Made it to Cartagena, Colombia, and this is the continuing of day 101, before we sailed.
Good news for anyone travelling the Darian Gap towards the end of this month, according to one of the Captains a new Ferry service will be in operation.
First thing this morning I started to compact my large amount of gear to a somewhat more manageable size. I haven't camped since San Diego so this would be the thing to downsize on and in the hope that I would not need it in this next leg of my journey I removed my Winter Sleeping-bag, Stove, and Thermos can plus some small things that were taking up space. After repacking all this I ended up with one less dry sack to carry or lug around., I did throw all this stuff on the free rack at the Hostel and locking back after about 5 min and all of it was gone, someone must of wanted it and I hope it comes to good use.
This morning it was poring rain so we waited and hoped it would clear up by noon only thing is it would not give us any spare time before heading to San Blas, we waited and of course the rain did not stop. The fastest route was over the Corredor Sur where we come to a toll both that says $1.40, when I try paying the attendant says where is your card, because you need to swipe this first, I ask the attendant what do you mean? there is no sign saying that I need a card, it only says $1.40,.By now the cars are starting to honk and the lady calls the supervisor over and all this makes is for more honking. The supervisor says you cannot get through unless you show one of these cards and pulls a bunch of the cards out of his pocket that you can buy for $8.00. I tell the guy that nowhere is there a sign saying this and I will wait here until doomsday if needed, so he better be prepared because this will be the start of an international incident right here right now, you should have seen this guys face by now, the cars are honking like crazy, and drivers are scrambling to find other gates, luckily one Panamanian guy gets out of his car and says to the supervisor I will let them through by swiping my card, we pay the Panamanian guy $3 and we go through, of all things stupid the supervisor could have done the same, but no.
The last part of the road towards San Blas is one crazy up and down, twisty road and a real treat for us after riding in the rain the whole time it now starts to clear up, and we did have to pay the $13 to be able to continue through Kuna territory. We make it to the Barzukun River and we see the Lancha boat that will take our bikes to the boat, after the Kuna Indians try different ways to see how it would be best to get the bike in they tell us to bring the bike down the steep grassy embankment towards the boat where they will lift it up over the railing into the boat, six guys and a lot of lets see how this goes gets the bikes in and away we go after paying them $15 per bike for there services.
When we get to the Independence they lower the Dingy and then hoist our bikes up, then across the deck and tied down towards the railing and deck, here is where they will stay until we reach the other side
We stowed our gear inside the boat and then we were taking to the Carti Island where we will stay the night amongst the Kuna Indians. The sleeping arrangement is in a loft above one of the many shacks that are on the Island and it has no sink or toilet so if you need to go just head out to the shack with the toilet hanging out above the ocean, our as they call it the Kuna toilet, for some strange reason this whole thing makes me feel like I'm in the movie Water World, and find it really cool. After diner we did buy a bottle of Cola and that with the duty free Rum we made a small party and talked the night away. The Kuna live from the fishing and tourist that come here and ask $1 for everything, including taking pictures with them, a very simple life and they seem to be happy with it, but from my perspective I would only wish that they had more pride in there surroundings because it looks like a dump in many places, including the sea bottom around the piers.
More pictures to come with the rest of the story.