San Andreas, Columbia, Panama crossing & canal, Italy!

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.

Fresh coconut anyone?

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!

Making your own lures is not as easy as it appears. It is very hard to get the hooks and wire lined up properly so it looks like the fish is swimming naturally.
So nice to have Joshua join us for the crossing.

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.

Donna and Zaman making us wonderful Israeli food. They were wonderful hosts and very calm in some stressfulcircumstances.

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.

This bridge from Panama City to Colone is designed and built by the same firm as the one that engineered the Patras bridge in Greece. That beautiful bridge was being built in 2003 when we sailed the Med with the kids.
These tugs cost $11 million each, and are responsible for pushing these huge ships around.
A view of the canal from the bleachers on the Atlantic side Canal museum.
The three boats that were tied together rafted overnight on this huge bouy. Don is helping with the lines.

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.

Blog break

We are traveling by plane for work and personal for the next few months, so stay tuned for more blogs in September!

Guess where we were???

0 thoughts on “San Andreas, Columbia, Panama crossing & canal, Italy!

  1. Wow what a description fabulous, truly fabulous and the pictures are really neat too! Can’t wait to see you will we see Donnie also hope so! Love love love, Mom

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  2. So excited for you! Looking forward to joining you later in Panama and beyond. Suzanne and John

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