Day 68 - October 9th

Today's the day...we have officially driven as far as we can. Today we loaded the bikes on a sailboat!

What an adventure. Started the morning at Captain Jack's and quickly learned that Carlos had already been released from prison. Good stuff Carlos.

We went for breakfast at our favourite restaurant (also the only restaurant in town...) The Bakery. Then we bought enough booze to last us for 5 days on a boat. A few liters of rum was essential and also some supplementary beers. Balboa was the beer of choice for this journey. We had the captains meeting at noon where we handed over our passports and went over the final logistics for the trip.

The following 2.5 hours were dedicated to loading the motorbikes on the sailboat...and what an adventure that was. Let's paint the picture here: picture a crappy dock surrounded by litter and an old woman fixing her boat with twine, a 16 foot dingy with an outboard motor, and 7 stoned and and drunk Panamanian teens (or 20 somethings, couldn't tell).  Oh man, what did we get ourselves into. The Panamanians physically lifted the motorcycles from the dock into the boat and then each owner had to sit on the motorcycle to stabilize it as the bike was transported to the anchored sailboat in the bay. That side wasn't much better. The captain came down and tied a strap below the bikes as the dingy was pulled up alongside the boat, and the winch from the anchor was used to load the motorbikes from a boat that went over the mast. A safety line was used though, so that was good. Physically pushing the bike away from the sailboat, we maneuvered it into place and lowered it to the deck. Dave's bike was the last one to go on - the guys loading were increasingly drunk and stoned by this point, so the fact that they had already completed 3 bikes successfully didn't really bring much extra confidence. All 4 bikes made it on (minus a slightly broken mirror on Trevor's bike) - we were all a bit surprised at that to be honest, but happy nonetheless. We tipped the guys $5.

Now that the loading crazyness was over, we went for food one last time, and made our way to the boat at 5:00pm with the rest of the people to load the ship and take off.  After a good safety briefing, we were on the water and began motoring our way to Columbia. We all got to know each other a bit better and had a few drinks to celebrate our departure. Seems to be an awesome group of people.

We had to go down into the belly of the boat once the sun was fully down for the night crossing to get to San Blas for the morning. It got hot down there fast in the sleeping quarters...oh man. We all called it a night pretty early. Trev was the last one awake (at 10 pm) and saw the sails go up for the first time. What a rush! A few people were getting sick by this point too, hopefully that'll pass in the coming days. Definitely looking forward to spending a few days on tropical islands drinking rum, snorkeling and hanging out.

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