There will never be a blog entry written that can do the 'ole girl justice!
The Stahlratte is a 106 year old, 30m, 2-mast-schooner with a home port of Bremerhaven, Germany;and the 8 (turned 9) day sailing trip I took on her was one of the best and most unexpected journeys of my entire trip! We went from Cartí, Panama through Coco Bandero, San Ignacio Tupile, Isla Grande and other islands of San Blas, the Scottish "New Edinburgh," Supzurro, Playa Blanca, and a few other fabulous locations to Cartagena, Colombia. The sailing trips from Panama to Colmbia normally take only 4 days or so, 2 of which are out on open water, but we went a new route. We stayed along the cost the whole way, which means the water was much calmer and we got to see tons more beaches!
There were 6 crew members and 10 clients on the ship and everyone took turns with kitchen duty, night watch, the sails, and everything else! The bunks downstairs were super comfortable, the kitchen upstairs was pretty well equipt to be out at sea, the toilet was hand-pumped to flush, most showers were taken on to deck, and all meals were eaten upstairs at the huge wooden table. The boat was more comfortable than I could have imagined, and the whole crew felt like family (German and Spanish).
We would have breakfast at 8ish, then usually go snorkeling to see starfish, coral, and swim out to visit the beaches we anchored by. Then a lunch break at noon, and more messing around in the afternoon. The rope swing was a favorite of everyone-you climbed up onto the net at the helm of the boat and were handed the rope that´s connected to the front mast (I still don´t know all the sailing vocabulary, in part beacuse everything was labeled in German), and flung yourself out into the sea. It was an absoltue blast, and there were some seriously entertaining wipe-outs. Two nights we sailed the whole night through, and it felt amazing to wake up and not be able to see any land around us. Other days we would sail for a bit in the morning to hang out by ourselves on s beach somewhere and spend the night anchored there.
A few times dolphins came and played at the front of the ship and we would all run to climb into the net and watch from above. They were beautiful with dust blue backs and white bellies with silver freckles, and would flip over and under eachother. We also saw aligators and amazing plastic-looking fuscia jelly fish. We also managed to catch a few barracuda, and bought shrimp, calamari, langostinos, and lobsters from fishermen who would row up to the ship in their little wood-carved canoes. Speaking of, the food was delicious! Crepes for breakfast one day, Roli´s "ragout kompli" for dinner the next, tons of fresh seafood, el capitan´s delicious tiramisu, and other deliciousness! The best part was that it was always like a huge Italian family dinner with everyone reaching, passing, laughing telling jokes, drinking wine, plus we had the sea breeze and start as the backdrop.
I just have too many great things to say about the ship and hope to travel on it again some day!!!