San Blas Islands

Dates: 22-26 February 2014

DAYS 111-115: “Sailing Colombia to Panama via the San Blas Islands” (22-26 Feb)

We arrived at our meeting point in Cartagena bright and early on Saturday morning interested to see who our shipmates for the next 4 nights 5 days would be…we were not disappointed: Paul (a young Dutch guy who’d been studying in Chile), Talia (a Canadian doctor), Cole (a Canadian entrepreneur), Leanne and George (an English couple travelling for 8 months), Breda (an Irish lass on a solo trip), Gary (an Irish lad who knowingly suffers from seasickness?!), Julian (a French biker, riding around the globe on a 2 year adventure), Dell and Megan aka “Blondie” (an American/Kiwi duo who were riding around on a Harley).

We were hosted by Michel, our 75-year-old Slovakian Captain with some very interesting stories and views; Majo, the talented “Captain’s wife” who did everything from first mate duties to gourmet cooking; and Ryan, a quirky American deckhand.

We all boarded our 85 foot vessel, The Independence, and by all we mean 3 crew, 12 guests and 2 monster motorbikes. The Captain advised us to take our “anti-baby pills” i.e. seasickness tablets, as things could get quite rough out at open sea. We think “quite” was a bit of an understatement. Only 4 of us managed to avoid the nausea/actually feeding the fish. I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that we were 2 of the 4 – proudly South African!

Luckily the “Perfect Storm” conditions only lasted the first day and night…when we woke up the following morning we were in paradise. Now we know we’ve banded this word around frequently – but we hadn’t been to the San Blas yet! This archipelago of 378 islands and cays set in the crystal clear Caribbean shallows are what dreams are made of. Only 49 of these islands are inhabited, mainly by the local Kuna people, leaving most unmarred by the human touch.

The next 3 days were spent enjoying these island paradises – swimming, kayaking, snorkelling, chilling, chatting, reading, lounging on lilo’s, feasting on freshly caught lobster, toasting marshmallows around a bonfire on the beach and having the odd fish braai/BBQ of course.

Our time on The Independence was one of the highlights of our trip thus far. We made some wonderful friends and experienced some of the raw untouched beauty the world still has to offer. The only gripe we have is that we didn’t see any dolphins…but such is life!

For any of you interested in a voyage on The Independence here are the contact details of the Captain/Majo:
Capt. Mitja “Michel” Mehle

We however booked through Blue Sailing as at the time we didn’t have the contact details of the Captain/Majo.
Email: /



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