Nov 05

San Andres, Colombia

Number of View: 0


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.

Image00003   Image00004

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.

Image00001  Image00002

Image00003  Image00004

Image00005  Image00006


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.


Image00016  Image00018

Image00008  Image00007

Image00004  Image00005

Image00001  Image00003


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.

Dec 29

Puerto Escoses

Number of View: 0


In 1698 William Patterson, a cofounder of the bank of England, organized and financed an expedition to found a settlement in the bay of Puerto Escoses. The 1300 Scots who built Fort Andrew, of which today only ruins remain, ender up having a terrible time, faced with starvation and disease. In the end the project became a fiasco and after less than two years in the Darien, region those that remained alive returned to Scotland. Just after they left, a fleet with reinforcements arrived from Scotland and made a second attempt to survive. They suffered the same problems as the predecessors and Fort Andrew was given up for good in 1702. Of the nearly 3000 people involved, over 2000 died. Fort Andrew is hardly recognizable. This is the only attempt the Scots ever made to colonize in America.

Image00001       Image00005

Sooner or later it had to happen, Today was that day a bit stressful I guess I should have studied the chart more. I felt pretty confident we have 3 navigation programs 2 guide books, we should be able to get around the islands  with out running aground. Nope as we headed between point of land and a small island where at least 30 men in Cayucos were  fishing. we started to see bottom. When I checked the depth it said 10ft. I slowed down and continued on 9,8,7,6 checked chart plotted said we are in the right place. Mistress needs 5ft 7in shallow on both sides hard to turn around. Left or right. I chose left we came to a stop, the keel in a sand bar. A  little while later an older guy in a dug out canoe came paddling over to us. I’m sure the first thing  he said is “ Its shallow here.” He spoke no English but a little Spanish I spoke no Kuna so Spanish it would be. We decided to put out a stern anchor line and winch ourselves free. We put our spare anchor line out the back of the boat, then into the dinghy. The plan was to row out to deep water then drop the anchor. Once it was set we would get to work. We did all this, which took about an hour then started winding the line became taut, so it must be doing something. Another small boat approached 2 young guys curious as to what was going on, some how they thought we had the anchor stuck not really paying attention to them they jumped in the water and pulled the anchor out of the bottom. They then took the anchor of tied the line on there boat and attempted to pull us off, with Mistress in reverse and them pulling we started having some success. Then suddenly everything stopped, the rope was around the prop. Now I think felt really bad, we were sick to our stomachs. They dove back in the water and started unwinding the rope some needed to be cut out. Another motorboat approached, we were becoming the local attraction. After 1 1/2 hours of diving, cutting,  and pulling fibers out of the shaft we finally had it clean again. By now it was in the afternoon, the tide was going down we were settling more into the sand, constantly boats of all sizes went by us to have a look, or offer words of encouragement in Kuna. We tried digging the sand around the keel til sundown. High tide was scheduled for around noon the next day. As it got darker the boat heeled more and more, listing 25 degrees on its side, bobbing gently it was like a funhouse inside, no level surface that we could sleep upon. At daybreak we put out the anchor again, and kept the line taught hoping the rising tide would pull us free. Every 15min we gave it a flew more turns. Around 11:30am we started moving slowly, the shell on the bottom which I had been staring at was now behind us. Suddenly we floated free  pulling on the anchor we moved to deep water but it seemed it was stuck a fishing boat came along the side of us with 4 men whom had earlier asked us for 500 to pull the boat off. We tried again to pull  the anchor it would not budge. we were drifting to shallow water again. One of the men wanted to dive down and lift it by hand. Too dangerous I told them to cut the line, they could have the anchor. I just wanted to get going. We headed toward an anchorage not far away to put the last days events behind us. As they say……. “Its all part of the adventure.”


Image00006  Image00004


Dec 15

Obaldia, ….Arrival to Panama, Oct.30/2017

Number of View: 0


After an enjoyable night passage, we are in the border town of Obaldia. The town situated at the southern end of the country, is an easy access point for drugs and guerrillas, so has a high military presence, there is an armed guard post on the main dock.

Image00007  Image00002

Checking into the country here was not easy, the love paper work, everything is written out by hand. Our first stop was to the guard, after looking over our papers, we were sent to immigration our directions were to walk to the palm tree turn left go over a wooden bridge, you should see it. simple !!! After getting totally lost, we ask a man who directed us to the right  place. When we got there, we were told to sit, we were the only ones in the office, the agent would be back soon.

Image00004   Image00005

About ten minutes later a guy comes in carrying his lunch. He sat down at his desk, hid behind his computer and watched a TV on a table in the next room. about 30 min went by before he asked to see our passports. he the looked at every page and read every stamp. He then started filling out forms probably 4 papers for each of us, then gave us a e page form to fill out. Parents names, children’s names, ages, where are they all had to be written down. The best was shade of skin colour. luckily there was a place to get copies made just four doors away. They needed 3 copies of all documents. When we were finished we walked aback over to the guard post. the soldier looked over our papers then told us we now needed to report to the Port Authority funny it was 1 small street away from where we just came from. Upon arriving there we found it empty extended lunch hour. Again after waiting for awhile the port captain showed up filled he necessary forms all written out by hand, stamped and singed. We paid our fees and Mistress was welcomed to the country. Back to see the guard it was now mid afternoon and starting to rain, but he didn’t hesitate, “oh my god”….. more copies. Every new formed copied twice. When we finally in the rain, he inspected all our forms and documents before calling for an agent to inspect our boat. No answer, nobody wants to get wet… Manana, tomorrow, we will be inspected first thin in the morning. A whole day went by but we still must complete one last thing to be admitted to Panama. we stood talking to the guard who is learning English, impressed with my Spanish. We gave him correct pronunciation of words he was having trouble with.

Image00006    Image00008


We returned to Mistress, to wait for morning.

May 12

Carnival 2017, Barranquilla, Colombia

Number of View: 0


The Carnival of Barranquilla is without a doubt the most famous and internationally recognized event in Colombia. Eagerly awaited by the Colombians and all the people that want to discover and enjoy a cultural and folkloric event, the visiting crowd will encounter  activities and parades full of cultural diversity, happiness, joy and of course music. The Carnival of Barranquilla is the third biggest Carnival after the one of Rio de Janeiro and Venice. Every year, the Carnival begins 4 days before the Holy Wednesday while the most important day takes place on Saturday with the famous battle of flowers. During the battle, afro-indigenous dancers dance el Torito, el Diablo, la Conga (Congolese tango) and the Pilanderas. The event finishes with the symbolic funeral of “Joselito Carnival”.

Image00011  Image00006

   Image00007   Image00014 

To get into the true spirit of Carnival, you must dress in party clothes, it also might save you from being foamed ……..Gringo.!!! 

Image00005  Image00006


While Barranquilla’s carnaval may lack the publicity of it’s Brazilian cousin, it’s known to be just as spectacular. The Colombian carnaval takes place 40 days before Easter, this years carnaval takes place from February 25th-28th, 2017.

Starting as a muddle of pagan, catholic, and other ethnic festivities, it has come a long way from it’s humble roots. The Barranquilla carnaval is currently the second largest carnival in the world drawing over 500,000 visitors every year.

It has been declared by UNESCO to be a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. For those travelers who aren’t convinced by those impressive facts the bold slogan should change your mind, “Quien lo vive, es quien lo goza” (Those who live are those who enjoy it).


Image00008  Image00010


Image00013    Image00016

Image00017  Image00018  Image00005

People of all ages participate in Parade.

Image00019  Image00020

  Image00002  Image00001 

Image00003  Image00004

The Greatest Party.

Also visit us on Youtube….Tutty Lee


Apr 11

Bucaramanga, Parque National del Chicamocha

Number of View: 0


We took the bus out of a small bus station in San Gil, to an area known to have similarities to the Grand Canyon, in the U.S.. Parque Nacional del Chicamocha opened in 2006, from it’s 360o look out,  provides views of the majestic canyon. We chose to take the teleferico (cable car), 6.3 km which descends to the base of the canyon, then ascends to the top of the opposite rim, Mesaa de los Santos. The ride takes 22 minute, one way. They also offer paragliding for those that want to soar over the canyon below.  

Image00014  Image00015

Image00016  Image00017


Image00003  Image00004


Image00010  Image00012


Image00006  Image00007

After lunch, everything closes for lunch, we caught the first cable car so we could spend some time in the waterpark to cool off. It was the middle of the week, but I’m sure, on week ends this place is packed.


After a relaxing afternoon, a lady that works in the ticket booth went out to the highway, and flagged down a passing bus., We needed to travel into the city of Bucaramanga , where we could get a bus back to Santa Marta. Our land excursion coming to an end. 

Image00018  Image00019

Mar 14

Ciudad Perdida ( The Lost City)

Number of View: 0

Ciudad Perdida (Spanish for “Lost City”) is the archaeological site of an ancient city in Colombia‘s Sierra Nevada. It is believed to have been founded about 800 CE, some 650 years earlier than Machu Picchu. This location is also known as Teyuna and Buritaca.



Ciudad Perdida was discovered in 1972, when a group of local treasure looters found a series of stone steps rising up the mountainside and followed them to an abandoned city which they named “Green Hell” or “Wide Set”. When gold figurines and ceramic urns from this city began to appear in the local black market, archaeologists headed by the director of the Instituto Colombiano de Antropologia reached the site in 1976 and completed reconstruction between 1976-1982.

Image00034  Image00035

Image00036  Image00037

Members of local tribes—the Arhuaco, the Koguis and the Wiwas—have stated that they visited the site regularly before it was widely discovered, but had kept quiet about it. They call the city Teyuna and believe it was the heart of a network of villages inhabited by their forebears, the Tairona. Ciudad Perdida was probably the region’s political and manufacturing center on the Buritaca River and may have housed 2,000 to 8,000 people. It was apparently abandoned during the Spanish conquest.


Ciudad Perdida consists of a series of 169 terraces carved into the mountainside, a net of tiled roads and several small circular plazas. The entrance can only be accessed by a climb up some 1,200 stone steps through dense jungle.



Image00039  Image00040

The area is now completely safe but was at one time affected by the Colombian armed conflict between the Colombian National Army, right-wing paramilitary groups and left-wing guerrilla groups like National Liberation Army (ELN) and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). On September 15, 2003, ELN kidnapped eight foreign tourists visiting Ciudad Perdida, demanding a government investigation into human rights abuses in exchange for their hostages. ELN released the last of the hostages three months later. The United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), the paramilitary right-wing groups in that country, continued attacking aborigines and non-aborigines in the zone for a while. For some time the zone has been free of incidents.

Image00027  Image00026

In 2005, tourist hikes became operational again and there have been no problems since then. The Colombian army actively patrols the area, which is now deemed to be very safe for visitors and there have not been any more kidnappings. For a six day return hike to the lost city, the cost is approximately US$300. The hike is about 44 km of walking in total, and requires a good level of fitness. The hike includes a number of river crossings and steep climbs and descents. It is a moderately difficult hike.

Since 2009, non-profit organization Global Heritage Fund (GHF) has been working in Ciudad Perdida to preserve and protect the historic site against climate, vegetation, neglect, looting, and unsustainable tourism. GHF’s stated goals include the development and implementation of a regional Management Plan, documentation and conservation of the archaeological features at Ciudad Perdida and the engagement of the local indigenous communities as major stakeholders in the preservation and sustainable development of the site.

* excerpt from (Wikipedia)

Image00005  Image00006

Image00008  Image00012

This hike was probably the hardest thing I ever did , but it sure is a once in a lifetime achievement. We had read all the literature about the site, and had been looking forward to completing this trek since we arrived in Colombia. Joined by Diane and Lloyd we showed the other members of our group, who were a lot younger, that if you’re determined, success will follow. The conditions on the trail were extreme, there had been quite a bit of rain lately in the mountains, which left the trail covered in 6 inches of muck. Travelling downhill would have been easier if we had a pair of ski’s.

Day 2, we got up at 5:30 am, putting back on our wet clothes from the day before to walk for almost, 12 1/2 hours, arriving at camp 2 in the dark, to a standing ovation.

The Wiwa and the Kogi, the indigenous group who call this area home do not want to be photographed so out of respect for their beliefs, I have no photo’s. I met one of them on the trail, and he said to me, “ A little hardship in life will be rewarded with a  once in a lifetime experience”  

We would like to thank them inviting us to their land, and showing us some of the history of the Sierra Nevadas. This land truly is sacred and we will remember our time spent here. Our party of four, 3 over the age of 60, asthma, arthritis, hip replacement, and a wonky knee did not hold us back. In the upcoming days as our toenails fall off, yah, I think we are going to …..remember.

  Image00013  Image00014

Image00015  Image00016

Image00017  Image00018

Image00019  Image00021

Image00029  Image00045

Image00047  Image00046

Image00043  Image00048

Image00050  Image00051

Image00055  Image00052

Sign warning of poisonous snakes

Image00044  Image00049Image00054  Image00056


Finish Line!!!

Mar 04

San Agustin

Number of View: 0


Getting to San Agustin was not easy, we travelled on a bumpy dirt road for approximatly 4 hours, the only road from Popayan, only 136 km. away. Large commercial trucks also use this same road so at times it becomes quite congested. We were glad when we arrived in town and were met at the small bus station by the town tour guide who directed us to the nearest grocery store, then arranged a special cab to take us to our hostel, high in the mountains where normal cabs don’t go. Most taxi’s are small compact cars that have a difficult time with 4 travellers with backpacks.

Our hostel, Pachamama, turned to be a picturesque location overlooking the valley below surrounded by coffee and fruit trees. I think the ducks and chickens in this country have insomnia, making noise all hours of the night but we had very comfortable rooms with a hearty breakfast each morning.

Image00033  Image00030


Image00032  Image00031

Image00039  Image00040

Image00034  Image00041

We could easily walk to town, going down the mountain was OK, coming up we stopped only to be passed by the locals who smiled as they walked by. Horses are  the main way to get around and the best to explore the countryside, but walking is also enjoyable in the fresh mountain air.


Image00035  Image00037

Five thousand years ago this area was inhabited by two indigenous groups that lived near San Agustin. Very little is known about them, they had no written language and had disappeared before the Europeans arrived.

They left behind more than 500 statues scattered in the hills around here, along with a number of tombs. This is the most important archeological site in Colombia, and the  government has done a fantastic job in preserving these locations, and takes pride in displaying them to the world.


Image00018  Image00023

Image00014  Image00017

Image00013  Image00014Image00002

Feb 26


Number of View: 0


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.

Image00025  Image00026

Image00028   Image00027

Image00030  Image00029

Image00037  Image00033


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.

Image00004  Image00008

Image00003  Image00006


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.

Image00022  Image00023


Check out the YouTube video on Condors

Image00017  Image00016

Image00018  Image00019

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.

Image00021  Image00026

Image00028  Image00029

Image00027  Image00030


Feb 21


Number of View: 0


Cali is rich in Afro- Colombian heritage; nowhere is the nations racial diversity and harmony more apparent than here. From the impoverished barrios to the slick big clubs, everyone is moving to one beat, and that beat is salsa. Music here is much more than entertainment, it is a unifying factor that ties the city together.

We arrived after a 50km bus ride from Armenia, not knowing exactly what we wanted to see, just knowing that we wanted to learn to dance. We had chosen a hostel in the barrio of San Antonio, the Hotel Terraza de San Antonio, a fantastic old restored building.The neighborhood has lots of great places to eat at great prices.

Image00001  Image00002

Image00003  Image00009

Image00008  Image00005

DSCF0022       Image00017

We visited museum and the botanical garden, where we were escorted by a police officer to make sure no harm came to us as we walked the trails. Apparently it is not in a good area, but after the tour we walked back to town, we were fine.


Image00011  Image00012

Hugging this tree is suppose to bring you good luck, while a little farther down the path is the plant that caused so much problems……Coca.

Image00013  Image00014


Head phones …..Cali style

Image00016  Image00017

Image00022   Image00023

We never did get to go inside the club where they teach you how to salsa, they wouldn’t let us in without the right shoes and we were suppose to be wearing the correct clothes. Oh well, we’ll have to sail to Cuba.


Jan 04

Minca, In the Sierra Nevadas

Number of View: 0


The days on the Caribbean coast have been sweltering with very little wind, so the time was right to visit the mountains which surround the northern coast. We met our driver at the office, and after paying the equivalent of about $4, we were assigned a jeep carrying 8 passengers, we set off for the high country.

Minca, a small town nestled into the side of the mountain, lying approximately 14 miles away from the big city, takes about 35 minutes to reach. The area has many things to do with nature all around. Motorcycles, known as Moto T’s are waiting to take you to whatever adventure you choose. Swimming in the cool streams, hiking to the waterfall, or bird watching are the main activities. There is also a coffee plantation or a brewery offering tours, we chose to walk to Marinka waterfalls, a 1 hour hike through the rainforest.

Image00002   Image00003

Image00005  Image00006

Image00007  Image00010

Image00008  Image00009



Image00012  Image00015

Image00018     Image00025

Image00017    Image00031


Image00024  Image00020  Image00023


Image00030   Image00028

Image00032  Image00027

Image00022 Image00033