I´ve been in the Western Carribean a bit now. Long enough to have met plenty of cruisers to get a feel for this particular breed. After the normal questions (how many years out, where you´ve been), I always ask if they are headed through the canal. I am surprised by how often the answer is an emphatic ¨no.¨ It is almost like a thorn in the side that the canal is there otherwise they would have a very valid excuse for remaining on this side. The feeling I get is that by the time Panama is reached most of the American and some of the European cruisers have done several seasons already and they have a ¨been there, done that¨ attitude toward cruising. Even some of the younger cruisers feel that the expense of the canal and the additional huge commitment of doing the Pacific just isn´t worth it. It is kind of a shame, but in retrospect, I feel really glad that I did the South Pacific first. In my case, if I hadn´t have had the few experience I did have there, I wouldn´t have had the stamina to do the other oceans. I still believe that the cruising one dreams of is still possible there, although off the ¨milkrun¨route. I´ve repeated it throughout the blog before and I will repeat it again that the South Pacific is the true cruising ground.
In other news, it is a bit too early for me to cross the canal so I might try doing some low budget sail trips within the San Blas. It is really easy to undercut everyone else as the prices asked are over the top... The ¨great recession¨ can´t be all that bad if flashpackers are shelling out nearly 100 a day to camp out on boats like Olivine, the 30 foot version of my boat that has seven people aboard when full!