High Tides, Caribbean Strikes (Part II)

Massive hangover is not good for sailing. That’s what common sense tells you, and you should always listen. But nevertheless we did “Hit the sea, Jack”. Surprisingly it was way better and a far more pleasant sail. The boat would glide through the waves this time, and you didn’t feel so much like you were riding a bronco. Ok, you’d still spend most of your time looking up to the main mast, laying down on the deck, occasionally being soaked by the invading waves. Yes, it would still be impossible to read a book, but it was way easier to do the stretch.

Soon we had a dilemma. We could face the tortuous, wild waters of the Caribbean open waters, all the way to Cartagena, Colombia. Or we could simply head towards Sapzurro, a border town on the Colombian side. It seemed like the wisest thing to do, although it would cost us two extra days of traveling. The safe harbor of Sapzurro welcomed us, inviting the ship into its calm waters. The Caribbean jungle was present in all its splendor. Here nature was given creative freedom. Huge, dramatic reefs completely covered by vegetation. Man managed to carve out little place by the water, with a few scattered houses by the shore. I couldn’t help but feeling small. After all, we were at the edge of one of the world’s most unexplored places, the Darien Gap. I found myself gazing at massive wall of trees that laid ahead of me. Only a stretch of 160 kms, but no one has ever been able to tame this place. No roads, no cities, just wilderness in its purest form, only available to few. Lost in thoughts, wondering how gladly would I get lost here, the familiar sound of the anchor chain wakes me from my inner monologue.

This wave of enchantment didn’t last long. Like every border town, Sapzurro and its people have the interesting habit of always trying to get the tourist. When you’re already a stranger, these local practices don’t necessarily make it easier to blend in. In my crooked Spanish beers cost would cost me 500 pesos less. Just ten minutes later, it’d cost me the tourist price. I just looked at the old lady, smile at her and she would just shrug her shoulders and smile back. A mutual understanding arose, I just thought “wherever there are tourists passing by, I guess that’s the consequence”. I guess having withdrawal symptoms from land did have a major effect on Sapzurro’s first impact.  Once a gringo, always a gringo, right? But this lovely little town still had quite a few surprises for me, some that would change my mind.


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