Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Five Bays to Cartagena

Log covers 10 Sept afternoon to 12 Sept 2007 morning, Five Bays to Cartagena:

September 11, Tuesday

This morning a local man paddled out to our boat in a hand-hewn dugout canoe to tell us “Bienvenidos a la Colombia!”  A nice man named Ricardo Garcia.  He makes it a point to say hello to as many visiting yachts as possible.  Likes to collect their boat cards.  We gave him a pack of cigarettes from our bribe stash and that seemed to make his day.  He spoke only Spanish but we managed to communicate just fine.  We loaned 4 jerry cans of diesel to Paul on BLUEPRINT MATCH because he had only ¼ tank left.  They plan to stay in this lovely bay for a few days.  We left Five Bays shortly after 1:00 p.m.  Had a truly gorgeous sail all afternoon.  Then had a good shower on deck before dark set in.  I think Bill has become a convert to deck showers at sea; much more comfortable than trying to shower down in the head of a tossing boat.

In the late afternoon we passed a very large platform of some kind which was not shown on either of our charts.  Did not look like an oil platform or a natural gas platform.  Not sure what it was.  But it certainly was big.

There were a couple of submarine cable laying ships working in the path of our route.  We had to divert slightly to allow sufficient room for clearance of the cable. 
Tues 2040 (8:40 p.m.)  11.11.234N; 074.56.904W;  Course 263 true; 8.2 kts SOG; wind 18 kts true; seas 8-10 ft following swell.  Full genoa poled to port & full mizzen.  Going too fast and will arrive in darkness if don’t slow down soon.

“Red over Red, the Captains dead” came back to mind when we saw another cable laying ship after dark and she was displaying 3 red lights, one over another.  I will have to check our USCG rules book because I thought there were different light schemes for a vessel not under command and a vessel constrained in her maneuverability due to the nature of her work.  At any rate, this is the first time we have encountered the 3 stacked all-round red lights in use.

Tues 2145  11.10.018N; 075.05.064W; Course 247 true; 6.6 kts SOG; wind 22.6 kts true; following seas 8-10 ft.  Took in mizzen; sailing with double reefed genoa only; still going too fast.  Going faster was much more comfortable.  Rolling a lot more now that we have taken in mizzen and have slowed a bit.  Thousands and thousands of heavy bright stars.  Lots of shipping traffic.

Tues 2355  11.04.262N; 075.18.590W;  Course 247 true; 5.6 SOG; wind 22.6 true; following seas 8-10 ft.; double reefed genoa only.  Passed 2 more ships off port side.

I did not update during the night because it was again too rough.  There was lots of large ships passing all night long.  The pleasant sailing vaporized during the night, and it was very uncomfortable by daybreak.  That is when we made the turn to head down to the entrance at Boca Grande.  There is an underwater rock wall all the way across the entrance at Boca Grande.  It was built by the Spanish to keep the English out I don’t remember how long ago.  Anyway, when we made that turn it placed us beam to the waves; so it was a miserable final 3 hours in the highest winds of the entire trip, sustained 28-30 knots.  And to top it off, when we attempted to take in the sails and start the engine we learned that the prop was fouled!  Bill gunned the engine alternating forward and reverse until he began to get some positive results.  What a place to have a fouled prop!  Very large seas in 30 knots of wind well offshore.  He got the engine to work acceptably for the time being and then we realized that our electronic charting was screwed up.  It was no longer indicating any boat speed or depth and the little boat icon on the screen started sailing sideways.  Then the icon turned around and we completed the passage with our little boat image sailing in reverse.  That really plays with a very tired mind accustomed to the boat pointing in the direction on the monitor that it is going.

A really good surprise is that the narrow entrance through the submerged rock wall is now well marked with huge red and green buoys.  That was a load off our minds!  The entrance only allows clearance for 2.35 meters draft and our draft is 2.05 meters.  We had been concerned about this entrance because it hasn’t been marked in recent years.  We were quite relieved to find such nice navigational markers in place.

Wed 0900  Arrived Cartagena.  10.24.676N; 075.32.525W; moored at Club Nautico.  Man, it is HOT in Cartagena.  People are very nice and friendly.  We are tired and hot and hungry.  And very glad to be here in Cartagena.  More later.

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