Colombia


We think it must have been somewhere near the town of Quimbaya where JJ was bit by a mosquito that carried Dengue Fever. Cycles of fevers and chills swept in and out each day and he knew he had more than just an average flu. A clinic diagnosed him with Dengue and recommended a lot of water and rest while his platelets are restored . Here JJ is trying to get some rest (and raise his platelets) in a park while mobbed by the usual crowd of curious locals.

Waiting behind a sheet of rain draining off the roof of a small tienda were a group of stranded travelers.

“It is far too dangerous to cross right now, please wait for the bulldozer.� Somebody offered, even stepped aside to make room under the shelter.

It was true.  Rocks were continuously tumbling down, some encouraging smaller slides to pile up against the mass of earth slowly taking over the final piece of road.  We waited for about five increasingly uncomfortable minutes; our clothes of course dripping wet, our bike shorts like soggy diapers.  Rocks kept scrambling down the sloppy earth.

Against their wishes I decided to go for it.  I backed around to get some momentum, hoping to get through the slide as quickly as possible.  A path large enough for a motorcycle or bike remained, but was filled with boulders, larger than my head.  Smaller stones sunk below the huge flooded puddle that marked the path to follow.

I watched the rocks sliding down from the very top and started pedaling across, trying to time my entrance as cleanly as possible.  Once in the slide, I could no longer watch the falling rocks, as I had to pay attention to the technical riding in front of me.

(more…)

To enter the port of Turbo, we paddled through the maze of mangrove forests, a twisted conglomeration of roots and branches rising out of the water. Shanty houses edged up against the water and began to turn on their lanterns as night poured in.

Merchant ships that run products up the coast to-from the Panama Canal squeezed into the narrow channel that was lined with houses on one side and the streets of Turbo on the other. Smells of diesel fuel, sewage, and fish saturated the heavy tropical air as we paddled through the filthy water looking for a ship known as the ¨Nuevo Jerusalem¨. Arrangements had been made to carry our kayaks back to Capurgana, a beach town and tourist resort further up the coast.

In Capurgana, Juan David let us “kombuchar� in front of his vacation home. Drinking a bit of rum “en caja� (from a box) later that night, we told him about our plan to paddle until we could sell the kayaks, and that we imagined the most likely place would be Cartagena. Many calls were made, and eventually he agreed to buy them, putting us back on our bikes in Turbo.

(more…)

 

           

 

                     Our final crossing of the Gulf of Urabà was nearly complete. Turbo was close enough to make out the trucks and buses spewing exhaust along a coastal frontage road. The most striking characteristic the mystical fantasy world known as the Kuna Comarca was its absence of automobiles. We hadn’t seen a car in three weeks, yet Turbo had been waiting all along to reacquaint us with reality.

                       

                      It was the home stretch of our Kayak trip, but fate would have it that our last day at sea would be no walk in the park. There we were, pushing hard in the blistering midday sun. Usually, around noon, we pull over in a shady beach for lunch. In this part of the Urabà Gulf, along the Mouth of the Rìo Atrato, vegetation was sparse. For the first time on our Kayak trip there was not even a hint of breeze, no cloud cover, and not a single palm tree to be seen.

 

   Just an hour ago, Goat and I had beached in front of a Colombian military base to ask if we could rest for a few hours. Our reception had been less than welcoming.

            “What’s inside this Kayak? Take everything out and show me piece by piece.� ordered the base commander.

 

(more…)

We got the Colombian photo gallery updated with photos from our most recent stretch of riding. Click on the photo below to check them out.

Here is a little vignette of our kayaking trip from Panama to Colombia. The music in the background is from a Kuna Villager who invited us to stay in his house. Enjoy.

Click Here To Download the Video in better quality