T – We received a message late last night that we needed to be at the dock to load our bikes onto the boat at 11am today. We were all very excited!
Channy and I were both looking forward to having one last night here in Portobelo where we could relax and have a quiet corner of the world after the hectic bustle of Central America. But it wasn’t to be. Plans were changed all of a sudden and without notice. The Captain wanted to sail today. It was a little upsetting, especially for Chantelle, as we were both aching for our own private space and to have just a smidgen of control over what was going on just for a day. Both of us have felt like it’s all spiralling out of control at the moment.
C – It is high season in Panama and as a consequence, we have been destined to sleep in dorm rooms for the last four nights or so. Knowing that we would be trapped on a very small yacht with 5 other people for up to 5 days, I was really keen to have some quiet time for an evening. I love to be social, but I also very much need alone time every now and then to ‘reset’. So I was most upset to have my plans disrupted and feel like we had no control over the situation.
T – After the bikes had been dragged into a small dinghy and the hauled aboard the yacht, a very tense and scary 10 minutes, we proceeded to check ourselves out of Panama. Our passports were soon stamped, but not before the captain had to get a taxi to another town to get a different official to stamp them and then return to the immigration in Portobelo and also have them checked by immigration. I’ll be honest here, the whole border thing in Central America is crazy. I know it creates jobs, but for those of us who don’t know where to go or what to do, these border crossings are a confusing and illogical nightmare.
Then we grabbed a few snacks to take on the boat and that was it. We were ferried out to the boat to swim and relax while the crew went and did some shopping for the trip. We chilled out and waited. And waited. And waited. We swam a little and then watched the sun go down. Still we waited.
Around 8pm the crew and the captain came back to announce we weren’t leaving after all. In fact we wouldn’t leave until possibly midday tomorrow. I hope we have made the right decision taking this boat. At this point Chantelle and I both agree that using an agent and either using a shipping container or just flying the motorcycles is a much better idea.
Tomorrow we sail for Cartagena! It will take us around 3-4 days dependant on the weather.