Cruising

Guna Yala

Guna Yala

San Blas – The Mystical Paradise of the Guna

From Providencia, we’re cruising 270 nautical miles to San Blas, Panama. The archipelago consists of over 350 islands and islets and is governed by the indigenous Guna people, who call it Guna Yala. We clear into Panama on the main island, El Porvenir, and pay our contribution to the autonomous Guna authority. Porvenir is tiny, with little more than an airstrip and a few houses. While clearing in, one officer is mowing the grass while the other stamps our passports. Here, everyone does a bit of everything.

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Gallery – San Blas II

Gallery – San Blas II

After all the jobs in Linton Bay Marina and Colon, are done, Mabul is equipped with a new 80 metre long anchor chain, six brand new AGM batteries with a capacity of 630AH and an incredible amount of food. Karin returns from Switzerland with not only some boat parts, but also her father Georges. We spend a short time in the marina and then set off under engine in total calm. If you ask the people here, you quickly realize that this is the best way to cruising back to San Blas. Once again we drop anchor off some small sand islands, snorkeling, cooking, drinking… Georges is doing amazingly well on board and brings new vigour to the galley.

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Gallery – San Blas I

Gallery – San Blas I

The next leg from Providencia will take us together with SV My Motu to Panama, or to be more precise, to San Blas. We heard a lot people saying, cruising in San Blas is a must, so we want to spend a few more nice weeks at anchor here and then sail through the canal to reach the Pacific. We clear in at the small island of Porvenir and spend two weeks exploring the archipelago with its more than 350 islands. But there are still a few jobs on the list before we can cross the channel, such as a liferaft service, then we need to buy the new anchor chain and loads of food. I sail single-handed into Linton Bay Marina for the first time, while Karin deals with things in Switzerland. Linton Bay is where Karin and her father Georges will return to from Switzerland so that we can sail one more time to San Blas.

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Gallery – Providencia

Gallery – Providencia

After leaving Rio Dulce, we are cruising 600 miles with a rare, extremely helpful but uncomfortable westerly wind to Providencia, a small Colombian outpost off the coast of Nicaragua. Here we drop anchor off the island’s largest town, meet the crew of SV My Motu and will spend Christmas together until after New Year. The island is easy to travel around by golf kart and, in addition to dream beaches, has plenty of jungle and super friendly inhabitants to offer. We find a reggae bar from which we watch the start preparations for a small fishing regatta, climb to the highest point on the island at “the peak” and the underwater world speaks its own language.

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Gallery – Upstream to Rio Dulce

Gallery – Upstream to Rio Dulce

After our last leg from Mexico, we arrive outside Livingston in Guatemala. Here we wait for the spring tide so that we can make it over the shallow sandbank. After clearing in, we head upstream to Rio Dulce under engine through the deepest jungle. Our destination is a boatyard, to refit Mabul.

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Mystery Mexico

Mystery Mexico

After more than three days of crossing, exhausted and satisfied, we drop anchor in the bay on the northwest side of Isla Mujeres. The anchorage is calm with a light breeze. Here we want to clear in to continue sailing south in Mexico later. We go ashore and first of all have dinner in a marina. The island is a tourist hell, but after Cuba Mexico seems to us like a gourmet temple: guacamole and tacos, fresh fruit juices and juicy meat.

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Gallery – Mexico II

Gallery – Mexico II

The next leg in Mexico brings us to the mainland, Puerto Aventuras. The marina is a kind of Disneyland for adults with motorboats. From here we explore the depths of the jungle, the cenotes and our consciousness. Before continuing on to Guatemala, diving at Isla Cozumel is on the agenda. The island is world famous for its breathtaking drift dives with perfect visibility. So we take our new friends from Ekumal with us on the crossing and spend a day in front of el cielo at the southwest tip of the island.

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Gallery – Mexico I

Gallery – Mexico I

Coming from Cuba we reach the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Our first destination: Isla Mujeres. We were not aware that this is an American tourist stronghold. The culture shock is correspondingly great and we immediately realize that we won’t be staying here for long. In the end it will be almost two weeks, the Mexican paper war is merciless and drags on. In the meantime, we visit Cancun and cenotes in Mexico’s jungle.

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Cuba’s wild south coast

Cuba’s wild south coast

As we approach Cuba on an early morning in May, after three days and three nights on the open sea, we immediately realize that everything is different here. In the bay off Santiago de Cuba, on the eastern edge of the big island, men drift across the water on truck tubes, a paddle in one hand and a fishing line in the other. The sailing itself should also be somewhat unusual here in Cuba.

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