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Old 24-12-2015, 08:21   #31
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Re: Lagoon wrecked in San Blas

Compared to the Bahamas, where I have seen large bull and hammerheads (and heard credible reports of tigers), that area off Panama is shark free.

In three years there spear fishing in offshore areas where sharks are most likely to be found, I have only seen two bull sharks, and I think it was actually the same one in different years since it was in the same area and same size.

Mark
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Old 24-12-2015, 09:28   #32
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Re: Lagoon wrecked in San Blas

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
...

Also the article made the point that the couple took the boat trip because they wanted to avoid traveling the Darien Gap due to kidnappings. While the kidnapping part is accurate, the implication that there was even an alternative route through the Darien Gap was not accurate.

There are no roads, railways or any reasonable means of traveling across this area.

Mark
Yes, more poor journalism trying to sell stories with sensationalized inaccurate writing...like we need more of that in the world.

There are also readily available flights. Often priced lower than what these (mostly) derelict boats scam the backpackers for. We flew to Medellin last year for $125/p/RT! (Though that was a special).

These boats are not a transport option I would even consider...and the incompetent aholes will anchor right on top of you!
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Old 28-12-2015, 09:58   #33
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Re: Lagoon wrecked in San Blas

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
These cattle boats running backpackers pass the Darien Gap are almost all ill-equipped, poorly maintained, and captained/crewed by drunks/druggies.

Several of them each year brick up in the San Blas and the story is always the same - captain passed out with either the boat on AP, or a guest on the wheel who has no experience and no charts.

This has nothing to do with "GPS/CP/AP-assisted wrecking". It has only to do with bad seamanship and operating an unsafe boat in an unsafe manner.

There are no "local police" and these boats operate without any licenses, permits, inspections or limitations. It is not uncommon to see a 45' catamaran loaded with 20 people and several motorcycles strapped to the deck.

There is an unlimited amount of young backpackers to fill spaces, so none of these stories have any effect on the trade. The companies buy any cheap boat they can and put them in service. This captain is probably already running another boat as I write this post.

Really, several of them are lost this way each year. Go to that companies website and 4 of the boats they list there under charter have already been wrecked and don't exist anymore.

I know several of them personally, and no way would I even go across a harbor with them.

Having said this, there are a couple of them that run well-found boats in a safe manner with knowledgeable crew. These generally operate independently and make only a few trips to fill the kitty and tend to be more selective regarding passengers and weather.

Mark
Well said Mark. I've sailed on a few of these sketchy ops before. Its all fun and games till the snickers bar hits the fan.

And here is a bit more info:

Shipwrecked and stranded off the coast of Panama
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