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San Blas (10/14-Jul) - Travel around the world

San Blas (10/14-Jul)

So finally here I was... on a boat going to the San Blas Islands in Panama. This was a 5 days trip: 2 days in the ocean and then 3 days in the islands. And now that it's finished I can tell you I was not feeling so safe about this trip but I decided to do it.

The fact is that there is no official or professional tour doing this service... so you have to go to the yacht club in Cartagena and ask people if they want to go there. So you can end up with anybody, in very varying conditions. Still sometimes some sailors do this trip often and therefore you can find some reviews about them in Internet as all backpackers seem to like writing blogs :P. Then, there were the stories... Some were nice, but others were very frightening. AS a matter of fact several persons reported spending the whole 5 days laying down because of sea sickness, others got really bored because there's sea and sea and sea.... some trips lasted many more days than expected, lacking food, water, fuel... and then there were the frightening ones. One boat got surrounded by pirates (San Blas islands are close to Darien, which is definitely not the safe place in the world), and several travelers reported ending up with drunk captains or drugged captains... and having to manage the ship by themselves for the whole sea trip. Still I think I had to do it. This is the kind of thing you do once in your life and gives you memories for ever. And then the San Blas islands are supposed to be the most beautiful islands in the world. On my side I only saw very few islands in my life so this should definitely be an experience. So, finally here I was, on a small boat (35ft I think) with 9 other people: the captain and his aid (Bruno and Ingrid) which came from Canaria islands, 3 other french people, 1 australian guy, 1 colombian girl, 1 american guy and 1 german guy... all backpackers having travelled many months around the world. I chose this captain because they looked like nice people... I could have chosen another one, but he did not seem reliable, and definitely not nice at all. Finally I was right... I mean for sure the captain and his aid were some kinds of hippies but the were definitely really nice, really caring about the passengers, and good and safe sailors. Other people did not have this chance and collided with a cargo during the night while the captain was sleeping... but did not sunk by pure chance. The trip started very badly for me... I got some food intoxication before going on the ship and ended up puking for the whole evening, delaying the departure of the ship. The first day I started to recover slowly but started to be reached by sea sickness... in the end I preferred staying in the cabin, sleeping the whole day. During the following night, there was a little storm... but appart from some water in the cabin, everything ended up fine. The following day we had our first sight of the panamean coast... though we did not stop there as being the Darien. More or less at the same time we saw our first dolphins, they kept dancing around the boat for a long time. The captain even joked saying that it's the first time he sees passengers getting bored of the dolphins before the dolphins get bored of the boat :). Actually we ended up having dolphins around the boat for most of the day, until we reached the first San Blas islands. There we anchored in a bay between 3 or 4 uninhabited islands where other boats where also anchored... and jumped off the ship in the warm water, swam to the different islands, looked for shells... really a nice place to end up the day. It was also for me the occasion to eat my first real meal since we left as sea sickness left me. Next morning, we walk up in this paradise... and jumped again in the water.... and this kept us busy for the whole day. Then we left for another place to do the immigration papers (we were in Panama and had to do them before landing). On my side I was really sunburnt... Even having my t-shirt the whole day, putting cream all day long... I was red like a crayfish. The good thing is that the sharks could not mistake me with a turtle as this happens in Australia :P. As a matter of fact there are supposed to be sharks, called "nurse sharks" but they do not represent any danger for people... and same for the other predators like barracudas, mantas... Well this is all there is to say about this trip... which was... an experience. It is really a shame that I sufffered from sunburns. But otherwise the islands were really great. Next stop is Panama and then I don't really know... I think it should be Costa Rica and then probably a flight from Nicaragua to Salvador to avoid Honduras... But maybe not. The fact is that I'm starting to be tired of moving so often and maybe I'm gonna stay longer in one place... and skip some countries. I will see.

Photos Here

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