position N10 10 460 W75 46 333
Ocean Rival Journey Log
Adam Power Diana Power
Tue 31 May 2016 01:56
We are anchored just off Islas San Martin which is part of the Rosario archipeligo some 20mile south of Cartagena. After a couple of days exploring Cartagena we felt the call of the sea or maybe it was the sweat of the town which prompted a change of scenery.
Cartagena is very attractive- lots of bourganvilla dressed streets with overhanging balconies and pretty painted buildings constructed with dressed stone doorways using a honey coloured sponge textured stone-presumably volcanic tufa of some sort. There are numerous tourists but absolutely no tourist information. We eventually found a very basic map in a gift shop, and gradually quartered the old town and took various routes through Getsemani on our way back to the Marina. Most buildings house a hostel and the rest (apart from an occasional church or museum) sell beer and cocktails.
We did find a chart for the plotter at a decent chandlery near the Marina- luckily the only Garmin chart left in the shop takes us to Panama east coast which will do for this trip. I must remember to buy the west coast and onward later. At $500 a pop they dont come cheap but we have become beholden to the plotter and hated sailing 'blind' from Baranquilla to Cartagena.
Our 1st attempt at finding an achorage off Isla Grande involved plotting an intricate route through the coral reef using information taken from our free cruising guide which looked well researched but turned out to be entirely wrong. We followed the course to the metre but ended up surrounded by coral heads on all sides and had to crunch our way back out destroying many years of ireplacable growth on route.
Some locals took pity on us and guided us in to the anchorage where there were already several motor boats and a catamaran. Feeling grateful we were easy picking when they produced their wares (coral and pearl necklaces). Diana chose a nice blue coral job but swore after that she could have got it cheaper in Primark. The bottom appeared sandy but on inspection with snorkel the anchor lay on the surface with no embedment. It held us for a swim and lunch but as the breeze picked up in the afternoon we found ourselves slipping inexorably back towards shore.
So up anchor and off to find another spot- the guide offered an anchorage off Isla San Martin so we picked a narrow passage through coral reefs and on 2nd attempt struck solid with the anchor. Inspection later showed that we had skillfuly ensnared a large coral head with a loop of chain. We will have to unloop with some care when we leave tomorrow.
I suspect that the guide has not been written by yachtsmen but by a landlubber looking at google earth.
Isla San Martin is the home of an aquarium which the guide assures is is well respected in the marine biology world. We shall see when it opens in the morning. The anchorage is however delightful- the next island over houses a frigate bird nest site with the sky above thick with birds. Every rock in the archipeligo appears to have a building perched ontop ranging from thatched shacks to elaborate concrete structures.