Friday, May 11, 2007

Thursday 10th May


10 24.735 N
75 32.607 W

Well at least the sun rose today! It was still quite muggy and overcast as we made our way along the Columbian coastline towards Cartagena but the closer we got the clearer the sky became. We took great interest in the sky scrapers lining the shore – it was so different from the tropical islands that we had been seeing so far and we were close to the finish line for this passage. As we neared the entrance to the port of Cartagena we fished out the limited information we had about the place to see what approach to take. The first thing of concern was that our chart plotter said the entrance at the buoys had a depth of just 4 feet, we approached very cautiously as the information sheet we had said that the depth was 11 feet, sure enough it was 11 feet and was even marked on the buoy as such. The information said to then “follow the green channel markers to the monument to Madonna and child”, what can I say, the entrance was enormous opening into a huge bay – there was no sign of a monument from the entrance. We didn’t know if it was to the right or left and there were all sorts of channel markers in both directions so we took a slow tour of the bay until we spotted the monument (it’s on the left!) then we made our way according to the instructions over to the Club Nautico marina and anchorage. We passed a US coastguard boat and several Columbian navy boats which were tied up to the docks There were even a couple of submarines and 2 “stealth boats” tied up, I snuck a photo of one of them – not so stealthy it shows in the photo! – it is quite ugly looking. We tried to raise the port authority on the radio as per the instructions but they never responded to our repeated calls so we gave up, scouted out the anchorage and picked a spot to drop the hook into 10 foot of murky water with a thick mud bottom. The anchor set pretty quickly and then we were greeted by the sound of another Aussie on the boat in front of us. Introducing ourselves to our neighbours we quickly found out the essentials of “how and where” things are done here. We also discovered that we were working an hour ahead of everyone else – we had entered a different time zone and the atomic clocks hadn’t changed over – we had an extra hour up our sleeves! Checking in involves using an agent and they keep your passport for a couple of days, plus you have to give 48hrs notice of when you are going to leave, we aren’t keen on leaving our boat paperwork and passports with any one for that long and are a little concerned that we may not get the paperwork back in time for us to leave here on Monday as we had planned – oh well! Our neighbours, Sue and Roger on Nico and Terry and Marietta on Lioness 111, were planning a tour of the place in the next couple of days and we were invited to join them, we tentatively accepted as it was one of the things we wanted to do here, we are waiting to hear the itinery, day and the price before committing completely. Once we had got ourselves organized, put away the stuff in the cockpit and dropped the dink in the water we had a shower and made our way into the dock of Club Nautico where we were greeted by 3 guys off of a boat that we had assisted in Bonaire, we got talking to them, had a few drinks and that was the end of any plans to go further a field for the day. We spent the rest of the afternoon drinking and chatting with the guys who are making their way back to Australia. We ended up meeting the clearing in agent; we will go through the formalities tomorrow. After eating dinner at the club we went back to the boat for the night. I caught up with some of the blog notes whilst Gerry read for a while. Both of us were fast asleep by 21.30hrs despite the very loud music of a mariachi band drifting across the bay.



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