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Old 5 Jan 2008
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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Cartagena To Panama - Beware!

A warning to travelers taking passage on a yacht. I shipped on a smuggler's boat last year traveling south. The ship and crew were reasonably vile (see BLOG at home ). However, we sailed inside the reef and anchored at night off three different islands in the San Blas - a great experience. I sailed north this December on a yacht. We were told we would be visiting the islands. We sailed way outside the reef. We finaly turned south to Porvenir where we anchored a day and went ashore at a touristy island near by. An American friend sailed on a different yacht the same week and was equally disapointed.
Both yacht owners were keen to make money quickly rather than spend time in the islands. The crew on the yacht I took was a drunk. He turned off the motor one night and lost the key! The mainsail ripped. The Genoa had only one sheet and had to be lowered each time we went about. Staysail was too baggy to be of any use. Deck and portholes leaked, all bunks soaked. Check out both the yachtsman and the yacht. The yacht I took was unseaworthy. I paid $550. Loading the bike was easy off an inflateable. We unloaded in Porto Belo. Also easy. You then have to go to Customs in Colon for an import permit and to police in Panama City for an exit permit. Colon was easy, merely time consuming. The office is out on the main road to Panama City. Turn left under the bridge, Customs is on the left. I'll post later on the police. Happy New Year to all. I am in NY for the birth of a grandson. Will fly back to Panama in ten days to complete the ride north through Central America and the US.
(www.simongandolfi.com)
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