Monday, August 10, 2009

Sailing in Panama, Spring 2010

My gig maintaining John Kretschmer's website ( is easily the best trade arrangement I have ever made. So far, it has allowed Nan and me to sail in the Spanish Virgin Islands this past April (see this blog's six-part series, "Sailing the Spanish Virgin Islands"). Next spring, it might allow us to sail in Panama.

When John and I first started emailing back and forth with sailing ideas for next year, I suggested that if he had extra berths available for his May 1-15 trip, "Caribbean Circumnavigation Leg 3 - Bocas del Toro, Panama to Key West, via Nicaragua, Bay Islands of Honduras, inside the Belize reef and offshore atolls, Isla Mujeres", maybe that would work to satisfy the trade. He came back with the suggestion of a "two-fer," one berth in trade and one paid. That sounded good to me since we would be taking berths away from paying customers, but it would be dependent on availability. He would try to fill all the berths before offering them to us.

Nan and I like to plan our trips well in advance, so the uncertainty of this deal was a concern. A few weeks later, John suggested that we sail in Panama instead. His sailboat, Quetzal, would already be there, in Bocas del Toro, the stopping point for "Caribbean Circumnavigation Leg 2". My immediate thought was that it would be fun to sail through the San Blas Islands and visit with the indigenous Kuni people, but then I looked at Google Maps and noticed that Bocas del Toro is more than 250 miles from the San Blas Islands. Under perfect conditions, that's at least two full days of sailing each way. Another look at Google Maps showed that Costa Rica, a country I've wanted to visit, is just 30 miles in the other direction. Maybe we could sail up the coast to Puerto Limón and Parismina, which is close to Parque Nacional Tortuguero.

If for some reason a trip with John does not pan out, I would be ready to do another charter in the British Virgin Islands. I read recently that the charter companies are allowing travel to Anegada these days, which would add a whole new perspective to the experience. We'll see...

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