Friday, 14 November 2014

30/2014 Rosario Islands

Hi from Clare,                           Thursday 13th November

When we wrote ten days ago we were in Cartagena Colombia organizing a trip to the dentist and repairs to our AB dinghy which is still under warranty.

The dentist trip went well; we fronted up Tuesday without an appointment but armed with our Spanish-English translator. Fortunately we received help from a Spanish patient, a local lawyer who could speak fairly good English. He phoned his friend a retired English dentist on vacation and asked him to come to the surgery and between them they communicated my requirements to the Colombian dentist. I needed a porcelain front replaced which after thirteen years had cracked and partly fallen off. I was given preferential treatment and ushered into the surgery immediately. The cracked porcelain front was removed, impressions taken and a temporary fitted. The following afternoon the job was completed and for about one third of the Australian price. We were very impressed with the generous help we received and the efficiency of the dentist.

The bubbles in the seam is where the aluminium is corroding under the rubber
Sadly, not so much efficiency with the dinghy repair. We thought this would be easy as AB dinghies have an excellent reputation and are made here in Colombia. However it became complicated because Customs required the dinghy to be imported into Colombia. Importation enables the necessary paperwork for the dinghy to pass in and out of the factory which is a tax free zone. It was said that the paperwork should take two days but in fact it took eleven very frustrating days and "manyana" is alive and well. Eventually the dinghy was transported to the factory on Tuesday for an estimated four day repair. At this stage we think it will be returned next Wednesday which another eight days "manyana" still lives.

Scenes around Cartagena's modern city

We planned to go to Peru for a week and we spent endless time with the travel agents and broken English trying to organize the trip. But with the additional uncertainty of the dinghy repairs, it all became too difficult; South America will have to wait.

So we have moved fifteen miles away from Cartagena Port to the Rosario Islands. It is very peaceful and great to get back into clean 29.6 degree water. Andrew has been busy for the last two days cleaning the bottom of the boat. After installing the ultrasonic Anti-fouling device which supposedly prevents barnacles growing he is a bit underwhelmed by its performance. Granted the largest barnacles are the ones furthest away from the device but there are still many small barnacles everywhere.

So during the last week in Cartagena we have been planning our days around keeping cool. We are 10 degrees north of equator so it is hot and humid. We have had our tarpaulins up over the boat for both sun and rain protection. The humidity is such that we drip perspiration as soon as we are out of the breeze. I have been cooking dinner straight after breakfast to keep the heat out of the boat at night. Most afternoons we hide in an air conditioned shopping centre or café for a few hours and then we have a cold shower at the marina before coming back to the boat.
Kids and the pigeons in an old city park

Our friends on "Saraoni" have ventured onto The San Blas Islands which is reportedly very beautiful but currently pouring with rain. Keith on "Sadiqi" has been great company and we have enjoyed a few dinners in the cool of the cockpit on Eye Candy. Keith has helped Andrew with Clean Up programs for the computer and was hoping to leave for the San Blas this Friday but the Harbour Master is on holidays until Tuesday and so "Manyana" once again.

We will continue on to the San Blas Islands as soon as our dinghy is returned to the boat but for now I must away and practice my tennis shots with the fly swat.

Love Candy xx

At 6:54 PM12/11/2014 (utc) our position was 10°10.92'N 075°44.29'W

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Tuesday, 4 November 2014

29/2014 Colombia

Hi from Clare,                                               Monday 3rd November
Eye Candy under the Sierra Nevada

Anchorage off Club Nautico
We are now in Cartagena Columbia after having an excellent 360 mile sail from Aruba. We firstly sailed two nights to the Five Bays on the northern coast of Columbia near the township of Santa Marta. Here we meet Geoff and Alison on 'Saraoni' who we have been speaking to on our radio net for some time. We had drinks on their boat before collapsing into bed for a good night's sleep. The following afternoon both Saraoni and Eye Candy sailed eight miles to Taganga Bay just outside Santa Marta in preparation for starting out at first light the next morning to sail a hundred and twenty miles to Cartagena. This can be a very nasty piece of water with high winds, large waves and usually a counter current. The nearby towering Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (see photo) also produces a spectacular lightning show at night. The icing on the cake is the dirt and debris coming out of the Magdalena River which turns the ocean water to muddy brown. It is recommended to cross the mouth of the river in day light to avoid tree trunks etc. Oh we can't wait; what a treat. Fortunately for us apart from the apprehension caused by the lightning disco lights we had an uneventful trip and arrived into Cartagena at 3am the following morning.
Cartagena city gates

Clares new hat outside the city walls

So now we are anchored in the busy port of Cartagena. The water is too dirty to swim in and very choppy due to power boat traffic. The weather is hot and humid and we experience heavy downpours; Eye Candy is sparkling clean. We have the British warship Argyll on the wharf not far from our boat. On Saturday, Prince Charles the Commander and Chief of the British Navy had a tour of the vessel. We watched the rehearsal and the formal event from the comfort of our cockpit. The only difference was the rehearsal was conducted in brilliant sunlight and the formal event was a complete washout. We watched an entourage of umbrellas shuffling around the deck whilst the navy guys in their immaculate whites stood at attention in pouring rain. Prince Charles also in full uniform delivered his speech from the podium with umbrellas aloft. I suppose it was a case of 'the show must go on' or 'stiff upper lip' and all that, but personally I think given the unpredictable rains, they should have had a fall back plan - anyhow for us it was pretty good.

A Church and another new hat

We have only just scratched the surface of Cartagena. We arrived early Friday morning and Saturday was Independence Day and today is a public holiday. I need to find a dentist and Andrew is chasing up AB dinghies as our newly purchased and still under warranty dinghy is bubbling along the seam at the bottom of the dinghy. Apart from emails to the respective businesses, we haven't made much progress.

No doubt he conquered something
We have friends here on 'Saraoni' and also an Aussie friend Keith on Sidiqi. Keith helped us get a sim card for internet access so we are back on air. Last night we had drinks on Eye Candy with Saraoni and Sidiqi and a fun night was had by all.

Earlier in the day we went for a walk to the walled city. We haven't discovered much about the history of the place as yet but as you can see by the photos, walking through the old city was reminiscent of our time spent in the Mediterranean. Lovely old churches, town squares, grand buildings, narrow streets, festooning bougainvillea, tourists and many touts. Andrew and I bought a hat each which are lovely and light and just the thing for this hot climate.

We are not sure how long we will be in Cartagena. Once our business is sorted we will venture on to the San Blas Islands to enjoy clean water and beautiful beaches.

Love Candy xx

At 10:54 AM1/11/2014 (utc) our position was 10°24.59'N 075°32.53'W

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