From Santa Marta to Cartagena
Early morning, and we left Santa Marta behind en-route towards Cartagena. It was a calm, sunny morning. We sailed past those gorgeously curved mountains where they cast their shadows down into the sea.
Santa Marta with the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains in the background. It's an isolated mountain range apart from the Andes chain that runs through Colombia. Reaching an altitude of 5700 meters / 18.700 ft above sea level just 42 km from the Caribbean coast, makes this area the world's highest coastal range. You can't see the highest peaks in this image unfortunately.
This particular leg is said to be the roughest part of the passage towards Cartagena due to the mouth of the Magdalena river but we must have timed it in perfectly with the weather gods and other mediums as we had no problem whatsoever. The only thing we noticed was that the color changed to a brown tone while close to the river but other than that, easy and calm.
60 miles later, arriving to a bay called Puerto de Velero, our stop for the night.
Just before gybing into the bay, the reel started to run... a nice Spanish mackerel!
Just in time for the sunset, the best time for fishing.
When we arrived we dropped anchor, ate quick and went to bed very early.
Awake again at 5.45 in the morning. Up with the anchor..
They're building a new marina in Puerto Velero. Felt like being back in Spain to be honest, small marinas along the coast, similar sort of mountains, even a mackerel on the hook. Colombia have recently started to invest in yachting and new facilities are popping up here and there.
We were not the only ones up that early.
Underway again. The wind was a steady 28-30 knots and seas had built up to around 12-14 feet.
We surfed along a bit too fast for that sort of seas. Even with a double reefed main we hit speeds of around 9-9,5 knots so we opted to drop the main completely and sail straight downwind with only the jib, occasionally with a single reef in. Speed dropped to around 7-7,5 but we still had well enough time to arrive before sunset, and now we could aim straight towards Cartagena rather than having to gybe all day.
Soon we could see something chasing us in the large waves behind. Just like fast underwater torpedoes they came closer and closer and jumped through the water..
Dolphins! We haven't seen much of them since we bought Duende, so we've been worried that they might not be too fond of that enormous rudder, or maybe the green colour of our hull. But ever since we left the West Indies, we've seen them on almost every passage we've done.
Thank you beautiful animals for joining us and for playing in the waves of our boat!
Still very windy so an advanced lunch was not to think about.
Quickly fried mackerel from yesterdays catch and some stewed potatoes from last night.
In the afternoon, we could finally see the skyline of Cartagena appearing through the mist of the South American continent. Can you see the skyscrapers in the horizon? It's always an amazing feeling to arrive to a new destination, so much excitement has been built up as the sailing passages are so long in comparison to a journey by flight or car. We've studied the city online and through images for many weeks, yet it is not before now we'll get to know the city with own hands and eyes. I love that tickling feeling, the feeling of a great new adventure at your feet, just about to enfold.
We sailed past the historical part of town.
Wondering where in all that massiveness of those huge buildings to go for dinner tonight?
And the miami-style part of the city, Boca Grande.
We chose to enter through the Boca Grande entrance. Its shallowest part is around 3 meters/9.8 ft, our draft is 2,4 meters/7.8ft. The other entrance, Boca Chica, is a couple miles further South and would've prolonged the journey with approximately two hours so we're glad there was not such a big swell that day so we could enter safely through the first channel... images from Cartagena coming soon.