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  #16  
Old 22 May 2007
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Thumbs up

Basically, we are in a holding pattern till the next boat gets back into port. It sounds like the current boat is full. Not sure how it'll work out, but we were disappointed because we thought it was a little more straightforward.[/QUOTE]

Lol! Straightforward it is NOT! I think the idea of this post was to give you all the information that the people who HAVE done this managed to gather. Whether you can get this info to work is up to you and more importantly how lucky of a person you are.

125' S/V Stahl Ratte is still in the boatyard, I believe in Colombia. I was talking to them to try and jimmie a ride back from Cartegena to Portobello just one week ago. Have you contacted them?

I am going to fly back to Panama from Quito. I am rapidly running out of time and money.

Captain Mark on '41 S/V Melody would be the next option. Maybe that is the boat that is booked already.

Also thier is a racist, drunk German agent in Cartegena that might be able to line something up for you.

I can dig up contact info if you need it.

Stay out of Colon. Portobello is where most of these boats leave from. Colon sucks.

Is it crazy hot in Panama City right now? I took us ten days and five trips to Colon to get this info and eventually a ride. Good luck.
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  #17  
Old 22 May 2007
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PC is alternating between hot and wet/hot. I tried sending an email to Stahlratte, haven't heard back. I think his mail server is rejecting mail.

I'll figure out what the next boat(s) is/are and post back here.
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  #18  
Old 22 May 2007
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I called Stahlrattes office in Berlin. The guy who answered the phone spoke English and could answer my questions. You might try giving them a call with Skype. It sounds like they have no idea when the boat will be out of the yard.

I think Mark on Melody is freshaircharters@yahoo.com

This is the German Agent in Cartegena
Manfred Alwardt
manfred.al@gmx.net
hansapro@hotmail.com

he might have a new lead!

Do you want the Portmaster of Colons info? He is a touch shady though and has no problems with putting you on a smuggling boat.
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  #19  
Old 27 May 2007
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Speculation...

Maybe try the Marina on the pacific side of the canal - try for passage to Buenaventura? Have never heard of someone doing this. You are not obliged to go through hostels, they just have contact with a few captains for Cartagena. Keep your eyes open about sobriety of captain/general seaworthiness of boat.

If you do this, don´t stay in Buenaventura. My favourite quote of Colombia from Mr Tim of Salento is, ´Buenaventura gives other shipping ports a bad name!´

Good luck
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  #20  
Old 27 May 2007
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be wary of The Melody's timescales...

Just a wee word of warning to say that Mark of the Melody kept us waiting for about 3 weeks in Cartagena. He told us to be there for the 15th March so we were there a few days earlier. Once there, I somehow managed to get his mobile no (507 666 99359) and then found out that he was still in the San Blas and were presented with a few other `moving` dates. I told Mark that we still wanted to use his boat but to be honest, I`d have taken the first suitable tub that came along.

Mark Melody eventually did turn up in Cartagena on the 30th March, but despite promises of a quick 2 day turn around if there were 2 other people (which there already were), it was the 4th April when we left with 9 people on board a boat that only sleeps 6!. Also around midnight, the Captain will anounce that he`s not so good between about 1 and 6 am so goes off to bed leaving, thats right, you guesed it, YOU the paying customer (remember that you have paid twice what the backpackers pay to ship your bike) to sail his boat through the night because he doesn`t pay for a crew member to do it. As we`d been very patient customers, he also anounced to everyone that we were going to be given an extra day to visit a Kuna village on the San Blas islands which turned out to be a farce as he was going to church in the village anyway.

Manfred the (insert your own expletive) didn`t really come up with anything substantial either despite having to meet him on more occasions than I care to remember. Honestly, some of the shockers that we were presented with, generally dangerously overloaded dirty old supply ships with no real accommodation and who`s captains couldn`t actually tell us when or where we would be dropped off and how.

However, although Mark`s timescales may be less than helpful, the food was actually pretty decent and he did get us and the bikes over to Panama in one piece. Just listen to the stories about some of the numerous other charter boats which do this run that have either sunk, nearly sunk or ended in mutiny- I`m not kidding!

I know some people have had good experiences with these boats and I`ve heard that the German owned Steel Rat is probably the best one to go on (unfortunatelly it wasn`t available when we were there) but next time I think I`d probably fly.
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  #21  
Old 27 May 2007
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Thumbs up crossing

I've nothing to add ,other than to say I think you did it right. In my dreams to cross from one contenient to another by sailing vessal is the ultimate. I mean think about it , have you ever arrived by air to anywhere and felt satisfied?
Carry on.
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  #22  
Old 29 May 2007
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trying to organize...

Just got to Panama City today. Hot, cool, windy, wet, sunny at different times. I love variety! I'm wanting to get to Cartagena with my two dogs, and am wondering if I can be the PC person, and someone else can scout rides from Portobello? There's suddenly so much on this thread, there's got to be some way of working together on this... It also seems this is really a case of being at the right place at the right time etc. etc. Who is actually out there trying to get to Colombia now???
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  #23  
Old 30 May 2007
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Another option

I´m heading south. Currently in Bogotá.

In panama I met up with an Argentinian who is driving his Jeep Grand Cherokee from New York to Buenos Aires.
So in order to reduce costs we paired up........

I completely stripped my bike and put it in the back of the Jeep.
The Jeep was then snuggly fitted into a 20ft container in Colon and sent off to Cartagena.

In total the cost of the container was US$1300 (including the paperwork).
and by putting my bike in the back I avoided the landing fee.
I worked out at the marinas in panama for a couple of weeks, as a mechanic, which helped to fund my part of the container deal.
I know there a ways a lot cheeper to get a bike across to Cartagena but after working on some of those boats that take backpackers around the San Blas islands, those people are either running away from something or have a serious alcohol problem. Bloody sailors.

Anyhow after spending 9 hours at the Cartagena port we reclaimed our vehicles. This involves running back and forth between the port authority, customs and immigration.

I rebuilt my bike in the car park behind the Cartagena Convention Centre, where I met the Colombian Tourist minister. He gave me free Colombia t-shirts.

Not too informative I know but I had a good time. Just get down there and figure it out.
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  #24  
Old 30 May 2007
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With that new idea, if there's anyone out there who'd like to put their bike in my van, which would probably only entail taking the front wheel off, I'm open to discussion for a small fee.
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  #25  
Old 6 Jun 2007
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sailboats

It seems sailboats are now leaving Panama every few days now that the storm season has passed. Zuly's has the info.
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  #26  
Old 8 Jun 2007
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Whatever you do, don't go with Captain Steve on the Shenanigans. Zuly's and Mamallena will know about it soon, they already didn't trust him, but our trip will be the last time they recommend him.

There are a lot of sketchy boats. Just FYI.

It seems going to the marina in Colon is a decent option, actually. A friend of ours (notthemotorcyclediaries.com) just went on a really tricked-out 43 footer, arrived the same day as us. It's all the same price, though (250-275 per person, 350-400 per bike).

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  #27  
Old 9 Jun 2007
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i´m leaving to venezuela tomorrow from manaus and hope to cross the border on monday. i´m planning to ride through venesuela and not stop to do the touristy stuff. i think i should be in cartagena in 10 days or so. i contacted Ludewig and he is off to panama on the 14th which i can´t make. what is the next best option?

hi salvador! we are quite sure to leave on 14th but it may happen that we have to
wait one or two days but not more because we dont find enough people to sail.
the best guy for customs is
Manfred ALWARDT
Mobil1: ++57 -311-400-6394
Mobil2: ++57 -301-222-1255
Home: ++57-5 -666-3230
E-mail: Manfred.Al at gmx.net

he is my shipping agent and he has all knowledge about custom procedures.
we have no problem to take one or several motorbikes save and well stowed on our
deck. we charge 300 us per person and 250 for a bike.
the next possible cruise from cartagena to panama could be about the 10th to 12th
of july. good luck and a good trip! ludwig
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  #28  
Old 14 Jun 2007
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The Melody (Marco) should leave for Panama on about the 19th, and another boat with Guido as the captain a few days after that. Then on the 23rd or so, a couple who have a dog will be going. I've heard it's best to go with these three boats and skip the others as they're crowded, and try and cram as many backpackers on board as they can, and don't always have enough life vests etc.

I've had some complications, so am delayed!!!! Hoping to leave for Cartagena in the next 1 1/2 weeks....
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  #29  
Old 4 Sep 2007
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Question Clearing customs Panama-Colombia

We are in Costa rica now and are heading to Panama this week. The info here is great, but does anyone have specific info on where and when to clear the bike out of panama customs before putting it on a boat to cartagena?

Then where and when do you clear Colombian customs?

Is Manfred in Cartagena the only customs agent/broker?

Cheers
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  #30  
Old 4 Sep 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cameron View Post
We are in Costa rica now and are heading to Panama this week. The info here is great, but does anyone have specific info on where and when to clear the bike out of panama customs before putting it on a boat to cartagena?

Then where and when do you clear Colombian customs?

Is Manfred in Cartagena the only customs agent/broker?

Cheers
As far as clearing customs in Panama..... Isaac and I didn´t clear out at all. I am not suggesting this by any means, we were just caught during the holidays, our boat was leaving and the immigration and aduana offices were closed. Our fingers were crossed and Manfred sorted it out in Cartegna for no extra charge.

Manfred took care of us in Cartgena for $20 USD for us and the bikes. He is not entirely pleasant to deal with but who cares, the Colombian import fiasco in Cartegena is not easy and you will need help.
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