Canada – Niagara Falls and Toronto.

1 09 2011

Its been a busy few weeks since we left Central America for the last time this trip. The first stop being Toronto – or so we thought…. While standing in the immigration queue in Miami en-route to Toronto, the friendly Canadian standing behind us informed us that our airline Spirit Air only flies into the states!?!? The cheeky buggers advertise ‘Toronto Area’ which is really Buffalo USA which is 2 hours from Toronto. Needing to start our Canadian visa’s we did the trek over the dividing bridge between the two countries only to be extremely impressed with the view – Niagara Falls! At least it saved us a day trip from Toronto, and after a few hours bus ride we arrived to where we had planned – a very happening city in which we loved!

Surf in Canada?

USA / Canada

First views.

Post cards!

Small falls.

Big drop.

Horseshoe.

Brewing.

Rainbow.

We spent a few days in Toronto wondering around the city centre which had a great vibe – bands playing the the centre square, great little area’s such as little Cuba and Portugal, plus a very happening strip in little Italy full of bars and restaurants with the fantastic service that Northern America has on offer. A nice change from Central!

Fosters and Dundas - just like home.

Our new mate in the immigration line told us that a must see attraction in Toronto was Canada’s Wonderland – and it did not let us down. It had every type of roller coaster that you can imagine, standing, sitting, backwards, laying head first – you imagine it they had it! Made for a very fun day with lots of screams and laughter!

Canada's Wonderland!!!!

Sky high swings.

Stand up roller coaster!

Diving show at Wonderland.

Craaaaazy roller coaster 'The Behemoth'

Next stop – NEW YORK!!!! A new favourite place of both of us – to say we had a ball would be an understatement! Pic’s to come soon…





Pavones – Costa Rica South Pacific Coast

14 08 2011

After the boat adventure we were in need of finding some waves urgently, so with a good tip off on a little town on the south coast of Costa Rica we set off for the 2 day mission.

The Costa Rican Pacific coast is an amazing spot, with the most abundant wildlife in Central America you are greeted with toucans and monkeys in the tree’s, horses grazing on the beaches and waves in plentiful supply. A place that we will be back to and worthy of a surf road trip over no less than 2 months.

Rancho Canatella run by Joe and Shirley is a jungle escape that caters for 15 people across from one of the longest left handers on the planet. Joe and his wife took this over about 3 years ago, days are taken up with maintenance, surfing, running the lodge and spending time with their little fella Kianoa.

The Ranch

Our Jungle Hut

Fire Sky

The Point

Yeeeewwwww!

Slabs!

Wild Monkeys

Pacific Coast Sunsets

Another Point





Final Boat Pics – Cartagena to Panama!

5 08 2011

After four very fond months we bid farewell to our floating home The Captiva and our jobs with Panama Sailing Adventures, on hold for now the cruising lifestyle will certainly be a new goal for the future.

5 hours in to a very rough trip 5, Jeremy noticed a hair line fracture across the prop shaft. Not wanting to be a casualty of the sea we turned the boat around and headed back to port with 15 disappointed guests and 2 crew who were now in search for a new job. We weren’t sure how long the repairs would take and weren’t too keen on hanging around in the port town of Colon so we decided it was time to move on in search of waves.

We had an amazing last trip with an unreal crew that were so much fun and a great way to finish up our time on the boat. These pics are our last San Blas trip – the most stunning place we have ever seen so if you get a chance to go we would highly recommend it.

Good Bye Cartagena.

Catch of the trip.

Stunning San Blas.

Kuna fishing.

The magic island.

Glowing.

Kite surfing.

She said yes - what a place for a proposal!

Ship wreck skies.

Bon fire party.

Fire dance.

Fuego

Postcards.

Spotted eagle rays and nurse sharks galore.

Girls gone wild.

Very fun group.

Woo hoo.

Wenches.

Crazy kids.

Why!!!?

Slipped.

Where the hairline fracture was.

We are currently in Costa Rica in a small beach town called Pavones which is home to the second longest left hand wave in the world. Been surfing every day and relaxing in the sun with monkeys, tucans and wild horses running about the place.

From here we start our trip home for a summer of weddings – first stop Canada, followed by New York, London, Ireland, Morocco and Bali! So see you all in November. (We are only around for 4-6 months and then heading off again to finish what we started, Canada snow season and Mexico road trip!)





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

Neighbours

Our Aussie guests enjoy a Coco Loco in the jacuzzi

Lunch?

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

Ahhgr...

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.





Miami!!

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 http://www.panamasailingadventures.com (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!