Ok... I rode from Los Angeles California to the southern tip of South America, and back. I started out with a friend from Alberta Canada - Larry is a rancher whom I met when I rode to Alaska a few years earlier and had stayed in touch with. He had recently bought a new bike and wanted to go for a ride. So we set our sights on Tierra Del Fuego. But, he had to turn back in Colombia. Then I rode with Brian from England, Patrick from Ireland, and Damon from New Zealand, from Columbia to Santiago Chile. After that, I was on my own.

This was an exciting trip for a number of reasons. It was over 30,000 miles thru Latin America and the Andes mountains, and I didn't speak much Spanish. There was also the small detail of the Darien Gap. And, then there was "Death Road" in Bolivia - supposedly the most dangerous road in the world.

Anyway, I blogged about the entire journey right here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Around the Darien Gap by Sailboat

Met with the captain of the “Fritz the Cat”.  His name is Friz and his boat is a large catamaran.  Made arrangements to meet up with him at the dock in Carti along the northern coast of Panama.  Headed down the Darien late the next day but didn’t get as far as I would have liked.  Ended up staying in the tiny town of Chepo, in their only hotel.  Heard a couple gunshots in the street before retiring to my room which smelled of urine and included some friendly pets from the insect family.  Got up early and headed farther down the Darien but didn’t have time to go all the way to the end of the road.  I did come across what I thought was a vary unusual if not just plain weird sight.  Two identical large black birds standing in the road, one in each lane, with their wings spread wide.  They were so still that they looked like statues.  They didn’t move as I approached and I thought, OK… there is someone in the bushes waiting for me to stop and they are going to jump me.  So, I slowed down and when I got really close I hit my horn.  And they turned and walked off the road… really weird! Anyway, I rode on a bit further before turning back as I was out of time and needed to get back to the rendezvous with the sailboat.

So, I turned back and headed up over the mountain to Carti where I would meet up with Fritz, the captain of the boat I would be sailing on.  There was quite an interesting mix of folks from all over: 2 Americans, a Canadian, an Irish couple, a Norwegian, an Aussie, a Spaniard, a German, 2 swiss gals, a Slov woman, and a Columbian girl.  And, the captain and his girlfriend were Austrian.  We spent several days lounging about the beautiful San Blas Islands swimming and snorkeling before moving on.  And although I was unable to get a tattoo from the Kuna tribe in the Darien,  I did get to meet a few on board the sailboat.  And one took a bunch of us snorkeling for lobsters. We ended up getting 3 lobsters and 5 crabs which we had for dinner that night.  We stayed  around the islands for a couple days before heading for the open sea .  Most of us had never been on a sailboat and we had a blast for the first hour or so with ship bobbing up and down over the waves occasionally spraying us with water.  But after a while people started getting sea sick due to the ship bobbing up and down over the waves.  Kinda like being on a roller coaster for 2 days.  In the end, we all survived and ended our sailing adventure in Cartagena Columbia where I am now staying in a hostel.

Here are some pics:

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