Monthly Archives: August 2012

Nicaragua

Largos años de conflicto político, desastres naturales y una cruenta guerra civil, además de condiciones económicas desfavorables, han convertido a Nicaragua en el segundo país más pobre del continente, después de Haití.

En 1998 el huracán Mitch asoló Honduras y Nicaragua y ocasionó numerosas víctimas. Los campesinos y personas que vivían en la pobreza fueron los más damnificados por el desastre que provocó un daño notable en las infraestructuras del país.

Un país que todavía muestra en sus calles y sus conversaciones los restos de una historia turbulenta y las complicaciones para superarla

Nicaragua
After many years of political conflict, natural disasters, a cruel civil war,  and last but not least, unfavorable economical conditions, Nicaragua has become the second poorest country in the Continent after Haiti.

In 1998 hurricane Mitch took both Honduras and Nicaragua by surprise and the ramifications were horrendous, both from a infrastructure and humane perspective.  Farmers and those living below the poverty line were those most effected.

A country of people who converse in the streets and talk of their turbulent past and their many complications which are yet to be overcome.

Costa Rica

Como verán seguimos en la playa, esta vez en Costa Rica y con una gran influencia  de la música  y legado de Bob Marley . La cultura afro – jamaicana se deja ver en la costa atlántica del país , especialmente en Puerto Viejo, donde los fines de semana  se reúnen a jugar beisbol entre partidos locales.

Costa rica también tiene una gran cantidad de islas a donde llegan todos los años durante los meses de Julio – agosto , miles de tortugas marinas hacer su desove. Tuvimos la suerte de estar aquí en agosto y v poder verlo. Esta prohibido filmar o sacar fotos a las tortugas mientras ponen sus huevos pero si uno se levanta a las 430am puede fotografiarlas después del desove y cuando se devuelven al mar. Por supuesto que nos levantamos a las 430am y fuimos a verlas. Los huevos tardan 2 a 3 semanas en formarse dentro de la hembra. Las tortugas hacen un recorrido muy largo y con muchos obstáculos por la playa hasta encontrar el lugar perfecto para el desove., en el video se puede ver la gran cantidad de huellas de los recorridos en la arena. Los lugares para el depósito de los huevos tienen que estar sin vegetación y a cierta distancia de la costa, ya que la marea alta podría llegar al lugar de incubación y arrastrar a los huevos. Luego, las tortugas escarban un hoyo de entre 40 cm a 60 cm en los que depositan de 50 a 100 huevos. En el video se puede ver la tortuga tapando el hoyo antes de emprender su regreso al mar.

La temperatura del nido es la que determina el sexo de las tortugas. La incubación puede durar entre 40 o 70 días. Los huevos se enfrentan a peligros como perros, mareas altas, traficantes de huevos para su posterior venta, turistas clavando sombrillas o haciendo castillos de arena. Las nuevas tortugas tratan de emerger en la noche cuando no hay tantos predadores y la temperatura baja. Las pequeñas tortugas siempre esperan hasta que todas sus hermanas salgan del huevo, así salen todas a la vez dirigiéndose al mar. De las 100 solo sobreviven máximo 4.

From the Caribbean to the Pacific

As you’ll  see in the video, we continue to travel long the coastlines, this time in Costa Rica alternating between the Atlantic and the Pacific.  The legacy of Bob Marley has left a huge influence of reggae music throughout Costa Rica especially on the Atlantic coast (Caribbean) and especially in Puerto Viejo where on weekends locals come together, listen to music, play baseball, and smoke weed!
Costa Rica has miles of coast line and numerous islands much of which are inhabited by green turtles during the months of July-August when they come to lay their eggs.  We were lucky to be here in August and get a unique opportunity to view this amazing event. It is forbidden to film or take pictures of the turtles in the evening while they lay their eggs but should one get up at 4.30am (just on daylight) it is possible to record the final stages when she is covering her eggs and getting ready to return to the water. The eggs take 2-3 weeks to form inside the female. Turtles make a very long journey with many obstacles along the beach to find the perfect place to lay her eggs.  In the video you will see the large number of tracks which have been left by the turtles during the night. The turtles dig a hole between 40 cm to 60 cm in diameter and then deposit between 50 to 100 eggs.

The nest temperature determines the sex of the turtles. The incubation may last from 40 to 70 days. The eggs face dangers from  dogs, high tides, eggs dealers, tourists umbrellas and kids making sand castles. Of each 100 eggs only a maximum of 4 survive.

Quite fascinating really!

Panama – small but vast

The first thing you notice about Panama are the vast contrasts.  As we arrived via San Blas on the Caribbean side, we were surrounded by isolated islands run by local indians,  dirt roads and dense jungle.  After riding just a mere 70km or so, and upon approaching Panama City, you come across your first McDonalds followed closely by Burger King and KFC. Moving along you´ll ride past a shopping centre which could easily fit straight into any developed western city.  After riding past the 15th McDonalds we finally arrive to Casco Viejo, the historical part of town.  Casco Viejo, going through a well deserved face lift as the wealthy return after leaving it to the lower class and squatters for the past 20 years or so.  Interesting to see a multi million dollar building located right beside a 6 story block full of squatters!

No visit to Panama would be complete without a tour to the Canal. Thanks to Marco, who came on tour with us in Chile /Argentina, we received a VIP tour of the Canal. Bloody amazing to think they completed this huge feat at the beginning of the 1900`s. In the video we have sped up the footage x 4 , in the scene in which they are lifting the boat by raising the water level. This will give you an idea of just how quick the process is.

From Panama city we met up with one of our friends and SAMt customer who kindly invited us to his weekend home in the hills. Great relief to get away from the heat for a while.

After a few relaxing days in Boquete, we headed towards another set of Caribbean islands called Bocas del Toro.  Again, the contrasts were vast from the poverty stricken villages spread along the banks of the river which lead us towards the spectacular archipelago lined with world class sailing cruisers and yachts.

Motorbikes aren’t made to swim

There’s just 3 ways to get yourself and the motorcycle to Panama from Colombia.

The first and second are the normal channels. Use a customs broker and either fly or ship the motorcycle and catch a flight yourself. The third, to find a yacht which takes backpackers to Panama via the San Blas Islands. Transporting passengers to and from Panama on these yachts is legal but transporting cargo is a very different story.

Unfortunately for us, a catamaran transporting roughly 16 backpackers and one motorcycle sank off the coast of Colombia about 2 weeks before we were due to sail. Whilst the people were saved by a passing vessel, the bike wasn’t so lucky!  Can´t imagine how the owner felt watching his bike go to the bottom of the Caribbean as it was pushed over board in an unsuccessful attempt to save the boat. (that black thing you can just see on the right hand side of the stern is the bike)

Anyway, this caused us a problem as customs decided to clamp down on this practice and prohibit any motorcycles to be transported under this method. Their argument (which makes perfect sense) was that the loading and unloading of the motorcycles onto these vessels was unsafe ( believe me, as i found out later, not a truer word spoken!), that due to the lack of inspections drugs could be easily smuggled with the motorcycle (well it is the drug capital of the world after all) and thirdly, none of the vessels are designed to carry cargo.

Whilst all the above points are extremely valid, we would have lost at least 2 weeks if wehad to change our plans. Therefore we lobbied for three days at the port authorities and customs offices until we finally broke them at 4.30 on Friday afternoon. The boat was to depart at 8.30 on Saturday morning.

 

The excitement continued –

-Getting the bike onboard : more than once I though, how the hell could the Port Authorities allow us to do this!  With the bike onboard, relief was short lived upon seeing the rusty tie-downs the Captain expected me to use.  Needless to say, I had to make a quick trip to the hardware store.

 

 

– A visit from the water police to inspect all the documentation of the passengers and motorcycle and of course, drugs.

 

 

– And of course, getting the bike out of the boat at the other end!

 

 

The trip was an adventure in all senses. We were lucky enough the share the adventure with 19 young travelers (we were the oldest on board apart from the Captain) of which about 8 were Australian.

 

Young people make you remember what its to the live the moment rather than concern yourself over the future. Nothing wrong with that for a while.

 

Hope you enjoy the video footage below