Cholon Bay, December 21,2009

David & Valerie Allen
Sun 27 Dec 2009 21:28
10:09.72 N   75:36.73 W

Monday, December 21, 2009.

On Friday we left Cartagena to spend a few days in Cholon Bay, Baru- a spot highly recommended by cruisers who have spent a lot of time in Cartagena.   Instead of exiting through Boca Grande, we decided to follow thw labyrinth of red and green buoys to Boca Chica.  I knew this was a big harbour, but after spending two and a half hours negotiating the passage, I have a new respect for this amazing natural haven for seagoing vessels!

Free from the grime and busy-ness of the big city, we savoured the sea air and enjoyed a very leisurely sail south to the Baru peninsula.  Thank goodness Rick and Amy from Tara Vana and Brian and Sue from Darramy gave us waypoints into the bay as there was a confusing array of buoys when we arrived.

We feel as though someone has unlocked our cage and let us fly free.  We have arrived in Heaven!  This is a mangrove-ringed bay, lush with vegetation and bird life (we even heard peacocks in the forest); The bay is dotted with small islands and winding channels beckon to be explored.  There are many thatched roofed homes and some incredibly luxurious mansions tucked into the landscape.  This seems to be cottage country for the wealthy.  Since this is a mangrove area, the water is very clean but too murky for snorkelling.  It is, however, marvellous for swimming, with little boat traffic - even on weekends.  There are a few "boat boys", but they are mostly polite and not aggressive in their dealings.

Cholon Bay home.

There are about a dozen boats in the anchorage- half of them Canadian!  There is a big trawler, Manatee, owned by Richard and his Colombian wife, Carmen.  They are also building a home, Crowsnest, atop the ridge above the anchorage.  They invited us all aboard for Happy Hour on Saturday night.  What a wonderful group of people!  (The snacks they brought were wonderful too.)  Everyone had a great time and left wishing we would be here for the Christmas potluck.  However, many of us have made a commitment for the Cartagena Christmas dinner.

Although Alberto cleaned our hull just over a week ago, it took us two days to clean it up again!  Four large patches encrusted with barnacles were an enigma.  We finally deduced that they were right where Curacao Marine had placed the protective paper when ANGEL was hoisted to launch, the paper had stayed on the paint and the barnacles developed on the paper.  A plastic scraper was all it took to loosen them.  Similarly, although the dinghy spends most of the time up on the davits, it took me two days of heavy scubbing to remove the sludge and other botanicals from the bottom

We had a wonderful start to the day each morning.  Helen on DEJA VU led all the women (the men didn't show up) in water aerobics.  Keeping fit and socializing- great for the morale.

One afternoon we motored in CHERUB most of the way to Baru.  It was amazing to wend our way through the cathedral-like mangroves, sensing their antiquity and savouring the peace and serenity of the spot.

Mangrove channel

We also took depth soundings through the entrance channel to the bay and sorted out the buoys and markers to make our exit less confusing.  The rusty "red" can marker with the four vanes on top is actually a green marker.  Fortunately there is enough water nearby to prevent accidents if the message is misread!

Last night we attended our first raft up Happy Hour.  Everyone took his/her beverage of choice plus a snack to pass, we motored upwind and up-current form the anchorage and then tied all the dinghies together.  We then enjoyed our sundowners as we drifted  gently back towards the anchorage and disengaged as we approached our own boat.  What a simple but fun way to have a party!

The party is getting started!

Friends are the best part of sailing!

It will be very difficult to leave this tranquil spot, but we will be back again right after Christmas!