News From Panama and the Caribbean
As you read I'm hitching around the world (well maybe not all the way, I'm not that rich most of my money has gone to the club coffers via the bar), I'm currently sailing on Örnen, a 56ft Swedish shrimp trawler, luxury on water. It comes equipped with Fridge, Freezer, watermaker, and 4000Nm range under engine! A far cry from the Chichester winter series I was used to. I have now been out 5 months, 3 and a half with Sam Coles, and numerous club members on Ramprasad.The Atlantic crossing was a bit of an adventure, well not nearly as much of and adventure as Simon made out in his last Gybe Sheet article. In fact we tore 6 Inches of spinnaker, lost 1 plastic glass overboard and broke 1 mug, witch are environmental ex commodore threw overboard in a fit of madness. Other than that the Atlantic was mostly very pleasant, a lot warmer than Brighton beach, and aside from the occasional squall the scariest thing that happened was the arrival af Flying Fish very close in the middle of the night!
Since parting with Simon in St Lucia (which I'm sure you have heard about time and time again) I sailed with Sam to Martinique (France with palm trees), St Vincent, Bequia, Tobago Cays (no where near Tobago), Cariacou, Grenada, then Trinidad for the Carnival an experience not to be missed, especially with Simeon whispering "What use is a soft Banana" in your ear all the time nice girls in impressive costumes walked passed. The sounds and lack of sleep from the Carnival will haunt me for years to come. After Trinidad I joined Örnen, more of a ship than a Yacht, and sailed with a mixed crew of English and Swedes and a Brazilian who spoke no common language and had got to Trinidad with the expectation that they spoke Portuguese there, to Isla Margarita Venezuela. Found Rum at less than a pound a bottle, and their was much rejoicing. Shed some crew, and gained a Dane (Mia "The Great Danish"). Moved on to Bonaire (Netherlands Antilles) and met some previous crew or Örnen who'd married locals and were very surprised when the boat they'd traveled to Bonaire on anchored out side one of them's kitchen window! The other one had got married on the foredeck, there was also a picture of the boat and the original crew (Örnen is on its third trip round the world) in one of the bars, we had to bring it down and polish it! Well and have some beers too.
After Bonaire we went to Curacao, then on to Cartegena Columbia , the coffee was great, and apart from hearing gunfire and having the dinghy (and the big outboard stolen), it was really a nice place friendly helpful people and ciggies 1 pound for 200. Our next stop was the San Blas Islands, the most unspoiled spot so far, the population is entirely native Americans, all living in huts with no water or electricity, fishing and traveling around in dugout canoes (don't try them they're well unstable).
All beautiful coral islands, none bigger than 0.5 miles square. The most beautiful place I've ever seen. Now in Panama having been through the canal, wow, next stop The Galapagos Islands then the Marquesas, French Polynesia and Oz.