COLOMBIA BY BOAT
DAY 507 PORTOBELO –
I woke early this morning and walked around the fort taking some photos as the sun came up. We left the hostel at midday and then had 5 hours to wait before we could board the boat. We took over the band stand in the centre of town.
At 5pm we went down to the public Wharf to meet the water taxi to take us and our bikes out to the boat. The wild card is 60 feet long and slightly bigger then I expected. Early in the day a motor bike had been loaded on and was now strapped to the front rail of the boat.
Our 5 bicycles have been strapped to the hand rails around the back of the boat.
We are a total of 20 for the crossing. The captain Charlie is from South Africa with his wife and son. The cook Sophie is from Australia and the first mate is from Colombia. Us five cyclist make up a third of the passengers. The rest are a mixture from England, Netherlands, Switland, Germany and the States. After getting settled in we all sat up on the fore deck at the front of the boat. There are lots of mattress and bean bags for us to hang out on. The drinking started pretty much straight away. We had a good hot dinner of Spaghetti and mince before we set sail around 8pm. It was pretty warm down in the cabin. So most people slept out on deck. Once we came out of the harbour it started to get a bit rough. I slept on the deck for a few hours before I woke up cold and went down in to the cabin. I had a bottom bunk towards the back of the boat and near the engine. It wasn’t easy to sleep. The boat rolled a lot. It was stinking hot in the cabin. Out of 15 passengers 3 people were sick.
Over night we sailed 100 km I got up at 5:30am and as I went up on deck we were just arriving at the San Blais Islands. The wind had dropped and the water was flat.
What a beautiful sight. The islands were flat golden sand covered in Palm trees
At the same time a small pod of dolphins swam past the boat. The rain arrived as well. We had to wait a few hours for the weather to clear before we could move on. We waited to after breakfast. Then 4 of us and the captain went ashore to the customs island to pay the Kuna tax. $20 per person to visit the islands.
After paying the tax we motored on to another island. There a small Islands and reefs were every where. We could see in the distance a old ferry that recently got stuck on a reef when it tried to help get off a catamaran that was also stuck on the reef.
We ended up mooring just off a small island . After lunch we went ashore in the dingy.
And we were able to chill out for the rest of the day. There was a coral reef off the island and we went out for some snorkelling. Saw lots of colourful fish. Afterwards we played a bit of volleyball and also had a walk around the island. There are 5 family’s living on the island in very basic houses. On the north side of the island some very large shells had been washed up. We played a bit of volleyball Ended up staying on the island for dinner. Sophie cooked on the boat a yummy chicken stir fry and then brought over all the food in the dingy. By the time we got back to the boat it was 10pm and everyone was pretty tired. I slept out on the deck with a few other for a few hours. Again woke up cold and could see the rain was coming. So went inside.
We are on island time. It was after 7am before people started to rise. And it was a very relaxed start to the day. We had first breakfast at 7;30am Coffee, fruit and some cereal and sat out on the fore deck. 10Am we had second breakfast which seams to always be cooked. This morning it was fried balls of dough and warm fruit with cinnamon on top. Yesterday it was eggs, Sausages and corn fritters. After breakfast we moved on to a small sand bar which seamed to be in the middle of nowhere. The boat anchored some what off and every one swam over. Not been a good swimmer I tried going over wearing a life jacket. After only a short way I was feeling very uncomfortable. The island was a lot further off then I thought. So I returned to the boat. They put the dingy in the water so I could get over. When we got there we gathered for a photo. The captain climbed the mast of the boat to take a group photo of us on the small island.
Everyone came back for lunch and we motored on again to another spot. Saw another big ship wrecked on a reef. We have anchored for the night in the middle of a group of islands and reefs. In the afternoon we went out in the dingy to go snorkelling on one of the reefs. It was good and we got to see some nice reef fish again. Back on board the sea food lovers were treated to a lobster dinner.
Tonight turned out to be the biggest night on the boat and we had a bit of a party on board with everyone dancing on the deck on the roof of the wheal house. It didn’t get too out of control.
After the party I slept out on deck with two others. We had to make a quick exit when the rain came.
I was up early for the sun rise. The day started with the most sunniest morning we have had so far.
The boat was a little slow after the party & a little clean up was needed. After breakfast we moved on for a hour before stopping so we could do some more snorkelling. Everyone swam out to the reef. I took a ride out in the dingy. Saw some good fish again.
Late morning we moved on again. Then the rain came and everyone got up on deck to have a wash. I think the ladies appreciated been able to wash there hair.
It was a good rain shower. It soon cleared before we arrived at our next island.
We had a quick visit. There was a few family’s living on the island. The island wasn’t very big and I had done a whole lap in less then 5 minutes.
We were back on the boat by 4pm and we pretty much started the open sea crossing to Cartagena straight away. Straight away it started to get rough. Quite a few people were unable to eat dinner. I managed two pieces of Lasanga and there were another two going which I put away for tomorrow morning. By 8pm everyone was on bed. Three of us were resting up on deck. After we were drenched by a wave we knew it was time to move inside. Slept ok inside the cabin………….but was waking up every hour.
I got up at 4am and sat up in the cockpit and chatted to Charlie the Captain for a while.
It is so much cooler up on deck. At 5:30am I went out on deck to watch the sunrise.
I found a small flying fish in the bean bag. That had come on board in the night.
Today was the toughest day on the boat. It was difficult to be out on deck. It was impossible to stay dry and there was no shade. There was little room inside the cabin and the only place to be was in your bed. That’s where I headed after 2nd breakfast.
Got back up for lunch again. I finally got back up again around 4:30 when it was much cooler on deck. We had abig cruise ship pass us.
We had the nicest sunset on the trip so far. Then it was early night for all.
DAY 512 CARTAHENA
It was really rough in the night. I was unable to have much sleep. It got to one point it was no longer rough. I jumped up and I could see the lights of Cartahena in the distance. Hour later I got up for good to watch our arival on what was a very nice morning
By 6am we had dropped anchor After two breakfests we started been transported ashore around 9am.
All of our bicyicles survived pretty well. Unfortunetly a bolt on my back rack shared off after the strap was over tightened. I had to make a quick fix for the short trip to the hostel. Its a bit pricey here…………45 000 or $15 for a bunk bed in a dorm room in a hostel just out side the old city.
After settling into the hostel I went in serch of a bike shop. I came across a shop selling bicyicles and a guy with a small tool box fixing bikes. Fair play to him he was able to do what I needed and that was replacing the bearings in the front hub and then been able to get out the shared bolt. I was much relived.
In the evening we went to meet Charlie and the rest of the gang for a drink on top of a roof top bar to pick up our Passports.