Nov 05

San Andres, Colombia

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The many places that we visit, the deciding factor to leave comes down to one thing, It’s time to move on. The last few days are spent readying Mistress, working on all the systems, which makes them quite tiring. The last night is spent  tossing and turning, trying to get some sleep, anxious to get going.

The winds were forecast to be light, with the possibility of rain over the 212 nautical mile trip. Getting away from the coast of Panama, the waves settled to around 3 ft. It was a bit uncomfortable due to the fact that we hadn’t sailed in almost a year.

We did manage to miss most of the storms, but had one pour down on us for more than an hour, our old raincoats weren’t much help, but kept us warm.

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We had calculated to arrive early in the morning, thinking to spend 2 full days at sea, travelling around 5 knots. Mistress sailed along,  pushed by the current, faster than we thought , making landfall in the dark, 11:30 pm.

This has got to be one of the most confusing harbours to enter at night. In the dark we could not make out anything, only guided in by the chartplotter. We were well inside the harbour before we could recognize buildings on shore.

When we were slowing  down getting ready to anchor the motor would not react, the linkage had come disconnected. We drifted along, narrowly missing a huge ship with no lights, before quickly dropping the anchor. We Arrived, it was now 2:00 am.


The culture in the islands have their origin in the mix of the African and European traditions Spanish and Creole { Bende or Carbeau English used by Raizales} are the native tongues., although most of the people of the island speak English.

Calypso, Reggae, Polka, Waltz, Mento, Schottist and Mazurca are the main music genres visitors can hear around the islands.

Architecture is of note as the are colorful and vivid. The diversity of the touristy attractions, hotels and the beautiful landscapes invite visitors to know the islands and have an amazing stay.

The south winds or hurricanes which cause serious problems to some islands and cruisers., are strange to these islands as the are located on the southeast of the Caribbean Sea basin. The archipelago is considered a good shelter from winds.

Many cruisers who arrive in San Andres or Providencia, come from Honduras, Guatemala ,{ Rio Dulce}, Panama, and other places in the Caribbean Sea.

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The next  day, we were invited by our friends, from Linton Bay Marina, Iris and Carl Meredith, who were here celebrating their 9th anniversary to tour the island. We spent the day driving completely around, stopping for a great lunch at one of the seaside restaurants.


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After the whole day at the beach, and tired from the sun, our anchor decided to drag across the Bay. A French Canadian couple came out to visit us, and as they were leaving, actually they got scared away by a storm cloud, the bow of the boat swung around. I quickly went to the front to have a look, and could see the anchor skipping across the bottom. Returning to the cockpit and attempting to start the engine, we were handed our second problem……Won’t start. Calling the marina, and Coast Guard, problem number three……No answer.  Luckily there were 2 small fishing boats near by that noticed our problem, and came to our assistance. Both boats had only 15 hp. motors but they were willing to help us re- anchor. With the wind pushing us they gave it their best, urged by a large fishing boat it was decided to tie up along side them. We found out that they had a mechanic onboard who would look at our engine. He quickly found a corroded connection, cleaned it and repaired. Next he looked at a small problem we have had for awhile, the button to Stop the engine. We have been taking the cover off the engine and manually pushing the solenoid to shut it down.


After spending about 1 1/2  hours, we now have a new stop switch installed. Touching the 2 wires together and holding them, will shut the engine off.  Works!!!



We are the showcase of the main town dock.

Feb 26


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This small colonial city is famous for it’s chalk-like facades( its nickname is “ La Ciudad Blanca, or The White City”), and is second only to Cartagena as Colombia’s most impressive colonial settlement. It sits beneath towering mountains in the Valle de Pubenza, and for hundreds of years was  the capital of southern Colombia, before Cali overtook it.

The town was founded in 1537by Sebastian de Belalcazar, and became an important stopping point on the road to Quito, Ecuador. It’s mild climate attracted wealthy families from the sugar haciendas of the hot Valle de Cauca region. In the 17th century they began building mansions, schools, and several imposing churches and monasteries.

In march 1983, moments before the much celebrated Maundy Thursday religious procession was set to depart, a violent earthquake shook the town, caving in the cathedral’s roof and killing hundreds. Little damage is visible today.

The city has numerous universities and during the day the streets are filled with students.

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Forty-five kilometers east of Popayan along an unpaved road to La Plata lies a 830 sq/km National Park ( Resguardo Indigena Purace ). The vast majority of the park lies within the reguardo ( official territory ) of the Purace indigenous group.

At this time , the indigenous community has taken control of the park following a dispute with the national government over it’s management. If you ask at any national park or official government tourist office they will tell you that the park is closed, however the community is still accepting visitors and is dedicated to expanding it’s fledgling ecotourism program. In addition to an entrance fee, each group is required to hire an indigenous guide to explore the park.


We had every intention to climb to the top of the volcano, I just wished we had done more research. After stopping at the small village, where our guides loaded supplies and rode in the back of the pick-up to a cabin at the start of the trail. They had us hold hands and asked the gods for guidance and protection so we would be safe walking to the summit to view the volcano.

The wind was howling and the temperature must have been hovering around zero, the altitude stealing our breath. It wasn’t meant to be, one by one we gave up.

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Our 2 guides eager to show us there land, told us they wanted us to see their most sacred area where we could see, and get close to Condors, noted to be the largest birds of the world. What started out with just 1 mating pair has become quite a success. Their wings spanning 10 feet or more as they glide serenely above Colombia’s Andes, condors are majestic physical specimens. They have been important symbols here since pre-colonial times, when indigenous tribes saw them as messengers of the gods and harbingers of good fortune.

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Check out the YouTube video on Condors

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We were also were shown the Termales de San Juan, which are on a high mountain plain (3200m), what an amazing area. These hot springs can not be bathed in due to the heat and the high acid content with the smell of rotten eggs.

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Jan 27


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A fairytale city of romance, legends and sheer beauty, Cartagena de Indias is an addictive place that can be hard to escape. Routine sightseeing tours won’t do it justice so you have to throw away the checklist of museums and instead just stroll through Cartagena’s maze of cobbled alleys, where enormous  balconies are shrouded in Bougainvillea and massive churches cast their shadow across leafy plazas.

Founded in 1533, Cartagena swiftly blossomed into the main Spanish port on the Caribbean coast  and the gateway to the north of the continent. Treasure plundered from the indigenous people was stored her until the galleons were able to ship it back to Spain. As such it became a tempting target for pirates and, in the 16th century alone it suffered 5 dreadful sieges, the best know of which was let by Sir Francis Drake in 1586.

In response to pirate attacks the Spaniards decided to make Cartagena impregnable port and constructed elaborate walls encircling the town, and a chain of forts these fortifications helped save Cartagena from subsequent attacks.

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After a 4 hour bus trip we arrived in this beautiful city to start our inland travel. We will be staying in hostels, farms and inexpensive hotels as we travel around. Next we will do a 14 hour overnight trip to Medellin.


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