Friday, November 2, 2007

Time to leave. We loved it here.

November 2, 2007  Friday

We will be leaving Cartagena on Monday morning.   Alberto is supposed to come clean our hull and prop tomorrow.   He does this without scuba gear or Hookla air system; he has great lung capacity.    Definitely need this cleaning done before setting out on the passage to Panama.  The slightest amount of marine growth on the auto-prop causes vibration and slows the revs and speed under motor, so the prop should always be visually checked and cleaned before leaving on a passage.  Bill usually does this by simply diving with a snorkel mask because we normally don’t get a lot of marine growth.  But here in barnacle heaven Cartagena the water is so unappealing that Bill is not getting into it.  Pay a local like Alberto to do it instead.

We will leave the marina dock Sunday morning and anchor out.  The anchorage appears pretty full to me; hope we can find a spot.  Our deep draft limits the possibilities and I hate anchoring in a crowded area.  We will leave our three 110-130-ft lines in the water when we leave the dock.  These are actually six lines pieced together to form three really long lines.  These lines are tied down on the chain anchoring system on the sea bottom that surrounds Club Nautico marina.  These lines have been submerged since our arrival on September 12, and they are covered in barnacles and marine growth that is more than 6-inches in diameter in places!  Cleaning these lines will be a nasty, stinky job!  We were dreading bringing those filthy lines up onto our deck when we leave the dock, but John the dock master suggested that we pay Alberto to clean them for us.  Apparently this is a common practice and well worth the cost.  Wouldn’t tell Alberto this, but we would be willing to pay three times his quoted fee for him to clean those stinking lines for us!   All six of these lines are good lines and we would hate to lose them because of the nasty growth on them.  Two are 3-part plait and two are 3-part braid dock lines, all of which were brand new when we arrived here.  The remaining two lines are our spare genoa sheets.  Landlubbers would probably never guess at the cost of these lines because, after all, it is just various kinds of rope; but the current replacement cost would be more than $1800 USD.  So you can see why we definitely want to save all these lines if possible.

Monday morning should find us wending our way back out through the break in the underwater rock wall across Boca Grande and on our way to the San Blas Islands of Panama.  We have decided to make it a straight passage rather than stop at any of the Colombian coastal islands.  Not going as far down as Zapzurro.  Instead, we plan to head straight across to the Los Pinos channel entering the San Blas.  Should arrive there sometime Tuesday.

There will be no internet access in the San Blas, so this website probably will not be updated after Sunday until mid-December.  I have written a couple of things about the San Blas and captured a few photos from other websites, and will upload those two blogs before we leave Cartagena, but that will likely be the last you hear from us until we arrive in Shelter Bay Marina in Panama sometime mid-December.  However, you can check our positions by clicking on “position report” to the right of our BeBe photos on the main page of our website.  The map on the website can only be updated whenever we have internet access, but the “position report” is updated every time we send/receive email or weather info via SSB radio.  Just click “position report” and then click satellite view and you can see our current location.  There are other links on that report that take you to other services, one of which actually shows the history of each time we change position and happen to send/receive email; but that is too complicated to explain.  Just play with it if you have the time and the interest.

We hope to visit our favorite Cartagena restaurant once more this weekend.  I managed to get another haircut this morning.   We are making the last-minute trips to the supermarket today to stock up on a few things since there will be no stores in the San Blas.  Finally found a use for that dishwasher in the galley – it makes a perfect storage place for the 5 dozen eggs I bought to last us for the next 7 weeks.  (Eggs are not refrigerated here; they last a long time at room temperature as long as the eggs have not been washed or refrigerated.  Once refrigerated, then eggs must remain refrigerated.)  Bill bummed a dinghy ride with Chuck on MAKER’S MATCH over to the fuel dock at Club de Pesca to fill our gasoline jerry jugs today; diesel jugs are already full.  Propane tank was refilled earlier this week.  Only thing that will not get done is re-filling one of Bill’s dive tanks.   This should not be a problem because diving is illegal in the San Blas, and if we have an emergency like a fouled prop Bill has one full tank and that would be more than sufficient for a quick dive to clear a prop.  So all our trip preparations are taken care of and we are ready to move on.

Cartagena has been a real pleasure.  We will return again; next time will try to get a slip at Club de Pesca and see how the other half lives.  We have enjoyed our stay at Club Nautico, but it would be nice to not have so much movement at dock and also would be nice not to have lines submerged.  Club de Pesca has the normal poles out front to tie off onto as you back into the slip, so no submerged lines to get nasty. 

If anyone is thinking of visiting Cartagena, we recommend it.  Wonderful old city and good people.

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