Monday, October 25, 2010
Santa Clara, Panama. Monday October 25th.
It's been a busy week. Our main goal since coming to Panama is trying to arrange for the RV, Winston and us safe passage to Colombia. There is no overland route from Panama into Colombia. The Pan American fizzles out into the jungles of the Darien Gap and it seems there are no plans in the near future for any border crossing in that area - my guess being mainly in an attempt to halt the drug trade. There is also no passenger ferry that we can take so our only option is to cargo the RV from the port of Colon to Cartagena, Colombia (on the Carribean side) and for us to fly. Since there is no overland route there are many vessels that cargo goods from Panama to Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador. However, again because there is no other way to get goods from Central to South America (and vice versa) it is also extremely busy and sometimes difficult to get space. I had sent a few emails from Costa Rica to an agent in Panama to try to get information but never got a response, so after doing some research online I contacted the shipper directly and since then have been dealing with a delightful gentleman called Joel who is being very helpful. He tried to get us on a ship which sailed today but because of the extensive paperwork involved and that the RV had to be delivered to the port by last Thursday, we decided it was to rushed and would wait for the next space which is on a ship called the Galaxy Leader leaving November 22nd. In dealing with the shipper directly instead of using an agent we are saving, by the way, about $1,000.00. I will keep you up to date on the total cost and process. We also now know that we will probably be without our beloved "home" for at least a week even though the voyage is only 8 hours (!) due to loading and unloading. This presents a small problem in finding hotels that will accept Winston but we have already been given the names of three in Panama City and will keep you informed on which we choose. So, today we are leaving Santa Clara and going to Panama City, which is about 2 hours from here and possibly to Colon where we will meet Joel, begin the paperwork and pay for the RV. Wish us luck.