Friday, April 27, 2007

Aruba to Cartagena

Sailing to Colombia offered a few nice stops along the way. However, should the weather turn ugly you could be stuck for a while. We were anxious to get to Cartagena get the boat ship shape for the Pacific and see the San Blas islands. The seas along the north eastern part of Colombia can get quite ugly at times. In particular, short and very steep seas. Fortunately for us the trip was mostly uneventful. We sailed 1/3 of it and motor sailed the rest in flat seas with no wind.

The only memorable event was off the coast of Rio Madelena. The wind was so light that a swarm of wasps managed to travel across the water and decided that our boat was the perfect place for a new home, there must have been 30-40. Dimitri was asleep and I sat in the companionway swatting them as they tried to enter the boat. I woke him up and said you deal with it, gave him a can of insect killer and then locked myself inside the boat to wait until he’d finished. I did feel sorry for him as I could hear lots of yelling and cursing but not enough to help. Protection is the man’s job, he put up a good fight and several wasps needed repeated clubbing. I made him a sandwich while I was down there though.

I was wrong about the events, two more. We were Boca Grande which has a submerged wall, waiting for daylight to enter the pass and didn’t see two fishing canoes and almost ran them over. They’re ok. Also as we got near Cartagena we could hear someone calling on the radio asking for a vessel to identify themselves. No idea it was us and when I went outside 10 feet away from us was a huge black coast guard boat. Boat was all black, 5 guys dressed all in black all carrying semi automatic weapons. Scared the shit out of me. We looked at each other for a minute or two and nobody said anything then I said ‘buenas dias’ they repeated it back, checked our papers and all was fine. They have to stop sneaking up on people.

When the sun came up there was enough light to see the unlit buoys and we passed through the channel, past the statue of the Madonna in the middle of the bay and up to Club Nautico. We anchored at 8am and an hour later a squall came in and a few of the boats in the anchorage dragged. In the end all was well. We decided to take a slip in the Marina for a couple of months. Dimitri was going to go to Sarasota and buy our equipment and it was too dangerous for me to stay on the boat by myself in the anchorage. The squalls were typical for that time of the year and re-anchoring on my own wasn’t an option.

Over the next 2 months we enjoyed Cartagena. The Marina was really nice and every morning there is free coffee to enjoy and incredibly cheap breakfasts. A glass of fresh squeezed juice, a plate of fruit and a plate of eggs, bacon and toast all for $2.00. How can you beat that, it costs more to buy it from the supermarket. Here we started to meet many English cruisers and became friends with some who we later


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