After an incredibly tardy exit process extending over four days, we finally got our zarpe (exit papers for Milly). We usually manage this process ourselves in about 5-10 minutes but in Columbia the bureaucracy of exiting must be done by an agent which adds yet another layer of officialdom. Through no fault of the agent, the port authority eventually told him that they were denying our exit because hurricane Otto, long passed, was creating "dangerous" current in the sea. The explanation was suspicious - Otto was then in the Pacific, we deal with currents all the time and boats in Cartegena, down the coast, were able leave. Made us wonder: What else was going on in the sea off this Colombian coast?
We left Colombia with mixed feelings. There is so much to see and experiences to be had there - we felt we had only touched the surface. Although we saw much of the north and Caribbean coast, the cities, mountains and Amazon will have to wait until we head to the Pacific. We were also leaving our friends on five boats who we had cruised and adventured with for more than two months and had played with in Grenada over the long hurricane season.
Janice hosted, yet again, a good-bye breakfast on Livin’ Life and then a sad farewell at the dock with noise makers and lots of waves and blown kisses. The group were off to Panama, some to cross to the Pacific and others undecided as to their next move. One of the difficult things about cruising is saying good-bye without knowing when, or even if, we will meet these kindred spirits again.
|Waves, airhorns and blown kisses sent us on our way. We miss you guys!|
|Good bye, Santa Marta. Note, wind is nil.|
Peter noticed on maneuvering out of the slip that our motors did not have much kick in them. We managed at high r.p.m., an unusual whirring sound and lower than usual speed to motor for the first hour or so of the passage. When the wind filled in we put up the sails and promptly forgot about the engines for the next day and a half while on a wonderful downwind sail.
And then the wind died. Apart from the swells, the ocean was calm. The sails were useless and only luffed and flapped in the waves. We never like to motor but unless we wanted to drift to Providencia, it was required. The motors turned on but we hardly moved. Not good. In a storm or in a calm, motors are very useful, sometimes essential to safety.
Only thing for it was to dive on the prop so the brave captain tied a rope around his waist with the other end tied to Milly the diagnosis was that the props were covered with huge barnacles from our stay in dirty Santa Marta. The props moved more like clubs then propellers. With a lot of diving and scraping he got the major culprits off. He got out and I got in for a dip, holding onto the ladder which was bobbing at least 6 ft up and down with the rising swells. A squall was approaching. The whole operation was done just in time. Our first deep sea dip.
|High tech rope around waist - in retrospect, it looks a little loose-, gloves for barnacles and mask and snorkel.|
|And, here it is|
|First glimpse of Providencia|
|Morgan's Crack - Captain Morgan of pirate fame|
|And Morgan's head again - I think this is lateral view?|
Mr. Bush, the customs agent in Providencia, worked out of his wife’s general store. His desk, piled with papers, books and magazines like I’d never seen before, sat amongst matresses, office desks, women’s clothing, light fixtures, toilet brushes etc. etc. - very square foot of the store was piled, more like a warehouse than a store. As our business was done, we squeezed between and propped ourselves on items for sale.
|You might not be able to see it but a barracuda hung out under Milly maybe to stay out of the sun. I would check through the emergency hatch to ensure I wasn't going to surprise him/her when going for a dip.|
|A favourite cafe in Don Olivio's house.|
|Find the heron|
|Snowman and Santa in 30 degree weather.|
|Gorgeous water, great snorkelling and long white beaches.|
|Cayo Cangrejo. We snorkelled around it. Phenomenal water.|
|The fishermen gave up on chasing Milly as Peter gunned the engines. We recovered as we gained distance.|