Sunday, May 13, 2007

Saturday 12th May


10 24.735 N
75 32.607 W

Our day started with listening to the cruisers net on channel 67, it was apparently the very last cruisers net as the lady who runs it was leaving to go sailing the islands herself. Gerry dug out our very last fairlead (thanks Bob) and attached it to the toe rail, replacing the one that broke in Aruba. A quick trip into the marina to fill up our water container and top up the tank – the harbour isn’t one that we want to make water in. We had arranged to meet the cushion man at 10.00hrs so just before the allotted time we dinked in with out cockpit cushions to meet up. He had brought along a couple of fabric samples but had limited colours, we ended up agreeing to red white and blue stripped fabric (it will at least match the spinnaker!). We agreed on a price and time for delivery, paid a deposit for the fabric and said goodbye to our cushions for the next few days. We then had to wait at the club for a call from Terry as we were going to go en mass to the Castillo de Felipe – the huge Spanish fort which dominates part of Cartagena. It was a 2 drink wait until we got the call and then we were joined at the club by Maureen and Paul – South Africans off of a boat called Calypso and Terry and Marietta. The six of us set out at a brisk pace for the fort, passing a few architecturally interesting buildings on the way. Marietta speaks fluent Spanish so she kindly pointed out things of interest along the way. We arrived at the fort and paid our entrance fee, it was then a steep climb to the top of the fort. We all agreed to go to the top and work our way downwards, it was a stinking hot day and as it was almost midday when we were climbing up we were all drowned in perspiration by the time we reached the top. We all needed “air showers” to cool us down and reduce the BO effect! The view was well worth the hike, the fort overlooks the city and there is a great 360 degree view. We all took a while to regain our breath and cool down a bit before beginning the exploratory walk back down. Whilst there were guides who could give you the history of the place we relied on Marietta to translate the tour guide pamphlet and the information placards around the fort. We went into a few of the tunnels around the fort, following them to the exits until we found a tunnel that went deeper and deeper finally we began wadding through sea water. We continued to wade until the water reached our mid thigh level and then we decided to turn around and make our way back out in the same direction that we had come in by – none of us wanted to end up swimming. Gerry and I had both worn sneakers so we squelched in them for the rest of the day, everyone else had worn flip flops or reef walkers. The one strange thing we found was that the souvenir shop for the place was at the top of the building, I would have though it would have done better business at the exit but who am I to judge? Once we had covered the entire fort we all needed a cold drink and a seat so we made our way across the road to a local café and chilled out. Marietta intended to go into the new part of town following the fort visit; Maureen and Paul went with her whilst Terry (who was feeling a bit under the weather with a stomach bug), Gerry and I headed back to the dock. Terry went back to his boat and Gerry and I went to the supermarket just across the road from the dock. We were delighted with the supermarket; it compares well to all the good supermarkets in the USA and is better than a lot of them, it is definitely a good place to provision. Beer was on sale for the day so guess what we bought! The one thing we haven’t been able to find here is cans of Coke, everywhere sells bottles (glass or plastic) neither of which we want on the boat, we may have to wait until Panama to stock up on the soft drink. After our trip to the supermarket we made our way back to the boat, removed out still wet sneakers and in my case socks, dried off our wet, wrinkled, prune looking feet and had a late afternoon snooze. Gerry bar b qued dinner at the end of an exhausting hot and humid day.



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