145 Adventurer

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    Good to see there are many options to go for other than just packing my bike in a crate and sending via air cargo. I think I will go with the sailing option for a few reasons.

    1. The ferry is a bit of an unknown as its just about to run it's maiden voyage.

    2. The captain doesn't have a good history of keeping ships afloat by the sound of it.

    3. Sailing will be an awesome adventure and a good break from the bike for a few days.

    4. Packing the bike in to a crate, dealing with airport people, hours if not days of waiting, the cost and flying the Darien Gap sounds like not much fun. Probably the safest and surest bet though......

    I will be setting sail towards the end of October if all goes to plan. I will let you all know how it works out!
    #13
  14. markharf

    markharf Been here awhile

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    Well, at least it's got lifeboats--I'll give credit for that much. But when the last ferry was preparing to depart I read reports from several who'd purchased tickets. This one sails tomorrow and no one has chimed in here, at the LP or the HUBB with a firsthand report?

    I'll give the whole thing a resounding "maybe."

    Mark
    #14
  15. tlucas

    tlucas Adventurer

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    It was about 4 months ago. Boat was supposed to head all the way to Cartagena, so it and many others can go all the way, but broke down and had to stop in Sapzurro (then fast boat to NecoclĂ­‎). I've been meeting other two-wheelers who've made the trip since then as well.
    #15
  16. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

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    Interesting to know that the restrictions have been lifted on the normal sailboats and once again the extra money can be made on the motorbikes by the fiberglass boats. I always thought it was shitty of the captains to try and charge the same money and only taking you down the coast to Turbo area.

    What broke down, maybe it was just a ploy? Did you get charged less for not going all the way to Catagena, should be cheaper as it is not near as far.

    Looks like you found it out too that Colombia is very easy to like:)
    #16
  17. tlucas

    tlucas Adventurer

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    The main engine shaft broke in half, so definitely not a ploy. Captain paid for everyone's trip from Sapzurro to Cartagena, including my loading/unloading and boat fees between Sap. and NecoclĂ­‎. He and his first are good people.

    Colombia is fantastic. Have a feeling I'm gonna spend the rest of my time in South America comparing everything to Colombia.
    #17
  18. rattis

    rattis Long timer

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    I almost sailed with Fritz the cat, but after having met the owner and talked to him I flew to Cartagena.
    My friends who sailed with him jumped ship in the first port they mored in.
    A South African I met in Mexico swore that Fritzel was a highway robber.
    I'd rather fly my bike than have anything to do with that mad man :deal
    #18
  19. Two Moto Kiwis

    Two Moto Kiwis Homeless Somewhere

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    Stahlratte, great guys, great food, great time, secure moto delivery ..... but everyone knew that anyway :rofl
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  20. b4thenite

    b4thenite Been here awhile

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    good info. keep it coming.:evil
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