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Little Green Boat
Spruce left New Zealand at the end of May 2014. We had a memorable time in NZ, Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia and arrived in Australia at the end 2014. Next comes Tasmania and then north to SE Asia in 2015.
Another Blustery Night.
Sue & Andy
30/Jul/2012, Concha Cove - Parque Tayrona - Colombia

So much for hopes of a quiet night. The buffeting from about 11pm through until 4am is quite the norm in these bays. The beauty of the Sierra Nevada backdrop is compensated for by the strong offshore winds overnight with gale force gusts, maybe they are less during the winter months when the Caribbean Sea is not so hot, but then the trade winds are more established at that time of the year?? We are very pleased with our 30Kg Spade anchor, we were sold on them after using a 20Kg version with our previous boat but the past few days has resulted in a big tick. Now anchored off the beach at the head of the bay so we'll see how gusty conditions are here tonight, instead of being under the cliffs.

Snorkeling again this morning. The water is not crystal clear and that makes the experience less than perfect. Many smaller fish and some nice corals but one needs to duck dive down to see them without particulates in the water...we were thoroughly spoiled in Bonaire's clear waters so everything is now judged against that benchmark.

News & Updates
Sandy & Touristy.
Sue & Andy
29/Jul/2012, Ensenada Concha - Parque Tayrona - Colombia

Swell hooked around the headland to make the anchorage in Ensenada Chengue rather bouncy. That in itself would not have been too uncomfortable but the anchor chain occasionally snagged on a rocky outcrop on the bottom bringing the movement up short with a sudden jerk. An attempt was made to toast the sunset with a beer from a nearby beach. We lasted about 90 seconds ashore as the insect life screamed dinner is served. It was pleasant finishing our beers bobbing just offshore and out of the buzzing clutches of the mosquitos and biting flies.

Enough of this swelly cove and on to Ensenada Concha, the closest to Santa Marta and obviously geared up for more visitors; a long expanse of sandy beach at the head of the bay was kitted out with shades and loungers for hire, quite a contrast to the deserted bays seen so far. We chose an anchorage to the side of the bay just off a shingle beach. Iolea with Paul and Kate aboard joined us about an hour after arriving and are anchorted close by. Maybe tonight will prove to supply less of a series of katabatic winds from the mountains beyond. The scenery is still stunning and our short sail from bay to bay was rewarded with a small pod of dolphins joining us for a short while. A delight for Ed & Faye who managed to take some short film of their antics with a mobile phone camera.

Photo shows Faye, Sue and Ed toasting the sunset.

News & Updates
Nice Reefs.
Sue & Andy
28/Jul/2012, Ensenada Chengue - Parque Tayrona - Colombia

Up anchor and a short chug around the headland to the next bay west, Ensenada Chengue. Smaller and with a cluster of mangroves in the south-east corner. More swell but less of the vertically descending winds in this anchorage. Maybe it will get more squally after dark. Lots of dramatic views along the coastline, a hard rocky volcanic shore with even harder veins of quartz standing proud, the sea is struggling to erode this igneous material. A misty backdrop of the Sierra Nevada looks splendid from seaward.

Snorkeling was quite good fun with some large elkhorn corals giving more three-dimensional characteristics to the underwater topography. More fish and clearer water than the last bay although still only about 8 metres visibility. Lots of Porcupine Fish, Blue Tangs, Parrot Fish and a new one for us, a Pork Fish.

Even though it is the weekend we have seen only one other vessel in the bay, a large motor boat from Santa Marta anchored on the far side in the surfy area for swimming and a walk on the beach before heading off with an big wake astern.

News & Updates
Buffeted at Anchor.
Sue & Andy
27/Jul/2012, Ensenada Guiraca - Parque Tayrona - Colombia

Offshore winds have been quite strong and from the NE, apparently gale force last night. Supposed to be going round more Easterly today but still strong for a couple of days more. Our anchorage is on the windward side of the bay, well it should be. The winds are tending to come down from the Sierra Nevada and over the top of the high land to windward and then plummeting vertically down upon us, seeming to come from all directions. Sudden gusts fly into us from one side and then the other, depending where the blast first hits the water. All quite exciting but our anchor seems well dug in. Sleeping tends to be a bit disrupted due to the non-steady nature of the noise and the haphazard heeling with no pattern.

Yesterday we enjoyed a walk along the almost deserted beach and along the higher ground on the opposite side of the bay. Once over the top we descended through acacia and scrubby trees to another near deserted beach. It seems the closest the public road reaches is some 6Km distant so not many people brave the temperature and humidity this time of the year. The scenery is similar to Chatham Bay and other East Caribbean destinations, the main difference is the complete sparsity of people. A handful of local folks live down by the beach, some fisherman have erected a temporary shelter on another beach to the north.

Out to seaward the wind against current conditions mentioned in earlier blog updates are in full spate. Spurts of water leap skyward as short steep waves and very choppy conditions prevail. Not a good day to be out at sea on this coastline. Tomorrow, providing the typical after breakfast lull in the wind occurs, we'll most likely hug the coast and move round to the next bay.

News & Updates
Permits & Cruising at Last.
Sue & Andy
26/Jul/2012, Parque Tayrona - Colombia

Nudging out of the marina berth at 7am signified a milestone in the cruising life of Spruce. Our last two permits authorised and we were off to the Five Bays in Tayrona Parque Nacional. We don't quite understand the purpose of all the official pieces of paper but we have them and can now do some cruising in this beautiful corner of Colombia. Friends Eddie and Faye have joined us for a few days, they are in the middle of a multi-month tour of Central and South America and will soon be off to visit the rest of Colobia, Equador, Peru and the other countries south of here.

The plan was to depart early before the winds increased for the day and built up the seas off headlands, always contrary to the constant current flowing along this coast anything more than 15 knots of breeze would make the conditions unpleasant. As it was thje wind speed quickly piped up, but not before we had rounded the headland off Isla Aguja. En route we chose to turn in to the coast a bay before our original objective, the seas reduced as soon as we got behind the headland and entered Ensenada Guiraca. Absolutely stunning scenery. Back into the water for snorkeling, although the visibility underwater was no where near as good as at Bonaire; some nice Porcupine Fish and Angel Fish to watch.

A very blustery night with katabatic winds howling down off the mountains; nothing sustained, but until we got used to the frequent 40+knots blasts heeling us as they hurtled in from different directions it was exciting.

A few days along this coastline and then we'll prepare for the passage down the coast to Cartagena and its splendid former colonial architecture.

News & Updates
Back to the Coast
Andy & Sue
23/Jul/2012

New friends from the hike to the Lost City joined us for an afternoon splashing about in salt water and a beer aboard Spruce. All sporting our scars from insect bites. It was nice to have a swim without first walking over a steep hill.

Left to Right: Andy, Mikey, Rachel, Ibra, Maeve, Orla

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