Skip to content

Santa Marta och Bogota

 

Vi har nu varit i Colombia 5 dagar som varit minst sagt intensiva. Vårt intryck efter denna korta tid är mycket positiv. Vi har tecknat en månads vistelse i Marina Santa Marta, en ny marina med mycket hjälpsam personal och bra priser eftersom de erbjuder 35 % rabatt. Colombia har ett gammalt rykte om att vara farligt med korruption, narkotika handel, kidnappningar mm. Säkerheten de senaste fem åren har dock förbättrats rejält. Ett avtal mellan regering och gerillagrupper är på plats och väntar på en ny folkomröstning. Men givetvis finns det områden som definitivt är farliga för turister. Med sunt förnuft kommer man lång vad gäller säkerhet, inga sena promenader på ensliga gator, fixa småpengar så de är redo i fickan, bläddra inte bland klämmor med 50,000 Peso sedlar, osv.

På tal om pengar så kan vi göra lite reklam för seglare som är i östra Karibien och ABC öarna. Taxi inom Santa Marta kostar runt 18 – 30 Sek. En enkel trerätters lunch med dryck mellan 30-40 Sek, osv. Skön omväxling. Med på överseglingen från Curaçao var Nanny med Liv och Magnus ombord.

I Torsdags flög vi inrikes till huvudstaden Bogotà för en tredagars minisemester. Vi fick sällskap av våra goda holländska vänner på båtarna Acapella, Helena och Jonas. Bogotà är en rejält stor stad, mellan 8 och 10 miljoner invånare och ligger på 2700 meters höjd. Faktiskt ganska kyligt på kvällar och morgnar.  Hittills har vi hunnit med ett otroligt häftigt besök på Guld museet som visar att Conquistadorerna inte fick med sig allt guld, tack och lov. Igår blev jag (Peter) även uppvaktad på min födelsedag med Holländsk sång och en mängd presenter. Vill oxå tacka en massa Facebook kompisar som skickat gratulationer. Det värmer!

Arrival in Colombia

Coastal mountains near Santa Marta, Colombia. Snow capped peaks of more than 5700 meters (covered by clouds) in the background.

We  had two wonderful but hectic weeks in Sweden and met family, friends and ex working
colleagues in Göteborg, Trollhättan, Stockholm and Uppsala. The weather was a perfect Autumn experience with all shades of yellow – red and green on the trees. The day we left for Curacao the weather changed dramatically with plenty of snow and a chilling – 5 degrees. Back in Curacao we worked a couple of days in the intense heat to get TinaP back in the water, bunker food and drinks and clear out.

After 54 hours sail we have now arrived in Santa Marta, Colombia. Adjusting to a long haul sail after close to 6 months anchoring in Bonaire and Curaçao took a while. The route passes close by an infamous headland where depths of more than 2000 meters change to less than hundreds of meters in no more than a couple of km’s. With a fetch of more than 500 nautical miles, and swell and/or strong winds, this route can quickly turn into extreme breaking waves that are dangerous to sailors. We choose a departure from Curaçao that promised no more than 20 knots average winds, and the forecast was accurate. Not covered in the forecast was thunderstorms lingering along the last 24 hours of the sail. The thunder didn’t bring any strong winds, but the constant lightning, although at a large distance did get on our nerves. A Swedish sailor got unlucky a week ago in Bonaire with secondary lightning damage (a catamaran got direct hit close by), resulting in severe and costly damage. It seems thunderstorms and lightning is a common theme in these areas at least this time of the year.

What made this sail special was the spectacular coastal scenery. Close to Santa Marta are the 5700 meter peaks of Sierra Nevada Santa Marta, the world’s highest coastal mountains. As we tried to get some photos of these impressive mountain peaks, a large school of Atlantic Spotted Dolphins greeted us to Colombia. Never fails to make us happy and appreciate the fantastic nature we are able to enjoy.Here is a short clip of these lovely animals.

Now our plan is to spend a month in Santa Marta. Besides enjoying the plentiful grocery markets and abundance of wildlife we plan to make Ciudad Perdida, “The Lost City” hike. The hike is a 4 to 6 day steep walk to the ancient, 5th century AD ruins of an outstanding civilization. This hike rivals the more well known Machu Picchu ruins in Peru. We also plan to make a 2 day excursion of Cartagena.

As I am writing this, at around 5 am local time (UTC -5), loud music starts to play from a nearby parking lot. It seems a large crowd of sporty Colombians are gathered for a bicycle race – of course with very loud music! Feels like we are back in Spain…

Late Autumn in Sweden

We have now spent a busy week meeting family and friends and buying everything imaginable to bring back to Curacao. We have enjoyed eating typical Swedish meals that we have talked about the last year or so. Sweden this time of year has been very nice with extraordinary lovely colours. At Stina’s newly bought “Mansion” (Eva’s sisters place in Uppsala) Peter managed to beat the fishing record, a 1,460 kg Pike (previous record was 1,450 kg)🙂.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

TinaP in good shape

005

Our “to do list” on TinaP is now ticked off. Only job left to do is to “activate” the Copper Coat surface, meaning lightly wet sanding with 350 paper to make the copper oxide actively working again. This needs to be done as close as possible to launch. At the Curacao Marine we have had very friendly and good service.  Here we also met several Swedish sailors (Hakuna Matata, Loupan and Bijou). The final work last two days has been to  thoroughly clean all inside surfaces with vinegar to minimize the risk for mildew.Tomorrow we will take off for 2 weeks in Sweden. Our schedule will be tight but we hope to see as many old friends as possible.

Första Marinan sedan April

Blivande Tropiska Stormen / Orkanen “Matthew” närmar sig och även om dess troliga bana har förskjututs något åt norr beräknas den passera norr om Curacao på bara ett 50 tal sjömil. Efter att ha kollat upp den enda marinan som har ett fåtal gästplatser igår så tog vi beslutet att boka en vecka på Seru Boca Marina och runt lunchtid idag så ligger vi i ett relativt tryggt förvar i väntan på stormen. Senast vi låg i en marina var i Martinique för ca 5 månader sedan. Totalt har vi legat ca 14 dagar i marinor sedan nyår. Det kändes ovant att plocka fram fendrar, förtöjningslinor osv. Marinan är av kategorin lyxmarinor och kostar ungefär som i södra Spanien. Massor av personal, bra service. Enda nackdelen är att vi nu ligger i södra delen av Spanish Water, dvs en kort tur med båten från vår ankringsplats hit till marinan motsvarar ca 2o km med bil. Under morgondagen börjar vi vår rutin för stormförtöjning. 32 mm polyprop förtöjningslinor, nedplockning av segelsäck, delar av vindgeneratorn, ev demontering av solceller, surrning av jollen på däck får vänta till sista minuten eftersom vi behöver den för transporter. Vi håller tummarna för att lågtrycket trots allt viker av mot nordväst.

Nyttig vind, onyttig vind

Alpha++ hanne. Militant Vegan

Veckan som varit har kännetecknats av trasiga prylar. Riktigt sorgligt blev det i Måndags. Vaknade till vacker fågelsång. När jag (Peter) öppnade luckan till sittbrunnen skrämdejag fågeln (Troupial) så den flög in i vindgeneratorn. Fågeln dog tråkigt nog vilket även vindgeneratorn gjorde. Behövde ändå byta lager i den 5 år gamla Silentwind generatorn och vi hade bestämt att köpa en som reserv i Sverige. Kylen gav upp och det visade sig efter en massa felsökning vara ett relä som hade fått värmeslag. Nu fixat så vi har en fungerande kyl, dessutom med optimal fyllning av kylmedel. Vi har dock beställt en komplett kyl alt. frys anläggning utifall att vi får problem längre fram.

Blivande stormen/orkanen Matthew. Prognosticerad bana 5 dygn framåt.

Fokus sedan igår är dock på mer livsviktiga saker. Blivande Stormen/Orkanen “Matthew” har tyvärr siktat in sig på en sydlig bana som, om prognosen håller, passerar strax norr om ABC öarna på Torsdag. Fortfarande ca 1000 nm ost om Trinidad så mycket kan hända. Lågtrycket håller mycket hög fart (20-25 mph) vilket lär innebära att den “vertikala skorstenen”  blåser sönder och minskar risken för en riktigt kraftig orkan. I vilket fall så har vi börjat fundera på Plan B. Det finns en marina som troligen innebär bra skydd för de kraftiga västvindar som väntas. Vi tar bilen dit i morgon och inspekterar. Marinor kan innebära en falsk trygghet.  Dock är vi ödmjuka, vi har legat för ankar vid ca 40 knop medelvind, inte mer.

Upp på land, hemresa, framtida planer…

Vi har nu bott in oss i Spanish Water, Curacao, dit vi ankom för tre veckor sedan. Trevliga båtgrannar, majoriteten Holländare, sociala aktiviteter och smidig service med gratisbuss till matbutiker och skeppshandlare. I Bonaire låg vi på boj eftersom ankring var förbjuden runt hela ön och betalade för det USD 10 per dygn, här i Spanish Water ligger vi för ankar och betalar samma summa för tre månader. Acceptabelt pris!

Idag har vi hyrt en bil för en månad, vi behöver transportera segel för lagning, fylla gasolflaskor, dyktuber, fixa allehanda prylar till båten. Annars fungerar lokalbussen in till huvudorten Willemstadt utmärkt – ca trettio minuter med wifi och luftkonditionering, pris 1.7 NAF vilket motsvarar ca 7 SEK!  Den 14 Oktober har vi reserverat lyft av båten på Curacao marina. Vi räknar med begränsat jobb, några byten av genomföringar, högtryckstvätt av botten (vår Coppercoat fungerar utmärkt), polering och vaxning och byte av anoder.

Efter en vecka på land lämnar vi båten i marinan och flyger till Sverige för två veckor. Ska bli skönt att träffa familj och vänner samt fixa en del inköp som behöver göras inför vår nästa etapp.

The label reads “Kokomber Chiki”. In the age of Google you expect instant translation of any language. Well, not Papiamentu. Our guess these veggies belong to the Cucumber family

Vår vana trogen har vi nu radikalt ändrat våra planer (igen). Istället för att vänta till December för att undvika orkansäsongen och segling till Jamaica och Kuba siktar vi nu på att segla till Colombia i mitten av November. Säkerhetsläget i de områden vi besöker bedöms vara mycket stabilt och om allt går i lås har i Oktober en varaktig fredsplan avslutat ett 50 årigt inbördeskrig som skördat lika många liv som tragedin som ännu pågår i Syrien. I Colombia ligger vi troligen enbart i marinor; Santa Marta och Cartagena.  Vi hoppas göra några resor/hikes inåt landet, bla “The Lost City” (sp Ciudad Perdida), som är Colombias svar på Peru’s Machu Picchu.  I mitten av December seglar vi vidare till Panama för att tillbringa jul och nyår i San Blas arkipelagen med passage av Panama kanalen i Februari. Som vanligt, planer är till för att ändras, så vi får se var vi hamnar till slut.

Sailing Letter August 2016

August 6 was a very special day for us: we tried the water maker for the first time! Fantastic. The constant worrying for water, saving as much as possible when showering, washing clothes and dishes is now over. We do 110 l per hour at the same time as we are charging the batteries (2-3 times a week).

The last month on Bonaire was spent with fewer activities; we went in to some kind of “waiting mood”. 3 months in the same spot is long for us, we need to see new places, but anyway…. We did some small boat work, had a Boule/Petanque contest with Ellen & Martin (sy Acapella), met sailors at happy hour, read books and snorkeled/dived. Eva tried to take as many pictures of fishes as possible, since next stop (Curacao) will not have the same aquarium like conditions.

Some maintenance is always necessary: some leakages on deck were sealed and our clothes not used for a while had to be checked. There are two things that gets damaged by the weather conditions (humidity) and that is everything with leather (mildew) and zippers (oxide). Shoes and coats have not been used for 2 years now (!) but with some vinegar/ättika we solved that problem.

When reviewing our diving skills we promised each other to do some more diving before leaving Bonaire. We tested “The wall” with Ellen and Martin, and it was beautiful. A dive from 3 meter down to 22, full with beautiful corals and fishes. We were still rookies so the air did not last that long but 35 minutes was a good start. Peter and I later did a dive on our own right behind our boat. 4-24 meters slope with the same abundance of corals and fish. It is the easy access to perfect diving that is the “thing” with Bonaire.

The weather was a bit more unstable during August, which meant some rain showers, a bit cloudier and less wind, but still no way near as humid as in Eastern Caribbean.

Less wind also gave us a good sailing to Curacao, August 23. After 6 hours we anchored in Spanish Water, after having to take down the Genoa since the furling drum got stuck. So now we have checked in for 3 months (took a whole day with Customs, Immigration and Harbor authorities), and have started to check out the facilities in the area. The anchorage is huge and not really cramped with boats, there is still plenty of space left. Some people seem to leave their boats and fly “home” or live a life on land in Curacao, but we are still many sailor liveabords meeting up for happy hour, sailor’s dinner, bus ride to Supermarket etc. We still have all our Dutch friends around us, some of which we met as early as in Suriname. The city is approx. 11 km from Spanish Water and the supermarket and chandlers are half ways. There is a daily free shuttle form the anchorage to take us to the shopping area.

Curacao has approx.. 150.000 inhabitants with the capital Willemstad. Main language is Papamiento but all people also speak Dutch and most also English. The town looks like an old Dutch town, with nicely colored houses, narrow streets etc. Last Saturday we took the bus to check it out. We found a big market for vegetables on the water, The Venezuelan floating market, lots of small restaurants and shops, some tourists, but not overwhelmingly many, so we will for sure enjoy our stay here.

Until next time,

BR, Eva & Peter

Bye, Bye, Bonaire

When we arrived, end of May, we asked the Marina, who collected the mooring fee, to pay for a full week. Safety first. We knew nothing about this Island beside its reputation of world class diving. Arriving after 72 hours sailing usually means your focus is on a safe anchorage / mooring, any decision beyond a week is a very vague guess, usually avoided. Now, after x number of extensions of our mooring fees, we know better. We have been “Dushi” Bonaireans for 3 months. We have made friends with authorities (customs, immigration officials), locals (always expressing a bom dia, bom tardi), fishermen allowing our dinghy to use their pier, and all the Dutch sailors (and Swiss, German, Austrian, Finnish, US, Canadians, Portuguese, Brazilians, French and UK) moored in this Paradise. We have refreshed and used our ancient Diving certificates. We have got TinaP in great shape. General overhaul of the electrics + got a water maker working at a great capacity. Time to move on. Now it is time to check out Curacao.

We say – see you again Bonaire!

Sailing Letter, July 2016

Resebrev / Sailing Letter, July 2016, Bonaire

After 10 weeks at Bonaire, same mooring, we still enjoy our stay and have decided to stay here for the maximum 3 months that we are allowed without paying extra for extended visa. Since we have to stay out of the hurricane season for 6 months we will divide the time between Bonaire (3 months) and Curacao (3 months). The last month has been spent with a lot of snorkeling and we have also done a diving refreshment course at the closest diving club. We also did a dive together with a dive master, on the nearest reef close to our boat. It was lovely to be able to dive again and Peter seems to like it as much as I do. We will try to do a couple more before leaving Bonaire since we expect the water quality to be lower in the Spanish Water, where we will anchor at Curacao. The water surrounding Bonaire is pristine with very easy access! We will also buy a torch to be able to do night snorkeling before we move on. Hu! We now find our way to find a bar with a cold beer and have a nice dinner.

Except for the huge salt industry on the south side of Bonaire the island is very dependent on tourism with majority of visitors spending time and money on snorkeling and diving. Dive centers, tank filling stations everywhere!
As in many other Caribbean countries Chinese own and manage many supermarkets, retail stores and restaurants. A paradox is the apparent lack of fresh fish for sale. The waters around ABC are famous for plenty of fish like Tuna, Mahimahi, King Fish, Barracuda. Only place to get fresh fish is to buy it from a restaurant. On all other Caribbean islands fishing boats are eager to sell directly to yachties. Maybe there are some strict policies about B2C?

The last 2 weeks have been spent installing the water maker (see Peter’s facebook update). It was easy to get the parts sent to here, with no problems with customs and the installation was fairly easy, but not quick. Just to remove the old stuff took half a week. Now we have perfect water and are able to take more showers and use our washing machine without too rigid calculation of the water consumption. A major reason for time spent on installation is the temperature. With a day time temp of 33-34 C and night time of 29 it is almost impossible to work between 12-16 daytime. The temp in the boat during this time is at least 32 C and even minimal physical work mean dripping sweat and requires a daily intake of at least 4-5 liters of water (some can be replaced with beer).

On the social side we have met with our fellow sailors for a swimming contest to Klein Bonaire (1nM), Boule/Petanque game with Martin and Ellen, Sundowners and happy hour at some suitable bars. These meetings have given us valuable information for the next sailing season. The plans now are to go to Cuba via Jamaica late November and from there sail down to the Panama San Blas islands and pass the Panama Canal in March. It will be one year earlier than what we thought originally, but it also means that we do the Pacific crossing when we are still “young”. We will pass the Caribbean Islands on our way back eventually and will then be able to stay here again.
The rainy season has now started. For Bonaire, being a desert island, it means an hour of rain once a week compared to Trinidad and Martinique where it rains more or less daily. Even the humidity here is lower than average which is a bless.

The rainy season is also the mating season for the birds so we see more parakeets, parrots etc., flying around.  On the island there are 19.000 people, 1000 wild donkeys and another 500 in a sanctuary, 1.200 turtles whereof most are passersby thanks to the good food on the east coast, numerous Flamingos, Pelicans not to mention all the colorful fishes, Iguanas and Lizards.

A true paradise!

Until next time,

BR, Eva & Peter

S/Y Tina Princess

A Scandinavian liveaboard blog

Yacht Mollymawk

The cruising log of the good ship Mollymawk

Pitland Studio

Painting, Sculpture and Photography

WIN2WIN op herhaling

Verslag van het tweede rondje Atlantic en een hoop technische informatie

Astrolabe Sailing

Sailing, yachts, adventure and sailing around the world!

Bailey Boat Cat

Adventures of a feline afloat!

TwoBikersOneWorld

Two Bikers One World

LEANNE COLE Fine Art Photographer

Daring to be Different

Where's my backpack?

Romancing the planet; a love affair with travel.

%d bloggers like this: