Posted by: catamarantwooceans | October 12, 2014

Sailing from Aruba to Colombia

7.10.14 – Tuesday – Initially we thought of leaving Aruba for Santa Marta, Colombia on Wednesday but checking the weather forecast we found out that on Friday, our planned arrival day, the wind in the Santa Marta area will turn to the south. “Let’s go today” said Gili “there’s no attraction for us here”. The truth be said, we did not like Aruba; big hotels, casinos and shopping centers with all the famously expensive brands, Cartier and the like.

We took a taxi asking to go to the nearest supermarket, we had a medium size list of important items we needed. The super was “Price Smart” which is the local version of Costco, that is an inexpensive shop for members, where products were sold in big quantities. Gili was not very happy with the place; neither cucumbers nor lemons and even lettuce was not available. On the way back to Varadero we tried another supermarket and found out that those items were scarce all over the island.

We had to wait for a cruise ship to come into port and then got permission to come in for the departure procedure.

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At 1420 we went out and just before turning head to wind to open the sails we had the Coast Guard big inflatable with armed men intercepting us. “We need to come aboard and check you” hollered a guy who was probably in charge. Three of them came on board; their leader said a dangerous prisoner escaped and they were checking all the yachts in the island. Once the boarding was over we started sailing in the direction of the Peninsula de la Guajira, keeping a bit of a distance from the Venezuelan Monjes islands which we decided to bypass.

8.10.14 – Wednesday – The wind was strong and waves pushed us forward; in the first 12 hours we covered 89 miles. With that kind of speed we would reach Santa Marta, 266 miles away, before sunrise. We decided to make a stop in the shelter of Cabo de la Vela, which is at about the middle of the way. We dropped anchor at 0830 in a bight under the cape. Apart from two fishermen in a small boat our company were pelicans, who were giving a feeding show – rising and diving steeply to catch their meal. Other birds wanted to participate and were actually alighting on top of the pelican’s head hoping to snatch a morsel.

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At 1100 we continued sailing; we had 135 miles to reach Santa Marta  and at some point in the evening it seemed as if we should slow down in order to get there in daylight. That worry was erased at 2200 when amid thunder and lightning the wind shifted from the east to the south and became too light for pure sailing. One engine was started and  then, when an easterly current of 1.5 – 2 knots, right on the nose, entered the picture – the second engine joined in.

We entered Santa Marta marina at 1030. Thirty minutes later Dino, our agent, appeared. In Colombia you must use an agent; tackling the local bureaucracy is beyond the powers of a simple yachtie. This service does not come cheap; we were charged about 130$ U.S for it in addition for the country’s entry fee – another 100$.

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We went to the office to check in; they have a machine read your fingerprint and you can only go into the showers and the lounge where their WiFi can be utilized putting your finger in the reader. The toilet flush was also a peak of that industry’s technology – both did not work when you needed them. At least the internet in the “Captain’s lounge” was fast and good. I was in the marina office, trying to arrange the repair of my outboard, when I heard Mauricio, the manager,speaking to “Joana” on the V.H.F.  Wade and Dianne entered and tied in the same bay with us.


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