This is part one of my trip in a cayuco with Cary Gray paddling from Carti Sugdup (Panama) to Capurgana (Colombia). More background on the trip here. The sensation of knowing we had over 220km of unfamiliar coast ahead of us with no easy exit points was both unsettling and exciting; we were fully committed. Our initial slow progress (10 to 12 kms per day) was difficult to accept though since I’d expected the trip to take around two weeks (not three); it was mainly for the following reasons:
- We were battling against headwinds and small choppy seas in an immensely heavy cayuco that included Cary’s large unicycle.
- We decided to treat the initial stages as training since we weren’t accustomed to paddling long distances.
- We were unwittingly using children’s paddles; one of which broke whilst we were 5 km offshore! Cary provided a temporary fix by strapping it together with a bungy and we later bought another much better one (which we lost the next week so we had to buy yet another!)
Later on in the trip we were able to do much longer days when the wind dropped or went into our favour.
Pulling the cayuco up the beach on the islands for night was difficult since it was so heavy. The waves would often crash over it during the night because it was so hard to get it fully out of the sea.
I called this post ‘The Honeymoon Period’ for two reasons. Firstly, this first section of coastline is well protected by the San Blas islands and so it is flat and easy paddling; later on the coast becomes a lot more savage. Secondly, it was before our luck changed and the draconian Panamanian police hauled us back to Porvenir for not have a ‘license’ (next post). We were blissfully unaware of what was in store for us. Make sure the captions are on for more details. Scroll down for my and Cary’s photos following the video.
Scroll to bottom for link to Cary’s blog.
The video (a mix of footage taken by both of us):
Action hero and unicycle record holder, Cary Gray’s blog: http://CaryOutThere.com.