Waiting in Cartagena, Forts and Car Accidents

We wait on news on our loved Captain after a flight from HE** from Cartagena thru Bogata, Santiago, Aukland then Sidney and Brisbane ( after nearly 60 hours) he finally arrived. After leaving the Airport when we dropped Col off, in tears all around, Darren and I took some time to analyze our thoughts, walk around aimlessly, cry, laugh, and ponder our direction… all while looking at this beautiful city, Cartagena.

Castillo San Filipe

typical Street in Old Town

Darren and I did some work on the boat, including REDOING the anchor windlass- AGAIN. It has been an issue for us for the last few months, and after having it worked on by a machinist in both Provo, Turks, and then again in MoBay, Jamaica, between Colin and Daren, they figured out what to do, and we got it complete. In Sailboats, you must improvise, so we did, and it worked.

Since we dint get to the Fort when Col was with us, due to his illness, we ventured into the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, located just a 20 minue walk from the OLD Town, or city center. It is regarded as the greatest fortress ever built by the Spaniards in their colonies. The tunnels were all constructed in such a way as to make it possible to hear footsteps of an approaching enemy. To be honest, Darren and I were not really impressed with the Castillo,.. but maybe because we have seen such beautiful Forts in our cruise of the Caribbean.
Castillo San Filipe 2

Sentry Box at San Filipe
It was hot, and has no shade, it did not seem to have any gathering places, as in other fortresses, and it seemed to lack character. But you should make up your own mind when you visit here.

Vehicle Driving is crazy in Cartagena. We would NEVER rent a car here. Taking a taxi is bad enough, and for the many trips we had been in around the city, we were surprised that there were not more ben fenders and accidents,.. until now…

A motorcycle bumped in the the rear of the taxi and the Taxi man was M A D!!!! they stopped and argued with each other until the Motorcycle driver FINALLY paid up 25,000 Pesos, an equivalent of $12 Canadian.

Here are a few fun facts we have learned in our time here:
• Cartagena is one of the few cities in the world with a submarine emissary inaugurated in 2013
• Tourism is a mainstay of the economy and Cartagena is the commercial and touristic hub of the country, the city has many transportation facilities, one of which is SUPER CHEAP taxis.
• One would NOT want to drive here. 9 not ever our brother DALE) I like driving. A LOT. But I would be insane to do it here… no sireeeee
• Humidity averages around 90%, with rainy seasons typically in May–June and October–November. We can vouch for th humidity- we carry a sweat cloth (uuugggh)
• The beaches of Bocagrande, lying along the northern shore, are made of volcanic sand, which is slightly greyish in colour. This makes the water appear muddy, though it is not.
• Because im an “Eagles” Fan; Cartagena figured prominently in the “Smuggler’s Blues” (1985) episode of Miami Vice, featuring guest star Glenn Frey and his song “Smuggler’s Blues,
• For the Poets of you; The poem “Románc” (1983) by Sándor Kányádi talks about the beauty of Cartagena,
• And for the Gamers; The city is the scene of two levels in the video game, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.

Change of Plans in Cartagena

Cartagena has given us a few surprises; some wonderful, others not so much.

We have been here since June 1, now, just over 2 weeks. We absolutely LOVE the city. And will go into WHY in just a bit.

But in the interim, Colin’s health deteriorated rapidly one we arrived. After many trips for tests at the wonderful Bocas Grande Hospital, he made the very difficult decision to fly back to Australia on the earliest possible flight.   Cancer is a crap disease to get, and its taken its toll on our fearless, strong, energetic Captain.   We had a few suspicions, but some tests here in Colombia confirmed our fears.

So, in tears we write this post, after so many EPIC snorkels, sea battles, shroud popping, dolphin spotting, sunsets, beaches, laughter, frustrations, parasail sets, reefing-raining-windy sails in some glorious anchorages and islands.

Darren and I will continue to look after FMD in South and Central America until we get our Captain back in better condition than when he left.

Col, your adventure is not complete yet.

Wahoo!!!!
Wahoo!!!!
Always ready for a snorkel
Chilling in Grenada
Chilling in Grenada
Ready to Launch!!!

Cartagena, Columbia- As Interesting AS Can Be

At first glance, Cartagena is an architecturally beautiful city. The people seems friendly and the amenities are endless.

Entrance to El Centro

The city began with 200 people in 1533. During the remainder of the 16th century there was rapid growth. A major factor was the gold in the tombs of the Sinú Culture.  After those tombs were completely plundered, the inhabitants began to scatter to the countryside and to establish themselves as farmers, and the population of the city decreased.

A little later, the city had fewer than 2000 inhabitants and one church; the dramatically increasing fame and wealth of the prosperous city turned it into an attractive plunder site for pirates and corsairs–French and English privateers licensed by their king. Thirty years after its founding, the city was pillaged by the French nobleman Jean-François Roberval. The city set about strengthening its defences and surrounding itself with walled compounds and castles.

Jim, Blieu, Darren and I ventured into El Centro, the old town and checked out the food, the buildings and the shopping.

Calle in the Old Town

it was a 7000 peso cab ride from the marina to El Centro, ( an equivalent of about $3 CDN) for the 4 of us to jump into a Toyota Prius- type cab and adventure Northward.

Apparently, shoes is a favorite of Colombians as well. There are a TON of shoe stores.. everywhere. I wish I could still wear any shoe I desired… I would have been in heaven 4 years ago!

IMG_4937 Shoes Shoes, SHOES!!!!Lunch was just as amazing. At a whole $4 CDN we had a full lunch with a delicious soup, salad, piece of meat ( or fish) rice, and lemonade. We were stuffed.

PLATOS DEL DIA

And after, we couldn’t help but to stop and get a local indulgency.

A few days in the city and we had to head out as our water supply was low, and we couldn’t make water in the dirty harbor. We headed southwest to the Rosario islands. A quaint group of islands covered in private homes, these islands were a quiet retreat from the bustling city harbor for a few nights.DSC_0118

DSC_0121

 

We swam, made water, dinghied around, and checked it out. There are homes built on tiny atolls surrounding these islands, your own little piece of paradise. If you want a quiet holiday, this would definitely give you a piece of tranquility.

PRIVATE ISLAND PARADISES

PlazaBack to the city we returned, to get ready to fix some things, provision to head to San Blas and check out the city life for a few more days.

 

 

Jim and Blieu were to depart from Cartagena, it was a pleasure having them on board, and we will welcome them back anytime!The crew

 

 

 

 

Just a few more shots of this beautiful city before we leave you!

Church typical Street in Old Town

Sailing from Jamaica- Departure From Our Favourite Island Paradise.

Did we mention that we LOVE Jamaica? Well we do. Of the many places we have been, Jamaica is one of our favorites. It’s the food, the people, the climate, the beaches, the diving, the water, and the ambience that make Jamaica a ONE LOVE country.

We will be sad to depart, but after a few restful days in a resort, air conditioning, food, rest, a ton of diving and meeting new friends, we must bid adieu to our favorite of the Caribbean Islands.
West End,  Jamaica

Montego Bay is where Pam left to go back to Australia. We will miss her cheery smile on board, but as sailors, you must do what works for you. Not everyone is a passagemaker and we have some rough passages ahead.
Pam's Departure

Some new crew flew down from Missouri to join us for the 500+ nm passage to Colombia. Jim and Blieu are in the research mode of cruising and trying to decide what kind of boat is going to work for them. So crewing on many different boats is giving them the opportunity to check out their options. Given their sense of humour and attitude towards life, we feel they will be a great addition for the next few weeks.
Jim and Blieu Foster

Negril gave us the chance to get back on board, enjoy the clear water and walk the 7 mile beach. We grabbed a bit of fresh fruit and veggies with the Jamaican dollars we had left, and headed out to sea for our 500+ nm passage. We were expecting 3-4 meter seas with 15-20 knots of wind from the East.
Ricks Cafe

Note to self: Don’t head to sea after spending a week on land. It was a bumpy first few days, due to a tropical wave that had stirred the seas up a bit and a lot of thunderstorm activity.
Passage Weather

We all were a bit queasy for the first few days, but on day 4 the seas flattened and winds dropped as we expected.
Sunset in the Caribbean Sea

We motored into Cartagena, Columbia just after sunset with 68 hours at sea and just over 500 miles behind us, and we immediately impressed with the skyline of skyscrapers lit up in the night sky. I don’t know what we were expecting, but after 4 months in the Caribbean, the CITY was a welcome sight!

Cartagena, our night arrival

We will settle here in Columbia for the next month or so, and do what cruisers do best- enjoy the country, get some work done, and meet new people.

Boca Grande in Cartagena

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