Where are we

Tuesday 1 January 2019

Colombia - Cartegena

Happy New Year!  Today we will be leaving Cartagena and, over the next month, slowly working our way up to Panama via various Colombian islands and the San Blas Island.  We won't have internet once we leave until we reach Panama, but we will be able to post small blogs via the SSB radio and the Iridium Go Satellite Phone to let you know how we are getting on.

Am posting this blog incomplete and unedited because the wifi starts to fail around noon, and I'd rather have a little up than nothing at all!  x


After a lovely Santa Marta sunrise and next to no wind, the sail to Cartagena got a little livelier.

I've put up a few photos that I hope just you an idea of what it was like sailing from Santa Marta to Cartagena. The area is known for strong wind and big seas but it was nothing we hadn't run across before.  The only difference was our point for sail.  We haven't had much opportunity to sail down wind in these conditions.  The two yachts you see are both in the Rally - the first is a monohull and the second is a catamaran.  We started out motoring in very light winds and then moved on to reefed main and poled out jib.  With the wind coming from behind you the jib has a tendency to collapse.  To stop his happening, we use a spinnaker pole which stops that from happening.  As the wind strengthened we dropped the main and went along quite happily under jib alone, except when a wave caught Larus on the side and leapt into the cockpit.

When it came time to change direction to go around the point at Barranquilla, where the Magdelaina River turns the Caribbean blue water to a murky green, we needed to gybe - that is change both the spinnaker pole and the jib from the port side of the boat to the starboard side.

Tim has to go onto the fore deck to unclip the pole from one jib sheet and clip it onto the other.  It was still quite windy with good sized waves, and though he clips on to the lifelines which run from the bow to the stern on both sides of the deck, it would be a slow careful procedure.  The first step to changing the pole over is to roll in the jib.  Once the jib was rolled in the change in motion of the boat was pleasantly surprising.  We carried on sailing at about 3 knots under bare poles (no sail up at all) but the boat motion became so calm.  We aren't that used to sailing downwind in strong winds and biggish seas.  Most Eastern Caribbean Tradewinds sailing is with the wind very much on one side of the boat (on the starboard going north up the islands or on the port going down the islands), so you can be anything from close hauled to a broad reach.

Sailing west as we are, the wind is often directly behind you and we are finding it very pleasant for the most part.  The boat isn't as heeled over but it does tend to wallow in a following sea, but there is much less sail trimming - once the sails are up the wind just pushes you along. I should have photos of this set up but I can't seem to locate any, so I will just have to find them or take some more!

Time is short and the wifi quite poor so I am going to put in as many photos as I can and add comments when possible.


Our first impressions of Cartagena - architecture, flowers and vultures.  I have not looked up why they have a statue of a vulture (which incidentally has a vulture perched on it) on a column in a park in the centre of town.  Baby vultures are not very attractive.


The anchorage off the Club de Pesca, a private marina, which the Rally leaders arrange for rally us to be able use. For a fee of course.  Larus in the private marina right across from a very busy fuel berth.

The marina is part of the ancient Fuerte de San Sebastian Pastelillo.


Best sushi ever with Rob and Lily.  Best Salsa dancing ever with Rob, Lily, Angela and Frances. At the Salsa club a there was a tiny elderly lady who sold snacks from a tray when she took a moment from dancing.  She danced and danced, and the local men and women took turns dancing with her.  It was wonderful.  I have no photos because my camera isn't up to it but Frances took some and I might see if Lily has any on her phone.


1 - View from the wall, 2 - Horse drawer carriages for hire, 3 - Fabulous bookshop and café, 4- impressive and immaculate façade. 5 - La Trinidad church interior, 6 -  Tim and Marion at the side door, 7- Christmas lights in a Park, 8 - walkway through the old City Wall. 9 - A blanket of lights in the main square.


 View of the city from Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, the Castillo and holding up the Colombian flag.  Our guide was very disappointed it was such a still day and the huge flag didn't perform as usual.


After the Castillo we visited Convento de la Popa which had a great view of Cartagena and beautiful courtyards.


Last in this blog a little of the city fauna.


The vulture and the yellow bird were spotted when Tim and I visited Tim's Mum's hotel in the centre of the old city.  The sloth, tiny monkey and the very red squirrel where all seen thanks the fruit carrying gentleman in the picture.  The park that is their home is right next to the main square.

I will probably do a second blog to finish of the photos, but we're soon heading to a nearby island Rosario to have some clear water for swimming and scrubbing the bottom of the boat. More blogging when we can. Colombia has been a wonderful experience.


  1. Great photos, and news re sailing Larus. Happy New Year
    Love Elaine

  2. Enjoying the blog! Which rally are you with?
    Didn't realise Tim's mum had hotel in S America 😊 HNY from Nick n Vanessa

  3. Happy New Year, a fantastic blog and what a life.

    Mark H xx

  4. I love traveling 'with' you. what fun.

  5. Baby vultures - a face not even a mother could love? ;)

    Loving the updates and all the photos. xo