Above: The Stahlratte, the boat we sailed from Panama to Colombia
In Panama City, I met two Swiss cyclists heading for Argentina. We talked and laughed for hours before planning to travel to Colombia together. The Swiss cyclists told me about a boat that had heard of that takes people from Panama to Colombia. The boat sounded like a good idea; I called the boat captain the next day.
For five days, we sailed a 30 meter boat from the town of El Porvenir, Panama to Cartagena, Colombia. The boat had 23 passengers. The boat was built in 1903 and has a long, interesting past.
On the first day, we sailed six or seven hours to a small group of islands where we stopped. We stayed there for about two days. We stayed there because the water was calm and the area was good for snorkeling, watching the sunset, and relaxing on the boat. I enjoyed my time here because I got to snorkel (one of my favorite things to do in the ocean), sail on a small sailboat, and talk to many of the other passengers. Most of the passengers were young people who either were still in college or just graduated college. We talked about politics in the United States, South America, safety in Colombia, sailing, and our home countries, among other things. I had so much fun talking to so many people because I have gotten used to spending so much time by myself on the bicycle trip.
One night we had a barbeque and a bonfire on a small island. We cooked kabobs over an open fire and watched the sunset. The scene was perfect—the sky was beautiful, there was a gentle breeze, the water was warm, and everyone was in a good mood. After the sunset, we had a big bonfire. Some passengers played guitar and sang songs in German and Spanish. We stayed up late into the night talking and telling stories.
Once we started sailing on the open ocean, however, things changed. The waves were a little rough. The boat was moving all around and it made some people feel sick. For 30 hours, we sailed across the ocean to Cartagena, Colombia. During this time, most people slept on the boat and felt sick. We were all very happy to finally see the buildings of Cartagena! We had made it to Colombia! For me, this was a special moment because I had made it to a new continent—South America. Woohoo!