We got up when Bob started packing at 5:30. He wanted to make sure he got to Medellin that day. We waited and had breakfast at 7:00 am and then loaded the bikes. I changed out my front brake pads as they were getting very thin. Off we go at 8:30. We ride a nice mountain road towards Medellin and stop in Valdivia for lunch about 1:30 and like the little town so much we would stay the night. We checked in at a hotel on the city square. One little boy came up to me and kept saying “teacher” I didn’t know what he was talking about. I finally clued in and he wanted me to teach him english. I talked to a woman near where we parked the bikes and finally she understood what I was going to do. She told the children to get their note books and pencils. I went and got my English/Spanish dictionary. We set up beside the park. There were between 10-15 kids on and off for 2 hours aged 6 to 17. We had a great fun time. I would show them an item, book, tree, rock, etc and I would tell them the english word and write it in thier book. They would tell me the Spanish word for it and write it beside the English word. We had great fun with them with each other trying to pronounce each word. After about 2 hours teaching each other we finish. Peter and I walk around el Centro and have a beer. We had a large lunch so we didn’t need supper. Back to the hotel and bed.
Up at 6:00 am for breakfast at 7:00 am. After breakfast Bob, Peter and I walk into the old city part of Cartagena sightseeing. Back to the hotel to check out for 1:00 pm. Load the bikes and Bob, Peter and I are off at 1:40. We have an easy ride to Tolu, a beach front town. We get there about 6:00 pm and search for hotel. We go to about 5 hotels all of them didn’t have Internet, I guess there was a problem with the town, they say a cable was cut. We finally find one with Internet that had a nice pool. We had a small room for the 3 of us, but we all had our own bed. We had a nice swim in the pool and after we walked around town and found a nice restaurant on the shore. We had a nice meal and a couple beers then back to the hotel about 9:00 pm
Up at 5:30 to get to the boat by 6:30 am to unload the bikes. The 3 days of not riding was nice, but time to ride. We walk to the pier and get picked up by the dingy to take us out to where the ship is anchored. We waited a long time for the barge to show up to take us to shore. The barge is about 15′ x 20′ a little small. Glad it was a nice day. I was on the first 10 minute trip to shore. We offloaded 4 bikes to the barge then to shore.
We rode off the barge into about 6″ of sea water and up the ramp to customs. First time on South American soil with my bike. It was a long day at customs almost 10 hours 3 hours was due to thier siesta time. So while we wait for the siesta time, Gil and I go off to find the Apple store and a new camera for me. We found both, Gil got some high speed Internet to upload his pictures to Dropbox and I bought a nice Nikon underwater camera. We went back to customs for 2:00 pm and got our bike paperwork. Next off to get insurance, if the police stop you and you don’t have insurance they confiscate your vehicle. Then to the hotel, when we get there we ride all 7 bikes inside the lobby for safe keeping. Next off we go for supper, found a nice restaurant and had a great meal. Got some roof top shots of Cartagena from the top of the hotel then to bed.
Up at 6:30 about 25 miles from Cartagena, 3 hours sailing. Just leisurely chugging along. We arrive in port about 10:30 and take some overnight clothes to the hotel. Bikes and gear stay on boat till tomorrow. We walk to a cash machine and withdraw Colombian pesos, no American $ taken here. We walk to the hotel about 1.5 km from the dock in hot weather. We check in hotel and the afternoon we walk around the old city park of Cartagena. Gil and I go off looking for a camera for me and a Apple store for him. Found both and but I did not buy a new camera. We found a nice place for supper and then walked back to the hotel. That’s it for today.
Up at 5:30 to the sound of the engine starting up. We set sail for Cartagena. 30 hours by engine at 7 knots or about 13 kph. Very calm seas, not much to do on board but lie about your adventures and rest. We raised the sails but there was very little to no wind.
Found out my camera isn’t really waterproof so some sea water got inside and corroded it. Now I need a new waterproof camera. I threw it in the garbage as it was not worth fixing. I’ll get another one in Cartagena.
Our frist night on the boat.
Very calm seas last night. Up at 7:00 am to a huge and delicious breakfast. Rained till about 10:00 am then clear for the rest of the day. The grocery store boat came by and Ludwig bought a bunch of items for our voyage. We went by a small boat to an island about 100′ in diameter with coral reefs surrounding it. Only 2 coconut trees on the island. They dropped us off and we snorkled for about 1-1/2 hours. Lots of fish and coral. Took my underwater camera for the shots.
Today we board the ship to Cartagena.
Up at 6:30 breakfast at 7:00. We load the bikes and off about 8:30 from Panama House B&B. 4 of us all going to Stahlratte. Thor, Gil, Peter and me. We made our way out of Panama on the toll way south, we argue with toll taker of the price. Sign said 1250 and she wanted 8000 each. We argued long enough that the lane was getting backed up and people honking horns. Finally she just told us to go and opened the gate. We rode as Ludwig said and saw the sign to Catri. We turned left onto a nice mountain road of about 40 km’s. Very steep and twisty almost all paved. Ludwig said it has only been paved the last couple years. It was first a mud road, then stone. It took 11 hours at first with a deep river crossing of about 1 meter deep. We got to Carti port with only 1 incident, Gil on his R1200GS slid off the road into the ditch. No damage or injuries just pride. It took 5 guys to get him out of the 2 meter deep ditch. It was a fantastic ride/road. When we get to the port we stop and take pictures of the bikes and the Stahlratte anchored off shore then we ride them up and on the pier ready to load. We take off all our bags and Ludwig straps the bikes ready to hoist aboard. Here they are loading my bike.
After the 5 of us are loaded 2 more arrived and were loaded. 7 total bikes and riders, 3 crew on this sailing. New guys are Bob on a DR650 from Phoenix, Dave on a gen 1 KLR650 from Vancouver and Glenn on a gen II KLR from California. We sailed out about 30 km’s to an area were there were soms small Islands and anchored, this is where we will stay for 2 nights. For supper they took us out to one of the islands and had a great BBQ on the beach. After the BBQ back to the boat for the night. Great day today.
Up and breakfast at 7:00 am. I had my clothes washed last night by one of the staff for $2 good deal. No restaurant in the hotel but there is a bus terminal connected to the hotel. Last night they let us ride the bikes into the lobby. We pack the bikes and we are off about 9:00 am. Easy ride today with very little construction. Almost all 4 lane highway. Got to Panama City about 1:00 pm and found our hotel, Panama City B&B as recommended by Ludwig from the Stahlratte ship. While there we meet Thor from the Netherlands and Gil from Hawksbury Ontario all going on the Stahlratte to Cartagena and we are all going to Ushuaia. We all go out for a nice supper and talk. Thor is riding an older Harley he is having problems with the ignition module, Bob is on a Suzuki DR650 and Gil is on a BMW GS1200Adv. The B&B had an commercial washer and dryer so I washed my riding suit, it was a little smelly (maybe alot smelly) from wearing it 10 hours a day for 47 days in high temperatures and lots of sweating. Smells nice now, but probably not for long. Then it was off to bed. Tomorrow on the ship.
We were up at 5:45 and walked into town for a breakfast of fried banana, bread, hot sausage and a hot chocolate. Back to the hotel to pack the bikes and off at 8:30. First we get gas then a 20 minute ride to the Panama border. Crossing the Costa Rica border was easy lets see about the other side, Panama. Getting out of Costa Rica was easy and didn’t take alot of time. Panama a different story. Frirst we go to immigration, she says she needs proof that I have either A: $500 cash or B: a bank statement that shows that I have more than $500 cash. OK so off to the bank machine to withdraw a little money to get a receipt with a balance on it. Machine would not give me a little cash, finally withdrew $100,000 Costarican colons, about. $186 cdn. Guess what the receipt doesn’t show a balance. OK a bank is near so I walk to it. The armed guard gives me a ticket and I wait for my turn. 45 minutes later my number is called. Up to the window to exchange my money. WRONG WINDOW, he tells the guard to give me another ticket and I wait again. In the mean time I see they have a ATM so I withdraw the balance I need and what do I get, a receipt with my account balance! I still have to convert the colons so I wait till my number is called again. 45 minutes later my number is called and I exchange my money for US dollars. 1-1/2 hour to get a paper with a balance! Peter thought I was lost. He was back watching the bikes at the immigration place. OK next, immigration I get to the window and she doesn’t even ask for proof, all that time waisted. The rest was easy. Just as we finished there was a deluge of rain so we waited under cover about 1/2 hour till it slowed down. Off we go to Santiago, Panama. The roads in Panama were supposed to be good, but there is so much construction it was a slow ride. We had at least 200 km of road construction. We got to a hotel about 5:00 pm and settled in for the night.
Up at 6:30. Breakfast at 7:00 am. Loaded the bikes and off at 8:00 heading to Panama border. Getting out of town was a chore. Lots of 1 way streets and the GPS had them all wrong. Took the coast highway to Ciudad Neily where we found a hotel only 20 km to the border. Checked into the hotel about 1:45. About 100 km of rain on the last part of the ride today. Walked around town and had Chinese food for supper. Back to the hotel to catch up on my blog site that I haven’t worked on in a few days. Then bed.