San Andreas is more cosmopolitan than Providencia
Leaving the quiet and lovely snorkeling in the small Columbian island of Providencia, we sailed to another Columbian island, San Andreas. More built up, very much a beach town vibe like Ocean City, MD, there was a lot more density. With that comes traffic, crime, trash, a big duty-free shopping district, restaurants, and night life. San Andreas is a good stop for crossing to Panama, as it breaks up a 5 day crossing into two shorter crossings. But, buyer beware: there is a $200 fee that included a Columbian Cruising Permit, agent fee, and three tourist cards when entering Providencia, and then even though it’s a Columbian island, there’s an additional $50 agent fee to enter San Andreas.
We had a lovely sail when crossing to Panama
Often when crossing on a schedule, the wind and currents don’t necessarily go the way your route does. In this case, we had a terrific sail for 1/2 the crossing, and then had to motor the remainder but it wasn’t uncomfortable at all.
Josh crewed and having a third person for night shifts was fantastic. He left us in Panama with a good feeling for what our cruising lifestyle is really about.
Don and I learned how make our own lures with number five Mustad hooks and steel line. But unfortunately, all we caught was sargasso weed!
The Panama canal really is one of the seven wonders of the world
One of the things cruisers do, is to cross the Panama canal on someone else’s boat before crossing on your own boat. We were lucky enough to join as centre boat in a raft up of 3 sailboats. We were on a 60 foot Gulfstar (SV Pelican) owned by Dana and Zalman.
It was quite an exciting two days, crossing up through the three locks on the Atlantic side, sleeping overnight in Gatun, a man-made lake, and then crossing down through the three remaining three locks to the Pacific side.
The canal crossing had some tense and exciting moments. One of the boats tied to us was a solo sailor who was completing a circumnavigation. Let’s just say he was used to that solo captaining role and didn’t wish to listen nor adhere to any instructions given by the professional canal advisors. As a result, his boat broke off from the raft in one of the locks, careened toward the walls, with an engine that started last minute. It risked the whole group but luckily no damage occurred.
We are traveling by plane for work and personal for the next few months, so stay tuned for more blogs in September!