Odyssey Logs

Blue Planet Odyssey Update: All Ways Lead to San Blas

Most of the Blue Planet Odyssey yachts have now arrived in the San Blas from their respective starts in Key West and Martinique. A cruising leg will take place, giving them time to explore the islands, before a quick sail over to Shelter Bay Marina on the mainland and the serious business of preparing for a Panama Canal transit.


Follow the fleet on our tracking map


18 January

We left Key West mid-morning to a fanfare of conch shells a’blowing, plus blaring boat horns, and waves from friends plus a few people  I had not even met.  I think if our “sea trial” had gone badly, we would not have wanted to return to the same marina after such a farewell!  But things have gone well. I am SOOOO happy to be moving again!!

(NO REGRETS had been due to leave Key West with the rest of the fleet on 10 January but were delayed due to engine issues).

Tim, Bill and Zeke on No Regrets finally ready to go. Photo Jan Irons

Tim, Bill and Zeke on NO REGRETS finally ready to go. Photo Jan Irons


21 January

We left Montego Bay at Tuesday 20 January for the San Blas. Had a wonderful time in Jamaica, the country is beautiful, the hospitality afforded us by the Montego Bay Yacht Club was exceptional.

22 January

We have threaded our way through the hazards of the Pedro Bank and Low Cay, which seems to have claimed another ship, and are now in open water to the San Blas. It seems strange to have a small reef system like Low Cay sticking up out of 3 to 4 thousand feet of water in the middle of nowhere and you have to wonder how the early navigators made passages before GPS and chart plotters.

24 January

As we approach I keep hearing from Klaudia, are we there yet? We are dragging our feet now so as not to enter before daylight, Gives the other boats a chance to catch up, so they don’t feel so bad.

From: www.sailblogs.com/member/tahawus

Rob and Carol on MAGGIE

21 January

The sailing is still going well. Unfortunately we can’t sail directly on course so are following a zigzag line. It has been great to have three people aboard. We are hand steering a lot in the day with the charts off to save power. When we hit the spot between Columbia and Haiti the winds are typically very strong. We are sailing west until past there and then turning south. We haven’t seen much animal life yet. Last night a bird kept trying to land on our man overboard pole. Two flying fish have landed on deck. Lights are flashing in the wake from some sea life.

From: maggiessailingadventures.blogspot.com


21 January

This morning we awoke to a beautiful sunny day. Unfortunately the winds are light and MAGGIE does not do well in light winds.  We have just raised the spinnaker – the first time it has ever been up.  It has Blue Planet Odyssey across it in huge letters. The crew are all ecstatic to be underway finally and we are getting along well.

23 January

News Flash –  We hit 9.3 knots of speed… the fastest MAGGIE has ever gone while Rob and Carol have owned the boat… in 19 knots of wind!

From: bobsbpo.blogspot.ca/


A day away from Panama, San Blas Islands, Chapter Two sailing with the parasailor up

A day away from Panama, San Blas Islands, CHAPTER TWO sailing with the parasailor up

24 January

Final approach to the San Blas Islands. We expect to arrive tomorrow morning at the customs post at the Isla Porvenir airport. We were instructed not to arrive before 8:30 AM or after noon as we need the sun at our backs as we enter the narrow channel. There are wrecks scattered along the channel of yachts who had really bad luck trying to get to the airport. We are also instructed in no uncertain terms not to anchor near the end of the runway as the planes will take your mast out. Should be an interesting place to get to. Once checked in we will leave for one of the surrounding islands and anchor for the night. We might wait there for the bulk of the fleet to arrive before leaving for our two week cruising the many beautiful tiny islands. The snorkelling is supposed to be spectacular.

We are in the final strategic moments to leap ahead of TAHAWUS. We headed in a different direction than him last night to confuse him. Tonight is the night to outfox Norm and crew. He can’t enter the channel before 830 AM so he will be easy prey.

25 January

We have just returned from a fabulous party on TAHAWUS. Klaudia did an amazing job with the food and hospitality. Of course Norm was in a great mood as he whipped us to the finish line, twice now so really how could he be anything but nice to us mere mortals? TAHAWUS is a gorgeous boat, very seaworthy and the detailing is beautiful.

Taking a ride with local sailor Nesto

Taking a ride with local sailor Nesto

RANSOM limped into Porvenir a few hours after us with many issues. Their list of issues include, water maker problems, refrigeration problems, engine issues, SSB radio and chart plotter issues. The crew from RANSOM was in great spirits considering their problems. Tim announced over the VHF radio that the only thing that would be working on their boat that evening would be the corkscrew.

Nesto and his wife paddled up in their wooden canoe yesterday filled with lobsters… He speaks some English so we organized a visit to his small island to take a tour, meet his family and do some “shopping”.

Later yesterday he went sailing by in his canoe and I decided that I needed to try sailing one. So today when we visited his island I asked if I could go sailing with him. Daphne has a similar thought so we crewed for Nesto.

Lots of laughs, especially when tacking as we had to lie flat on our backs to clear the boom. Which meant lying in 6 inches of water. Although I didn’t get to helm the sailing canoe I did have a nice sail.

Rob and Carol on MAGGIE

25 January

We are getting excited about getting to the San Blas islands. The islands belong to Panama but have always been quite separate culturally. They are encouraged to marry only other Kuna, the name of the indigenous people. Many islands are low lying so are endangered with the rising sea levels that come with warmer temperatures.

We have been having a SSB net each day at noon. By default Rob has been the controller – you need a controller because everyone can hear but only one person can talk at a time. Also the frequency used depends on your location and distances apart. We heard today that several boats have been enjoying caught fish. We won’t get any until we get the line in the water. But we are eating well-no complaints.

27 January

We made it! We arrived in Porvenir about 10 am local time.  We took down the staysail and had the main reefed so that we would not arrive in the dark.  Last evening as the sun was going down we had dolphins dancing on our bow.  A beautiful sight. Particularly when they jump out of the water.

From: maggiessailingadventures.blogspot.com

Chris and Jess on OM

27 January

All good here on OM, clocking up the miles as we cross the Caribbean Sea. We have had quite a few visits from birds; lots of gannets, a flock of petrels, the odd albatross and a couple of very strange looking birds with long white and yellow tails which keep hitching a ride on our tramp! Had a nice visit from the dolphins a couple of days ago and obviously have seen millions of flying fish. No luck with the fishing yet.

And on the west coast…

LIBBY is on her way, having left San Diego on schedule, on Monday 26 January, en route to the Galapagos

Libby on her way

Libby on her way

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