Our Passage From Cartagena To Puerto Rico

There are still several posts to come, about the end of our time in the San Blas and our stay in Cartagena. I try to be detailed in my writing, as well as in editing and labeling the many photos related to each post. It’s frustrating to be so far behind, but all of this takes time…and internet.

I keep our blog in the most chronological order possible, as it is first and foremost a detailed journal of this big, crazy adventure that we can look back on in the future. Having an accurate timeline also seems much easier for readers to follow. That said, we’ve just completed a big milestone, after arriving in Puerto Rico from Cartagena, and I think it worthy of  “jumping to the front of the line” on the blog, so I’m going to take a moment to skip ahead…settle in, this one will take awhile.

As I mentioned in the previous post, we’re heading to the Eastern Caribbean next, and getting there from anywhere west is challenging. Scott’s plan was to head immediately north out of Cartagena, getting as much distance from the Colombian coast as possible, before turning east in a tight reach run toward Puerto Rico.

With this passage being our longest and most challenging, Scott decided to defer to a professional, and pay for weather routing. The plan came back for us to follow the Colombian coast, keeping out of some current, and then turn north. Scott wasn’t thrilled with the idea, but he resisted the urge to argue.

Taking into account the oncoming wind and waves, and constant use of the paravanes, we hoped for a speed of six knots, worse case five. When we received the route, it had us arriving a day earlier than Scott’s calculations, so there was some back and forth to confirm how fast our boat would be able to travel.

With a weather window that wouldn’t get any better in the near future, we cast off lines, and headed east. Our destination was Ponce, located on Puerto Rico’s south central coast. There were other options, but Ponce was farther east, and had many stores in the area for us to shop (Walmart Supercenter, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, auto parts stores, PetSmart, and….fast foodl!).

Sunday – Day One: We made our way out of Cartagena’s harbor through the north cut. It was shorter than the south route we followed into Cartagena, by more than two hours, but challenging to navigate.

There is an old submerged wall at the north cut, put in place to be a harbor defense. Ships would run aground on the wall, tearing their bottom out. This forced them to use the deeper south entrance, which is visible from forts in the area and more easily defended.

A section of the submerged wall has been removed for boats to pass through, but we were unsure of it’s depth. After inquiring online, a local expat informed us that we had eight feet to work with; more than enough, as we only needed five. We made our way easily through the cut, and out into the Caribbean Sea.

As predicted, our passage began with unusually calm conditions, considering Colombia’s coast is the most challenging Caribbean location to “escape” from. Even with virtually non-existent wind, the swells were very sizable. Luckily, they were far enough apart, so even in a head sea we traveled over them comfortably.

As is usual for this area, the winds picked up considerably as evening approached. We spent the entire night traveling right into 20 knot winds, which was a bit lumpy. I was so grateful for our bow height! Even at nine feet above the waterline, we were getting covered in heavy spray. The pilot house was also worth it’s weight in gold at this point, provding the opportunity to be inside!

Howard did not enjoy the increase in wind and swells. I managed to get food into him in the afternoon, and we made two successful trips to the litter box. I helped brace him as he did both numbers one and two (it was clear by the look on his face that he was mortified by this), and was satisfied that basic needs were being met.

However, later attempts to get food into him resulted in two vomiting episodes, and a generally miserable feline. I tucked him in tight with pillows to keep his movement to a minimum and covered him in cold towels to help keep him cool, which seemed to help.

We began the passage with the saloon doors open and the screen pulled across for fresh air. After dark, the sounds of flying fish landing and flopping in the cockpit was too distracting for seasick Howard. It wasn’t worth risking more vomit, so we closed the doors.

I have a hard time sleeping while on passage, only getting an hour or so at a time, and this time was no different.  It’s hard for me to block out movement of the boat and noise of the motor. On this passage, I was also trying to block out noise of the wind and waves, which was almost impossible.

As a result, I took watch as much as possible, and let Scott store up on sleep. He’d begin the day at dawn, while I rested on the couch and did a few chores. At about 10-11am, I’d come back up to the pilothouse until 5pm, and Scott would come on until I started my night watch, which usually ran from 10pm until 5am.

As usual, I sang my way through eight hours of night watch, while keeping an eye on the instruments and radar. Our Delorme satellite tracker is invaluable when we’re underway. I am able to text with others cruisers, and friends at home, until they go to bed. Then I switch over to friends in the UK as they wake up…awesome!

Monday – Day Two: When I woke Scott at dawn, the winds were back down to ten knots. We opened the saloon doors and the smell of dead flying fish hit us in the face. Scott collected thirty, from both the cockpit and side decks.

Later in the day, he went up onto the flybridge, to investigate an unnerving noise (Many sounds occur in big seas, from unexpected items rolling around. Some are never identified, and remain maddening), and found a dead flying fish up there as well!

Even though the winds had subsided, it took hours for the swells to follow suit, but by late morning we were back in easily tolerable head seas. I took the calmer conditions as a chance for Howard to lap up some chicken broth, and he was able to get some actual rest, wedged in between the legs of whomever was sleeping on the couch.

Again, the winds increased in the evening. Scott was concerned that we were now near the Colombia/Venezuelan border, and asked me to be extra diligent as I kept an eye on the radar screen that night. There haven’t been any recent reports of issues with boats in the area, but it never hurts to be more aware. I saw two or three large ships on the screen, more than twelve miles out; aside from that, we were alone.

Tuesday – Day Three: I’d spent the night hearing almost constant thuds outside from fish impact, and in the light of day I could see why. The dead carcasses were everywhere, and their odor came right through the closed doors. Our saloon smelled like a fish cannery, and Scott’s morning carcass count came to a whopping 130!

Fish aside, by now, I could no longer stand the smell of myself. At night, the saloon and pilothouse doors were closed, to keep flying fish out. This stems from one managing to make it’s way through a window that was barely cracked open on a previous passage. It landed on Scott’s face as he slept on the saloon couch, so now….doors closed at dark!

As a result, the boat gets quite toasty inside at night. We keep fans pointed at us, but it’s still pretty darned warm. The need for a shower was now interfering with what little sleep I manage to get, so I decided that come hell, big wind or swells, I was bathing today! It went better than expected, with the molded shower seat coming in handy, and I emerged a new, non-smelly person.

By late afternoon, the winds ramped up with a vengeance. I spent the night watching winds stay at 20+ knots, almost squarely on our nose. We now had white caps and sizable waves along with the huge swells. At one point, I looked out, and saw the churning sea below us. We were perched up on a big-mamma wave, before sliding down it’s side. I was glad that it would soon be dark, hiding my view of the chaotic water coming at us.

Frequently, as we were coming down a wave, another would hit with us from underneath, and the sound of impact was loud, jarring and scary. Sea Life handled the conditions like a champ; the crew, not so much. Howard threw up again, and Scott went to sleep with the assistance of a Valium.

Wednesday – Day Four: Since we were virtually alone, and there was just the occasional ship passing 12 or 16 miles away, I’d spent the night watching movies. Our friends aboard s/v Prism were also underway, heading from the San Blas to the Cayman Islands. We each have a Delorme, so Shannon and I spent time each evening chatting  back and forth. At dawn, I came off watch and woke Scott. Our morning fish carcass count was only 30. I think we were too much of a moving target, for them to intersect with.

Howard was becoming more tolerant of the conditions underway. He kept down some broth and canned chicken, and made another successful visit to the litter box with help from me for stabilization. I considered it progress.

The stupid, big winds lasted for 18 nerve-wracking hours, before dropping back down to 12 or so knots mid-morning. It’s amazing how quiet and calm 12 knots is, after living with winds in the 20s for so long. The strong winds along with current in the area kept pushing us west during the night but Scott was now able to change our course a bit, putting us more on track for Puerto Rico. We are finally crossed the halfway point, but three more days of this seems like forever!

Thursday – Day Five: Overnight conditions remained the same as the previous night. Winds increased, and we lumbered through the waves and swells. While on watch, I suddenly heard a strange thud in front of me, inside the pilothouse, and knew exactly what had happened….fish breach.

I mentioned Scott being hit in the face as he slept, when a fish came through a cracked window. This time, one managed to travel under the solar panels (which are mounted above the pilothouse, and sit only six inches above the pilothouse roof) and down through one of the small hatches in ceiling! We keep these hatches open, unless the air conditioning is running. With the solar panels mounted just above them, we can get air into the pilothouse without worrying about rain or the sun’s heat coming in, but obviously fish are a concern.

As the smelly fish flopped around on the chart table, I stayed put on the bench and yelled out, “SCOTT!!!!…..FISH!!!…SCOTT??!?!?…FISH INSIDE!!! Scott woke immediately from his sleep, and quickly appeared with paper towel in hand. In the dim light, he located and grabbed the icky, flopping fish and chucked it out of the pilothouse door. Scott then attempted to wipe up the mess left behind; slim, scales and whatever those things throw up when they’re under stress. As you can imagine, the pilothouse now smelled wonderful. Aside from the drama of a fish breach, the rest of my night watch was uneventful. I saw one or two ships on the radar the entire time, none closer than 12 miles.

Day five brought several variables converging at once, making for a stressful day of calculations, schedule change and worry.

After learning that Colombia only sells bio-diesel fuel, we did not take on fuel in Cartagena, A mix of diesel and vegetable oil, it’s make-up “cleans” the build up inside fuel tanks, resulting in clogged filters and the need to change them more frequently to avoid motor issues. Scott stocks spares (of everything), but did not want to make a passage of this distance not knowing how the bio-diesel would react, and not wanting to be in the engine room changing filters throughout the trip.

Scott keeps records of our fuel usage, and accurately knows how much we use, depending on travel speed. What he needed to know, was how much fuel remained in our tanks as we prepared to leave Cartagena . Getting a somewhat accurate read on our fuel levels was challenging, as the tanks are oddly shaped, versus a clean rectangle or square.

There are sight lines marked on the tanks, but Scott was unsure as to their accuracy. After discussions with fellow Krogen owners, who have boats of similar age and cruising distance as Sea Life, Scott calculated, and calculated and calculated some more….and after more calculations was comfortable that we had enough fuel to get us from Cartagena to Puerto Rico, with 100 or so gallons to spare..great!

This was all well and good until day three of our passage, when we began to fight a strong, unexpected oncoming current, which slowed our speed considerably. Scott estimated our speed to average at near 5.5 knots, allowing for slowing from paravane use, increased wind and a running in and out of some current. Unfortunately, we hadn’t been able to shake the current, and winds were also stronger than predicted. These variables had us traveling at an average closer to 4 knots (much of the time, in the high 3 knot range).

At this much slower speed, it seemed our arrival time may be delayed by a day, maybe two. This brought concern as to whether there was enough fuel to continue for that amount of time. We discussed alternate locations (Dominican Republic and Jamaica), but weren’t sure they were viable options for saving fuel. Scott checked the levels again, which was challenging with the movement of being underway. We had fuel left in both tanks, and Scott planned to run one dry, giving him an idea of how much we’d have left in the remaining tank to use.

Meanwhile, I was wrapping my brain around the possibility that we had more days ahead of us than originally planned. My threshold for passages is three days, after that, I’m done; done with wind, boat movement, motor noise, shifts, odd sleep patterns…just done. Our longest trip so far has been almost four full days, and that was more than enough for me. I was already dreading the fact that we had to endure six days to get to Puerto Rico. My passage frustration peaked on day four, and the idea of more travel time made me insane.

Friday – Day Six: During my overnight shift, our speed suffered, averaging  2.9-3.5 knots. We just couldn’t escape the strong, oncoming current, and it was maddening. After awhile, I just stopped looking at the speed. I’d already stopped looking at the weather station, as our wind speed never went below 20. Passages suck.

The only ship that we were able to visibly see (not just on radar) passed by off to our starboard side in the morning. It detoured around us, saving an uncomfortable course change. This photo doesn’t look across the water at the ship. You’re looking at a wall of water.

At roughly 3pm, the winds increased to 30 knots. Our speed, which had gone back up closer to 4 knots, was now back at 2.9-3….terrific.These conditions were insanely unnerving. We were seeing more sky than water out of the front windows, as the boat launched up huge waves. The noise of the wind, and the sound of the motor as the boat battled it’s way up and down the waves was terrifying at times.

When we began cruising, the sight of larger waves and water coming at us scared me to death. It’s one of the main reasons that I choose to do the all-night watch, so I cannot see the big water. I have made great strides along the way, realizing that Sea Life can handle this stuff, and have become much better at looking out the windows. I was very proud of myself on this passage, being able to stare out at a sea in 20+ knots of wind and not flinch….up until now.

At 30 knots, the seas were huge and angry looking, so I did the last of my afternoon watch focusing on the radar, or the computer screen, and not outside. Downstairs on a break before my night shift, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to go back up to the pilothouse; I was terrified. However, by 10pm, after seven hours of 30 knots and huge seas, I was numb to it, and handled my night shift just fine.

Oddly, as outside conditions worsened, Howard transitioned, and became much more tolerant of all the movement and noise. It was as if he thought this was his new life, and he may as well adjust to the situation. Wind or no wind, wave jolts aside, motor noise be damned, he was gonna eat and sleep as usual.

He began to demand food, jumping from the end table up to the raised galley counter, where he could lay supported by the surrounding fiddles (raised wood trim). I hesitantly fed him, and he demanded more, so I gave him seconds. Later in the day, I noticed that he’d made a successful trip to the litter box on his own. Howard was becoming a champion passage cat!

Scott continued to keep a close eye on our fuel consumption. We were still drawing from the tank that he planned to run dry,  so it seemed that we’d make Ponce without having to paddle….fingers crossed.

By 3am, the winds eased a bit, and were back down to just over 20 knots, but it was still an unnerving go. Shortly after, I noticed a band of rain heading for us. I woke Scott, just to be sure it wasn’t something to be concerned about. After checking the radar screen, he informed me that it would most likely miss us. It did not miss us, and the winds quickly ramped up to 37 knots, with higher gusts….yay for us.

Saturday – Day Seven:  We’d expected to arrive in Ponce Puerto Rico sometime after dawn this morning, but were now just hoping to make it by dark. The good news was that Scott was now completely confident that we had the fuel to get there.

I came downstairs after my night watch to wake Scott, and found Howard laying on the floor outside the galley, waiting for food. He seemed oblivious to the fact that he was sliding back and forth with the movement of the boat. I fed him a normal amount of his usual food, and he scarfed it up. At least someone was tolerating this stuff.

Moving around the boat had been challenging since the beginning. We have grab rails in place, allowing something to hold on to while coming out of the pilothouse and down to the galley, and also going down below to the head.

Getting to and from the couch in the saloon to sleep, was a different matter. Scott is tall enough to reach the grab rail along the ceiling, but it’s a reach for me when we’re not moving, and became impossible during our lumpy ride. I would swing myself toward the couch, using the pole in the galley counter, landing in a flop. Getting off of the couch was more difficult. With nothing to pull myself up, I’d end up launching forward as I rose, going into an immediate crab walk to keep from falling over.

As conditions worsened, it became increasingly hard to move around. Simple things became challenging, and sometimes dangerous. When getting something out of the refrigerator, you had to keep hold of the door with one hand, to keep it from banging into you. Going up and down to the pilot house was hard, even with the grab rails. I chose to almost crawl, keeping a low center of gravity, and my crab walk had become more of a caveman-like stomp.

I was dying for another shower, but it was just too stinkin’ rough to chance it. Instead, I settled for attempting freshness with baby wipes, deodorant and fresh clothes.

In Howard’s efforts to adjust to his “new life,” he attempted sleeping in his usual spots. I discovered him trying to sleep on top of the cabinet below our tv. Again, he was sliding back and forth with the boat’s movement, so I wedged a towel on one side of him for support.  Next, he attempted to sleep in his “taco,” which is attached atop a scratching post, Worried it would topple over, with his weight to one side of it, I took him out and laid the thing down on it’s side. He promptly straddled it, to stretch and scratch. If only I could adjust half this well.

The rain squalls moved over us until late morning. I laid on the couch, listening to the winds howl, and bracing myself against the boat’s movement, having another bought with terror. After some time, I again realized the boat could handle it, but was beyond done with wind, waves and current. With Scott being well rested, he offered to hunker down and keep watch for the final leg, God love him. Not that there was much to watch…winds still mid to upper 20s, with occasional stretches of 30, current still against us and seas still angry.

Scott settled into an iPod trance in the pilothouse, I continued my marathon re-watching of the tv show LOST in the saloon and Howard became an eating machine, making up for lost time earlier in the week;  we were all just trying to get through it.

I’d occasionally check on Scott, and find the winds, current and sea state just as I’d left them. By mid afternoon our speed was thankfully back up to 4 knots, and we were on track to arrive in Ponce at approximately 6pm! Scott was now counting down time to our arrival at the channel’s entrance. From there, it would be less than an hour to the marina.

Soon, Puerto Rico finally came into view! As the coast of Ponce got closer, we kept our eyes glued to the horizon, for a first glimpse of the red and green channel markers.

Just before 6pm, we entered the Holy Land….Ponce channel! As we approached the marina, Scott brought the boat to idle, so he could pull the birds in, raise the paravanes and get our fenders down from the flybridge for docking. We had our slip assignment at Ponce Yacht & Fishing Club, but weren’t up for trying to find it in the dark.  Since the tanks had to be filled at some point, we chose to tie to the fuel dock for the night, allowing us to get that job out of the way first thing in the morning.

At 6:30pm on April 29th, we turned off the motor, which had run for six and a half days. Considering our struggles along the way, we could live with arriving twelve hours past our original target time. Sea Life had handled the passage like a champ. We were reconfirmed of our decision to purchase a Krogen, with it’s incredibly seaworthy, full displacement hull. She was a tank in the heavy winds and huge seas, not slamming up and down, but firmly launching up one side of a wave, before sliding down the other side like a beach ball.

We were completely exhausted, but thrilled to be over this huge hurdle, and safely in the Eastern Caribbean! As we tied up to the dock, and opened the doors, Howard was happy as a clam to breath in the new smells, and scope out his land surroundings.

Once we were safely tied to the dock, Scott ran the generator so we could sleep in the air conditioning. Now, first and foremost….showers, showers SHOWERS!! We enjoyed some well deserved celebratory cocktails with a frozen pizza dinner, and then the crew of Sea Life, Howard included, collapsed into post-passage comas.

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”

 

On To Puerto Rico!

After a month that flew by in Cartagena, we are on the move again!

We want to head for the Eastern Caribbean, but there is no good way to travel east. The trade winds run from east to west, which means traveling into the wind. A head sea is no one’s favorite, whether you’re sailing, or motoring.

Getting out of Cartagena, or should I say away from Colombia, is especially challenging. There is an almost constant low pressure down here, which causes the wind to howl, especially at night. Sustained thirty knot winds are a regular occurrence; not good when you prefer a threshold of fifteen.

The most obvious route is to travel off the coast of Colombia, round a “bump-out” of land near the Venezuelan border, and head for the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao). Winds are most vicious off of the bump-out, and we’re leery to travel anywhere near Venezuela. Six days of a full-on head sea is also a negative.

So after much consideration, we’ve decided to do more of a “tight reach,” to use a sailing term, or head in a diagonal direction up to Puerto Rico. This plan keeps us from traveling in a full-on head sea the entire way, and fingers crossed, gives us a better ride.

After watching and waiting for good weather, winds are predicted to calm over the next few days, giving us the best conditions we’re going to get for the next 14 – 21 days. Our plan is to follow the coast for a bit, to stay out of a current, before turning toward Puerto Rico.

This will by no means be a calm trip, even though the winds are down. Our first and last 24 hours are expected to be  uncomfortable, but we’re hoping that the middle will be better.

The run to Puerto Rico will be our longest to date, and should take six days; I hope we’re all up for this. We have several friends who are currently crossing the Pacific, so it could be worse for me (and Howard).

Follow our progress on the link of the Where Are We Now page, and I’ll check in when we arrive (also feel free to email us underway through that link). I will eventually catch you up on our time in Cartagena, but have been busy enjoying this city, in between battling internet and never-ending computer issues. Thanks so much for your patience….Puerto Rico here we come!

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”

 

Fishing And Relaxing In The Albuquerque Cays

Please forgive the lapse in posting. In addition to battling spotty internet service, I am switching to Google Photos and also honing my skills in Photoshop. Bear with me while I familiarize myself with these things, as I’m far from computer savvy. Until I rename my albums in Google, the links to more photos at the end of previous posts won’t work, so if you get the urge to “walk down our memory lane”, hold off for a bit.

Now, on to catching you up……The water surrounding the Albuquerque Cays was gorgeous! 

Clear, Bahama-blue water reflecting off of shallow white sand bottom, framed by green and brown of the surrounding reefs. The whole area is encircled by darker shades of deeper blue water, with the bottom easily visible 30 feet straight down below us, and 80 feet out at an angle.

 

We anchored in front of the larger cay, where the military “Flies” base is located. The island is so thick with palm trees of all sizes, shapes and shades of green that you cannot see any sign of life or shelter on it, until a small glow of light appears after dark. We never tired of admiring the view, it was straight off of a calendar page.

 

Of course, Scott got right to fishing. On his first venture out he caught a glass eyed snapper (which we enjoyed several times in Providencia) and a decent sized mangrove snapper.

 

 

The reefs weren’t terrifically colorful, but they were very, very healthy. Scott commented on how big the fragile, larger coral was (elk horn, stag horn, etc.). Some of the monstrous brain coral was so large that it broke the surface in places. Unfortunately, there weren’t too many fish, and lobster were non existent. We assume that the commercial fisherman have depleted the supply, setting up their own lobster traps farther out.

However, Scott was not discouraged, and ventured out nearly every day. I tagged along one morning, to get some photos and enjoy some bug-free sun and reading while he searched the waters below.

 

 

After an hour or so, Scott came back empty handed. He’d noticed the head of a large snapper peeking out of a hole, and waited for it to exit. When the fish made a move into open water, Scott shot it through the back. Unfortunately, the tip of his spear broke off, rendering it useless for another shot as the wounded fish swam away.

Scott came up into the dinghy angry and frustrated, wanting restitution for his tip. That fish was going to be dinner, come hell or high water! We headed back to Sea Life, where a new tip was put on, and a mission was set. I skipped this go-round, preferring to stay clear of the battle ahead.

Back at the scene of the crime, Scott found the large snapper again in his hole and fired another shot. This stunned the fish, and it came out of the hole swimming aimlessly. Scott seized his opportunity, and took a final shot that went through the snapper’s gills.

With his restitution in tow, Scott swam hard for the surface, not wanting to share his kill with any lurking sharks or barracuda. He was glad that the snapper wasn’t at it’s full strength, because the fish fought hard on the spear all the way to the surface.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I was quietly enjoying a book. When I rose to close the shades against the hot afternoon sun, I heard the dinghy motor and saw Scott approaching. He triumphantly raised his kill (too large to fit in the five gallon bucket) for a photo.

Here is his first snapper…

 

And the trophy snapper…

 

The fish was fat, heavy and long. At 23″, it was more than enough for several dinners, starting with yummy fried fish sandwiches (on my homemade ciabatta bread!).

Now that the fridge was full of fish, and his hand was feeling the pain of battle (bruising between the thumb and forefinger), Scott took a day off. We both relaxed, watched movies, napped and admired our surroundings.

 

 

Aside from the occasional lap against the hull and the sound of waves crashing on the outer reef, our days were dead quiet at anchor here. The Flies only ventured into sight in the late afternoon, when they spent time line fishing from the beach. Except for the glow of a nightly campfire, we didn’t see or hear the commercial fisherman either.

The sun light on the small cays at dusk was beautiful, and for the first time since we were in Key West, in January, we had an open view to the horizon for sunset.

 

Scott enjoyed hours of stargazing each night. Even with light pollution visible from San Andres, 40 miles away, the stars were thick and brilliant. The Milky Way wound clearly through the sky above us, like someone up there had spilled their morning glass of full fat.

We could have stayed for weeks, but it’ was time to move on and continue the journey to Panama, our most southern location to date. Here are more photos of our beautiful anchorage in the Albuquerque Cays. (**for those who may not know, click on the first photo, to scroll through the album with larger views of the photos)

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”

Traveling To The Albuquerque Cays And Meeting The Colombian Military

The Albuquerque Cays lie 36 miles south, southwest of San Andres. It’s a 5-6 hour trip for us, and a nice way to break up our journey to Panama. The two small cays, surrounded by many reefs, are also owned by Colombia. One is used by commercial fisherman, and the other is a small base for the Colombian military.

The forecast called for little chance of squalls, low wind and relatively decent size swells. As we prepared to raise anchor, Scott noticed the skies ahead were a bit ominous. For the last few months, we’ve had multiple, instant downpours each day. Out of nowhere the wind will whip up, with sheets of rain right behind it. The downpours lasts for 1-3 minutes, and then the skies clear as fast as they darkened, so Scott wasn’t concerned as we raised anchor and headed toward the channel.

Of course, this rain decided to linger. For the next 30 minutes, as we maneuvered through the channel, staying to one side to allow room for an incoming freighter, the rain poured so hard we could no longer see the anchorage behind us or the horizon in front of us. The winds kicked up to almost 30 knots, filling the harbor with white caps and giving us a good roll. This made putting the paravanes out challenging, as the winds threatened to push us into shallow water (we come to idle to put the birds in).

We entertained the idea of throwing out the anchor, and waiting for the weather to pass, but decided just to slog on. The winds eventually slowed, but the rain continued at a steady pace; thanks for the send off, San Andres! By the look of our radar screen, we worried that there was a squall headed our way, but fortunately the big red blob broke up as it approached us, and we were just in for a lot of steady rain.

Photo: Luckily, this giant mass of red broke up before hitting us full force.

Photo: Instead, we just had steady rainfall.

After the heavy rain ended and the swells calmed, it remained cloudy all the way to the Albuquerques. We’d planned to arrive in the early afternoon, with the sun high overhead to help see any coral below the surface. The completely overcast skies made navigating through the reef more challenging than normal.

Scott has literally thousands of hours on the water, and is excellent at reading it. Me….nada. He’s had similar time and experience behind the wheel, and can make decisions on course adjustment in a blink. Again, me…not so much. If the sun had been shining, the plan was for me to be out on the bow as we approached the reef, so Scott could steer (Sea Life doesn’t turn instantly, so there’s a learning curve that I’m still working on).

As we approached, the skies brightened a bit, but the sun just wouldn’t pop out. The cloudy skies made it much harder for either of us to see possible coral heads, especially when we couldn’t agree on what was dark blue, or dark blue-green. Luckily, Scott had some way points from our friend Kevin, who’d come through the week before (charts for the area are terribly inaccurate), and we used them to feel our way through the reef. Once safely inside, we could admire the beautiful view!

Photo: The Albuquerque Cays come into view

Photo:

As we were deciding where to drop anchor, the military hailed us on the vhf…in Spanish. Scott replied in English, which usually clues someone to reply the same (most port captains, military, etc. speak enough English to get their point across), but they came back in Spanish again. Scott then replied that he didn’t understand…more Spanish.

Luckily, the only other boat anchored in the area was Kalea, who’d been near us in the Providencia anchorage. Iris speaks Spanish, thank goodness, and relayed that we were being asked to anchor closer to the island. Once anchored, we were expected to come ashore with our passports and paperwork from San Andres.

This was different from what we’d heard about the Albequerque Cays. People have told us the military doesn’t really “check” you in, at most they may swim over to your boat just to make contact. However, we weren’t interested in making enemies with any part of the Colombian military, so if they were requesting us to go ashore, that’s what we would do (We’re not really sure why there is a military presence here, there’s certainly no “threat” of any kind. It’s more likely a pride thing, rubbing the fact that these cays are Colombian owned into nearby Nicaragua’s face).

The entire time we anchored and Scott made sure we were set, and then put the dingy in the water, we were being watched by five men standing amide the palm trees at the edge of the beach. One was dressed in camouflage, and carried an AK-47 assault rifle, while the rest wore t-shirts and shorts. The men appeared to be in their mid twenties, at most, and the whole scene gave off a weird “Lord of the Flies” vibe.

Scott made his way to shore and beached the dinghy (with no help from said five “Flies” men).

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Anderson, who seemed to be the “commandant” of the group, and the oldest (Fly), pulled out a crumpled piece of scrap paper and copied down information from our passports and paperwork. They asked how long we were staying, and Scott wanted to tell them maybe four days, maybe a week, but with his limited Spanish and their complete lack of English, communication was difficult.

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Just to make sure all was clearly understood. Scott later took a letter back, that he’d written using our English/Spanish dictionary (thank you John and Lela, s/v Yachtsman’s Dream!). I’m sure it read like something written by a five year old, but the intent was understood.

Now that we were anchored, and “cleared in,” Scott got right to exploring in the rubber dinghy, putting together his plan of attack for fishing in the coming days. As he was getting comfortable on the bow, with his evening “sun-downer” in hand, he noticed the “Flies” waving him over. Having no idea what this was about, he again made his way to shore. He left his drink behind, but sadly, I couldn’t convince him to change into a shirt with sleeves.

After almost 30 minutes I looked to shore, and could see no sight of Scott, our dingy or the Flies. I began to panic, envisioning Scott being beaten to death, in typical Lord of the Flies style. I scanned the horizon with binoculars, with no luck. Finally, as I scanned behind us, I caught sight of this:

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Once Scott had arrived onshore the Flies handed him their own translated letter. It seems they wanted to borrow our dinghy and Scott’s spear, to go fishing. Scott told them that if they wanted to fish, he’d be happy to take them, but they’d have to use their own means of catching the fish. The men agreed, and off they went.

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There were many one word and hand-signaled conversations. At one point, Scott was asked to go faster. He explained to them that our little two horsepower motor could go no faster, and to try would result in them rowing back to shore. The Flies then pointed toward the Aluminum Princess, asking how fast it went. Scott acted like he didn’t understand that one.

They made a stop at the island which is used by the commercial fisherman. Scott noticed a five gallon bucket, full of large lobster tails. He’d relayed to the Flies earlier, that he wanted to catch lobster while here in the cays, and was sure that they understood.

As they now smiled and pointed to the contents of the bucket, Scott hoped that he might get one or two as a thank you….no dice. The Flies chatted with the fisherman a bit, one of whom spoke very good English (Scott wondered why Anderson didn’t use this man as an interpreter…or a teacher), before climbing back in the dinghy.

Eventually, the Flies asked to return to the island, where they continued to line fish from the beach.

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Anderson asked Scott to stay awhile. He replied, using his best hand gestures, that it was time to eat with his wife and then go to bed.

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After Scott’s little adventure, we felt that it was safe to say the Flies approved of us. It was time to relax and enjoy our beautiful surroundings.

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“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”

Scenes From San Andres

There has been much to see and do during our stay here in San Andres. Shortly after we arrived, the island celebrated independence day (July 20th), complete with a parade and week-long festival. Scott and I planned to watch the parade from the flybridge, but the crowds were too thick to see through.

The parade lasted five hours, and that crowd stayed put for the entire thing (I never would have made it). Our friends Jack and Monique (s/v Aloha) ventured in for an up close and personal view. Here are a few of their photos:

As Providencia did for their carnival, San Andres held a beauty contest during the independence festival. Of course, that required a parade as well, and the contestants rode through the streets on decorated golf carts.

We’ve gotten to know our way around the busy downtown streets, and are constantly amazed by the number of motorcycles and scooters here (notice the clever sun covers). The flow and noise of traffic in the small area is amazing.

Benches along the mains streets are very unique, and make for great photo opportunities (unbeknownst to this local girl).

San Andres is full of beautiful tile work, murals, etc., as we saw throughout Providencia. The colors and patterns jump out at you, as you travel throughout the island.

We land our dinghy at nearby Nene’s Marina, and have spent much time at the little bar there, enjoying the breeze that goes through . The ladies who run it are very friendly, and the beer is cold.

Like everywhere else in the world (except for the U.S.), soccer is insanely popular here. We came out of dinner one night to find the streets jammed with people watching a game, obviously a very important one. They were gathered in front of every bar, restaurant and convenience store, eyes glued to the tvs inside.

Putting the pieces together as best we could, it seemed to be a collegiate national championship. When the game ended, the local team must have won. The crowds climbed onto their motorcycles and scooters, and into cars, and began an impromptu parade in and around the downtown area. Luckily, we crossed through it easily on our way back to the anchorage. As we climbed back aboard Sea Life, the lights of the auto parade, with horns blaring, stretched as far as you could see.

The water in and around our anchorage here is very clear. We’ve taken the Aluminum Princess out to the shallow, Bahama blue water for some bobbing, and have also made use of our water loungers, just off of the swim platform.

After a very enjoyable two weeks and change, we’re moving on today. We’ll raise anchor as soon as I post this, and make a six hour run to the Albuquerque Cays. It’s a remote anchorage, with only commercial fisherman and a navy post. No land to speak of, no stores, shops, restaurants, parades, festivals..or tour boats! It’ll be a nice break, before we continue on to Panama.

There is a tropical system forming to our north, that will most likely become a category 1 or 2 hurricane for either Mexico or Belize. We are far south of any danger, but it’s strength is sucking out all of the wind and squalls for the next week..terrific! The weather forecaster we listen to on the SSB radio says that it’s a good week to travel if you’re motoring, so we’re off. We are undecided if we’ll stay in the Albuquerques a week or more, or continue south in a few days, while the weather is quiet.

There won’t be internet access for us until we reach Panama. So the blog will go dark for the next week or more. Be sure to check in on us, using the link on our Where Are We Now page, as we make our final push to Panama! In the meantime, here are some more scenes of our time in San Andres.

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”

 

Eating And Shopping On San Andres

We’ve had a chance to eat at several restaurants during our stay here, and most are very affordably priced. After noticing La Regatta on my morning walks, Scott and I treated ourselves to a nice dinner out.

We enjoyed the walk down the path leading to the restaurant, with it’s quirky decor.

We were seated at a table on a pier out over the water, giving us a great breeze as we ate our meal.

One of our neighbors here in the anchorage recommended Breadfruit, and it’s become a regular stop for us. They have a great assortment of fresh bread and pastries. I was reluctant to try their cakes, having that bar set very high from my beloved Sugarbakers Cakes back home (if you live within a 50 mile radius of their location…GO!) .

We can get two orders of scrambled eggs with toast, fresh juice, water and a large pastry for 10.00 (includes tax and a tip), which is not too shabby!

Scott discovered El Corral, along the promenade. It has been a welcome answer to his McDonald’s cravings. I passed on the burger, but the fries were pretty darned good. There’s also a Subway across the street from the marina where we land the dinghy. That’s been great as well!

As far as day-to-day groceries, there are two large stores with a great selection of fresh produce. We’ve been able to get broccoli, mushrooms, green leaf lettuce and fresh basil! Many fruit vendors with carts of all sizes can be found throughout the downtown area, selling avocados, mangoes, bananas, and some stuff we’ve never seen.

There are many small markets on the island as well. One in particular sells things imported from the U.S, and we’ve enjoyed finding familiar items, like Philadelphia cream cheese (we have found nothing similar to cream cheese in either Mexico or Central America).

Prices here are pretty cheap for soda, and even cheaper for beer. Scott wanted to stock up on Coke for his evening cocktails, so we did a big “can run.” He humped 102 cans back to the boat on his back….a man on a mission.

His months-long search for stainless steel chain finally came to an end on San Andres. After scouring several hardware stores in town (all of which have a great overall selection), we arrived at this one. Orders are placed at the counter, similar to an auto parts store in the U.S.

The man who waited on us spoke great English, and when the exact thickness of chain that we wanted wasn’t available, he told Scott to go across the street to the warehouse, and see if what they did have in stock would work.

The warehouse was a two story building packed full of stuff. The men inside showed Scott the chain, which worked just fine, and they cut it and carried it back across the street for payment. Quest complete!

Shopping “for fun” is big business here. If you’re looking for perfume, scented body lotion, linens, electronics, athletic shoes and clothing, liquor, luggage or candy, you’re on the right island! Everything is duty free, and some stores carry all of these items. La Riviera is one of the largest, and has locations all over downtown (and downtown ain’t that big!), with their “flagship” store along the promenade.

And, Under Armor is in the house! For those who don’t know, this world wide athletic clothing company is based out of my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland! (read how they got started – early history)

In the midst of the larger stores are many small stall-type shops, selling the usual beach-type clothing, woven bags and trinkets.

So there seems to be something for everyone here on San Andres. The many places to eat and shop have definitely kept us entertained. Here are many more photos.

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”

 

 

 

 

Morning Walks On The Promenade

San Andres has a beautiful oceanfront promenade that runs for almost a mile along the north side of the island. I’ve been taking early morning walks here (before the heat gets too beastly), enjoying the easy access to a walk-able path around town. The promenade offers great breezes and much to look at.

Many hotels and restaurants line the promenade, as well as the usual beach town shops and carts full of colorful items for sale.

At the far end, buildings give way to more quiet beaches, benches and fishing boats.

As the promenade ends into the tourist hub, the sidewalk continues past small cottage-style lodging, and eventually to high rise resorts at the far east end of the island.

In addition to my morning walks, Scott and I have spent a day on the beach here, and Scott’s also found a great fill-in for his McDonald’s cravings at El Corral!

We’ve enjoyed the promenade in the evenings as well. There is a movie theater inside one of the hotels, and there is a showing in English, with Spanish subtitles, at 9:30 every night. For $17.50, we bought two tickets to the 3-D show, a large popcorn and two drinks….less than the price of just two tickets in the U.S.! The theater was wonderfully air conditioned, and we enjoyed the new Tarzan movie in our assigned seats (a great idea that I think they should adopt back home). It was a real treat!

When the temperatures cool and the breezes feel even better, locals gather along the promenade’s brightly tiled walls, enjoying music, drinks and each other’s company. It’s quite a focal point for both locals and tourists. Here are some more photos of sights along my morning walks.

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”

Scott’s Fishing Adventures In Providencia

I meant to post this before we left Providencia for San Andres, so here’s a brief flashback…

Fishing for Scott has been challenging since we left the Bahamas. Most areas we visit are part of protected waters, so there is no fishing allowed at all. Other times, the area has just been over-fished, and there isn’t much available to catch.

During a passage, Scott always hopes to put out his lines and catch some dinner; but again, things haven’t worked out since the Bahamas. It’s either too rough (we have to put the boat in neutral to reel in the lines, and in rough seas that’s not a pleasant choice), or dark. During daylight hours, if not on watch, Scott usually tries to catch some sleep. The few times the lines have been in the water, he’s been “skunked,” coming up empty.

When we arrived in Providencia, Scott was determined to change his luck. He headed off to fish a reef on the north end of the island, rallying some fellow cruisers in the anchorage to join him. The “fleet,” made up of two dinghies, headed out early one morning, determined to come back with dinner.

After a few hours, Scott and Kevin returned triumphant; Scott had caught a yellow snapper. Hours later, Jack and Lee followed. Jack graciously shared his catch with us, giving us another snapper. It was now time to clean and cook these things.

Scott isn’t crazy about cleaning fish, and even though we had an agreement that it would be my job (since he is the killer/catcher of the fish), I cannot stand the idea of cutting into and removing fish guts, it just icks me out. Thank God for Kevin, who is fine with doing this job, and has become the official fish cleaner. So now Scott and Kevin catch said fish, Kevin cleans them and I cook them; a great system!

Lobster had completely eluded everyone here. There were just none to be found. We learned that the locals travel miles out to catch them, which was too challenging for the guys, with the strong winds that were stalled over us.

However, as luck would have it, we were returning from a farewell pizza dinner for our (Baltimore!) friends Lee and Rachel (s/v Satori), when it was discovered that there were lobsters under a sunken palette beneath the town dock.

Not wanting to get in the water at night fully clothed, the guys immediately began the arduous job of trying to spear the lobsters from inside the dingy (Kevin doesn’t leave home without his spear, so it was nearby and at the ready).

There was a lot of head lamp use and body contorting, as well as much dialogue on where the lobsters were and how to get them. You’d think we’d been adrift in the open sea for weeks, and hadn’t eaten.

Finally, Kevin managed to spear two lobsters, the mission was deemed a success and we all headed home.

Scott and Kevin were quite proud of themselves.

They were not the largest lobster, but made for a nice appetizer the next night at dinner. Ya take what you can get!

Days later, Scott and Kevin again headed out to the east end of the island, and Jack joined them.

This time Scott returned with two snapper, and Jack again shared a third one with us. Hooray…fish tacos!

Wanting to try some deep sea fishing, Scott and Kevin took the Aluminum Princess out to the west side of the island, just inside the reef. They were back at the boat a very short time later, which only means one thing…injury.

As the guys were trolling, they caught a mackerel. Kevin grabbed one side of the double hook, to remove the fish (he’d used a double hook, I don’t have the skills to elaborate), the other hook went right through his thumb.

Scott cut the hook off and pulled it out, and convinced Kevin that yes, it was worth going back to bandage. After cleaning and dressing the injury, they went right back out to resume their search for fish. Unfortunately, the mackerel was the only keeper of the day. Kevin’s thumb was deemed inedible, and a barracuda caught later was thrown back.

As we routinely climbed the stairs toward Morgan’s Head, to stretch our legs, Scott kept noticing a lone coral head at the back of the anchorage, which intrigued him. Thinking it may be a lucky spot, he and Kevin headed over. Jackpot! They’d found the honey  hole! The coral head was full of grouper, lion fish and snapper, making a great feast for three!

We ate from the honey hole several times after that. In an hour, Scott could run the dinghy over, catch a few fish and be back onboard (stopping at Kevin’s “cleaning station” first). Now that we’re in San Andres, the honey hole is just a memory. Here it’s back to protected water and slim pickins.

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”

 

 

 

A Golf Cart Day On San Andres

After several internet and computer challenges, I’m finally catching up on some posting:

So we’re on a new island….you guessed it, another golf cart day! We traveled San Andres with our Aussie friends Brian and Sue in tow. First up, getting ourselves out of the busy downtown area. Thankfully, all of the inner streets are one way, so we just had to focus on dodging the weaving motorcycles, trucks, cars and scooters.  The intersections are especially tricky, as there are no stop signs, and very few traffic lights.

As we made our way out of town, and around to the west end of the island, the views of coral shorelines were beautiful.

We passed a small drink shack, and turned around to make a stop. Paul welcomed us, and made quick work of cutting coconut “cups” for our drinks.

We made note of the time, our earliest start yet! Oh well, it was hot enough to be noon…so close enough!

Scott and I like to see the sights, and if possible take tours, on each island that we visit. It’s a good way to get a feel for it’s history and give a little boost to the locals.

Our first stop on San Andres was Captain Morgan’s cave. The buildings were made of stone, coral and shell, and there were several rooms displaying many things that coconuts are used for (baskets, carvings, food, etc). One room also acted as a gallery for local artists.

We made our way to the cave, which reminded me of the cenote that we visited in Mexico, with much less inviting water. The uneven, steep coral steps made it challenging to get down to the bottom.

Next stop, First Baptist Church. Located atop the highest hill on San Andres, it was established in 1847, with lumber brought from Alabama (I’m not sure why).

It’s bell tower is the highest point on the island, and offered great views. At the door, they asked 5,000 pesos from each person, to climb up ($1.60). Brian and Sue chose to stay outside, so I waited with them as Scott made the climb (I was disappointed to find out later that we could’ve also gotten some history on the church, included in $1.60, as I’ve had a hard time finding information on it).

Inside, Scott made his way up to the balcony, which has a slanted floor, and then climbed a steep ladder to some scary spiral stairs.

Next, there were some tiny, scary steps, leading to a small hole that Scott crawled through to the tower above. This process would have terrified me, and I was glad that I chose not to do this!

Even though some clouds and rain had moved in, the view was still good for a photo. You can see the downtown area at the top, spreading along the peninsula to the right.

On to the Big Pond, a freshwater lake located in the center of the island. We paid another $1.60 each, and a man walked us down to the lake. Our timing was a bit off, as it started to pour rain, making it a muddy go.

We got to meet the resident alligators, who come to eat bread that’s tossed to them. They were small in size, and Scott thought them to be decoys, diverting our attention so that larger ones could come in for the kill.

Leaving our creepy friends behind, we continued on to see a blow hole. As we approached, a man waved us down and explained that there was no charge to see the hole, but asked that we buy a drink from his stand to support his business. Fair enough…we parked our cart and ordered some drinks. Unfortunately, they weren’t the best libations, but the bar was quite a cheery place, with pretty views.

We walked a few steps over to the blow hole, which was surrounded by people and tourists shops, selling food, clothes, hats and trinkets. The ground around the hole was jagged coral, and it was hard to keep our footing. Scott and Sue made their way closer to get a better view. Strong winds would regularly gush out of the hole, but being so far from the shoreline there was never a strong enough wave force to move water up through it while we were there.

The breezes as we drove along the southeast, windward side of the island were quite strong.  The tops of many of the palm trees along the road here were just stumps.

Here, small sandy beaches met coral at the water’s edge.

We were starving, so it was time to find some lunch. After passing several places, stopping at one that was closed and not being able to find another, we finally stopped at Hotel Cocoplum. Our food was pretty good, and we left rested and recharged.

With full bellies, we back-tracked to a place that I’d noticed earlier; it’s upper deck looked inviting.

We never made it up, after discovering the large deck out back that extended over waves crashing on the coral.

There were also two more blow holes here, that we could enjoy all to ourselves. Scott and Sue investigated up close again, and Sue received a refreshing “facial” as one blew water up at her. We had a drink, watched the blow holes and hung with the residents.

Our rental car was due back soon, so we headed to town on a route that took us back up the highest hill and past the First Baptist Church. Now that the sun was out, we stopped for some final photos of the view below.

By the time we dropped the cart off, I was spent. The 93 degree sun was taking it’s toll, at the end of a long hot day. The noise of our cart, other carts, cars, motorcycles and buses wore me out. However, I do enjoy golf cart days. They’re a great way to get a good overview of an island, and we enjoyed the day with our friends. Here are many more photos of our golf cart day on San Andres.

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”

 

 

 

 

 

On To San Andres

We raised our anchor at 5am on Friday, and traveled ten hours south to San Andres Island. The forecast was for 15-20 knot winds, and sea swells of 5-7 feet. They got the wind part right, but the swells were more like 7-9 feet, with breakers on them…..and some really large ones thrown in once in awhile, just to keep it interesting.

The boat was completely fine with all of this, but as usual, me…not so much. I just cannot get used to seeing big waves come at me. Several started to break as they approached us, but Sea Life just “rolled” with it, sliding down them and then getting back on track. Thank God for paravanes; I cannot imagine the degree of roll without them.

Howard fared much better than me. I started him off tucked into his triangle of safety on the couch in the saloon, but he soon appeared on the bench in the pilot house with us. He hasn’t liked the noise of the waves outside the open pilot house doors recently (we keep the top halves open while traveling), but I guess he wanted to join the party this time. I reset the triangle around him, and he settled in.

As we came out of the protection of the reef around Providencia, and into the open ocean, a huge pod of dolphins headed our way. We’ve never had this many visit us at one time before. There were also several babies in the group, about the size of Howard! They stayed for almost 30 minutes, playing near the bow and jumping alongside us before breaking up and moving off. I guess they knew the seas were going to get large, and vacated.

Just after noon, San Andres came into sight. We had to navigate through a break in the reef to get into the harbor, while surfing  breaking waves, which was challenging. Scott was especially nervous to see many boats run aground and left for dead, and wrecked along the reef, as we approached.

Once inside the harbor, Scott hailed the port captain, who asked for some basic information before telling us to anchor in area A, which is designated for pleasure boats. Area B is for commercial and fishing boats, but unfortunately, we discovered that many of them had spread into area A. With the many fishing boats, other cruisers already at anchor and shallow spots in the area, it was challenging finding a spot for ourselves.

When we first dropped the anchor it didn’t hold, which is very unlike the Hulk (*). It was just as well, as the water in that spot was pretty deep. More scope of chain is required in deeper water, which would have put us very close to our neighbors when swinging with the shifting winds.

Luckily, our friends Jack and Monique (s/v Aloha) had made the trip from Providencia the day before, and were anchored nearby. Jack yelled over to Scott, and told him to drop our anchor right at his stern. As we let out our chain, he jumped in and dove on the Hulk, to make sure that it had grabbed the bottom. Jack signaled us that the anchor had set, so we backed down in reverse to dig it in. We were now settled in among the many, many fishing boats (a big thank you to Jack!)

(*) When Scott dove on our anchor the next day, to check that it was still set well, he noticed that the bottom here is covered with old fishing debris (San Andres dates back to 1700s). We think that the Hulk must have grabbed something down there on our first drop, and skipped along the bottom.)

Like Providencia, San Andres is also a Colombian owned island. Since we were still in the same country, we didn’t have to get our passports stamped again, but the boat did have to be cleared in with the port captain.

To do this, we’d contacted Julian Watson, an agent our friend Kevin suggested (you are required to use an agent when clearing into Colombia, you cannot do it yourself). He contacted us on the radio as soon as he heard us hail the port captain, and once we were anchored Scott went to nearby Nene’s Marina to meet him. Julian was very accommodating, and offered his help with anything we may need while visiting the island.

We haven’t done much exploring here yet. There have been several days of squalls, and most of the shops and restaurants close early on Sunday here, so we look forward to getting the lay of the land this week.

The internet here is atrociously slow (who’d have guessed that the free internet on quiet Providencia would be better than the paid data on busy and populated San Andres??), so getting posts updated will be a challenge, but stay tuned! Here are more photos of our trip here.

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”