position N10 21 177 W75 41 950

Ocean Rival Journey Log
Adam Power Diana Power
Thu 2 Jun 2016 21:14

Thursday 02 June. Leaving Cartagena

We had eveything arranged for Sergio to join us for the trip to Panama but when David the maritime agent met us this morning he said the Sergios passport was old style and that he wouldn't be able to leave Columbia with it.

Big disapointment all round - we had bumped into Segio with his parents in a dark tunel in the massive old fort that overlooks Cartagena and later had them onboard for a very enjoyable supper of kebabs cooked on the cob. Mangaged to deliver them back to the dock without dunking anyone despite several glasses of interesting wine that Segio's step dad had brought along.

So we wrapped up the paperwork with David, last trip to the supermarket, made a quick visit to the fuel dock at Club de Pesca and set off at around 12.00 midday.

Needless to say the wind is a gentle SW breeze (our route is SW) but with a pleasant slight sea so tacked out on port at around 300 deg for a couple of hours then as the wind had veered slightly with tacked back onto stbd and now making 4-5kn on about 210. The forecast would indicate better wind direction tomorrow so hoping we can  adjust onto course at some point.

I have been studying the Panama cruising guide that dad very thoughtfuly bought us- very thorough and quite daunting looking at the routes through the San Blas islands. My 1st thought was to make landfall at the border with Columbia which marks the start of the San Blas but  further research suggested that the border is closed to Columbians and the maritime office also closed for entry. So I have adjusted the landfall to Isla Pinos hoping to take in the San Blas to the west before registering entry at Puerto Lindo. The marina here may be suitable for leaving the boat or we may have to carry on to Colon or further. There is some doubt about the San Blas visitor fee -possibly $100 per person (on top of a cruising fee for Panama of $200).  The guide has lots of useful information about the Kuna Yala who occupy the San Blas. Diana has already memorised the words for 'I don't wish to buy any Mulas'.

Going back a couple of days our anchorage at Isla San Michel held overnight but the wind came round from the south leaving us exposed to the waves and hanging not far off the fence of the aquarium. I had visions of us ending up in the dolphin enclosure as the lighting played around us and with the rain  beating on the hatches. Our snared rock appeared secure however and my main concern was unwrapping the chain to get off.
We enjoyed a trip round the aquarium and watched the various fish, turtles, sharks and dolphins being fed. The bearded sharks (my name- to be corrected) put up a particularly impressive show as they thrashed around on a platform to fight over the dead fish. The gruppa fish made fearsome thumps with their jaws as they snapped up the food and tunas flew across the tanks at breakneck speed to beat their rivals to a sardine. We were less impressed with the dolphin trick show which I thought was maybe no longer in the spirit of 'eco marine conservation' with which these places justify themselves. And the dolphin trained to give ladies kisses for 50000 pesos was unashamedly being pimped.
We returned to the boat to find that we were now even closer to the fence so made a hurried exit - luckily the anchor had found another rock to hook otherwise we would have been in with the dolphins.

We sailed gently back to Cartagena having motored out and attempted another anchorage off an island on route. We failed again and probably would have been moved on anyway as an official park speedboat came up and saw us off. The Rosarios were an interesting test of our anchorage skills-mostly we failed but it highlighted various tricky conditions.

Back in Cartagena we explored the spanish fort and read about an english attempt to capture Cartagena with 23000 men but were seen off by 2300 Spanish. The english version of the History may read differently.