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  #1  
Old 13 Dec 2011
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WARNING on the sailboat MetaComet (PANAMA - COLOMBIA)

If you are planning to take the sailboat MetaComet between Panama and Colombia, PLEASE STRONGLY consider the following two experiences from our community:

By Charles and Dr. Benny (January 2010):
http://afewmoremiles.com/2010/01/28/...he-darien-gap/
By the MotoTrip.org crew (December 2011):
http://www.mototrip.org/2011/12/12/p...-the-hard-way/
The purpose of this post is not to blacklist, but to inform fellow riders and our backpacker friends.

(Also posted on ADV).
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  #2  
Old 13 Dec 2011
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Damn. So pleased I made a better choice. So....the two hostels were Wunderbar and what?
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  #3  
Old 15 Dec 2011
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Use the Stahlratte if they are still around. Good guys.
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  #4  
Old 18 Dec 2011
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I just read through your story and it was just like my experience!

I have been trying to warn people ever si
nce to only do this journey with a captain who has a good reputation.

Were you surprised as hell to arrive in Puerto Obaldia and Sapzurro and find out that there was no dock?

One positive thing about your trip is at least you had fellow travelers to hopefully help you lift and lower the bike on and off the boats.

I always had to rely partially on the crew. There is not much of an incentive to do a good job when you are only earning around $1 a day. lol

My Panamanian captain got us stuck on a sandbar dangerously close to land, the bilge pump stopped working and there was 2 ft of water on deck, the engine stopped running and they had to fix it, and my bike almost fell in the ocean twice during loading and off loading.

It is a good story to tell now, but was a pretty painful couple weeks.
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  #5  
Old 21 Dec 2011
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I have 2 day old intel from some backpackers who took a jeep tour saying that it was a bit wet, and they were unable to reach the islands on the Salar.

Not exactly sure what that means.

Either way, head out there and have a blast.
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  #6  
Old 21 Dec 2011
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That Metacomet sure does get around.....
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  #7  
Old 22 Dec 2011
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The captain of the Metacomet must be crazy like a fox. Sailing across the salar with smuggled goods would be a safe bet.
I think the Bolivian navy sticks to Lake Titicaca...
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  #8  
Old 22 Dec 2011
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Salar de Uyuni

Quote:
Originally Posted by snohobo View Post
I have 2 day old intel from some backpackers who took a jeep tour saying that it was a bit wet, and they were unable to reach the islands on the Salar.

Not exactly sure what that means.

Either way, head out there and have a blast.
Thanks for the update on the Salar. I've been tying to find current information and am currently in Potosi with rain every afternoon, sounds like I should head back south and enjoy Christmas in the dry warmth of San Salvador de Jujuy.
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  #9  
Old 23 Dec 2011
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To Sail or Not to Sail?

After reading the links displayed in the first post of this thread, an experience came to mind that I "suffered" while serving as a U S Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica in 1968.

"Suffered" is in quotes, because I knew after I accepted work as a Peace Corps Volunteer teacher and community development specialist at the Colegio de Limon, Costa Rica life would be very different from my life as university student in the States.

While the saga of the sailboat MetaComet provided interesting reading, my own experience of hopping aboard a "burro" powered cart pulled along the rails, dedicated to the United Fruit banana trade, taught me that as uncomfortable my ride to Panama might be, I, myself, was responsible for the reality of it and not to whimper about how it should have been or the horribleness of it.

I was, after all, employed in Costa Rica and a tourist traveling to Panama. The fact that the burro cart had neither toilet nor crew and trudged on for endless hours through impenetrable jungles and swamps , now called rain forests and wetlands, was an accepted fact. No one needed to warn me.

Wake up .... you are not in the courtroom any more! And, you obviously have no idea how difficult it is to do business in Central America and you are learning how challenging it is - just to survive!

xfiltrate Ride Hard, Ride Free

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  #10  
Old 23 Dec 2011
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It's Okay then

At what point is it okay to charge for something and not deliver. At what point is it okay to expect paying customers to live in what sound to be deplorable conditions.

You are correct in that we do decide to travel however we do not decide to be treated poorly by those who charge for a service.

We don't all work in court rooms, we do have expectations and from what I have read here this boat does not full fill those expectations.
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  #11  
Old 24 Dec 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xfiltrate View Post
After reading the links displayed in the first post of this thread, an experience came to mind that I "suffered" while serving as a U S Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica in 1968.

"Suffered" is in quotes, because I knew after I accepted work as a Peace Corps Volunteer teacher and community development specialist at the Colegio de Limon, Costa Rica life would be very different from my life as university student in the States.

While the saga of the sailboat MetaComet provided interesting reading, my own experience of hopping aboard a "burro" powered cart pulled along the rails, dedicated to the United Fruit banana trade, taught me that as uncomfortable my ride to Panama might be, I, myself, was responsible for the reality of it and not to whimper about how it should have been or the horribleness of it.

I was, after all, employed in Costa Rica and a tourist traveling to Panama. The fact that the burro cart had neither toilet nor crew and trudged on for endless hours through impenetrable jungles and swamps , now called rain forests and wetlands, was an accepted fact. No one needed to warn me.

Wake up .... you are not in the courtroom any more! And, you obviously have no idea how difficult it is to do business in Central America and you are learning how challenging it is - just to survive!

xfiltrate Ride Hard, Ride Free

www.Xfiltrate.com - Professional Motorcycle Parking
Wow, I would love to hear more about what it was like to be in the Darien in the 1960's.

I think the greatest thing about the Hubb is the stories and advice that you can find out from fellow travelers.

I think one of the things that you are forgetting Xfiltrate is that most travelers on here do not have your background of experience in Latin America that you do. I find it very helpful when someone posts advice to help fellow travelers avoid a negative experience.

If you brow beat the members posting this advice then it creates a negative atmosphere. I would much rather read a realistic story then one where the guy never makes a mistake and does everything right.
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  #12  
Old 24 Dec 2011
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Reading comprehension is 90% of the battle....and you're mis-reading our friend xfiltrate. He, in turn, has misunderstood or willfully ignored the point of the thread. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Xfiltrate your story is amusing and the implied comparison interesting. Your attributions and conclusions are silly.


Mark
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  #13  
Old 24 Dec 2011
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Point Taken

A warning is fine, nothing wrong with that, but, based on my years in Central America publicly describing the intimate details of the failings of the MetaComet voyage will not affect change. Perhaps a note to the Captain with doable suggestions might.

Some understanding of the harshness of life when one plies his trade over very troubled waters, and an understanding of the monumental challenges of that particular environment might effect more change than the qualitative analysis I read on this thread. That is my opinion.

I am a very careful man and try my best to keep my fellow Hubbers safe. I found disagreement with the tone of the links that were penned here and I wanted to balance the scene for the locals who will also read here so that they might not take it out on the next of us so unlucky as to find ourselves at sea or in the jungle with little recourse except those very locals.

But, I respect that not all of you will agree.

Peace to All and Happy Holidays

Xfiltrate somewhere on the southern coast of Spain
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  #14  
Old 24 Dec 2011
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Xfiltrate I coudn't disagree with you more.
The purpose of this forum is to share knowledge and experiences.

If forum members are aware of an operator who is delivering a service that clearly sounds substandard as compared to other operators in the area offering the same service then I for one want to know about it.

To fob off their experiences and expectations as being naive and pretty much saying its Latin America so suck it up just doesn't wash with me. The guy clearly sounds dodgy as hell. Bad service is bad service anywhere in the world and should not be rewarded. His behavior may not change but if people are aware of what may be in store for them they can make an educated decision to choose another operator.

Your stance here as an apologist for crappy service makes you look rather foolish IMO.
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  #15  
Old 24 Dec 2011
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Here is what I said

realmc26, let me repeat what I said in my last post, you obviously missed it.

"A warning is fine, nothing wrong with that, but, based on my years in Central America publicly describing the intimate details of the failings of the MetaComet voyage will not affect change. Perhaps a note to the Captain with doable suggestions might."

Your lack of perception is not my problem.

We certainly agree that the market does have a tendency to weed out those whose service falls well below the level of service provided by competitors, and word of mouth presented by those who have first hand experience is helpful to others. The expectations presented were well beyond the abilities of the "sailboat" and "captain" selected and to that extent the "buyer" has responsibility.

As in my analogy, of the burro cart on the rails, I knew not to expect a clean toilet and comfort crew. It was in the middle of uninhabited jungle , and yes I could have traveled by air, but that would have cost a whole lot more and having the same journey at 40,000 ft is not quite the same experience.

xfiltrate
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