If you do the part time cruising thing like we do you sometimes enter and leave a country 2 or 3 times by plane and get pretty familiar with the place. Cartagena was like that. We ended up spending about 10 days there in total and by then you are walking through the city waving to shopkeepers and kids on the street and the fruit vendor tosses you an apple out of respect as you walk by.
La Casa de el Jefe
Colombia is a bit short on cruising grounds and long on heavy weather save for the Rosarios. This small group of islands lies 20 miles southwest of Cartagena and is a beautiful place. There are some special houses sitting on small islands seemingly just big enough to hold them up. Pablo Escobar owned one of them in the 80’s and visited here quite often. We were only stopping for a night so our tour was limited to a long dinghy cruise followed by a beautiful sunset. We could have spent some more time there.
Nightime is the rightime
Leaving Rosario was leaving Colombia and we headed out across our last patch of Caribbean open water to explore the north Coast of Panama. These are the kind of places that we used to dream about visiting and pretty far out there compared to cruising the relatively easy eastern Caribbean. This was a 220-mile leg and at this point we are pretty down with the short passage thing. We didn’t need crew and we aren’t overly anxious anymore and even more surprising is the night comes and we love it. Floating in space a mile above the earth moving along watching the stars is quite possibly our favorite time. Night brings excitement and usually some sleep. People are often concerned about being bored but we find there is always plenty to do and it’s quite magical.
Even the name is cool. Sounds adventurous and it is. This isthmian country has islands, mountains and jungles galore. I have heard the term “jungles of panama” before but hiking through it is surreal. I would have to believe they filmed Tarzan here and mostly because of the tall trees with vines to swing on. No I didn’t swing on vines as Lennie likes to remind me of my age but we did hear a loud roar so scary that we ran to the ranger station begging for cover. We told the ranger it was a leopard, jaguar or King Kong and he said…..”not to worry it’s a howler monkey the size of a small dog” We said “listen mister we aren’t kidding there is a hellacious fury coming our way to kill us all. I almost grabbed him by the throat. Then he pointed to a fast moving small mammal running across the road and he said “yep, there he goes” What? Really? Like that little thing made the horrendous creature noise that roared up the valley and he said….”that’s why they call e’m howler monkeys”
Now before you laugh at us wait until you hear them. Not in this video below but in the next Panama film I caught a bit of the sound and it still curdles my blood!
Enjoy this trip with plenty of sailing and exploring of new horizons!