Panama to Colombia – More San Blas!

11 07 2011

We were very happy to be back on land after trip 3, it was a bit of a challenging one thats for sure! We started on the back foot when we blew up our main generator 3 days before the trip! Jez bought another smaller one just so we could get the refrigeration going, but that one blew up also an hour before the guests arrived! So that made my job extra hard as I had to keep food fresh for 15 people in esky’s! Not only did we have no AC power but we also had our share of bad weather. A few of the nights saw all 3 of us crew up on the deck in the middle of the night with torches resetting anchors – all in a weeks work. Luckily our very relaxed guests took it all in their stride and never complained to the sleep deprived crew.

The passage to Colombia was the roughest sea’s that we have had yet – early in to the trip we were hit by a squall with 50 knot winds and Matt and I were on deck reefing the main sheet while Captiva and her guests watched on as we were battered around – definitely a way to get the heart pumping!

Another great trip though that leaves us wondering how we are so lucky every time we get to come back to the San Blas, more great people to meet, exceptional diving, and even I am eating the tuna (in very small portions)!

Another day in paradise

Captiva on anchor at our favourite San Blas spot - Coco Banderos

Drift wood

Beer O'clock

A baby shark that we caught - and released

The one that didnt get away

Dinner for 15!

The bluest water I have ever seen - finally the Greek Isles are beaten!

Its a tough job....

Blue lagoon

A different life for these two little Kuna boys

Gorgeous little Kuna girls

So sweet

The Kuna women still dress very traditionally

I could see Anna Moar in a pair of these

Beak hour

A local ball game

A week stop over in Cartagena and we are off to Panama again on Wednesday. We got a tip off from one of the guests that he is going to propose to his girlfriend which will make for an exciting party on board no doubt! Will fill you in on how that goes soon.

Cartagena to Portobelo – Trip 2

21 06 2011

Back to the San Blas we go and we didnt think it could get much better…. But throw a group of 12 Aussies, a Welsh and a Canadian on a boat and you get a bloody good time!

It all started when catching 6 tuna, a massive barracuda and a rainbow runner on the passage so guests enjoyed fresh sahsimi and tuna steaks for lunch and dinner!! Its times like these that make me wish I ate seafood, mind you I did try the cooked tuna and it wasnt too bad at all!

The fisrt night in the San Blas the guests hit the cocktail bar pretty hard and almost drank it dry! This resulted in Matty and I venturing into a local village on one of the more inhabited islands in search of ice and rum.  The locals are so helpful and friendly even if they can’t understand a word we are saying – the little kids follow you around with the biggest smiles on their faces which makes you think that our visits are as special to them as they are for us! Mission accomplished and bar re-stocked in time for the guys to enjoy a Coco Loco in the jacuzzi for lunch.

Stunning San Blas

One of the 7 big fish caught along the way

Double hook up

Messy Business

Sashimi feast

Beautiful coloured starfish everywhere


Our Aussie guests enjoy a Coco Loco in the jacuzzi


Another day in paradise

San Blas transporation

Kuna fishermen

On the 2nd last night the guys decided a pirate party and drinking games were on order for the night. Scarf’s, eye patches, eye liner and rum punch came out and transformed our boat into a group of rowdy pirates. People were dared to flip of the boat, drink out of a dead fish, dive through hoops and run topless around the boat…….. Just another day at work! 😉

Pirate crew

More pirates

Crazy Welsh guest drinking shots out of a fish

Jen attempting to dive through hoops


Back in Panama City rounding up more guests, looks like a quick turn around this time so back to Colombia we go.

Ship wreck

Bocas to Cartagena!

26 05 2011

On the 12th of May and after a month of preparations on the Captiva, and a year in the making, we sailed out of Bocas Del Toro with 6 passengers on board. James and John friends that we met at Deep Blue Divers in Honduras travelled and changed plans so they could join us on our first voyage. Mike and his brother James from Houston booked from Bocas along with Siani, James’s girlfriend from Costa Rica. Rounding off the seven was Beth from Essex and Yoni the Israeli commando.

Day 1 took us about 50 miles east to two very remote islands known as the Escudas. These islands were out first taste of paradise before the San Blas, and we were greeted with an amazing anchorage surrounded by flower pots that had been detached all along the reefs coastline. The snorkeling in and out of these channels and vegetated areas they create was a new experience for everyone.

During the next day the boys went in search of coconuts, a few crabs were speared and a few fish missed, the crew got some rest in the afternoon to prepare for our first overnight passage to the port town of Portobello.

James fishing and myself hard at work on route to Escudas

Flower pots at Escuda - amazing to snorkel around.

Leaving Escudas for first O/N passage to Portobelo

As daunting an experience as it seems on your first passage, Jeremy guided us through getting comfortable with the boat, and we took our turns on watch to sail her through the darkness, light by the moon, and guided by the compass. After a few sleep deprived hours it was an amazing experience to be at the helm and watch the sunrise whilst passing the Caribbean entry to the Panama Canal. When passing container ships………………… an 80 footer doesn’t seem that big!!

El Capitan Carlie leading the way for the team!

Sunrise passing the canal entry. Needing sleep and loving every minute!

San Blas arrival - When you think you have seen it all you get to this place.

After a couple of nights getting to the much talked about San Blas Islands it was hard to wonder if they could actually be as good as what everyone says. Have a look at the pictures and make up your own mind.

The 340 San Blas Islands are home to the indigenous Kuna Indians. It’s well known that the Kuna Indians have been able to best preserve their culture out of any of the tribes in the entire Americas, although living within Panama the government gives them total autonomy in their way of life and governance of the islands.

They trade mostly to cruisers with all kinds of seafood and coconuts, a large lobster that would fetch $150 on a plate in a Sydney restaurant can be grabbed for as much as $5, and often you can pick up a dozen for $20 – $25.

Each of the small islands typically have a family or two occupying them and we are starting to meet the families near the anchorages we will continue to visit. We have had a few beers with the younger lads that bring the seafood to the boats, and on the way back we will be stopping in to a family that have asked for some supplies during our return.

The most beautiful place we have ever been.

Kuna lads setting sail after a lobster delivery

Kuna fisherman selling Lobster to us at anchor.

Figured our top deck spa made as good a lobster tank!

Enough said......

Our Toys.

Lunch break in the tub

On our first night in the San Blas we had a chance meeting with Capitan Felipe, those that know Phil will be pleased to hear he is living the dream, and has been operating a 55 Beneteau through the San Blas for the last 6 months, with a game plan to get his own vessel in the not too distant future. We were able to team up on board Captiva and his guests helped us put a dent in our cash bar, great to catch up in paradise Phil, see you soon!

The Captiva can hold its own for a party venue.

Phil's Secret anchorage!!

Who would have thought hey.............!

S/Y Captiva about to sleep for the night.

After 3 nights in paradise, swimming with dolphins, overdosing on lobsters, night fishing, bonfire explosions and extended hammock time for our guys we pulled the anchor on the afternoon of the 8th day to set off for Colombian waters. The GPS showed us 170nm and a sailing time of around 24hrs. After dinner was served Carls relieved Jeremy and sailed us off into the night for her 6 hour shift until 2am.

Sunsets at Holendaise Cays

Checkout the spotted eagle ray bottom right.

After a night in the Rosarios to clear the cobwebs we sailed again into the entry of the Cartagena harbour, greeted by dolphins on our bow wave for about half an hour I spotted a monster of a military submarine 500m from us leaving the entrance we were navigating to, not the first expected ship to see entering the harbor.

Sunset Sailing

Pulling my wife around the islands!

Cartagena Harbour skyline

Now in Cartagena Columbia the South of America definitely has a different flavor all together. We have about 3 weeks here then restock, fuel up and get to do it all again,
We hope you enjoy the pics as much as we enjoyed taking them.


25 04 2011

We left our comfy island home in search of something more and landed ourselves in the big smoke of South Beach Miami! A world away from Utilia where golf carts and bicycles were replaced with Hummers and Ferrari’s! Dinners went from $20 a night to $100 and Matt almost fell off his chair when a can of beer and a cocktail cost the equivalent of a whole night out. Not that we are complaining – we had a very wild night, shopped up a storm and ate some amazing food whilst being treated to the outstanding service that America has to offer. When buying a new pair of sunnies we were offered bottles of water and chocolates to sweeten the deal!

South Beach!!

Miami skyline.

Miami Vice.

Miami Beach.

We made a little stop in at the Miami marina to see what this shiny expensive town had to offer in the boat department, only to be blown away with how much money there actually is in this city. There were amazing boats lined up for miles! Also a 20 something year old captain with his hat on backwards, music blearing and 3 bikini clad hotties sitting on the top deck, backing a boat worth at least 20 million dollars into a tiny spot like it was nothing – definitely from another world!

Most amazing boats ever!

The Dog!

How to reverse park $20 million worth of boat!!

Just an average pool bar in Miami.

Every second car looked as good as this!

The most expensive dinner we have had in a while!

On our last night we ventured to the famous beach bar Nikki Beach – the most off the hook place we have been so far! Our waitress kept the wine flowing while everywhere around us bikini clad amazing bodies danced and partied – you can seriously wear a bikini anywhere anytime in Miami and not look out of place or strange, only if you have high heels on too of coarse!

Nikki Beach Club - Madness!

Decent turnout for a Sunday night.

$300 to sit on one of the beds!

Airport sleeps after a big weekend!

Now for the exciting news!! After a red eye back to Bocas we arrived at our new home/job – S/Y Captiva! An 80ft sailing yacht that we will be crewing in Panama, through the San Blas Islands and to Columbia! A mix of high end charters and transport for travelers between central and south America! Check out the website if you get a chance (you will see a few familiar faces featured on activities and Bocas to Cartagena) and if your planning a trip this way we would LOVE to have you on board!

Our new office!

Happy Easter, hope you all had a great break and more pics of our new job to come shortly!

DEEP BLUE DIVERS – Farewell Utilia

14 04 2011

Sorry for our tardiness with our lack of posts recently, our computer gave up the go, seems it enjoyed the Honduran humidity as much as we did!

The last month we have spent at the dive shop Deep Blue Divers on the magical island of Utila. Matt is now a Dive Master and was doing up to 5 dives a day – including 3 times with whale sharks! I finished my Open Water and Advanced but was never on the boat when they found whale sharks so had to settle for turtles, eagle rays and moray eels – not all that bad!

Thank you Libby, Anjay, Kike, Pablo, Emma, Nikki, Victoria, Oscar, Little John, Norge, Jeff, Andy, Zoe, James and Tosspot for a wicked time at Deep Blue! You guys rock – come visit us in Panama!

We both loved Utilia and had some great times not only diving but partying with friends and staff at the dive shop – the following pics show you how we were having way too much fun!

Matt the master of divers!

Getting ready for a dive.

Underwater dive master training antics!

St Paddys Day was large in Utilia – the Beer Olympics were held at the dive shop Under Water Vision where we entered a team that consisted of 6 nationalities, hence the name! The events included flip cup, volleyball, boat races, tug-a-war – even mud wrestling! ………… And no Matt didn’t let me participate in that one!!

Deep Blue Beer Olympics team - The Six Nations!

Coach Carlie and Canada's Rep Jeff

Matty in action for Deep Blue

Theme of the day!

Paddys Day maddness!

When things turn even madder!


The final test to become a Dive Master is the famous snorkel test – in which you are on your knees sculling anything and everything through a snorkel beer bong styles! Matty’s mix included beer, rum, banana liqueur, tomato sauce and mustard! Lets just say that the night went very messy for the newly crown dive masters Chris, Andy and Matty! The party rocked on back at the dive shop and it was a perfect way for us to end our time in Utilia!

Our boat to our final day at Water Cay, hmmm!

Beach Bar.

The boys about to do their snorkel test!

Nikki showing them how its done!

The whole crew.

Newly crowned dive masters with all the ladies!

Sunset dock drinks.

Utilia turned it on for us with this final sunset!

Next stop was Miami – off the hook! We’ll post pics very soon plus some very exciting news of our next adventure….

Utila, Bay Islands – Honduras

17 03 2011

Currently in Utila one of the three Bay Islands on the Carribean side of Honduras. The island is a dive mecca offering the cheapest diving and courses on the planet. Carlie has just finished her Open Water and will start her Advanced in a few days. My Rescue completed today and I commence the Dive Master course tomorrow. This includes our stay at the shop and unlimited diving anytime the boat is out, assisting with training courses and about 3/4 dives a day.

On our second day here after diving the Halliburton Wreck, a cargo ship that sits in 30m of water. We were lucky enough to spot a small whale shark about a km from the island. This fella was a baby at 5m, its not uncommon to see the big boys around the island, measuring 30m. Not over yet we then had a free dive with a pod of dolphins half way back to the shop. Our Capitan Oscar was also a happy camper!

Halliburton Wreck

Into the light

Snorkel Head

Whale Shark

Matty up close and personal!

A "small" whale shark @ 5 meters long!

On a beautifully sunny Honduran day we set sail for a small island called Water Cay for our new friend Andy’s 30th birthday and a famous “snorkel test” for newly crowned Dive Master Emma! Picture a small Finlandian sculling beer, rum and whatever else gets poured in – down a snorkel beer bong style! Something that Matt has to look forward to when he finishes his training!

Water Cay was incredible, stunning blue warm water, plenty of drinks, beats and good people! You can rent these small islands for $125 a night!

On our way in style

One of the islands up for rent

Island water



Early in the day

A "few" drinks later!

Its Paddys Day here so we are off to the beer Olympics where Matty is competing for the Deep Blue Divers team – should be another interesting afternoon! More pics soon! x

Isla Ometepe & Granada – Nica

7 03 2011

Once again we left the coast in search of higher ground and headed to a Lonely Planet “must see” Isla Ometepe! Labeled a ‘fantasy island formed by joined volcanoes with lovely villages and great beaches’ I think we landed on the wrong island!?

We have again confirmed that we are happiest at sea level, with our feet in the sand and not in the mud! The trip was saved by meeting some great new crew, and an interesting old Nica with a machete.

Picture Bangkok tuk-tuk traffic madness, throw in the odd horse and cart, add a hundred or so bike riders from Hanoi. Then hear the sounds of current house music being mixed by DJ hopefuls from the doorways of every second block. Walk a bit further and the sky has dissapeared under the cover of a maze of markets, meat is being chopped by machetes, fish is being gutted by hand, and the westerner is being bounced around like a ball in a pinball machine. Just another Saturday morning in Granada.

Volcano skies!

If the volcano erupts run that way!??

Have to keep your guard up in the jungle!

Coffee beans in Ometepe

Founded in 1524, caught up in a civil war and burnt to the ground in 1856. The city has gone through extensive restorations in areas, and been left with run down original buildings for the most part that, giving it a very cool flavour.

Convento e Iglesia de San Fransico - Granada, 1585!

Basalt sculpture from 800AD.


Amazing massages we had from blind people.

Street signs.

Granada maddness or Bangkok?

Street vendors in Granada.

Market place.

Nicaraguan local selling mango's in the markets.

Meat market.....

Granada streets with our Irish mate Kim.

Hostel paintings.

Exit Granada, spend a night under curfew in the “most dangerous city in Nicaragua, Managua” then spend 16 hours on a bus to make it to the north east coast of Honduras………….Enter The Bay Islands!

Surfboards won’t be making it out of the covers but the mask and snorkel has been dusted off. The Bay Islands are home to the second largest barrier reef system, and cheapest diving on the planet. We have found a home at the Deep Blue dive school, Carlie to start her underwater career tomorrow while I try and turn my brain back on so I can put the words Dive Master on the CV.

Popoyo – Nicaragua

27 02 2011

Popoyo Nicaragua, a tiny surf town mid way on the Pacific coast. There is not much to do here besides surf, sleep, eat, lay in the hammock and surf again.

Lake Nicaragua the largest inland lake in Central America runs almost parallel to the coast near where we are and creates constant offshore winds for 300 days of the year. Surf here has been the most consistent we have come across with waves in the 3 – 4ft range everyday.

Each day a fruit truck rocks down the main street sounding like a propaganda wagon, its hard to say no when you can buy 2 pineapples, 14 bananas and 6 oranges for $2.50.

The town itself is growing with surf tourism with almost 7 hostels and homestays now available. Apparently enough to put on a contract security guard for the street, he doesn’t have a uniform but is the only person in town that carries an AK-47 over his shoulder and haven’t seen him argued with to date.

Popoyo beach

Hammock time at Casa Maur Guesthouse Popoyo

Hostel views

Sunset colours

Forget something?


Local groms

Locals here are super friendly in and out of the water. Doing my best to get the spanish to a decent enough level to have some more detailed conversations with the groms out in the water.

Grom punt!

Sunset surfers

The Melting Elephant Guest House

Nicaraguan OHS?



San Juan Del Sur – NICARAGUA

20 02 2011

After 2 days, 1 boat, 2 border crossings, 3 taxis and 2 long haul bus rides we FINALLY left Bocas behind us. It was a very easy to get stuck there!

We have arrived in the beautiful Nicaraguan town of San Juan Del Sur, the town is built around a stunning bay on the Pacific coast. The weather is extremely toasty but the ocean water is icey which is a nice contrast to the bath water we have had in the Caribbean. Plus we get amazing over water sunsets!!! The locals are really friendly – reminds us of a Balinese vibe.

The food is great – $2 tacos, and we have been dining in the local cantina’s where the head waitress is a 10 year old girl who is amazing at her job! She serves in her school uniform and I’m sure gets great tips.

We have been travelling with a group from the hostel in Bocas, 9 of us in total – 8 girls and Matt! How did he get so lucky.

Next stop is a small town up the coast called Popoyo – we’ll post more pics soon!

Carls and Marina (our new dorm buddy) in transit.

San Juan Del Sur Bay.

View from the beach - if you zoom in you can see a massive Jesus statue on the hill.

Down town San Juan.

Church square.

Such a nice little town!

Dinning Hall - amazing tacos and so cheap!

Amazing sunsets.

Cocktails anyone?

Sunset drinks in the beach side bar.

Fire Maddness!

Fire dancers at the Pataya Surf Festival.

Costa Rica – Puerto Viejo

31 01 2011

After an interesting night back in Bocas Del Toro we headed over the border into the surf town of Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica. The town has a very chilled out Rastafarian vibe with Bob Marley being blasted from all of the local shops and bars.

We spent a lot of time chilling in hammocks and eating way to many chocolate brownies with ice cream. On a few of the days we hired push bikes and rode to the near by town of Manzanillo (13km away) and beautiful beaches such as Punta Uva. Matt managed to get a flat tire on both of these trips! 🙂

Crocodile Surf Camp - our Puerto Viejo home

Crocodile Surf Camp - our Puerto Viejo home

Surf shack

Jungle surf

Jungle vines

Just another Caribbean beach

One love

Local footy game

Swamp dog trying to beat the heat

Thieve's in the bushes - we saw a guy in the bushes with a security hat on. Thieve's in the bushes in disguise maybe?

Beach log at Punta Uva

Another sloth sighting


On Australia Day Eve Costa Rican time we talked two of the local bar owners into playing the Triple J Hottest 100 for us. Tasty Waves at Cochels Beach – head there for a cold beer, tasty tacos and a great time with the very cool owners Bryton and Steve!

After the bar shut we ended up at a local jam session with some very talented local muso’s – a great night and way to send Annie off after her month long Central American adventure.

Next stop for us – back to BOCAS!!

Tasty Waves boys Bryton and Steve

Annie's last night with us

Leave us some messages – we miss you all! xx