Saturday, August 13, 2011

I'm on a boat! Panama to Colombia on the Stahlratte...Part Two

We woke up the next day to find several other passengers were beginning to arrive to the boat; the first day was just for motorcyclists to load the bikes.  The boat was quickly becoming an international hodgepodge; there were passengers on board from Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria, France, Canada, Colombia, and the US.  We all introduced ourselves, became quick friends over a bottle of rum and set sail for another island in the San Blas.  After sailing for an hour or so, we arrived to crystal clear waters and beautiful white sand beaches.  Alex set the pace by doing a backflip off of the mast and not much later everyone was in the water. 
Alex's crazy backflip
The Stahlratte was fully equipped with snorkel gear for everyone so Ty and I and a few friends decided to venture off to the shipwreck site right off the beach.  It was amazing to see how many fish were collected around the ship and you were able to swim inside if you were so inclined (we were.) 
A view of the sunken ship above water with the Stahlratte in the background
Ty and I strike a pose while snorkeling
Later that night we all hopped in the dinghy to head to shore for a beach BBQ.  Ruthie and Ludwig were at it again, preparing amazing Jamaican jerk chicken over an open fire, delicious potato salad and, of course, they made sure to bring an ample supply of beer and rum. 
Our beach bonfire (after we ate all of the chicken!)

Andy jamming on the guitar

Andy made sure to bring his guitar (which he has been carrying on the back of his motorcycle; how awesome is that!) and the two of us had a little music gig on the beach before dinner.  After our feast, Ty and I headed for a hammock on the other side of the tiny island to watch a beautiful lightning storm roll in, which was one of the better storms either of us had ever seen.  We all sat up around the fire until it ultimately went out and headed back to the ship for the night.
Another day, another perfect island, another stunning shipwreck; this is the life!  After two or three hours of sailing, we made our way to another set of islands where we would be anchored for the day.  We all headed out snorkeling again and made some pretty awesome sightings;  I spotted two giant barracudas (one about 5 meters away from my face), Anna pointed out a beautiful spotted eagle ray, the boys found some cute starfish and schools of beautiful fish abounded.  Tom brought his waterproof camera so we were able to get some pretty good shots!
Alex, Tom, Anna, Ty and I hanging out post-snorkel
Beached ladies!
That night, we all started to imbibe a bit early while waiting for dinner.  Ludwig, famous for his seafood dishes, cooked up a lobster feast fit for royalty: lobster bisque, fried lobster pancakes, lobster EVERYTHING!  It is my favorite, so I of course overdid it, but it was worth it.  After several more “rontangs” (a drink whose name Anna and I coined) and a dance party involving a table and an oar, everyone finally stumbled off to bed.  It was a night to remember…and what happens on the Stahlratte stays on the Stahlratte!
Before dinner model shoot

The lobster feast!

The next morning, we set sail for Cartagena which was supposed to be about thirty hours sailing time.  Ty and I made our way to bed earlier than most the night before, so we were feeling pretty good.  Others were not so lucky.  We rocked back and forth most of the day and most people slept or read a good book.  That night after dinner, seven of us crowded around Charlie’s computer up on the deck and watched “Slumdog Millionaire.”  No one slept much that night, but secretly I found it charming to be on a boat sailing through the ocean at night. 
Our "bungalow" on the ship
We “woke up” the next morning to see giant skyscrapers on the horizon; we had made it to Cartagena!  Even though we were anchored, everyone spent most of the morning hanging out on the ship with the crew and the other passengers and enjoying one last meal.  By midday, it was time to go.  Everyone was headed to the same neighborhood in Cartagena, so it was not goodbye.  In fact, we all made plans to meet up that night for dinner.  It was such a wonderful experience and we felt really lucky to meet all of the great people who sailed with us.

We made it to Cartagena!