2015 Nomadik Highlights

2015 Nomadik Highlights

Maya aboard Fata Morgana at The Swimming Pool, San Blas

Maya aboard Fata Morgana at The Swimming Pool, San Blas

It is the end of another year filled with unforgettable adventures- stories of sea-travel and land exploration. A year that thought us a lot and prepared us for the Big Ocean Crossing ahead.

2015 was good; we will remember it with all the beautiful places we visited, all the wonderful people we met, and all the incredible things we learned and achieved.

2015 was the last chapter of our Caribbean Sailing Trip and the begining of our Pacific Ocean Challenge.

We sailed across 2000 nautical miles of sea and explored 7 countries; we met exotic wild animals, whales, indegenous people, and fellow travelers; we learned many new thigs about the world, nature and all the different cultures we came across. Here are some of the best things that happened to us in 2015:

January 2015

In January, we sailed from St Marten to the BVI-s and the USVI-s, we met new and old friends, Maya got lice and we had to trim her hair short, and we got a new kayak!

“Our kayak is not just for fun or for sport, but it is also a clean, silent, shallow-drought alternative to the motor dinghy, capable even of pulling the catamaran, when needed. When our 15-years-old kayak Agent Orange cracked because of the UV damage and old age, it became clear that we needed a new kayak. Just then the guys from KayakShop.BG decided to give us a kayak! Thank you, KayakShop.bg! This was the best New Year present!

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Kayak expedition on Rio Fajardo, Puerto Rico

February 2015 – Puerto Rico

In February, we were in Puerto Rico, where we had to haul out the boat for an emergency repair. We did some shopping for boat parts in the WestMarine store there, we had pork roast in Guavate with friends, and we explored Fajardo River with our new kayak. On our way to Ponce, we met the prisoner-monkeys on a small island.

“There is an island 12 miles southwest of Fajardo (Puerto Rico)- a small island barely 600 by 400 meters in territory, flat on the north side with a steep rocky hill to the southwest rising form the sea, reaching 35 m. The island is forested and uninhabited, except for the population of a few hundred iguanas (an invasive species from South America) and over 1000 Rhesus macaque monkeys (also non-native species) found nowhere else in Puerto Rico or the rest of the Caribbean islands […]We got near a small sandy beach and cautiously looked for the monkeys in the shadows of the thin forest. We waited. Soon a couple of macaques appeared and sat on the ground in the distance glancing at us, expressionless, every now and then. A few minutes later, macaques of all ages and sizes started to appear from every direction, walking on all fours on the ground, jumping from tree to tree, and emitting shrill calls without any apparent reason. We found ourselves surrounded by hundreds of monkeys.

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The Monkey Island. Puerto Rico

March 2015 -Aruba

In March, we sailed from Puerto Rico to the small windy island of Aruba. There we met a very nice and welcoming family who took us around the island to some of the most famous landmarks and attractions: Arikok National Park, Alto Vista Chapel, California Lighthouse, and the Casibari rock formations.

“After three days and two nights of uneventful sailing in calm seas and winds on a beam reach between 8 and 20 knots, we decided to go to Aruba for a quick pit-stop in order to rest and check the weather before continuing on to Santa Marta, Colombia. A month later we were still in Aruba, kind of stuck but also reluctant to leave […], because this small vacation island lying well outside of the hurricane belt, its clean manicured capital Oranjestad with lots of nice shops and restaurants, its sparkling resorts and world-famous beaches, its many natural wonders, and its welcoming people became one of our most favorite Caribbean destinations. Here, Ivo learned to kitesurfing; and Maya took windsurfing lessons. It felt like a vacation.”

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Arachi Beach, Aruba

April 2015- Colombia

In April, when the wind calmed a bit, we sailed to Colombia where we dropped anchor near the small town of Santa Marta. We went camping in Tayrona for a few days, we participated in the sea-turtle release program, we met Cata and Sebastian who gave us scuba-diving lessons aboard Fata Morgana, and we took a plane to Bogota to renew our Canadian Passports in the Canadian Embassy there and to explore the capital’s museums, botanical garden and the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira.

The Salt Cathedral in Zipaquira declared “The First Wonder of Colombia” is one of the most unusual, most astonishing cathedrals in the world. It is built 200 meters underground inside the tunnels of an old salt mine, deep in the belly of a big salty mountain. Everything in this cathedral is made of salt.”

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May 2015 – Colombia

In May, before leaving Colombia direction- Panama, we spent a few days in Cartagena- the most charming colonial capital in the Caribbean.

“As we approached the shores of Colombia I felt the familiar burnt smell of dry old land […] We couldn’t wait to get to know the country, the narrow busy streets of Santa Marta, the museums and cathedrals of Bogota, the hot native village of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the waterfalls in the Sierra Nevada, the architecture of Cartagena, the wild beaches and the monkeys in Tayrona. One month is not enough to see all Colombia has to offer to the dusty traveler, even a year will probably not do. Colombia is awesome!”

Тайрона, Ел Кабо

Park Tayrona, Colombia

June 2015 – San Blas Archipelago

In June, we dropped anchor in the most beautiful archipelago we have ever seen- the San Blas Islands of Panama where the indigenous Kuna Yala people live.

“Kuna Yala, officially known as the San Blas Islands, is a vast archipelago in the Caribbean Sea stretching over 2,300 square kilometers and consisting of over 360 mostly small flat islands scattered among coral reefs off the eastern coast of Panama, of which only about 40 are inhabited, home of the indigenous Kuna people. The bigger inhabited islands are densely populated by organized communities, and on some of the smaller ones only two or three families reside […] in huts on the beach made of renewable materials among tall palms, without electricity or grocery store. The only light in the evening is from the small fires of coconut peals, over which the Kuna women boil fish-and-plantain soup. Life here is still completely self-contained and off the grid.”

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Kuna Yala woman, San Blas

July 2015- Crossing of the Panama Canal

In July, after meeting S/V Anka 1 crew, we transited the Panama Canal together with our new friends- Adrian, Krisha and Alex, and gloriously arrived in the Pacific Ocean.

“We are at the point of no return. A new chapter in our voyage is about to begin. Panama Canal is one of the 7 wonders of the industrial world, along with the Hoover Dam and London’s Sewerage system among others. It connects the two biggest oceans on the planet, and crossing it aboard a boat is the ultimate way to experience it.”

Maya Ivo and Mira aboard S/V Fata Morgana transiting Panama Canal

Maya Ivo and Mira aboard S/V Fata Morgana transiting Panama Canal

August 2015 -Panama City

In August, we settled in Panama City where our boat remaind for five months- time to stop for a while and rest. We made many new friends here and soon the big metropolis became “home”.

“After sailing in the Caribbean and some of the Latin American countries, Panama City seams surprisingly developed to us, with good infrastructure and big shopping malls; a globalized place greatly influenced by the United States of America during the construction of Panama Canal. Panama City is a hub for international banking and commerce with the largest and busiest international airport in Central America, as well as one of the top five places in the world for retirement, according to International Living magazine (from Wikipedia). With the very noticeable exception of the infamous neighborhood El Chorillo, poor dirty and dangerous place right in the middle of town, Panama City is a big well developed modern metropolis, a clean good-looking city.”

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September 2015 – Punta Chame (Panama)

In September, Ivo met Rado Barzev- a maniac kitesurfer from Bulgaria, and together they went kitesurfing a few times in a beautiful deserted beach not too far from Panama City.

“At the end of a narrow almost deserted peninsula less than 100 km west of Panama City, we get to a wild beach of extreme tides, black vultures and skeletons; of howling winds and flying people. An hour and a half drive from the city is Punta Chame, a popular kitesurfing spot along the Bahía de Chame in Panama, a prime destination for adrenalin-junkies from the city.”

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Kitesurfing in Punta Chame

October 2015 – The Pearl Islands Archipelago

In October, we sailed to the Pearl Islands to witness the glorious miracle of whales.

“A world of islands, the Pearl Archipelago where the biggest pearl on earth, “La Pelegrina” was found, is one of few places in the world, where thousands of humpback whales arrive each summer. From July to October, the large island group is home to somewhere between 900 and 2,000 humpback whales who travel over 6,000 miles from the cold waters of the Arctic and the Antarctic where they feed to the shallow warm waters of Costa Rica and the Gulf of Panama where they give birth and nurse their babies. Their journey along the coast of South and North America and across the equator is the greatest migration of any mammal on Earth.”

Humpback whale breaching, Pearl Islands, Panama

Humpback whale breaching, Pearl Islands, Panama

November 2015 – Panama

In November, after months of training, we took part in a few organized marathons. Maya ran 5K, Mira 10K and Ivo achieved one of his bucket list goals running in a full 42K International Marathon of Panama.

“On November 29th, 2015 Ivo joined the two thousand other people from all over the world, who started running at 5:00 a.m. in the center of Panama City and didn’t return until hours later, having covered the 42.2 K distance. Training for months for a long distance running and finishing a 42K full marathon Panama International Marathon under 5 hours is an accomplishment of a lifetime; an incredible achievement.”

Ivo

Ivo running in Panama

December 2015 – Costa Rica and Nicaragua

In December 2015, we left S/V Fata Morgana at anchor in Panama City and with a tent and backpacks took the bus to Costa Rica and Nicaragua, exploring jungles, mountains and volcanoes. We climbed Volcan Baru- the highest mountain peak in Panama, we camped on Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica in the company of spider monkeys and Ara Macaws, we met a couple of Bulgarian scientists researching cave bats, we climbed Cerro Chiripo and spent time in La Fortuna near Arenal Volcano, before crossing the border to Nicaragua. We put up our tent in the backyard of our frined Rado’s paraents house and spent Christmass and New Year with them. In Nicaragua, we met some wonderful new friends and with them we explored the countries many wonders- volcanoes, canyons, beaches and lagoons.

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The New Year found us in Nicaragua, greatful for all the good times we have had in the past months and eager to explore further; to see new lands and wonders aboard S/V Fata Morgana.

Thank you for your incredible support along the way! We whish you all a Happy New 2016! Be inspired and be curious, seek adventure, explore!

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