19 May, 2019
Maria took care of getting our zarpe to clear out of Colombia, and brought it to us in the morning. We snapped a few photos with her, paid the rent at Club Pesca marina, and were off the dock by 09h30. Cruising south through Cartagena Bay, we saw at least 8 Colombian naval warships laying at anchor. Guessin’ that had something to do with all the saber-rattling that our dear POTUS was doing regarding the Venezuelan issues. Our first leg took us to Isla Grande in the Rosario islands, just 20 some-odd miles from Cartagena. Just an overnighter, we were off the hook by 07h00, on our way to Tintip.an, some 30 miles south. We spent 2 nights there, one on the hook and one on a mooring ball after the park rangers told us that we weren’t allowed to anchor there. We had planned on anchoring in a lagoon on the west end of the island, but the route suggested by the Colombian Cruising Guide took us through 3’ of water. That would have been a big “Ouch” It was no big deal, however, as the seas had been like a pool of mercury for the past few days. Anchoring on the south side of the island was very comfortable. A half mile to our west was Isla Islote, the most densely populated island on the planet. At just over the size of 1 ½ football fields, it is home to more than 1,200 souls. Don’t ask me, I haven’t had time to research it. Google it yourself. Next stop, Isla Fuerte, another 30 miles to the south. Again, another day with seas less than 1 meter (We are starting to get used to this). The cruising guides suggest anchoring south of the island, but we snuck up into a little bight on the east side and anchored in 10’ of water over a sandy bottom. Usually, the “boat boys” are out to the Girl asking if we want to buy anything, or offering services. Not here. They asked where we came from, and if we had anything for them-water, fruit, beer, etc. As usual, we enjoyed the afternoon, puttering around in “White Star” and swimming. We launched “Scout”, our drone, and snapped a few decent photos. Next was the 80 mile trip to the Colombia/Panama border. We were up at Oh-Dark-Thirty, and underway by 04h00. The Admiral went back to bed, and we were on our way. Lightning lit the sky on both sides and in front of the Girl. The radar showed a squall line of red (no Bueno) blobs around 15 miles ahead of us, directly in our course. Decision time. Lightning brings eighteen kinds of bad JuJu when it strikes near a boat. The line of storms was nearly three hours ahead of us, so I opted to let Suz sleep and forge on. As it turned out, the squall line dissipated after an hour as day dawned, and we just received a steady drizzle. There must have been some high winds, however, as the seas resembled a washing machine-lots of high, unorganized waves which lasted for an hour or so. We were out of the National marine park for most of the day, so it was okay to fish but the freezers were full. No lines went out. We arrived at Capurgana on the Colombian mainland around an hour before dark. The anchorage there is more of an open roadstead, not really a bay and it was rolly. We opted to move up to Sapzurro to see what it was like. Much better. In the north corner of the bay, we anchored in 14’ of water and took lines to shore, keeping the Girl’s bow pointed into the slight swell. With lines to shore, it felt like North Channel and Newfoundland cruising. In 9’ of water, we’ve been here for 2 comfortable nights, planning to leave and check in to Panama, just around the corner, tomorrow morning. Yesterday, we walked part of the Capurgana/Sapzurro trail, and checked out the Diana Cascada (waterfall). The rainy season hasn’t really arrived in earnest yet, so the falls were just a trickle. We cruised the village of Sapzurro, and made it home just before it started to RAIN. As our friend, Andy would say, it was a real “turd floater” (referring to the latrines in Viet Nam). It rained all afternoon. I had to bail out the dinghy, as it was nearly full of water halfway through the afternoon. These two villages, Capurgana and Sapzurro are like the outports in Newfoundland, accessible only by water, so there are no autos-just motos and horses. Today, we hiked to Capurgana, 2 ¾ miles over the ridge. It was a slippery, greasy stroll, but we were rewarded with some beautiful views when we popped out of the rainforest on the crests of the mountains. Along the way, we trekked by flowering Hibiscus, Heliconia, and many tropical plants that we’ve had the pleasure of killing in the privacy of our own home. Suz spotted a Green Frog, whose powerful neurotoxin is instrumental in fabricating poison darts, and many tropical birds. There were some pretty steep ups and downs, but they didn’t compare to the 40-minute hills on our Ciudad Perdida hike. Back at the Girl, we took a swim in the 85-degree water as the drizzle came down.
Our stay here has been pretty entertaining. The guys are out in their pangas, morning and late afternoons fishing. They catch bait fish with throw nets and dump them into their boat. Then, they throw handfuls of them into the water and toss their handlines in to catch the bigger, edible fish. Very strange, watching them bailing water INTO their boats to keep the baitfish alive. Yesterday, we watched the local kids, under the tutelage of an adult bandmaster practicing with their percussion instruments and marching along the shore..
We’re sitting on the back porch now, listening to the Howler Monkeys in the forest, having sips and getting ready for dinner.
No internet, just cell service so no pictures. We’ll head to Puerto Obaldia, around the corner in Panama to check in tomorrow, then off to the San Blas archipelago.