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Ocean Rival Journey Log
Adam Power Diana Power
Sat 28 May 2016 12:22
Cartagena. Saturday 28 May.
Departed Santa Marta at 6.30pm for an overnight trip of around 100m. We had to call back in to the marina for exit papers and cruising permit which supposedly only give 24hrs before registering at next port. The stop also gave opportunity for a shower and to replace a lost overboard hat.
We enjoyed a pleasant sail (under genoa only of course) as far as Baranquilla where the wind deserted us completely. We motored on through the flotsam that is spewed out by the Magdalena river -initially branches and twigs then endless plastic containers. The autohelm is playing up so had to steer under motor. It is possible to keep a steady course with lashed wheel for a few minutes at a time - usually drifting off course only when you turn your back to do a quick job below. OR found it amusing to immediately turn through 90 deg to port so that on return to the cockpit you find her heading straight towards the rocky shore of Columbia.
The other major equipment problem became apparent as I plotted the course to Cartagena on the chart plotter to discover that my west caribbean chart cuts out at Baranquilla. That left us relying on the free cruising guide that I picked up in the SM Marina office. I was able to plot a course for entry into Cartegena using waypoints extracted from the cruising guide but we did have to keep eyes out for islands or spits between Baranquilla and Cartegena. I am hoping that Cartagena will have the next chart to get us to Panama.
We had been warned about thunderstorms which left our Australian neghbour in SM marina cowering on the cockpit floor as lighting struck all around his cateraman when on the way down to Cartagena. Fortunately for us the storms stayed on the horizon over Cienaga.
The tower blocks of Cartagena appear on the horizon some 4 hours before projected arrival time. It then takes an age to get up to the city and the entrance to the bay is round the back of the BocaGrande peninsular which takes another age. The chart was a little unclear with regard to the depth of the underwater bar that guards the bay but fortunately we cleared with water to spare.
The approach to Cartagena looks not unlike Manhatten Island with its tower blocks on the peninsular. We eventually dropped anchor off the Club Nautico marina at 16.30. We had been warned about the dirty water which fouls your bottom as soon as blink but hadn't expected it to look quite so dirty.
I launched the dinghy to see if there was anyone in the marina office to register our arrival- The outboard is working to rule on minimum speed at the moment so a sedate trip in to the dock was unsuccessful for registering but hopeful for charts-the small chandlery at the Marina suggesting that their main shop would be able to help.
We enjoyed a quiet if sultry night and now preparing for a trip ashore.