Santa Marta - Cartegena 10:24.555N,75:32.478W

Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Thu 23 Feb 2017 14:38
Having returned from our trek into the mountains to the boat we were looking forward to clearing out and making our way to Panama via the San Blas Islands. First of course we had to complete the clearing in process and on Monday morning a man from customs actually turned up and took our details, photos of the hull number and engine number and disappeared off to fill in his paperwork and get his superiors signature. Tuesday we actually had our cruising permit and temporary importation papers. Thursday morning we picked up our Zarpe (outbound clearance). Between times Sarah has been resting her knee which she twisted on the last day of the trek, we have been to the Gold Museum and continued provisioning the boat for the next two weeks when we might not be able to buy very much. Phil also had to try and build up our stock of US$. Having been told to go to a certain bank he tried this and was sent elsewhere eventually after going round in circles the method became clear. Take out Peso from an ATM go to a shady looking shop hand your peso's through the grill and ask for US$ they show the exchange rate on a calculator and go out the back to get them, almost the same exchange rate as on the internet so we didn't lose too much.

Thursday morning we left for Cartegena, on advice from the marina and our agent we understand that we can make a stop for two nights without any extra formalities but we were still a bit dubious. Unlike our sail from the ABC's we had very little wind, almost flat seas and managed a steady 4-6 knots until the wind died Friday morning and we motored the last 5 miles. There are two entrances to the harbour Boca Grande is the small boat entry and about 5 miles further South Boca Chico is the big boat entrance, we contacted the port control gave them all our details and checked the depths though the Boca Grande, enough water so in we went.

All was going well, we were told to anchor and wait for the authorities to visit us, still waiting, then disaster. We were anchoring in deep water so needed almost all of the chain out unfortunately the stopper knot at the end of the chain didn't hold and all of the chain went overboard. We had seen this happen to someone in St Lucia and had checked that ours was fixed but the knot pulled through the hole. A Colombian couple offered us assistance and we anchored with our, lighter, spare anchor. The Colombian couple arranged for some help and we agreed a price for the recovery of our anchor which by good luck worked and we now have our proper anchor back in use. This afternoon we will look at the city and tomorrow intend to leave.

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