Punta Hermosa, Colombia
Distance run: 58nmiles
Friday 6th December 2012
We stayed four days longer than planned in Santa Marta as our first departure was aborted
when the engine temperature alarm went off 5 miles out and we discovered
that all the fresh water from the engine had emptied itself out into the
bilge. This as a result of the poor fitting of the spare fresh water pump
by a local Colombian mechanic. With nil wind to get back into the marina,
the Coast Guard very kindly came out in their RIB and towed us back in.
As it was a Sunday, nothing could be done. First thing Monday the mechanic arrived to remove the faulty seal and went off to buy a new one. We were not surprised to hear a couple of hours later that he would have to go to the nearest big town, Baranquilla, and try to get one there. But not till the next day.
So on Tuesday he went off to Baranquilla and phoned late morning to say that he couldn't get one but was having one made. He should be back with it by the end of the afternoon. He was, and he fitted it. The sealant had to be left a few hours to dry, so we couldn't test it till next morning. We kept the engine running for over an hour and all seemed fine. We coudn't leave, though, because by now it was too late to make it to the next stop before dark.
So we finally slipped the lines in Santa Marta yesterday at 0600, and with next to no wind we motored almost all the way to Punta Hermosa. We were punching the tide which got stronger as we neared the mouth of the Rio Magdalena, which drains 25% of the Colombian landmass. We knew exactly when we were in its outflow as there was a definite line where the water changed from blue to brown. Once we reached the mouth of the river we had the current with us and fairly shot along to our anchorage at Punta Hermosa.
We arrived in the huge bay, which is well-protected from the sea by a very long sandbar, around 1700 and chose a nice spot to drop the anchor. The good news is that the new seal on the water pump did its job all the way and seems to be fine now.