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Old 18-04-2014, 14:43   #1
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Heading to San Blas shortly

Hey folks,

I'm headed to San Blas shortly - flying into Tocumen then hitching a ride (not literally) to Puerto Lindo. From there a 4-5 day sailing trip in San Blas.

It'll be my first sailing trip on my new boat!! A Lagoon 380. Anything I should know, visit, or consider?

-Nate
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Old 18-04-2014, 15:22   #2
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Re: Heading to San Blas shortly

How are you getting there? Bus or train to Colon then another bus/collectivo to the boat? The train ride to Colon is more fun than the bus.
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Old 18-04-2014, 16:00   #3
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Re: Heading to San Blas shortly

Do you have the Brahaus book? The chartlets are right on. Lots of boats end up on the reefs in the San Blas, so don't push it if a storm comes in (wait for good light) or you are unsure of entrance. The morning net is on SSB, if you have it.
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Old 18-04-2014, 16:34   #4
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Re: Heading to San Blas shortly

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How are you getting there? Bus or train to Colon then another bus/collectivo to the boat? The train ride to Colon is more fun than the bus.
The seller of the boat is picking me up at Tocumen - part of the sale negotation included him spending a few days w/me in San Blas sailing. Didn't have to twist his arm too hard

More here: San Blas! And Sailing Lessons - The Nomad Trip


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Do you have the Brahaus book? The chartlets are right on. Lots of boats end up on the reefs in the San Blas, so don't push it if a storm comes in (wait for good light) or you are unsure of entrance. The morning net is on SSB, if you have it.
Don't have the book, sounds like another one to add to the growing bookshelf. I'm convinced my library will outweigh any other piece of gear onboard...
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Old 19-04-2014, 15:55   #5
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Re: Heading to San Blas shortly

+1 on Bauhaus. Odds are good current owner has a copy aboard. Lots of places here where you need good info, slow boat speed, good light, and a bow watch.

Bauhaus is best but I use several charts concurrently and cross check them just to be sure.

....from Morbedup, San Blas
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Old 19-04-2014, 16:57   #6
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Re: Heading to San Blas shortly

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+1 on Bauhaus. Odds are good current owner has a copy aboard. Lots of places here where you need good info, slow boat speed, good light, and a bow watch.

Bauhaus is best but I use several charts concurrently and cross check them just to be sure.

....from Morbedup, San Blas
Are you using the CM93 charts? If so - were they accurate in that area?
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Old 19-04-2014, 17:19   #7
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Re: Heading to San Blas shortly

No, don't like the idea of using decade old pirated charts for nav when for a relatively modest amount of money I can have up-to-date charts.

But I've got lots of other options aboard: Navionics on my tablet, which are pretty good but lack the detail of Bauhaus' charts. Bauhaus' book of course and I georeferenced some of his charts and have them loaded on my tablet too using MxMariner (basic nav app, but Bauhaus harbor charts sure are nice to have when entering a new place). CMAP on the chartplotter, which is passable for here (better than in some other places).
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Old 19-04-2014, 17:56   #8
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Re: Heading to San Blas shortly

I have compared CM93 on the computer to current CMAP charts on our chartplotter and have found absolutely no difference between them for the San Blas. Actually, I have found zero difference between them anywhere in the Western Caribe so far.

There are significant errors in CM93 and CMAP for much of the San Blas. They are fine for finding your way through and around the Western islands, but you certainly would not want to rely on them inside anchorage areas, running reef cuts or most of the Eastern islands.

I have only found 2 errors in the Bauhaus charts and both of them were in the far Eastern part of the San Blas. One showed a small patch reef that the suggested route line jogged around where no reef existed (not a problem), and the other did not show a patch reef along a suggested route line where one did exist (more of a problem, but the reef is noticeable by color change in most light).

Like belizesailor, I have georeferenced Bauhaus's charts and use them on our computer for navigation.

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Old 19-04-2014, 18:26   #9
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Thumbs up Re: Heading to San Blas shortly

San Blas is such a great Experience, If the seller is picking up at Tocumen Airport is fantastic because in that way you will really see if the Boat is in Good Condition.

Summer Time in San Blas is like The Paradise, there is a lot of Good Shrimps and Fishes in The Sea, I Hope you have a Great Trip, keep us updated!
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Old 01-05-2014, 14:28   #10
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Re: Heading to San Blas shortly

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San Blas is such a great Experience, If the seller is picking up at Tocumen Airport is fantastic because in that way you will really see if the Boat is in Good Condition.

Summer Time in San Blas is like The Paradise, there is a lot of Good Shrimps and Fishes in The Sea, I Hope you have a Great Trip, keep us updated!
Thanks, it was a good experience. And I got the basics of sailing down, along with some good tracks on the GPS for moving around in there.

The boat was in the same condition I left it in, which is fine. Of course, the projects have already started piling up - but I was ready for that.

The 380 sails well, but after speaking with the owner of a 410 - I can already tell what a difference a couple of extra feet of waterline would make. We did 8 and 9 knots a couple of times - averaging a little under 1/2 windspeed on original sails. Not bad, me thinks.

Here's a little video of the trip:



And here's the first part of my writeup:

San Blas Sailing - Part 1 - The Nomad Trip



I also compared the Navionics and CM93 charts - the Navionics are better, for sure. I think I'm going to load Navionics on a Galaxy Note and keep the CM93 on my iPad. Redundancy is nice, and I like having two sets of charts (in addition to paper - Bauhaus).

All in all - good trip. Can't wait to get back down there.
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Old 01-05-2014, 16:50   #11
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Re: Heading to San Blas shortly

I'm thinking cat's get more dolphins.
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Old 02-05-2014, 18:54   #12
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Re: Heading to San Blas shortly

Sheers! Thank you so much for the updates, I looked you article on Nomad Trip.
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Old 10-05-2014, 17:48   #13
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Re: Heading to San Blas shortly

Keep an eye out for thunderstorms. Seems to be a higher than average number of boats in Panama get struck with lightning. Enjoy!
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Old 10-05-2014, 18:07   #14
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Re: Heading to San Blas shortly

I hesitate to bring it up, but from what I've read, and heard, catamarans get struck by lightning a lot more often than monohulls.

I looked into it a bit after we got struck by lightning.
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Old 10-05-2014, 22:22   #15
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Re: Heading to San Blas shortly

Lightning in Panama in the summer months is unbelievable. Come-to-Jesus, second-coming-type of lightning. You will experience types and forms of lightning you didn't know existed. You won't sleep much and you will ruin several pairs of shorts. Everyone from Florida is amazed that the lightning is so much worse than they have experienced before.

To say a higher number of boats get struck is an understatement. The last summer we were there, a full 50% of the boats in our area were struck with damage. The year before, we took a direct strike with complete damage and two side flashes with individual equipment damage.

The ratio of mono/multi strikes was 60/40 even though the presence of each type were about 50/50. To make it even more crazy, a powerboat took a direct hit surrounded by sailboats of each type.

Mark
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