Cartagena

During the last few weeks in Bocas del Toro, we managed to get hold of sufficient materials, plywood etc. with which we were able to reconstruct the galley.
The stove was moved nearer the cockpit, the entire countertop was widened with cupboards and drawers below and a sparkling new sink installed and at last pressure water!
During the construction miraculously Jose was able to continue producing great meals despite the fact that the stove was jury rigged outside in the cockpit! No mean feat!
All in all a successful and worthwhile project.
Once completed we loaded stores, diesel fuel and water and set of belatedly for Florida.
Our first stop was the beautiful island of Providencia, off the coast of Niguaragua .
This island is part of Colombia however and we were delighted to find the local people kind and friendly and we never felt as welcome as this in the rest of Central America.
Our friends Pete and Robbie on PR2 had sailed from Curacao and were there in Providencia to meet up with us after long time no see ( about 3 years since we last saw them in Trinidad!)
Just before continuing our journey north we heard weather reports suggesting that early hurricanes might be imminent in the northern Caribbean, so we opted to head to Jamaica after much discussion.. So much for all the plans and long shopping lists for the States!
In the course of trying to get north against strong winds on the nose, we found that we had developed a leak between the wing deck and the main hull.
So we were forced to head down wind to the nearest haul out yard which was near Colon in Panama, to check was what wrong and do repairs where necessary..
Pete and Robbie continued bravely on and have since arrived safely in Trinidad, via Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Martinique!
Whilst hauled out in Shelter Bay Marina, ( the same one as in December), we constructed 2 new deck hatches which were always planned for but served a secondary purpose at this time since through them we had much better access to effect our repairs.
The boat is back in good shape!
We set of for Curacao, with the intention of going east along the southern coast of the Caribbean and visited Isla Naranjo, Portobello and Linton and from there went straight to the Rosarios, a group of islands just 25 miles south of Cartagena.
Our friends Kate and DJ from Hello World were there and we enjoyed a few days with them before going into Cartagena to check in.
What a wonderful surprise to find it was clean and friendly and the old walled city breathtakingly beautiful!
We have not seen a lot of the city yet, as we don’t feel very comfortable leaving the boat alone with all the squalls this time of year. But since the plan is to come back here after Curacao on our way back to Panama, we will have time to do the sight seeing then
The anchorage in Cartagena leaves a lot to be desired as the holding ground is poor. When squalls occur boats seem to drag al over the place.
A further problem seems to be that the barnacles grow faster here then anywhere else!
We have found a lovely, safe anchorage nearby in which to spend our time, only visiting the main harbor for supplies as needed. . At the moment we are doing more projects and are working to improve the cockpit.
Its nice being in the other bay where we can work, but also swim and snorkel!
At Club Nautico, the local marina, we met more old friends.
Brad and Gloria of Kindred Spirit we last saw in Barbados 5 years ago when we were there to apply for our American visas on Stravaig the Catamaran .
They plan to leave their boat in Cartagena and return to the US for a couple of months.
So with any luck we will see them when they will return as we shall delay our trip to Curacao until the end of the hurricane season. ( November).

PS. The pics will come next time, cant get this computer to upload them! Sorry!!!

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