Sat 10 Nov 2007 16:56
Position: 10:10.882N 75:44.439W
Trying a different format to see if the map will capture my position
Saturday, 10th November
A sailor's superstition; never sail on a Friday.
But, with Cartagena about to close down for a weeks carnival, we were glad to pick up our 'Zarpes' (lit: up anchor) documents and leave the smally water of Cartagena Bay for the open sea.
After 30 mins Fleck ran into a huge green navigation bouy. This boat, can't be trusted to look after herself for three minutes whilst I rummaged at the chart table. By some miracle I looked up about ten seconds before impact. In asystole I rocketed up the companionway steps and landed in the cockpit with one foot twisted into and trapped by a bucket of muddy water that I had not put away after cleaning the anchor and chain of filth. Hopping aft I managed to disengage the autopilot and swing the helm, just avoiding a catastrophic head on impact. However there is some damage to the starboard topsides, forward, and a worrying gelcoat crack in the bow seam which I hope was caused by flexing rather than an attempt by Fleck to restore entropy by splitting hersefl into the two halves from which she was moulded.If you have been in a car crash you will know how I was feeling. Fleck weighs 10 tons, the bouy perhaps 4: calculate potential energy etc etc.
Why? probably motored into a cross current. Autopilot steers to a bearing, not a point on the map. All my fault for not preparing everything before I left, and going below in a relatively confined area.Anyway I think its quite safe to proceed to the Panama Canal, where a proper check can be done.
The other problems: heavy rain again, wind from the nose, overheating main engine, new outboard proving moch more unreliable than the old one, all relatively trivial, except the overheating engine: had to stop in the middle of the main shipping chanel into Cartagena through Boca Chica, in the path of an oncoming Tanker, hoist sail and reach to the shallow water at the side where I almost ran aground! Usually an overheating engine is the result of cooling water blockage, and a simple algorithm sorts things out. I have had to add a new box, having forgotten that a badly fouled propellor can so increase resistance as to cause overheating. Having reached this conclusion, I motored very slowly to the Islas Rosarios, about two knots.
Some good news: Lovely anchorage in a bay behind reefs on the North Shore of Isla Grand. Swam down to the prop last night: a total shellfish farm, feeding off the Cartagena sewage. Scraped myself and about half the barnacles away before I got too cold (still thin!). Will finish today, and then swim out to the reefs for relaxation. 3.5 inches of rain overnight: the weather has been like this for ages: heavy cloud, lightning, deluges,occasional sunny periods, generally very light winds, occasional squalls.
Tomorrow continuing down the Colombian Coast, hope to be at the Border with Panama by mid week, with one overnight sail.