Tuesday, 16 October 2012

We sail away to a sea of tropical islands

We leave the grey clouds.

And our host.

And 4 year old Derek

And the sea stained overnight with flood waters from the mountains.

And go to an island paradise. We dive off the ship, swim, fish, snorkel and explore the islands.

Our crew are all volunteers. We are able to work alongside them, preparing food and doing ship chores. It was like playing. What a great way to get to know each other.

Ludwig, our skipper.



And Max.

The sun sets as we enjoy a barbecue and bonfire.

We are in a wonderful international group of 24, including four crew.
There are eleven motorbikes. 13 bikers.

We have now realised that very few people are on the big adventure from Prudhoe Bay in the arctic to Patagonia.Only one other couple in this group, Chantal and Jean, have been Inuvik in the Canadian Arctic before they began the trip south.

The others have started their ride somewhere in the USA, Canada or Mexico.
We have a mexican psychiatrist, a US psychologist, a German computer programmer, a marketing person, a management consultant, and a manufacturer in our biker group. It is a cosmopolitan, multilingual group full of joie de vivre.

The other 7passengers are backpackers. What a blessing they were.
Most are in their 20's and beautiful and full of confidence.
Do you need confidence to do this or does this type of travel bring confidence?

We have enjoyed learning about their adventures. I found myself being motherly and urging them to keep in contact with their families.
We talked about expectations, plans, having no plan, parents, siblings... And that generally parents always hope that their children are happy.

They were so considerate of each other and of all of us.
I was touched when, later, Maggie told me that what children want most is for their parents to be happy.

So, an open note to our sons ... We are happy on this voyage and we are glad that you encourage us to do these things.
...Slippers and rocking chairs are a long way off.

This cruise in Stahlratte has made it possible for us to get from Panama to Colombia. The impenetrable Darien Gap is a major obstacle between Central and South America.

There are some yachts that ply this route. Our other option would have been to airfreight the bikes from Panama to Bogota.

Stahlratte is owned by a charitable foundation in Germany. She was built in 1913 and was a herring boat until the1980's. The crew are all volunteers.
Periodically she sails on a cruise to Cuba.
In her past life she was leased to GreenPeace who sailed her in Canadian waters near where illegal forest milling was happening.

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