Cartagena by sea
Saturday 8th December 2012
Distance run: 56nmiles
We liked the anchorage at Punta Hermosa so much we decided to spend a second night. It was calm, peaceful and as the name suggests, quite picturesque. (Hermosa is Spanish for beautiful.)
We lifted the anchor at 0400 this morning, set the sails and were able to sail until mid-morning when the wind died to 5 knots and we had to hoist the iron topsail yet again. The upside of this was that the seas were very calm and so we were able to enter Cartagena bay through the Boca Grande entrance, saving ourselves the 12 extra nmiles we'd have to do if we carried on down to the Boca Chica entrance. As its name implies, Boca Grande is the wider of the two entrances into Cartagena Bay, but in order to keep the city safe they dropped a whole load of ballast across the entrance up to about a metre from the surface, effectively closing off the entrance. All boats then had to enter through Boca Chica which is a narrow entrance with a fort on each side, and the Cartageneros could effectively control shipping into and out of the city.
Since then, a narrow channel has been dug out of the ballast wall in Boca Grande, just deep and wide enough to let small craft through - but it is only advisable to do so when the sea is calm. It was today, and it was great to be able to see the city from a different perspective. We were able to pick out the landmarks in the old walled city, and the long line of skyscrapers in the modern district reminded us very much of the Miami skyline. We motored around the Madonna and Child statue in the middle of the bay and anchored off Club Nautico, then hoisted our yellow flag. We had no intention of checking in and paying $100 for the privilege, we would be gone next morning. So we settled back in the cockpit with a cold beer and watched the sun go down and the lights come on all over the city. Wonderful.