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.
Up at 6:00 breakfast at 7:00. Met some people from Toronto at breakfast on a tour. Packed the bikes and off about 8:00 am. Lost my sun glasses so I will have to get another pair. Short ride to San Jose, capital of Costa Rica. Found a hotel in the midfle of the city close to El Centro. $60 a night got there about noon. Checked in and unpacked bikes. Took a walk to El Centro. Found a nice pair of Ray Bans so I bought them. $7.00 us. I don’t think that they are original Ray Bans. Walked back to hotelto find out the restaurant was already closed. Walked couple blocks to a nice eclectic restaurant. Had a great supper of seafood including a lobster tail and a couple beers. Walked back to the hotel and in bed.
Up at 7:00 for breakfast. Peter is st another hotel here in Monteverdi. He got in about the same time as I did but couldn’t remember the name of my hotel. Walked into town to go to the bank and met Peter walking downtown. Told him to get his gear and come over to my hotel. We had a booking at 10:00 am for a canopy tour. Peter arrived at 9:45, dumped his gear in our room and off to the canopy tour. 15 zip lines from 60 to 800 meters long, 1 – 50 meter tarzan swing and a 40 meter rappel down a tree. We had a blast. Best ever.
Great weather, no rain. After the 2 hour tour they took us back to our hotel. We walked to a restaurant for lunch. While we were eating it just poured and the fog rolled in. Hope it stops raing for our night walk at 5:00 pm. It rains for a couple hours and the sun comes out about 4:00 pm. Great for our night walk tour. The bus picked us up at 5:00 pm and off we go. Our guide, an Eco professor took us through the rain forest. We saw toucans, frogs, spiders, walking sticks, viper snake, and a 2 toed sloth in the trees. Very interesting. Back to the hotel after about 2 hours looking for animals in the rain forest. Road into town for gas and stopped at the tree house restaurant. There is a tree in the middle of the restaurant. We rode back to the hotel and off to bed.
Up at 6:00 am. Had a good sleep last night as the bike is fixed. Had breakfast of coffee cake and tea. Packed bikes and off we go headed to Monteverde Costa Rica. The day started out ok. Got through the border relatively easy. Then on our way to the hotel. Didn’t know it was on the top of a mountain. Roads getting here were terrible. GPS routed us onto a cow path we were lost. I turned and Peter didn’t. I turned around and looked for Peter, locals said he went straight when I turned. So I tried to catch up. Could not find him. Getting low on fuel I start looking for a hotel for the night. Finally find a sign that Monteverdi was 30 km away. Getting dark on gravel boulder roads I pushed on. Found a SUV with people from Israel in it. They were going to the same town. I followed them up the mountain in the dark on a bad road to the town. Found my hotel and checked in about 6:30. Hoping Peter is safe and found a place to stay for the night and hope he will get here tomorrow. My supper tonight was vitamin water and some granola bars. Nice and healthy.