Remember When We Almost Capsized a boat!?

This isn’t a phrase that most people have the chance or any desire to say during their lifetimes, but whether it be good luck or bad luck I’ve found myself saying it over the last few days.  Although this wasn’t my first nautical misadventure as I’ve had the misfortune to be aboard a large sailing catamaran that miscalculated the height of a bridge in Fort Lauderdale and crashed into it, this near capsizing was an extremely close call.  Let me paint the scene for you…

The Boat that Survived!

So I moved down to Panama on my own nearly 3 months ago and since then I’ve had the pleasure of 3 of my closest friends who decided to come and live this adventure with me for extended periods of time.  On my first holiday from school I decided to cruise up to the postcard perfect paradise that is Bocas Del Toro, Panama.  After a less than fun 10 hour overnight bus ride from Panama City, two friends and I arrived on a gorgeous island waiting anxiously for our fourth buddy to arrive and form the devastatingly awesome double duo I like to refer to as the “Hardcore Four.”  After checking into a fantastically chill hostel where I would be sleeping in air-conditioning for the first time in months, right next to the Caribbean Sea, we opted to rent some bicycles from a friendly Rasta Man and try to discover some caves.  Chalked full of excited anticipation and adrenaline these beach cruisers partook in a “Tour de Panama” up and down the jungle mountain hills of Colon Island.  With our hearts pumping to the sights and sounds of the jungle we cruised until sweat literally overcame every square inch of our shirts.  Not prepared in the slightest, we eventually found ourselves at a cave and using only one small flashlight and the screens of our cell phones we ventured inside.  As the darkness eventually surrounded us we continued through the cave alongside massive spider-cricket hybrid creatures and huge bats whizzing by our heads.  Eventually we realized the squishy hills we were climbing over weren’t rock, but mounds of bat shit and as we slowly found light at the end of the cave we drastically scampered out as quickly as possible.

The Legendary Papa

Later in the evening we were united with our buddy and partook in a debauchery celebration of Panamanian Beer, Rum and Exotic Island bars on stilts over the Sea.  After a fun, long night we woke up in a confused and hungover haze, very thankful we had air-conditioning!  Somehow the night before one of my buddies had managed to re-unite with a local friend who owned a small boat that could take us out for the day, so we forced our bodies up and onto a boat.  Words can’t even describe the legend of Andreas or “Papa” as he’s known by his amigos.  This local islander took us and an extremely hungover, random Auzzie dude on his boat for the day to go fishing.  We stopped on his island where he grabbed some fresh coconuts and hacked them open with a machete for us so we could drink the water to cure our hangovers.  Next we stopped for a case of beer, wrapped a fishing line around a plastic bottle to be used as our only fishing device and set out to catch some fish.  The first stop was to catch some small bait fish for which we had a huge net that we would cast out near shore to scoop them up.  Only 50 feet or so from the beach we began to catch net after net of bait fish as our boat was slowly rocking to the waves that seemed to be slowly increasing in intensity.  Our island captain was so caught up in catching the bait fish and we were too busy drinking beers in such an elevated mood that we hardly noticed what was happening, but as I turned my head I noticed a large wave that looked as if it was about to break directly over the boat.  One of my friends was literally standing on the hull of the ship making jokes as this boat quite literally crashed over top of us, nearly flipping the boat directly into the sea.  By some combination of luck and strength no one managed to go overboard, but our problems were only just beginning.

2 of the Hardcore Four and Papa

As “Papa” frantically made his way back to the motor he screamed at us to get to the front of the boat to balance it out, as we had taken on so much water there was quite literally only a few inches separating the level of water in the boat and the sea.  Our captain was waste deep in water with a stressed look on his face as we all stood beer in hands in a discombobulated state of happiness, confusion and disbelief.  As I sat on the hull watching the hungover Auzzie attempt to bail the huge amounts of water out of the boat using a tiny plastic half gallon bottle I kept noticing the back corner of the boat and the literal 2 inches separating us from never seeing this boat again.  As “Papa” sped us out of the waves and we slowly made it to deeper, calmer water the bailing began working and we realized this boat would see another day.  It was from this moment on that the “Hardcore Four” could honestly say that they nearly capsized a boat in Panama……

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2 thoughts on “Remember When We Almost Capsized a boat!?

  1. I don’t know what is more impressive, going on a boat hungover or surviving a near capsize. Can’t wait to hear what the “Hardcore Four” get into next.

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