Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Planning, Trip > Trip Transport

Trip Transport Shipping the bike and yourself.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

UK Motorcycle Shipping Experts!

Like Tree2Likes
  • 1 Post By walkabout2408
  • 1 Post By dstehouwer

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10 Feb 2013
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Jersey UK
Posts: 19
Thumbs down Sail boat from Panama to Colombia

Hi there,

Thought I would share my recent experience on The Independence sail boat from Panama to Coulmbia. This boat also takes motor bikes on deck.
I'm traveling with my Land Rover, Defender, which went in a container.

The independence Experience
5 Days sailing via the San Bas Islands from Panama to Columbia

So with my Land Rover safely packed into a container bound for Cartagena, Columbia. I just had to get myself there in time to meet it.

I had found a sail boat, The independence, leaving on the Thursday via Captain Jacks Voyages. An agent for 6 or so sail boats running the Panama Columbia route via the San Bas islands. It suited me well as it left the day after I was scheduled to load the Land Rover into a container and it arrived around the same time as the container ship. Plus, I would get to check out the tropical paradise that is the San Bas islands along the way. Perfect I thought.

I initially booked before Christmas for the 10th Jan 2013 sailing. So a couple of days before I e-mailed to check everything was ok with the sail boat and book myself a night in the hostel at Portobello, the place the Captain Jacks website said the boats sailed from. At 11:00 (2 days later) whilst loading the Land Rover into the container I get a message saying that the boat is not leaving from Portabelo but a place called Carti*. So I changed my plans and returned to Panama city to find a hostel for the night and arrange transport for the following day. On arriving at the hostel, I found they where full. But they kindly said I could sleep in the movie theatre. Which had bed like benches. As the transport was leaving from there at 05:30 in the morning, I figured it was the best option for maximum sleep time.
Transport arrived in the form of a Nissian 4x4 and our luggage for 9 people was loaded onto a already half broken roof rack. We then where driven across the city to the tour agents office to pay for the transport out to Carti. Plus a chance to stop up of munchies at the super market. With the chaos in the office it was 09:30 by the time we were all paid, stocked up and on our way. 3.5 hours in a hot 4x4 down bumpy roads saw us at the tiny village of Carti. Where boat launches where waiting to ferry us out to our respective sail boats. After standing around for about an hour we were finally directed to a boat and loaded our gear. It was then a gentle ride down the river and then out into the bay to meet our sail boat.

On first sight of our sail boat independence, she looked impressive. With her vivid blue and white colour scheme and high twin masts. We drew along side and unloaded us and the baggage on to the narrow walkway. We where all assembled on the top deck, to meet the captain and be given the welcome/ do's and don'ts aboard talk. In this message it was mentioned that there were two 8 person life rafts in case of emergency. I quickly counted heads and there where 20 guests, plus crew of 5. Hmmm not a good start. We then motored for 2 hours out to our first set of San Bas tropical islands, where we would moor for the night. Along the way we were allocated our bunks/rooms. It quickly became apparent that there were not enough beds for everyone. Leaving 4 people to sleep out on deck, on the sun deck mattresses. As it turned out this was not all bad for the people sleeping on deck. As after the first night aboard, a lot of people complained the cabins where too hot, with no fresh air. One, guy had condensation forming on the bunk above him, and dripping on him in the night. He later slept on the wooden floor of my cabin/area for the last two nights of the voyage. Luckily for me, I was given a bunk up the front of the boat, next to a door to the deck, with plenty of fresh air. But I was in the storm bridge, which was obviously now used as tool and spare parts store. When the guys who slept on deck, asked the Captain for a discount the following morning. The replay they got was, they could get off on to any of the islands and find there own way back, if they didn't like it. So that set the tone of the trip.

On the bright side. The San Bas islands were the little tropical paradise islands we had all read about. With local fisherman living in wooden huts, clinging to the little bits of dry land that existed.
Our mooring locations for the first two days were great. With islands with in swimming distance, to wander and explore.
So to our little side adventure. The Captain announces he is going to swim to a near by Wreck and who any of us like to come along and check it out. Being fond of wreck driving and signed up and got a snorkel and mask. In the end there was the Captain and 3 of us initially who set off. Baring in mind we had already experience the strong current, when trying to swim back to the boat from the island. I ask the Captain were the wreck is. He points to a island directly to our stern, which means the swim back is dead against the fast current. Seeing the island, I figure if we can't make the swim back, we will just sit on the island to be picked up by the little tender boat. So off we go! Sure enough we make fast progress to the island and on reaching it the Captain decides the current is too strong to head on any further to the wreck. He then says, as hes the only one with flin's (flippers). That he will swim back to the boat and tell them to send the tender for us. OK, so we (now 4) as there was one late person to join us, wade ashore to the island. The Captain initially makes good progress, but half way slows, and is not making any more headway. I watch him for 5 minutes, and he is still now further forward. At which point I'm worrying he might not make it back to the boat at all. Seeing as he 60ish and no spring chicken. I quickly assess the situation. The currents are strongest for the first 50m from the island, were the water is forced over the shallow reef. Further out in the deep water they are slower, which I figure I can still make headway against at a fast cruise pace. If I can't make it, I can always float back in the current to the island. So I tell the others my plan and set off at a sprint pace to break through the area of fastest current. Sure enough as I swim out into the deeper water so the current eases, but not as much as I was hoping for. I then had to still swim hard for the remaining 150m battling the head on current back to the boat. During which I pass the Captain some 50m to my left and reach the boat before him. On dragging myself panting up the ladder. I call to the second mate (his wife, who is 23 years old) that the Captain is strungling and we need to launch the small boat to pick him up and the other stranded on the island. She say “I can lower the boat with out the Captains say so” I say “ Well, the Captain might just drown, your the most senior person left on the boat, make the decision”. She waits until the Captain finally reaches the side of the boat. I take his fin's from him so he can climb the ladder. At which point he asks why I didn't tell them to launch the boat. I said, “I did!” It turns out he got cramp in his leg half way across. So eventually the small boat get launch and the other rescued from the island. So I say this to you Michael (The Captain). Watch your back, because I'm not sure she will be coming to your rescue any time soon, if you have another miss-adventure.

So to the last part of our sea fairing adventure. The 30+ hour crossing from the San Bas islands to Cartagena, Columbia. As we turn and leave the shelter of the San Bas islands, so the slay ride begins. The waves are short and steep in the shallow waters just off the island chain. Which pitched and through the boat around, through some interesting angels. So it was not long before most of us we feeling green around the gills. So more that others. For me, as long as I was in the fresh air and could see the horizon, I could keep things down to a mild sick feeling. For some others, feeding the fish was there new hobby.
As we got out into deeper waters, so things settled down. And with a change in wind direction aloud us to set the main sail in addition to the engine, to make good head way. However it was still big seas with a howling wind, and several 6m+ waves slammed into our side and flooded the top deck area. Where most of us were sitting. Some now drier than others. Other large waves just had us grabbing anything solid to stop us falling off our chairs. Also, remember the 4 motor bikes we had on deck were also getting thrown around and covered in salt water. It was a long night, and we were all glad to see the lights of Cartagena come into view and to reach the calm waters of the port by around midnight. Where I think most people passed out rather than fell asleep.

A quick word on food and drink. The food was great, and there was plenty of it. Including a surprise crab and lobster lunch, tanks to the local fisherman. Drink however was not good. The only drinking water on board, was treated sea water. Which still had too much salt in it to be nice. This didn't sit well in the stomach either, with the pitching seas.

So all in all was it a 500 US dollar voyage. No, is the simple answer. As whilst the boat was sound and sea worthy. Lots of other points fall short. From lack of fresh drinking water to not enough beds, to conditions below decks being horrid to try and sleep in. An experience it was and the San Bas islands are beautiful. But I have had better expediencies on other boats.

As for the motor bikes. They cost an extra 400 US dollars to bring along. Are stored on deck and are lashed against the railing. Open to all sea spray that makes it to the top deck. In our case 3 x 6m waves which broke over them. Add top this so novel loading and unloading. Where even a plank to get the bike out the small boat to dry land would have been a useful asset. As opposed to 4 people dragging and lifting it. I won't put my motor bike on board, put it that way.

*The reason for the change of location, which Captain Jacks had know about for ages but failed to pass along. Is that Panamanian Customs have decided they what there cut of the of the traffic sailing to and from Columbia. So they are now asking 120USD to stamp out each passengers passport. So the boats are now sailing from Carti. A small village inside the antonymous San Bas region.

Hope you find this useful, David

More info at:
Walkabout2408.com

www.walkabout2408.com - The adventure so far... - Page 4 - Expedition Portal

Last edited by chris; 3 May 2013 at 11:18. Reason: Correction of the spelling of the word ColOmbia in the title. I couldn't be bothered to change it in the post itself
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12 Feb 2013
dstehouwer's Avatar
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Now Alberta, Canada! (originally the Netherlands)
Posts: 257
nice review!

So, next time, take the Stahlratte. We were 150% satisfied with our crossing, so were our beloved bikes!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 15 Feb 2013
motomon's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: homeless, travelling fullti
Posts: 105
Independence

I've taken the Stahlratte several times, including to/from Cuba, which wasn't worth it, but they don't get back from Cuba til April. I want to go in Feb and it seem to be the only choice now.
I've been having trouble just paying a deposit and am underwhelmed by them so far.
__________________
motomon at pobox dot com
'06 Suzuki DR650
Want to do the Trans America Trail (TAT) & Continental Divide Trail (CDT).
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 6 Mar 2013
motomon's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: homeless, travelling fullti
Posts: 105
Thumbs down Using the Independence

I just got to Panama City after a terrible 7 day ride on the Independence. Poor food, almost undrinkable water, filthy\buggy (didn´t empty the used toilet paper cans for 6 days!) boat, VERY poor, unloading process, just to begin. I would recommend that any motorcyclist contemplating using them, wait however long to go on the Stahl Ratte or airfreight the bike on DHL.

I would NEVER consider using them again. As far as I`m concerned, it was a total ripoff, but then I've only made this trip four times and ridden 160,000+ miles in the past 4 years.

Feel free to PM me with any questions.

__________________
motomon at pobox dot com
'06 Suzuki DR650
Want to do the Trans America Trail (TAT) & Continental Divide Trail (CDT).
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 6 Mar 2013
Super Moderator
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: bellingham, WA, USA
Posts: 1,973
This information might be helpful over on ADVrider.com, if anyone's willing. Motomon, maybe a few details....?

In fairness, this is a difficult time of year for that crossing. Stahlratte was delayed in stormy weather coming into Cuba 4 weeks ago, generating many good stories about wrestling flying refrigerators, vomiting over railings, etc. etc. etc. Ludvig told me that the cause is a weather pattern which forms every year offshore off Cartagena.

I had a bike on that crossing, and even on the Stahlratte, 6 feet above waterline and wrapped securely in plastic, it had clearly been drenched in saltwater. If concerned about such things, I'd suggest other means of transport and/or other times of year.

Oh, and loading and unloading always seems to involve hoisting bikes in and out of dingies or pangas at some point. No getting around it.

Mark
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 7 Mar 2013
klaus's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Toon City, Ehime-ken, Japan
Posts: 255
Even though no personal experience, but from what Heidi and Bernd Kleine (2-year-RTW) have told me the "Stahlratte" was the best!

Food and everything great, so ..... maybe that's the way people should go. For more info check here: welt-tour.com - Stahlratte!!

Hope this helps.

PS: sorry forgot to mention that it's all in German, but maybe just the pics .....?
Or using some online translation tool .......... ?
__________________
Klaus D. Orth
A German in Japan
1992 Honda TA
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 7 Mar 2013
motomon's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: homeless, travelling fullti
Posts: 105
Unloading Bikes

Mark, Yes, unloading and loading involves hoisting bikes out of dingies. I have done this five times, including going to Cuba, BUT unloading from the Independence was horrible. The captain, Michel, wouldn't let us use the ropes, wasn't there to help in Carti, and the bikes ended up on their sides on the dock, with significant damage to fairings. In my experience, it was totally unnecessary and negligent. As I said, I would NEVER consider using the Independence over the Stahlratte and would use airfreight if not available. There were several "extra" charges that weren't done by Ludwig. Michel had a habit of smiling to your face, when not bragging about himself, then complaining to others about you. I really odious person.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
This information might be helpful over on ADVrider.com, if anyone's willing. Motomon, maybe a few details....?

Oh, and loading and unloading always seems to involve hoisting bikes in and out of dingies or pangas at some point. No getting around it.

Mark
__________________
motomon at pobox dot com
'06 Suzuki DR650
Want to do the Trans America Trail (TAT) & Continental Divide Trail (CDT).
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 8 Mar 2013
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: OK
Posts: 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by motomon View Post
I've taken the Stahlratte several times, including to/from Cuba, which wasn't worth it, but they don't get back from Cuba til April.
Do tell about Cuba? I went in 2010/2011 and had a hell of a wild time, I would find it almost impossible not to have a good time. Is your broken??

I'm betting I spent more time on the SteelRat that just about any other biker than Rollie. If you can't get along on that boat then sailing is not for you.

Too bad the Stahlratte is getting so expensive, guess that capitalism comes
out in us all at some point.
__________________
www.throttlemeister.net
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 8 Mar 2013
Super Moderator
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: bellingham, WA, USA
Posts: 1,973
They told me Rollie is back in Austria following much further adventuring. Lulu is somewhat in touch. And, if you're not aware, Lulu himself is recently a father....a couple of days before the Cuba trip left Cartagena without him on it.

I was glad not to have been on the recent trip to Cuba, in part because I don't care to spend a lot of time vomiting (and I would have felt obligated to tackle the loose refrigerator, which might have had a bad outcome). But Cuba's a blast, and it was good having a bike there once all the aduana/policia stuff was taken care of. We unloaded the bikes from the inflatable dingy onto a soft sand beach, more or less as I'd done in Carti a couple of years ago.

A lot of discussion about the original concept of the Stahlratte and its collective ownership. Based on the small fragments which were conducted in English, there seemed to be a substantial push for the boat to continue its RTW journey, with a countervailing push for expanded ferry service around the Caribbean. All agreed that motorbikers are generally preferred to backpackers--the latter reportedly demand too much and offer too little.

John, I mentioned your name and got a couple of blank stares in return until I clarified: "You know: Crazy John from the USA." On this basis you're fondly remembered.

Mark
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 9 Mar 2013
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: OK
Posts: 125
I could have a hell of a lot more fun had my German been better than my Spanish. We didn't have many people on the way up to Jamaica and then onto Cuba which made it really nice trip on the big boat, was sad Rollie didn't come along on that trip North. I really enjoyed my time aboard and will be back again one day.

I just about got mine put in the drink first:


Then landed like this:


Never could figure out what Maria saw in Lulu She is a nice girl, last I heard was going to become a doctor?? First girl on my bike in Cuba and not the last
__________________
www.throttlemeister.net
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 2 May 2013
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Styria
Posts: 2
Hello,
we made this trip (Cartagena to Panama) with the "wildcard" (a lot of smaller boat than the stahlratte) from 22.03 - 27.03.2013 - posted about "blue sailing" ... The "steel rat" was in the Caribbean for 8 weeks - we could not wait 8 weeks for it ... Our boat was filled with too many people, the water tasted on day 3 no longer bearable, the food was excellent and the atmosphere on board well. Our greatest joy was that we had excellent weather and so the San Blas islands were able to enjoy and to swim, etc.
Even the sail on the open sea was calm, with no wind and storm, so that the bikes were spared from the salt water. We had it wrapped in plastic wrap.
We believe the Sailing Trip is a lottery ... it can go great or anything off the mark ... for us is this unique experience, which went very well, enough. Next time we would prefer the transportation by plane with Cirag, which made an offer about 750USD - 3 times a week Bogota-Panama (the sailing trip cost 500USD for the bike).

Greetings from Guatemala


chrilli
[URL="http://www.reise-ecke.at"]
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 2 May 2013
motomon's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: homeless, travelling fullti
Posts: 105
Girag must have lowered their prices because I paid $900 just for the bile in 12/12 for Panama to Bogota. Also, they were two days late from "promised" date.
I thought I heard that Girag was NOT airfreighting bikrd any more.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
__________________
motomon at pobox dot com
'06 Suzuki DR650
Want to do the Trans America Trail (TAT) & Continental Divide Trail (CDT).
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 4 May 2013
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 7
Boston to Valparaiso

I am Brazilian , and I want send my motorcycle from Boston(USA) to Valparaiso(Chile). Any suggestions?????TKSSS
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 4 May 2013
motomon's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: homeless, travelling fullti
Posts: 105
For Boston to Valparaiso, I heard a company called, Motorcycle Express ships bikes, or google it

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
__________________
motomon at pobox dot com
'06 Suzuki DR650
Want to do the Trans America Trail (TAT) & Continental Divide Trail (CDT).
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
columbia, panama, sail, shipping


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Panama to Columbia (overland?) Neil Central America and Mexico 32 16 Oct 2012 01:00
A Gringo in Colombia Ride4Adventure Ride Tales 13 20 Apr 2012 02:15
need to ship bikes from Panama to Columbia CarlnJonnie Trip Transport 9 16 Feb 2012 16:32
kawasaki help in Panama or Columbia or somewhere in northern S. Amerca?... dunters South America 3 11 Dec 2011 14:02
New boat between Panama & Colombia kyrnos Trip Transport 1 6 Dec 2011 14:10

 
 


HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!




All times are GMT +1. The time now is 08:22.