A Warm Welcome.
22 March 2012 | Albuquerque Cays, Columbia, SA
Thursday, March 22. This morning we went ashore to check in with the local officials. We were not sure what to expect as we had heard various stories from different cruisers. As it turned out we were very warmly received. We took the dinghy ashore and spoke (in Spanish) to a couple of young guys on the beach. They went to get Senior who was at least 23 y.o. and the man in charge. He led us across the island to their office where he dutifully copied the info from our zarpes into his log. While we were waiting we were served orange juice from Army canteen cups. After the paperwork was complete he welcomed us to the island, invited us to come watch TV with them if we wanted and offered water or food if we needed it. We were welcome to stay as long as we wanted. We couldn't have asked for more. Next we took the dinghy and sounded the sandy area in front of the boat. Finding depths of at least 6' all the way in, we weighed anchor and slowly motored across the sand until we could drop anchor and still be over the shallow sand once we fell back on it. We will take a picture and post it when we can but it looks really cool to see our boat sitting over the white sand just off the island. After we relocated, we did boat chores. Deb cleaned the windows in the salon and I repaired the high output alternator ( a ground wire was disconnected and the fuse on the hot side had corroded to nothing.) Then the water maker failed with a Needs Service light. It turned out that the replacement filter I had installed before leaving was not up to the 160 psi that was required. It split. So I put the old one back on. It still drips a little, but it works and I have a drip ledge installed so it cannot drip on the motor now. Next time in the US, I'll have to get a high pressure filter. For now I can still make fresh water, I just have to run the bilge pump after each run. In the afternoon we took the hookah out to one of the baby atolls. Craig & Liz came along as well. It was fantastic. All along the edge it dropped from 1-2' to 30'. Beautiful coral and lots of fish. We even saw a fish we had not seen before almost clear with black tail fin and pectorals. Deb looked it up and it is a masked hamlet. Also saw a large midnight parrot fish quite rare. I found a large conch just as we were ending our dive and that prompted a hunt for more to make conch salad. We tried the grass just off the island, but the crew on the island can obviously swim that far and there were shells but no live conch. Further off the island, in another patch of coral Craig & I each found a large conch. I also found a 3-4' grouper. Tomorrow I'll return with a spear gun and hopefully we will have grouper for supper. We were invited over to Salida for cocktails and once again the apps turned into supper. They have a very nicely set up boat. (It is a Robinson-Cane, same as the Moorings cats.) Almost caught up on sleep. Another early bedtime and we will be all set. What a great day it has been.