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Old 09-30-2013, 05:36 PM   #61
Island Hopper
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Location: N.V.I, B.C.
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Another one to follow... Good stuff
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:56 PM   #62
UltiJayne OP
Sister on a KLR
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Oddometer: 74
Cool2 Living with the Kuna: Carti Tupile, San Blas Islands, Panama

Some of the steepest roads I have ever ridden on wind through the jungle leading to the Panamanian port of Carti. It was a gorgeous ride, on good paved roads, with just a few sections of gravel at the bottom of some of the hills.

On the road to Carti

A building being made out of sea containers appeared around a corner

Chicken buses throughout Latin America are painted bright colours and designs, this is one we spotted on the way to Carti.

Our destination? The San Blas Islands, called Kuna Yala by the local indigenous Kuna Indians.

The Kuna are a remarkable population. They are the only indigenous people I know of who have managed to maintain their sovereignty. Panama certainly has tried to take them over, but failed and they reached a treaty in 1925.

The Kuna charge $10 a person to drive through their land to Carti plus $3 a bike. That was a pretty big hit for us, but not a lot more than other national parks have charged.

The $10 a person charge has been around for a while, they decided to add the "per car" charge afterwards...

The "toll booth" at the entrance to Kuna territory.

We arrived in Carti without much of a plan. Max in Nicaragua had told us that it was very beautiful and we would want to spend time there, and that we should be able to get boats between the various islands fairly easily. That's all we knew.

Carti is a very primitive port, with a few concrete docks, a rough parking lot and a couple of ramshackle buildings. We eventually established that there are in fact two parking lots, and that it is much cheaper to park and the people are much friendlier in the one a few hundred meters further along the potholed dirt track. The closer one has been "ruined" by tourism, as it is where all tourists wanting to visit the islands are dropped off.

After talking to most of the Kunas and some Panamanian border police filling a large boat filled with barrels with a truckload of gasoline, we negotiated parking the bikes under a shelter, and a ride to a local island for $20. We didn't know which island we were going to - but that didn't seem important.
The Kunas suddenly decided it was time to go, so we had to quickly finish packing our duffle bags with whatever we might need, cover the bikes and jump in the boat, which had suddenly filled with a combination of Kuna ladies in traditional dress, Kuna men in western dress, and tourists.


Excited to be heading to an island...

We pulled up to a beautiful, posh looking island. It was small, covered in white sand and palm trees, and had an archway at the end of the dock stating that it was "private property". Phil and I immediately were weary of what staying on this kind of an island was going to cost us.

A very nice island

Especially when a family of tourists started unloading their baby pushchair onto a sand island... Needless to say they didn't get far before they had to pick the whole lot up.

Shortest stroller ride ever.

We didn't have to worry, because the Kunas told us to stay in the boat, this wasn't our island - we were going home with them.

Once the "tourists" had disembarked, we were left with just our new Kuna family

Our new home was an island called "Carti Tupile", one of four heavily populated islands in close proximity, each called Carti with another word afterwards to distinguish them from each other.

The man we had negotiated our passage with told us we could put up our tent in front of his house, which happened to be beside the dock, the school, one of the only water taps and somewhat of a main gathering place on the island.

Our audience gathers...

As we put the tent up a crowd of fascinated children gathered around us. Their faces lit up when I invited them all to crawl inside. I tried to tell them a story about Canada, but my Spanish was lacking. They found the concept of snow very exciting.

It snows where we come from children...

Tent blends right in. Community shop on the left - each adult on the island takes turns working there for 15 day slots.

Darkness was falling as a son of the man who let us camp outside his house took us on a walk around the island. It takes about 2 minutes to walk from one side of the island to the other, where there is a basketball court.

As soon as we stepped onto the basketball court I was nearly bowled over by a gaggle of children running up and grabbing hold of my legs. I was led to a circle of more children, where I was promptly pulled into a game of "Pato Pato Ganso" which I quickly discovered is "Duck Duck Goose" in Spanish. They also kept giving me spoonfuls of a sweet, molasses-like goo, which they had in the bottom half of a sawn off coca-cola bottle. They called it "miel" which means honey - but it definitely wasn't from bees!

A couple girls with their sticky treats

Duck... Duck...

Many children were looking after their siblings around the island

In all our travels I have not met such friendly, generous, loving, joyful children as those we met in Kuna Yala. Unlike many children we come across, they never once asked us for money, or anything else.

These boys were catching tiny fish with a small scrap of fishing net they found

They just wanted us to play with them, which we were very happy to do. They are also all bilingual, they learn both Spanish and the Kuna language at school. They speak Kuna at home, and Spanish with outsiders like us.

I know we're not supposed to choose favourites, but this smiley sweetheart was mine.

That evening we also met the group of men constructing a building over the water beside the basketball court. We soon found out that it is to be a Mormon church. I found this surprising, and asked if there were many Mormons on the island, which they told me there were.

The construction workers leaving to go home for the weekend.

The next day we spent playing with the children and Phil's new friend Ahmed organised a canoe so that he and his two friends could paddle us over to see the other islands.

On our way to the other Carti islands

Beach side property

The main "street" on the biggest island

A glimpse at the Kuna writing on the schoolhouse wall

After many attempts outside the clinic, this was the only jumping shot with everyone in the air.

When Phil first met Ahmed another of the locals took me aside and warned me that Ahmed wasn't trustworthy, so we should be careful around him. The next day a different man told us the same thing.

Ahmed at the bottletop checkers table

We found this confusing, as Ahmed was extremely friendly and helpful and we never found any indication of him being untrustworthy. He made bread for the community and gave us some for free when I expressed an interest in tasting it.

The reticence may be a reflection of the racism we had been told is rife in Kuna culture. Ahmed was only half Kuna, and the Kuna do not approve of marriages outside of Kuna culture.

It rained very heavily during the day while Phil was playing an epic soccer game with the kids. The construction workers had offered that we could move our tent under the cover of the church roof, we decided to take them up on that offer to avoid having to pack the tent up wet.

This game lasted for hours

Moving the tent became a community activity. Everyone wanted to help.

Tent moving procession

Once we moved to the construction site, I solved the "miel mystery". All the children were running around with various containers of the sugary molasses they had been feeding me the night before. I couldn't believe that all the mothers on the island approved of their children gorging on pure sugar, but that seemed to be the case, until I spotted a line of children with the construction workers spooning it out of a five gallon container. It was unrefined cane sugar, and the island's children had manged to gobble five gallons of it in just under a week!

Children with the sugar cane syrup bucket

Island living comes with its challenges. Aside from the need to have a generator if you want electricity (many homes did not have one). All the toilets are outhouses on stilts with holes that lead directly into the sea. Carti Tupile had a supply of fresh water gained by laying pipes from the mainland through the sea, but we were to learn that most of the islands did not have this luxury. There was a constant flow of boats with an assortment of containers being filled up at the communal tap, and then floating off to other islands.

Uncomfortably direct route to the sea...

The sea around the islands was filled with garbage. I am becoming more and more against plastic packaging the more I travel. It blights landscapes in every country, and here in an island paradise, it was the worst. Glass and aluminum sink and degrade. Plastic does not.

Having spent two nights living with the Kuna, it was time to go further out and explore some more of the 365 islands in the chain. We packed up our tent and said goodbye to our construction worker friends. At the dock, we asked around for a boat going to El Porvenir.

One way to get your boat into the sea...

El Porvenir is the only island on the San Blas that has immigration and customs offices. It has a small airstrip, and every yacht that enters and leaves the San Blas islands is supposed to check in and out there.

We had two reasons for wanting to go there. Firstly, our bike import papers expired on the 22 August, which was "only" two weeks away. We wanted to ask the customs man about how to extend our permits. Secondly Max had told us that El Porvenir was a great place to hang out and talk to the boat captains that came in.

Popular Kuna transport

We knew that we needed to get to Colombia eventually, that we'd need to take a boat of some description, and that if we took an organised "backpacker" boat, it was going to cost us $1000. Each!

We were determined to find another way and get a better price. Other than putting a post on the Couchsurfing "Boat hitchhikers" group, El Porvenir was to be our first research into other options.

The best price we could negotiate was for an elderly man to take us for $20. When he pulled up to the dock paddling a large dugout canoe, I was worried. It would take a very long time to paddle to El Porvenir! As usual, I shouldn't have worried, for a few minutes later he struggled over to the boat carrying a large outboard motor.

Our captain at the helm

After about a 30 minute boat ride, we pulled up to El Porvenir.

We didn't know what it would be, but it was time to wait for our next boat to come in.
Arctic Circle to Patagonia - on the road - started July 25, 2012

2007 Yamaha YBR125 with L plates! (UK)
2006 KLR650 (Canada)
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:35 AM   #63
Joined: May 2011
Location: Rancho Cucamonger, CA
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one day...... one day i will no longer sit here in this swivelly chair and stare at my fancy monitor while plucking away on my neat plastic keyboard. no, one day i will get up from this 5 way adjustable rolling masterpiece of asia-european craftsmanship and never return to it......

but in the mean-time, thank you for the wonderful RR!
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:44 AM   #64
UltiJayne OP
Sister on a KLR
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Oddometer: 74

Originally Posted by vintagespeed View Post
one day...... one day i will no longer sit here in this swivelly chair and stare at my fancy monitor while plucking away on my neat plastic keyboard. no, one day i will get up from this 5 way adjustable rolling masterpiece of asia-european craftsmanship and never return to it......

but in the mean-time, thank you for the wonderful RR!
You are most welcome.

Whilst that swivelly chair DOES sound amazing, I can guarantee you your motorcycle seat, even after it's been compounded by your butt for 40,000km, is way more amazing.

Come join us... Come to the dark side....
Arctic Circle to Patagonia - on the road - started July 25, 2012

2007 Yamaha YBR125 with L plates! (UK)
2006 KLR650 (Canada)
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:44 PM   #65
Joined: May 2011
Location: Rancho Cucamonger, CA
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Originally Posted by UltiJayne View Post
...Come join us... Come to the dark side....
responsibilities, bills, the daily boss' handsome face! haha, you make it sound soo easy!

i am drawn to the dark side.. :P
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Old 10-04-2013, 12:16 PM   #66
UltiJayne OP
Sister on a KLR
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Oddometer: 74

Originally Posted by vintagespeed View Post
haha, you make it sound soo easy!

i am drawn to the dark side.. :P
It's not easy, but it's worth it!
Arctic Circle to Patagonia - on the road - started July 25, 2012

2007 Yamaha YBR125 with L plates! (UK)
2006 KLR650 (Canada)
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Old 10-04-2013, 08:48 PM   #67
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Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Oddometer: 74
Cool2 How to Become a Boat Pet: San Blas Islands, Panama

"Do you have change for a twenty?" the man asked me in a distinct English accent as he emerged from the customs and immigration building on the small island of El Porvenir and spotted me sitting on the curb beside the path.

"I don't but I know someone who does. Come with me." I replied as I led him over the the tall, unbelievably hairy beast (also known as my brother) sitting under a tree writing in his journal.

"This is my brother Phil, he has two ten dollar bills. Phil this is..." I paused and looked expectantly at my new friend.

"Phil? My name is Phil too. Nice to meet you."

The captain floating with his yacht in the background

That was the beginning of a glorious friendship. We spent the next 12 days sailing the San Blas islands with Captain Phil and his lovely girlfriend Julia aboard their 38 foot sailboat called "Diva". They had met in Jamaica, and recently set out on a Caribbean sailing adventure together.

We had arrived on El Porvenir an hour or two earlier. I had been expecting something more than a tiny island, with a sandy airstrip and a few small, scattered buildings. It was easy to identify the main building as the immigration and customs building, and within a few minutes we had signed in, and spoken to the customs man about our bike permits. He couldn't extend them for us, but he promised that even if we left a few days after they expired, he would still stamp our bikes out of the country for us. He was the entire San Blas customs office, so we needn't worry about getting someone else.

With that settled, all we needed was a boat heading to another island. We'd heard that the Holandes Cays were beautiful and Max had said there was a grocery boat that went out there, maybe we could find it and get a ride?

There was nothing we could do but wait and see what the universe provided.

There's a special combination of feelings when you just leave everything to fate. On one hand you feel fear. Fear of not finding a boat, of being stuck on a small island with white sandy beaches and palm trees. Right, well the fear in this case wasn't terrible, but still a little uncomfortable. However, much stronger and better, is the feeling of excitement, of not knowing what's going to happen, but being pretty sure it's going to be amazing.

And if it all goes wrong? Well it'll make a great blog post at the very least.

The first people we spoke to were a British couple, who were checking out of the San Blas and heading to Cartagena because their boat had been hit by lightning - twice! They said they would have happily taken us with them, but we weren't ready to go to Colombia yet, and, of course, like annoying children that you can't just abandon because you love them so much, we couldn't jump on a boat to Colombia without our darling motorcycles.
A few groups of rich looking people got out of helicopters and onto yachts while we were sitting there. I initiated conversations with all of them, with varying degrees of success. Some Venezuelans were hosting some Panamanian friends for the weekend and were interested in our journey, and some American girls from Panama City with tiny dogs weren't interested in chatting at all.

After a rain shower that sent us running for cover, and a couple hours of waiting for any boat that was going to any other island and the captain willing to talk to us, Captain Phil asked me for change.

When we told him about our trip, that we were riding motorbikes (he rides too), that we were Canadian, and that we were looking for a lift to another island, he smiled and said that he'd love to take us, but we'd have to talk to his girlfriend Julia. They'd just arrived from Cartagena, were planning to spend a couple of weeks at least in the San Blas, and were in need of some company after so many days being just the two of them on board.

We went inside the immigration building where Julia was waiting her turn to check in. We took to each other instantly. Julia is lovely, our age, really friendly, Canadian, and even after having only met us for two minutes, was keen to invite us on board.

The beautiful Julia enjoying the sunshine

Our ship had come in.

I explained that we had a tent and so they could just drop us on whichever island they anchored near and we'd camp on the beach.

This plan lasted until about five minutes after the paperwork was finished and we all piled into "Likkle Boat", their dingy, and were welcomed on board Diva. The beers came out, and Captain Phil and Julia decided they could make room for us to sleep on board.

One of the many times we all piled into the dingy

Living on a boat is somewhat similar to living on motorcycles. You are limited in what you can bring, you move around the world at will, and you spend a lot of time with the people you are travelling with.

Me and my new forever friend. I love this chick!

Even micro-Kelly made a new friend aboard Diva

Whilst Captain Phil and Julia had more room for "stuff" than we do on the bikes, we have the luxury of riding to a shop, restaurant or bar whenever we want. They need to stock up on everything for weeks at a time. Luckily for us, they had just been to Panama City the day before we met them, and Captain Phil had bought 14 flats of beer as part of their supplies.
Diva doesn't have a watermaker, so all drinking water has to be brought onboard from shore, and electricity is only available from the solar panels or by running the engine to charge the batteries.

We could not have planned a better trip through the San Blas. The four of us became good friends almost from the second we met. Julia and I would chat and read whilst the Phils played epic matches of Backgammon washed down with bottles of rum.

Where the Phil's spent their evening hours

Julia wrote a blog post a few days after we joined them where she introduced us to the world as their new "boat pets". (They had adopted a cat and then a dog fish at previous anchorages.) This became a running joke for the remainder of our stay with them. We loved being boat pets!

My favourite picture from the whole trip. The four of us with Diva in the background.

We anchored in five different places, all over the San Blas. We even managed enough wind to hoist the sails a couple of times.

Diva hanging out in the San Blas

Julia and I stroll under coconut palms.

J, J &P in the water. Taken by the other P

The San Blas islands are a picture postcard paradise. White sand islands dotted with coconut palms, warm, clear blue water with lots of fish and coral to see, if you care to put on a mask and snorkel. We were blessed with perfect sunny weather, and when it did rain, we used it as an opportunity to get out the soap and shower on deck.

It didn't rain much, but when it did, it RAINED.

In the East Holandes (known to yachties as "the Lagoon") we befriended all the other yachts at anchor. We visited Lorenzo and Joyce on board their converted shrimp boat "Eileen Farrell" and wondered at the size of their kitchen.

Our neighbours, Eileen Farrel the converted shrimp boat

Joyce in her giant kitchen

At 8:30am every morning we would listen to the Panama Connection Net on the SSB radio. Unfortunately we didn't have a transmitter so couldn't check in.

Phil swam over to some of our other neighbours, and we met our favourite voice from the radio - Tony on Pavo Real!

To get to shore from anchor we either swam, or took Likkle Boat

Snorkeling in the clear blue sea

Another beautiful San Blas sunset

One evening Aussies Roger and Sasha from the catamaran Ednbal (aboriginie for frog) organised a big BBQ on a small sand island, complete with space trash!

Captain prepares our lobster to BBQ with garlic butter for dinner

A pretty big gathering for an island in the middle of nowhere

BBQ fire on the sand island with all the yachties.

Captain Phil with a piece of space debris from a rocket ship

After an amazing week or so aboard, we started to run low on water and supplies, so made a trip to civilization to stock up.

Filling all Diva's drinking water bottles through a special filter from the Kuna water tap on the dock at Rio Azucar

Julia and Captain Phil told us about this chicken and chips place for days before we actually got to enjoy it.

Loading the supplies into the dingy

Phil and all the beer we bought to replenish supplies

Once we had fully re-stocked on essentials (we did buy groceries as well, I promise mum). We headed off to another group of islands called the "Coco Banderas".

Julia at the helm

Captain Phil is an excellent cook and we enjoyed the fruits of his labours at least twice a day.

Phil reeling in a shark

The only picture of the shark Phil caught before it broke the line and got away

Until not so many years ago the Kuna used coconuts as money. DO NOT steal coconuts from the San Blas. They will happily sell them to you if you ask.

The Phils compete at beach boules. Lots of water hazards!

Look what we found under the sea!

There's a lot of work to be done aboard a boat as well. Constant maintenance and little everyday jobs to be done.

Phil helps me fix his sewing machine. Our sail project didn't get far.

The anchor winch had broken, so the Phils had to pull up the anchor using only elbow grease

Boat scrubbing team hard at work

Phil shows off his big brush

The Captain/Chef puts us to work

The Captain gives himself a haircut

During our sailing adventure in paradise I received an email from a fellow couchsurfer who had seen my post looking for suggestions on how to get ourselves and two motorbikes to Colombia. Richard was working as the captain of a heavy works sailboat, currently moored in Panama, and planning to sail to Cartagena in the next week or so from a marina near Colon. Nothing was set in stone, but it was our best offer so far.

Our bike papers were about to expire, and as we hadn't found a boat to take us from Carti, this meant we needed to head back into Panama City to renew them.

We didn't want to leave Diva and our new friends, but it was time. We found a helpful Kuna man to take us in his motorboat to his home in Rio Azucar, the closest island with more than just a couple of shacks on it, where we could camp overnight and then take the 5:30am boat back to Carti.

Captain Phil and Julia waving goodbye as we pull away. Leaving our new friends was very difficult after such a wonderful time sailing the San Blas.

Feeling blue after leaving Diva, Julia and Captain Phil.

His payment? First we gave him $15 but then we showed him the two four metre brightly coloured pieces of fabric I had bought in Panama city for $10 with the intention of making sails for Kuna canoes. Our attempts at making sails one afternoon were short lived, and we wanted to know if he knew anyone who might want the fabric. He promptly gave us back the $15 and kept the fabric.

Two Kuna ladies in traditional dress. They have beads up both arms and legs and gold rings through their noses as well as the traditional brightly coloured clothing.

Giving the local kids photography lessons

Phil the human playground

Another campsite in the middle of a Kuna Village

After an evening playing with the children on the island, we woke up early and squeezed into the last two spots in the boat to Carti. For $15 each we travelled for two hours back to where our bikes were safely waiting for us.

On the final boat ride back to Carti

I felt enormous relief when we got back to Carti after leaving Jugs and Cricket there for TWO WEEKS, and they were still there. The invisibility cloaks did good.

This is Julia's photo blog about our time with them in the San Blas with them.

Our island adventure was over, but our lives on boats were just beginning...
Arctic Circle to Patagonia - on the road - started July 25, 2012

2007 Yamaha YBR125 with L plates! (UK)
2006 KLR650 (Canada)
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Old 10-05-2013, 12:15 PM   #68
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Excellent RR.
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Old 10-12-2013, 10:18 AM   #69
UltiJayne OP
Sister on a KLR
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Oddometer: 74
Cool2 What Attracts Me to You: Transiting the Panama Canal

If you've been following us, you'll realise this post is a little out of order... It'll all make sense eventually. -Jayne

On the 3rd of September, 2013 I had to say goodbye again. It feels like I am always saying goodbye to wonderful people who have enriched my life, and it gets more and more difficult each time.

I am trying to remind myself that the difficulties of saying goodbye are the result of making wonderful new friends, and of course I do not ever want to give that up. However after over a year of goodbyes to people, few of whom I am likely to ever see again, I am feeling the strain.

We spent two days traversing the Panama Canal on a 60 foot catamaran with an amazing family. Adam and Bronwyn have two beautiful children, Jack (10) and Amy (8), who I completely fell on love with. Adam, Bronwyn and their brother-in-law Volker are delivering the boat from South Africa to Australia, and we volunteered to be line handlers to help with their canal crossing.

The 5th Child canal transit crew and one of our advisers

Every boat that traverses the canal needs to have four line handlers aboard. Along with the official "adviser" who comes aboard just before you enter the canal.


Jack in one of his favourite positions.

Beautiful Bronwyn

Adam hard at work in the pizza kitchen

Volker making us pizzas

5th Child the eco-catamaran

We were joined by Marty, a Australian boat Captain who was also at the Shelter Bay Marina where we met the Norris family. Adam knows Marty from Australia and asked him to come along to help too.

Marty at the helm with the adviser, well, advising.

Our crew of six plus the kids spent the weekend preparing and relaxing before our set crossing time Monday afternoon. We even had a big BBQ one evening and Bev and Handre came and spun fire for us all when it got dark.

Everyone chips in to stop the fire from burning a hole in the bottom of the BBQ

Must be hot in the middle there!

Handre and Bev show off their skills

Love the reflection in the pool

The kids at the BBQ and fire show

In this time Jack and Amy became my best friends, we went swimming several times a day, painted our nails, played games on our iPods, ate ice cream and generally had a great time.

Amy and I are finger twins

Jack and Amy are extraordinary children, they've spent seven years of their short lives living on boats. They fearlessly ask new people insightful questions, are open to every new experience and are very intelligent.

The kids hanging on the front of the cat while underway

Amy and Phil making faces

Jack steals a kiss while I'm not looking

I enjoyed being a kid again, seeing the world through their eyes, and being reminded how simple life can be if you just let it.

The girls making mojitos (no rum for the kids)

Phil and Marc (the engineer on Marty's boat) at cocktail hour on 5th Child

Also in those few days I started getting to know Marty and found myself very attracted to him. I am learning that I find gorgeous, passionate, independent entrepreneurs irresistible. Who doesn't?

Marty and I approach the first set of locks from the "trampoline" on the front of the cat.

As well as captaining sailboats, Marty has also designed a product that is both simple and effective. He showed it to me and I am going to help him patent it, which means I can't say anything more about it. Yet.

Recently I have been a part of several conversations with people about what makes a person attractive. It's a very interesting subject.

In Colombia I've been told men search for women with light skin, who cook and clean, and try to avoid ones who are just after their money. Women who don't have jobs are trying to find a man to look after them. I am fairly sure that the above applies in many more jurisdictions than just Colombia!

Many of the men I've been speaking with however keep claiming to want an independent woman, with a career and her own money. They then struggle to properly articulate what they have to offer such a woman.

When asked what Canadian and British women look for in a man, I found myself unable to give a lucid answer.

Having now given the subject some consideration, aside from "tall and handsome", I am sure I cannot speak for all Canadian women, or any wider than just my own experience. I find that difficult enough to quantify.

Travelling has taught me about myself, relationships, and the kind of people I respect, can spend quality time with and fall in love with. Or maybe it's just allowed me the right mindset to discover what I already knew.

I compiled the list below, inspired by things people keep telling me are important to them, along with a few of my very own.

Jayne's random list of things she finds attractive in a person (men in particular, but I think these apply to people I'd like to surround myself with in general):

- Passionate about something (ideally not just work). This can be anything a sport, a hobby, travel, animals, whatever
- Travellers with wandering spirits
- Good with people (has friends and makes friends easily)
- Capable. Can fix things, cook, and most of all learn new things
- Gets along with family (their own and mine)
- Tells/shows me they like me. May seem obvious but this one stems from many conversations. There is something very special about being liked by another human being for who you are. And we often don't clearly express to the people around us how much we like them. (Usually caused by fear/shyness/worry about rejection). When someone tells you that they really like you, it immediately makes you like them more
- Entrepreneurs - I find a people who take risks to profit from something they've built themselves extremely attractive. Perhaps because that's a direction I am interesting in exploring myself
- Patient or at least slow to anger. I think this one more reflects my aversion to angry people
- Intelligent, open minded and worldly

Now I've written previously about falling in love, and how I am now falling in love with people all the time, and am a better person for it. I fell in love with the Norris family and was very sorry to leave them. They have a farm in Tasmania and I hope to visit them there when I am next in Australia.

The crossing was a really special experience. Phil and I have a great love for locks, and actually being on a boat, helping to keep it in the middle of each of the six locks while the combined forces of water and gravity worked to spin it in circles or crash it against the sides, was amazing.

We went half way through on Monday afternoon, and then stayed overnight in Lake Gatun, before doing the second half Tuesday morning.

Once we made it back to Panama City, Marty, Phil and I took a taxi back to Shelter Bay, where our boat/bikes were waiting for us.

Sabatayn, Marty and Marc's home, like a fish out of water.

Here is our crossing, in pictures:

My beautifully prepared rope, ready for tying to the monkey's fist once it's been flung from the shore.

Placing mattresses to stop the lock workers from breaking the solar panels by throwing the heavy monkey's fists on them.

5th Child is made of carbon fiber, even the four bathrooms.

This one's for you mum. Phil's mouth is excited to be in the lock

Bronwyn at the helm while I handle my line

Phil holding onto his line with Adam supervising

Even submarines transit the canal!

The giant doors waiting to be installed in the new locks that are under construction

Line handling and jumping.

5th Child in the Miraflores Locks captured by webcam

I've got my line handled. Note the crowd watching on the balcony of the visitor's center behind me.

Phil and a lock

The Canal adviser gets picked up after his shift
Arctic Circle to Patagonia - on the road - started July 25, 2012

2007 Yamaha YBR125 with L plates! (UK)
2006 KLR650 (Canada)
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Old 10-14-2013, 09:44 AM   #70
Joined: May 2011
Location: Rancho Cucamonger, CA
Oddometer: 1,855
i never considered how much work was involved in sailing through a locke, good to know!

earlier in the RR you, or Phil, mentioned the lockes you played around as children can you elaborate on that?
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Old 10-14-2013, 10:27 AM   #71
UltiJayne OP
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Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Oddometer: 74
Originally Posted by vintagespeed View Post

earlier in the RR you, or Phil, mentioned the lockes you played around as children can you elaborate on that?
The locks we played in as children were on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Canada. We had an inflatable dingy and spent hours in the lock going up and down. The lock master was very kind to let us float around. Much smaller locks than on the Panama Canal - but then we were much smaller too!
Arctic Circle to Patagonia - on the road - started July 25, 2012

2007 Yamaha YBR125 with L plates! (UK)
2006 KLR650 (Canada)
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Old 10-14-2013, 03:14 PM   #72
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Joined: Feb 2013
Location: Bay Area
Oddometer: 33
So happy

I can't believe how excited I get when I find a new post from you. Your attitudes and general love of life have me completely wrapped around your fingers. Please never end this trip. I'm learning more than I'm able to convey.

Thank you
Thank you
Thank you!!!

Much love & admiration.
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Old 10-14-2013, 03:58 PM   #73
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Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Kansas City
Oddometer: 37
Great RR

I'm just getting back into riding and bought a dual sport bike a year ago. With kids in college and a spouse that is too fearful for an adventure like this, I guess I'll need to wait a few years, until the stars align for a long trip. Your ride report is a great read and I appreciate you taking the time to post your adventures.

Be safe!

Best Wishes!
Even the wind and the waves obey Him
2007 F650GS
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Old 10-14-2013, 08:51 PM   #74
Livin the Dream
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Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Friendsville ,Tn ...Smoky Mts
Oddometer: 161
super-duper Ride Report

Just found your excellent R.R. I will learn from your adventures..
diary of rides w/Barb
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Old 10-17-2013, 12:37 PM   #75
UltiJayne OP
Sister on a KLR
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Oddometer: 74

Originally Posted by Overcomb3 View Post
I can't believe how excited I get when I find a new post from you. Your attitudes and general love of life have me completely wrapped around your fingers. Please never end this trip. I'm learning more than I'm able to convey.

Thank you
Thank you
Thank you!!!

Much love & admiration.
Thank you Overcomb3! It's so great to know that people actually read what we're writing.

Can't promise to never end the trip - unless you know how to grow a money tree!
Arctic Circle to Patagonia - on the road - started July 25, 2012

2007 Yamaha YBR125 with L plates! (UK)
2006 KLR650 (Canada)
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