10:22:80N 75:32:62W Cartagena des Indes

Superted V
Jean & Matt Findlay
Wed 20 Oct 2010 14:28

Well I really can’t believe I’m sitting here (in the rain) in South America after all those months up and down the eastern Caribbean!  Bit of a 'challenge' getting here! Cartegena is much bigger than I thought it was going to be – it’s a large city and the skyline is like Hong Kong or Singapore – can’t wait to explore as the old part of the city is supposed to be very beautiful – I can just see the tops of some of the buildings – looks like lots of Spanish influence – which I guess is logical!


We were so pleased to leave Curacao – not much to do there but shopping – and shop I did! Well I got hold of a list of food which (allegedly) you can’t get here so best to stock up on in Curacao – I was at 3 different supermarkets in 3 days – going a bit frantic with this list and another list I had made for provisioning for our next couple of months as we travel through the San Blas islands – it reminded me of those TV programs where the winner got to fill a supermarket trolley with as much stuff as possible in a few minutes – I got 1 hour though (that’s all you get when you catch the shopping bus from the anchorage) so it was quite a challenge to zip through a strange supermarket looking for stuff which I had never heard of – it was on the list so I had to get it!)  Then the real challenge was to get it all stowed away – that took a day – looking for spaces behind seats, under drawers etc etc – quite fun really – honest. Looking at the amount of food I have for 2 months I just cannot imagine how much we will need for 6 months (3 times as much I guess) – now that’s going to be a real challenge!


Anyway we were originally going to coastal hop with another boat but they had to go back to Bonaire then wanted more time before they set off from Curacao so we decided to go alone and come straight to Cartegena.  Took us just under 3 days (468 miles).  When we set off the forecast was for 25 knots for the first day and getting a bit less the following days which sounded fine and we did get around 20 – 25 knots – just had the genoa up as the wind was from behind.  Then as we left the waters around Aruba the seas started to get up and the wind got up – the first night we had somewhere between 25 and 35 knots and quite boisterous seas – this went on all the next day with the sea state getting more and more agitated!  (We had to put a furl in the genoa). At one point during the first night I was sitting on watch looking at the stern (trying to learn a bit of Spanish from my ipod) – all I could see was the surf swishing all around lit up with the stern light – I decided it was better not to look!  Occasionally we had a set of real humdingers which threw the boat around a bit!  The noise was tremendous.  Thank goodness we have a 25 ton boat not a 5 ton!  And thank goodness we were going with it rather than into it!  It was quite difficult to get comfortable to sleep but we did manage not too badly.  At one point on the second night I put the laptop, the hand held VHF and GPS in the oven as the fork lightning was getting a bit too close to comfort!  Then yesterday after lunch (yes we did manage to eat – and quite well too from all that provisioning!) we turned the corner and low and behold the seas were quite calm and the wind dropped – luxury!  Of course we then had no wind for a while but it did eventually get back up so we got the main out and poled out the genoa.  By then we had about 100 miles to go but it meant we would be arriving in the dark so we tried to slow down a bit – just the genoa again but around 10 o’clock there was a tremendous squally thunderstorm so we had to take the sail down – when that went through there was no wind at all so we ended up slowly motoring for the rest of the night.  At some point we were approached by an unlit pirogue type boat which was a bit scary but it turned out to be the Colombian coast guard (obviously looking for drug runners) and they were really friendly and thank goodness didn’t want to come on board.   The rest of the night we watched an amazing lightning show!  Anyway we got here at dawn and are now sitting at anchor in Cartegena Bay just outside ‘Club Nautico’.