Tuesday, December 22, 2009


We've got 385 nautical miles to travel before reaching Cartagena.
We’ve received confirmation on additional insurance for Colombia at an additional cost of $800, so we’re off to Monjes del Sur which is in fact part of Venezuela. We’re travelling an average of 7 knots under only the Jib with large swells and then every 20-25 seconds a very large wave making for a lot of surfing….\We are travelling with John and Nancy on DIXSEA .We’ve also been hailed by TARA (Erno & Frieda)…Nice to have more company.
We’ve had contact with the local coast guard. They’re requiring we go to the dock on arrival for inspection.
1720hours… Well, the last four hours have been a challenge. After contact with the coastguard we worked our way to the west side of the island---huge waves and higher winds. We start preparation for the dock, getting fenders and lines ready. A fellow off Talagoa dinghies out and tells us not to go to the dock as it is too shallow and another fishboat is arriving and wants to tie up there. He helps us with our bow lines tying us to the one and a half inch rope. There is already four sailboats on the rope. We’ve got seven fenders out to keep us off Talagao.
TARA brings over the coastguard and we check in. They are very friendly and seem happy to see us. DIXSEA hails the coastguard, who are at the moment with us, as they want to tie up. The coastguard give Randy approval to communicate with DIXSEA that it is okay. In the meanwhile, more fish boats are arriving and the wind is howling.
On their second try DIXSEA get attached to the rope on our port side while we’re all moving fenders around to keep boats safe. Erno off TARA literally is using his dinghy as a large fender between us and DIXSEA.

Later TARA come by and tell us the fishermen are interested in trading for MAHI MAHI. We go over with 2- 10 packs of cigarettes, much to their delight. These are the cigarettes we bought in the DR so who knows if they are any good. As we leave the fish boat they call us back. Do we have any anti-inflammatory tablets on board as one of the crew has a swollen knee. So back to HIGH STATES for tablets and a tension bandage.

Around 1630 there’s whistling etc around us. John says the fishermen want our attention. We’re the only ones with a dinghy still in the water…"Can you take us to shore?" Randy picks them up and they say “Please pick us up at 1800hrs.” Now Rand is a taxi, but does not mind.

Boats on the line. HIGH STATES fourth on right.

We have a great view after a short hike to the lighthouse.. Originally Monjes del Sur was two islands. They have been joined by a large wall. HIGH STATES was covered in salt spray that was thrown over the wall from the high seas.

Tara has decided to leave tomorrow morning and ask if we would like to come along. We agree the weather is looking pretty good for the 83nm trip. I decided we’d have a nice dinner tonight. By 1600 hours I’ve got the veggies on and the steaks ready. We are looking forward to a nice quiet evening before tomorrow’s trip.
Suddenly 01700hours and ALL HE!! BREAKS LOOSE!!!!
The fish boat PADRE COSMOS has squeezed in front of another fish boat at the dock putting pressure on the mooring rope. Another fish boat comes up to the dock creating a huge swell which pushed PADRE COSMOS further into the rope snapping it. All the boats are struggling not to hit one another, get their engines started, make sure lines don’t get caught in props and keep away from the rocks.. We’re all being carried rapidly by the current toward the rocks piling up on top of one another. The battle is to free our two mooring lines before coming in contact with another boat. Not even a minute to spare the three cats have come together and trying to sort themselves out while we are beside TARA and being dragged by one of our moring lines toward their port stern quarter while DIXSEA on our port is being dragged to our port midship. Initially Randy ran to our bow to try and prevent our anchor from contacting TARA----Erno runs to his stern to help so we don’t make contact and says to Rand “Save yourself” as he pushes us off after we have a noisy superficial hit. Randy turns around wondering what Erno means. DIXSEA is entangled in our life lines at mid ship. Once again superficial damage as we help each other to separate. At this pont one of our lines is under our keel—Rand yells to me “Don’t put the engine in gear….” GADS!!!!!!

By 1745 we’re anchored in 62 feet and seem to be holding however, the other evening we watched fish boats anchor and drag. TARA hail us and ask can we leave tonight in an hour. We say yes!!! Beef tenderloin in sink----Let’s get moving.

By midnight we’re in rolling seas wth 15-23 knots of wind and continue to sail along averaging 7.1 knots. Since we left Curacao we have been having some of our best sails...
We arrive in Cabo de la Vela, Colombia at 0830 the next day and are anchored in 11.5 feet. N12*12.299 W72*10.705. These co-ordinates are a little west of the one’s noted in PIZZAZ’s articles.

Before sunset a local fish boat came by. We expected them to sell us fish. No, do we have any food? We give them a can of chicken and oranges.

Dec. 1st Last night’s fish boat came by this morning towing a smaller boat. This time they wanted us to buy lobster. We bought one for $3 US. As they were leaving the smaller boat hit HIGH STATES and proceeded to capsize. The larger canoe style boat made a great effort not to hit us again as they hauled the fellow with his nets into their boat. Good thing we are leaving this morning. We contacted TARA and both agreed we’d leave at 1100hours as we want to arrive at Five Bays 120 miles away in daylight.

1300hours. We can see TARA on the horizon. We’re travelling between 6-7-7 knots in high rolling seas.
1410hours TARA hailed us to let us know a seismic surveying vessel is heading East dragging a 5mile cable.

Sure enough we get hailed and are requested to alter course to 270-280 degrees. Two hours later we get a call back that we can work our way back to our original course. Thank goodness as the past two hours have been miserable with the high cresting seas on our mid ship getting us wet.

With the seas following us now we are having a better ride, however a number of high cresting seas up to fourteen feet are actually landing in the cockpit.

Off Five Bays we could not see the snow covered mountains.

Off the entrance to the third bay....Bahia Guayraca.

We have caught up to Baros. They hail us to let us know that when we anchor to give ourselves lots of room as everyone is swinging in all different directions. 0925 hours and we're anchored in 20.7 feet of water. After anchoring we are invited over to Baros for a cup of coffee.

The Five Bays have been compared to a Norwegian fjord. They actually remind both Randy and myself of our home on Finlayson Arm.
We all decide to go to lunch on shore at the local restaurant owned by Reinaldo and Maria. This meal is a whole fish, beans and rice and a salad of onion and tomato for $10US., not inexpensive but the beer was only $1US.

Reinaldo and Maria

Back corner is Maria's kitchen.
Dec. 4th We had a very wakeful night. The Williwaw winds from the 20,000ft high Santa Marta Moutains are blowing with 30-50 knot gusts. One cat dragged in the middle of the night. We have decided to play it safe today, staying on the boat instead of going on the planned hike. We have also decided it's time to head to Rodadero tomorrow a short 15 mile trip.

1 comment:

Dance Aweigh said...

What a wild ride!