From Madol-Duuwa to around the world

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Dylan.S, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,576
    Location:
    Seven Springs NC
    No update on his facebook page since the same update he posted few days ago regarding outboard motor trouble.
  2. davesupreme

    davesupreme grand poobah

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
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    3,878
    Location:
    palm harbor, fla
    my thoughts and prayers are with this guy....
  3. Cmnthead

    Cmnthead Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    79
    Location:
    Teeswater Ontario Canada/ Playa Uverito Panama
    Hey there everyone!

    Dylan called me last Saturday the 30th while I was still in Panama.
    He was back in Panama City to get the sensor for his bike, then heading back out to the island.
    He was is good spirit and positive as usual. He is still determined to get to Columbia and complete his journey with his boat.
    However.....he did mention that he was not sure how much longer he would be able to continue his adventure due to all the extra costs and unforeseen expenses that the crossing has cost him.
    I for one am keen to hear all of his story and follow him thru to the end. Unfortunately I am thinking that the "real time" part of this ride report will come to a end once he reaches land in South America.

    I spent a few days with Dylan a couple months ago. I first hand seen and heard his passion for this trip. This is not just another ride report, this is his whole life! He took all he had, sold it, paid off all debt and headed out with what he had on his bike.

    He puts his heart into every aspect of this adventure and always sees the world as "glass half full".

    I have enjoyed his RR and want to see it continue. So right now I am going to make a donation towards it. It's easy to be a "arm chair critic" and do nothing, but, like Dylan, lets be positive and put a little into it to help him continue his adventure!:clap:clap:clap:clap:clap
    Good luck buddy!
  4. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Captain Dylan just posted update on his facebook so he is OK. I'll let him post his story on here later.. Just thought you guys would want to know he is OK!
  5. yokesman

    yokesman Long timer

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    Thanks for the update,been looking daily,he really could use a guide-friend out on those waters.
  6. Dylan.S

    Dylan.S Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    Switzerland
    I am sorry guys for having to keep you waiting. But you gotta know that there is no internet cafes in the ocean :-)

    Anyways, to cut a long story short: I had many breakdowns and I have been struggling to make progress. There were times I nearly gave up but I kept on fighting. It's all about adventure right?
    But I am having hell of a time on my raft (in the positive sense) I can not write every encounter I make but believe me, I am so lucky to be able to experience the extraordinary. I feel like living now than ever.

    I hope that you'll enjoy the following few lines.


    …The wind was quite favorable. It came from the north and blew up my sail like a balloon. Waves were nothing more than usual and I had a steady speed of 5km per hour showing on my GPS. To my right hand side there was the largest island of the Perlas, Isla del Rey. The setting sun and the cloud formations of reddish tone made the evening to a very pretty one. I spent my time enjoying the landscape and occasionally correcting my course by adjusting the rudders. When the faint light of stars slowly started to appear in the sky, I lit up my stove and started to cook some spaghetti with some readymade sauce. That was about the best meal I had that evening enjoying it under the twinkling stars and listening to the wind. At around 10pm I had reached the point where I had to leave the Perlas and sail westward. Knowing that the next land I was to encounter still many hours away, I prepared my hammock to rest. First of all, I fixed the tiller with a rope keeping it straight and then changed the GPS warn signal to come only at 500 meters of any deviations from my set course. But the GPS alarm was too weak to wake me up in case I had fallen into deep sleep. So I also set the mobile phone alarm to ring every hour.
    Around 1 o’clock in the night the wind started picking up and my GPS alarm started ringing. It showed me that my course had changed, drifting south. I intervened and changed the bow of my boat towards West and monitored the GPS track it drew on the display for a few minutes. But to my amazement, it did not bring any changes to my new course. I kept on drifting south and I was drifting off course very fast! Oh darn! I am caught up in a strong current!! I knew that I had to start up the engine. But even with the engine running, I was kept moving southward. After about two hours of fighting with the current, I decided to stop the struggle. There is the small but uninhabited island called Gallera to my south which was about 12 kilometers away. So I stopped the engine and let the current take me towards Gallera. I thought it was a good enough plan. The Spanish sailors I had met in Contadora told me that there are plenty of coconut trees and even bananas to take freely.
    Toward early hours of the morning I reached Gallera. I was nervous! I am caught up in a strong current and being dragged towards an isolated island. There could be rocks and other obstacles which could cause a shipwreck. It was dark and I had no reliable maps on my GPS. There weren’t too many options left for me but to be ready to face any situation which I’ll be confronted with. So I put on the life jacket not only for the first time on this journey but for the first time in my life!


    I had been trying hard to sight the island for a couple of hours but when it finally stood there in the dark in front of me, it was more like looking at an enemy who is holding you at gunpoint. All you need is to hit a rock and cut open couple of your barrels to be in deep trouble. Or worst still is to get dragged by a wave and get smashed against the cliffs. So I fired up the engine and started to navigate closer and ever so carefully. It was a slow process. Till there was faint light I circulated the small island looking for a place to anchor fighting forward with the current inch by inch. But no matter which side I was at, there were big waves on all sides. To the south of the island there were the biggest waves and I was getting the first taste of the open wide Pacific Ocean. However, towards the morning when things were visible, I had enough of living in fear. I came within 100 meters of the island and threw in my anchor hoping it would reach the bottom of the deep blue sea. The water swallowed all the rope I had and it didn’t take three seconds before I felt the vessel stood still in the strong current. From the feel of the rope I knew it caught a rock and it caught it solidly. There was my next fear. Will I be able to free the anchor? Before the sun rose, the moon peeked through the clouds and I was very tired and fell into a deep sleep until midday.

    The Island of Gallera marked the boundary of the beginning of the deep open Pacific. Until that point I had not seen such large swells. Though I knew that my vessel would float above the water, the sight of swells over three or more meters high gave me shivers. But at the same time it was a magnificent sight! They came towards you like gentle giants. I watched them come towards me and when I was on top of one, I turned my head and watched them pass me running and smashing into the cliffs of Gallera with a thundering noise. Moments like this make you think about how big the universe really is and how small you really are. It makes you feel like an infant, it makes you feel like weak. It makes you feel like crying and it makes you start asking questions about who the hell you really are. Is there a God? What on Earth are you doing here in the middle of the ocean? And then you see the fin of a shark swimming about a 50 meters from your vessel. Oh shit! My anchor!!!! What if it’s stuck now and can’t free it? I’ll surely not go diving in this water to free it. But on the other hand, if you cut off the rope you’re left with no chance of anchoring yourself for the rest of your journey!
    So I start the engine once again and with a terrible feeling inside of me. I rev the engine fast enough to keep up with the current so that the rope would be slacked. After two or three meters of bringing the rope back into the vessel my suspicion is confirmed by the tightness of the rope. It doesn’t want to free itself any further. So I bring my vessel to different positions and keep on trying for at least 20 minutes. There is no way that I could free this anchor! I take the machete into my hand while trying to catch my breath back. Cutting off the rope is the only way out! But then once I have enough oxygen in my bloodstream I start debating with myself. Give it another go Dylan! That’s the typical Dylan style. The fighter in me always calls me back on the stage. So I lay down the machete and start boxing my opponent. Instead of having my opponent against the rope, my opponent has become a rope. I try hard once again but this time I manage to free the anchor. Not without a cost. I have strained my back in the process! But who cares about it? I cry out loud in jubilation for about five minutes. I pump my arms in the air. These moments make you feel strong! You can conquer the universe. You can battle rocks and win and fight the ocean and it will not defeat you! You are the man Dylan! You are the man! I pat myself on the back with excitement. But in reality, I know that it was a close call and I have been extremely lucky! Once again!
  7. Dylan.S

    Dylan.S Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    Switzerland

    Oh Phil! I am so touched by your supporting words!!! A big thank you to you my friend!
  8. yokesman

    yokesman Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,108
    Location:
    Meridian, Idaho
    Do not underestimate a back pain,my first one was when I was 18 ,now 62.
    Be careful and stretch your legs as they usually are the ones doing the damage.
    Glad to hear you are well,maybe see you in Sri Lanka sometime.
    Just an additional note and maybe someone with a pontoon boat will comment but I have an inflatable raft and was on the edge of a lake and those big pontoons acted like a sail, the wind came up, blew us out with the high speed boats.(not ski boats)
  9. HayDuchessLives

    HayDuchessLives Loquita

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,246
    Location:
    Anchorage
    I met Dylan when he was up here in Alaska and was very impressed with him. I always enjoy meeting people with his sense of adventure. Take care Dylan and continue having safe and exciting journeys! Here's a warm hug from chilly Alaska: (HUG!!)
  10. Dylan.S

    Dylan.S Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    Switzerland
    http://www.youtube.com/<wbr>watch?v=z70_nAqvcZM&feature=you<wbr>tu.be


    First I was dragged into the deeper waters of the Pacific out of Panamanian territory by strong currents. Then came a thunderstorm and I was left clueless as to how to get out of the situation. GPS was confused since I could not build up any authentic speed for it to recognize my direction of travels and I began to doubt believing in my compass since it started giving contradictory readings from different positions of my boat. Then came the Dolphins and I started following them. They guided me through the water where there were less currents until I found back my bearings.
  11. Cmnthead

    Cmnthead Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    79
    Location:
    Teeswater Ontario Canada/ Playa Uverito Panama
    Man...........I am so envious. I have been close to them in Panama, but not that close with so many. My tatto is a dolphin and I just had a huge mural of a dolphin painted on the living room wall of the Uverito house.:D
    Keep up the good work!
    Always looking for your updates.
  12. Dylan.S

    Dylan.S Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Phil, I think you ought to pedal out there couple of miles. I'm sure you'll see more of them
  13. Dylan.S

    Dylan.S Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    Switzerland
    I have been in Tropic Star Lodge for more than a week now. I enjoyed the company, kindness and the generosity of the people here too much and I felt at home and too comfortable to think about getting back on the sea. It&#8217;s not that I have become lazy or scared of further travels. It&#8217;s simply because the journey so far has taken so much energy out of my reserves. I sometimes sailed for two days none stop without a break. The ever present &#8220;engine malfunctioning&#8221; and the nature&#8217;s forces made me deviate off course a few times. Although I have a sail to back up my forward motion, I used it more often as a sunshade than anything else. The winds weren&#8217;t reliable to keep the course. Once it blew from the north and then it quickly changed to south. Then there was no wind for the whole day. When the engine refused to start, I took it apart each time searching for faults.


    Now the armchair critics out there might say &#8220;It&#8217;s salt water that make things go wrong and I knew it so&#8221;. But in reality, the malfunctions had nothing to do with salt water! The Timing Sensor Unit, Oil Pleasure Switch, The Starter Motor, Fuel Filter, Spark Plugs, Broken Cables, Leaky Engine Oil Filler Cap and subsequently, a Lost Engine Oil Filler Cap were some of dilemmas I had to face at sea. Trying to repair an engine at sea on a rocking boat is bad enough. But it was also more time consuming than on land. When there was a prevailing trouble, you could not afford to crank the engine with the starter motor more than couple of seconds. If it started, everything was fine. When it didn&#8217;t you had to go through whole system again and again before you used the starter motor, simply because you could not afford to rundown the battery minimizing your chances of a repair.
    When I finally reached the mainland coast of the Darien, I spent two days contemplating whether I should continue towards Colombia or go back to Panama City. In fact, there were a few times I gave up my journey towards Colombia for it seemed an impossible task to achieve. But there was this &#8220;one last try&#8221; plus &#8220;undying positive thinking&#8221; which kept me in forward motion. However, the fuel I carried wasn&#8217;t enough to get me through to Colombia. So I sailed 60km North in the opposite direction, to a small jungle village called Brujas to obtain more fuel. 60km may not sound much. But when you are on a vessel which travels at 3km per hour, it becomes a long long journey. Once in Brujas I was faced with even a bigger problem. The 1000 dollars I had withdrawn in Panama City had been reduced to 350. Shocking news! When I checked the receipt, it became evident than the ATM had given me only 500 instead of the 1000 I had asked for. Once I paid 150 Dollars for the fuel in Brujas, which would only get me less than one third of the way to Colombia, the money in my pocket was not sufficient to complete my journey. The nearest and only ATM being in Panama City, I seriously began to doubt my luck. When it comes to adventure, logics play a secondary role! Luck and self-confidence becomes the key to your success! So I set forth my journey towards Colombia believing in my &#8220;luck&#8221;.


    In a place called Punta Garachine, I faced problems with Fuel Filter. Since I had no replacement, all I could do was to take out the old filter and clean it and put it back. Starting of the engine became ever difficult once again due to an unexplainable reason. The sparks were irregular so was the fuel injection. After going through the whole system, I took out the starter motor and dismantled it. Unbelievably, the trouble was due to a loose metal plate rubbing the armature and shortening out the complete electrical system! I made provisional repaires in MacGyver style and rested in a protected bay of Punta Garachine for two days. Friendly fishermen came and spoke with me a few words. Some of them offered me fish and encouragement boosting my morals in a lonely sea. On the third night about three o&#8217;clock in the morning, I was woken up by vigorous rocking movement. When I opened my eyes I was blinded by a light. It took a couple of seconds for me to realize that there was something really wrong. The light was not supposed to be there. It was the lighthouse which should have been at least two kilometers from where I had anchored. The anchor which held it&#8217;s ground for two days had come loose and I was taken down with the currents to where there were big breaking waves. It was the biggest nightmare of this tour! I frantically pulled in the anchor which came onto the boat with a tangled fishing net. Luckily I had fallen asleep with my headlamp still wearing on my forehead which made things a little easier. Once the anchor was on the deck, I fired up the engine and to my amazement, it started promptly. But when I accelerated the engine, it died with a laboring noise. I immediately knew it could only be one thing. Something caught up in my propeller!!!! I had no option but to jump into the wild water with a knife in my hand to free the propeller. Once in the water, I found a thick rope caught around the shaft and between the bearing and the propeller. The rope looked a familiar one and it felt as if there was a weight on it! I started cutting the rope frantically and unwinding it as much as I could. Soon I realized the rope was my own anchor rope. The problem had been, when I pulled in the anchor the first time, the fishing net which was caught in it had dragged it back into the water and without me realizing it got caught in the propeller.
    But once I had freed the propeller from the rope and salvaged my anchor back into the boat, it was time for me to open up the throttle and get the hell out of there before my vessel was overturned by the near breaking waves. I tried to get back to the safe bay where you had some protection against waves and wind. But the currents and waves made it impossible to gain momentum. Each time I got passed the lighthouse I was dragged back into the rough sea and after three attempts I stopped the battle. I decided to go back into the open ocean where there were no breaking waves. Finally when there was light, I saw my bleeding arms and legs scratched by the sharp barnacles on the propeller and the underside of the boat. But I was extremely thankful for learning another lesson and that it all ended with just minor injuries and without losing the boat altogether&#8230;&#8230;.
    dave6253 likes this.
  14. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

    Joined:
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    This is turning into a saga on the seas adventure, maybe taking the overland route through the Darien would be easier.

    Goodluck with it all. Do ride the old road to Cali out of Buenaventura, Colombia- it's a good one:deal
  15. Dylan.S

    Dylan.S Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Oh Throttlemeister! Real adventurers are not interested in easier ways :evil

    Adventure is about experiencing the extraordinary! :D
  16. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
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    Location:
    Seven Springs NC
    Dylan.S What is happening with your adventure trip?? Are you going to continue or are you done? You have went too far to quit and I really would love it if you can make it to South America and travel there! Perhaps some guys on here can give you some helpful ideas and/or advice?
  17. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

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    Thinking you would have more of an Adventure trying to ride the Darien than floating the bike, they don't call this site ADVrider for nothing:deal

    I've found my fair share of adventure, to each his own.
  18. yokesman

    yokesman Long timer

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    Where is Dylan the adventurer?
  19. Blue Icebreaker

    Blue Icebreaker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2012
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    130
    Location:
    Croatia
    On facebook, word was he left the Tropic Star Lodge around April 22nd, sailing away for Columbia.
  20. Cmnthead

    Cmnthead Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    79
    Location:
    Teeswater Ontario Canada/ Playa Uverito Panama
    His Facebook update says that he made it across the Darrien! WOW, great job buddy!
    Can't wait for the update when you get your land legs back!