Alone Like a Rolling Stone

Preparations for Panama

We have already experienced the sky over Colombia in many facets. Dreamlike sunsets and then again dark clouds brewing house-high above you. But now we are standing in front of a black wall, which is approaching incessantly. A wall that can not look more threatening. Inevitably, tales from the Middle Ages are awakened in me, which prophesied an impending end of the world. Lightning twitches in this wall of clouds, and the night so slowly puts its black veil over the whole scenario. Gloomy and threatening, again and again illuminated by the blue-white streaked veins. 21, 22... I count and wait for the crashing thunder that tears the night apart. At the next flash, I don't even get to say one. At twenty flinch, literally, as if struck by lightning. "But that was very close," I hear Gaby say, after the whistling in my ear, has subsided a little.

Santa Marta after a thunderstorm

In Colombia there are two rainy seasons in the year. From April to June and October and November are characterized by heavy rainfall. The rains are sometimes heavy and in Santa Marta are regularly flooded the streets, after such a downpour. The brown broth then bubbles up from the manhole covers and turns the streets into rivers. If you want to cross the street, you look for a flat spot and simply walk through or you take enormous detours. After the thunderstorm has subsided we go to the Italian restaurant and stand on the other side of the road. Certainly it costs some overcoming by this broth to wade, but the hunger is mightier and thus I set my foot, into me, up to the ankle, washing around cesspool. Rubber boots would not be bad now, I think, while my Birkenstocks suck themselves full with the water. In the restaurant we think about the next steps of our journey. We want to go to Panama. Another highlight of our trip should be the San Blas Islands. Panama is not very easy to clear in. You can't get the necessary permit to sail in Panamanian waters everywhere. On the other hand, customs and immigration is not where the permit is. In Panama, you have to go a long way to get everything together so that you can sail without stress. If you do not comply, you can be fined up to 1000US$. After some research you can get everything in Puerto Obaldia, close to the Colombian border. The advantage is that you approach the San Blas Islands from the south. The south of the archipelago is still considered untouched and promises beautiful beaches, coconut trees and solitude. Of the 365 islands in the group, some, especially in the south, are uninhabited. Campfire romanticism arises in the head. If it goes according to plan, Valentina, a young German-Ecuadorian will accompany us. 

Colombia round trip

We met her on our Colombia round trip and she was so enthusiastic about sailing that we want to give her a chance to experience our lifestyle. She also speaks perfect Spanish, which again plays well into my laziness to learn the language. But maybe she'll muster up a little patience and teach us the language. But before it is so far, it goes once again to the bunkering. On the San Blas it is difficult to buy food. So here in Santa Marta we fill up the bilge and the schaps. The gas bottles have to be filled and who doesn't know the song: "There is no beer in Hawaii...". The same is true for San Blas, so it takes a few pallets so that the skipper does not die of thirst. Club Columbia is a very good beer and unbeatable cheap. I haven't had a cheaper and so good beer since the Canary Islands. In the Caribbean anyway not. Somehow it also hurts a bit to leave Colombia again. The country and the people have impressed us very much and we are positively surprised. As in all countries, there are of course also negative sides and everywhere where the gap between rich and poor is wide, one is also directly affected by it. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, it is all the more amazing how warm and cheerful the people here are. The two months in Colombia have definitely shown us that life, far away from the crises of our time, is still worth living, and that neighboring countries are looking for understanding among themselves. This is especially important for the people who live there.

Cafe in Santa Marta, Colombia

In the meantime, the rain has stopped and most of the water has run off. We leave the Italian and make our way back to our Katinka. Tomorrow is another exhausting day. Bunkering is sweaty work and really exhausting, especially when you're getting on in years and, as one Twitter account recently told me, my future isn't very long. The fortune-telling abilities of the "load generation" are simply enormous. How we continue to shape our future and what will happen next week, you can read here in the same place. In this sense, as always, fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.