The Pebble Pedelars


We met three cyclists, Seth, Parker and Chris, at a clifftop cafe on our way to El Tunco beach, and ended up staying in the same posada, sharing a veranda and many stories. Chris and Parker are the Pebble Pedalers, cycling from the Arctic ocean in Alaska down to Patagonia in an effort to raise awareness of the huge negative enviornmental impact of a proposed open pit mine (The Pebble mine) in the Bristol Bay Watershed, and I guess on raising the question as to why we are happy to destroy this beautiful world and its natural habitats. There has to be a better way. The Californian brothers are also avid fishermen, and are combining their trip with opportunities to fish as they bike. Chris is Alaskan they met on the way, and he decided to fly down to Mexico to join them for a few months on the road. It was a great to meet them and hang out for a couple of nights.

I really like their bikes, Surly ‘Big Dummys’, designed with touring in mind. It is extra long and has a trailer of sorts build around the back wheel. Definitely one for the wish list. We exchanged stories of our trips so far and it was a good boost, meeting people doing the same thing. It gives you a certain reassurance and helps put your trip and daily life into perspective. They have covered 12000km so far, and eaten a lot of fish. They have also gained a lot of support. A TV  interview was arranged for them through a Salvadorean friend of a friend, and off they went to live the high life (ie hot showers and cable TV!) for a few nights while we prepared for the leg of our journey that would bring us to casa Noel and Carmin in Nicaragua.

The Pebble Pedalers epitomise the spirit of adventure and easily show what can be achieved if you believe in something and persevere at attaining it. In more ways than one it was a lucky meeting. We need to get from Panama to Columbia, a journey necessary when travelling between Central and South America. This can be done in a number of ways and is something we had already been thinking about. It is usually a three to five day trip, possibly taking in the San Blas islands which are reputed to be amongst the most beautiful in the world. Stories abound of both the captains and boats that ply the route. Gary, the French cyclist we met, promised to put us in touch with the one legged, rum drinking pirate that brought him across. Seth and Parker went one better, offering us the last two places on a 40m yacht, the Stahlratte, that they have booked up along with a bunch of their friends who are joining them in Panama. So, on the 10th of May we will be sailing from the Panamian coast and heading to South America. We will in fact be sailing! All the passengers crew the boat along with 3 regular crew and the captain. It is great to have a date and a plan, and countries to explore in between. 

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