|11:12.16 N 74:13.81 W|
Sunday, november 22, 2009.
With great regret we motor-sailed from Guayraca and set a course for Rodadero. The scenery en route was marvellous and the huge seas calmed once we "turned the corner" at Aguya Island and travelled in the lee of the mountains.
As we passed the commercial port of Santa Marta, which looked more like a holiday resort town than a commercial port, we got a momentary glimpse of the fabled snow-capped mountains. These are the highest mountains in the area and the ONLY permanently snow-covered mountains visible from the Caribbean Sea. Unfortunately, they are also cloud-covered and difficult to see. We took photos, but the peaks are not visible in the shots, so, when you see them, you will have to take our word for it!
The ship, CLIPPER MONARCH, was spotted leaving the port. However, it was moving at less than one knot. We contacted them by radio and were granted permission to cross their bow. It's a good thing we were motoring at the time as the wind suddenly disappeared! No problema in passing! Karen and Ralph, sailing behind us had more difficulty as CLIPPER MONARCH suddenly changed course and "parked" in front of them to let off the pilot.
The approach to Rodadero passes by the private island, Isla Pelicano and it is fascinating. Like the Moonhole in Bequia, the rresidents have constructed all the buildings on this almost vertical large rock out of the natural stone. It would be wonderful to tour it!
Rodadero is one of the premier holiday destinations in Colombia. Arriving here was like arriving in DISNEYWORLD after just leaving the solitude of THE LOST WORLD! The beach extends forever and, since it was Sunday, the family beach day in this area of the world, there were people EVERYWHERE! High and low-rise hotels and residences line the beach, fronted by a continuous line of cabanas and sun shelters. All of these stand amid stately palms. There is even a waterslide complex! Water taxis ply the waters from the shore to a more secluded beach resort behind Isla Pelicano. The beach is swarming with Colombianos enjoying life or swimming in the vast roped-off area. The most popular pastime seems to be pedal-boating. I never knew so many pedal boats (cyclos des aguas) existed.This lovely handful of six yachts seems to attract them! We seem to be a destinations for the many families and young people who want to come and chat. It is a great way to use some Spanish. (If that becomes too stressful, one can always say no hablo espanol- sorry, no tildes on this keyboard!- or disappear belowdecks for a while.
Of course, I could not refrain from crossing the busy boat channel and swimming to the beach in search of a dinghy dock. It was wonderful until I tried to round the concrete pier near the water taxis in order to search farther and to watch the young daredevils diving from the bridge over a narrow water channel. I felt a nudge and then a slight pain on my inner thigh. I love to swim with fish, but I follow a strict "no contact" rule. I looked about and spotted a small Shark Sucker Remora. This is a small, elongated fish with a large suction area on its head. It attaches itself to a shark and feeds off the morsels which escape as the shark feeds and conveniently drift by. This one apparently thought I was a shark and made about twenty attempts to attach. I paddled backwards with my arms while using my feet to fend off its efforts. I finally reached shallower water and stood among other people splashing about until I felt my amigo was gone. My heart had a terrific cardio workout for sure!
On the way back to the boat, I noticed that the dark sand on the bottom was flecked with gold dust. It is probably mica flakes, but it certainly appears that the waters of Colombia are lined with oro!
As occurred yesterday, when I was back aboard ANGEL, along came the guardacostas again. They spent a long time aboard KARA DREAM. Apparently they told Karen that there was no anchoring here. This is a tourist area. Karen explained that we, too, are tourists and that PIZAZZ's guide had recommended this spot. One of the officials spoke and read English and took a copy of the guide. I think they have no idea why so many boats are coming by this way! They don't know what to do with us! Karen also explained that the winds and seas are high until later in the week and that it is dangerous for such small boats to cross the turbulent RIO MAGDALENA en route to Cartagena under these conditions. They seemed to accept this and didn't bother any of the other boats further.
We'll see if we are still here tomorrow! We can always go back to SANTA MARTA and officially check in (although we have to do it again when we reach Cartagena- and pay another $100.00 to do so!!!). There is another anchorage near a fishing village we can try as well.
Nighttime is spectacular here! The music and lights all along the shore (including an enormous Frosty the Snowman!) create a magical scene (all night long!!!!). Colombianos really like to party!