San Andres AnchorageSusan /mostly sunny, few light showers, 86 degrees F
01/28/2013, Isla San Andres, Colombia
Isla San Andres (san ahn-DRAYZ) is to Colombia as Waikiki is to the States; a warm, sunny vacation mecca. One end of San Andres is filled with hotels, restaurants, name brand shops for clothing and swim wear, and shops carrying electronics, perfume, liquor, cosmetics, house goods, etc. ala Free Trade Zone. A nicely maintained walking path separates commerce from a long white sand beach packed with people enjoying the sun and warm water. Party barges and large lanchas ferry people to the very popular Cayo Rosa and Cayo Cordoba on the outer reef for more snorkeling and beach time. Car (really electric golf carts), moto and jet skis rental is very popular. As is diving; there are more than two dozen principal diving sites in the reef that surround San Andres. And as if Colombians need yet another reason to fly here, we're told its hospitals are famous for a particular kind of cosmetic surgery.
Passage To Isla San AndresSusan / mostly sunny, 86 degrees F
01/23/2013, Isla San Andres, Colombia
We raise the anchor at 5am and cautiously make our way to and through the Isla Providencia channel under starlight. We're clear of the lee-side reefs and this mountainous island as the sun rises. Beautiful. From there until 4nm from the Isla San Andres sea buoy we sail in mostly 10-15kt winds just port tack of dead downwind. Seas were a bit lumpy but for the most part aft of beam, so all in all, a nice day of sailing.
More Money PleaseSusan / mostly sunny, 86 degrees F
01/22/2013, Isla Providencia, Colombia
Our agent, Mr Bush hails us on the VHF and asks us to see him in his office. We quickly get ready, drop the dingy and head to town. He has two things for us, our temporary importation paperwork, something we'll need for arrival and processing in Isla San Andres, and a DIAN bill for 150,500 COP (approx $90 USD) to remain in Isla Providencia. We've been here a month. There's nothing he can do about it. We decide to leave for San Andres tomorrow morning. He takes back the bill and says he'll have our exit zarpe for us at 5pm.
From Two To TwelveSusan / mostly sunny, 86 degrees F
01/20/2013, Isla Providencia, Colombia
There's been just two of us cruisers in the anchorage for several days. Nice and quiet. This changed rather dramatically today as one boat after another arrived an hour or so apart. By the end of the day there are twelve boats in the anchorage. From their VHF traffic we learn that they took the recent weather window for a southbound voyage from the Honduran Bay Islands / Roatan where they'd waited a month. The passage must have had some rough moments; one boat blew out a sail, another lost a spreader, and one of the catamarans lost both engines. At first they all anchored on the other side of the channel but then surrounded Vida Dulce when the Port Captain told them they had to anchor on the south side of the shipping channel. It may be possible to get one or two more boats in here but we're a very short swim from each other now. Finger's crossed the winds remain the current direction and velocity!
El Reserva Natural El PicoSusan / mostly sunny, 86 degrees F
01/16/2013, Isla Providencia, Colombia
Yesterday we rented a moto for a second self-guided see-the-Isla tour. We saw sights we'd seen the last time and new ones as we moto'd nearly every road and path on the island. One of our goals was to find the starting point for the hike to the highest peak on the island, in El Reserva Natural El Pico. We found the turn-off yet despite going down every neighborhood road in the area, came up empty on the path entrance. It wasn't a total loss though as on our last trip around the main turnoff road we're hailed by a local man, a gentleman about our age I'd guess, shouting "El Pico" to us. We stop. He tells us his name is Tony and he guides people to El Pico. He'll take us now. We don't want to go just then so we ask for his phone number. Instead he asks us for the name of our hotel, "where are you staying?". We tell him we're in Santa Isabela, which is close to being on the other end of the island. He tells us to take the local bus tomorrow, they start running early and he'll wait for us at the stop nearby where we're standing starting at 7:30am tomorrow morning. Jerry nods, but I say, that sounds early; we'd have to take a 7am bus. We talk a little more and then Tony says he'll meet us at the front of Hotel Old Providencia tomorrow at 10am and the three of us will take the bus to the stop where we can begin the hike. He then gives us his cell phone number. I'm not sure we need to pay for a guide for this trip but do know the walk into and around Parque Nacional McBean Lagoon requires a local guide in addition to the 20,000 COP/ person admission fee. I assume he'll add knowledge of the local flora, fauna, and keep us safe from snakes and iguanas, hungry poor, etc. so we agree to his price, 30,000 COP / person.
Christmas Trades EaseSusan / mostly sunny, 88 degrees F
01/14/2013, Isla Providencia, Colombia
There's no better sound than the quiet when the annual change-of-year - aka Christmas Trades - ease. The standing rigging stops singing, the tug on the anchor bridle no longer presents a walking-around-the-boat hazard, white caps in the anchorage disappear, birds (along with flys and other flying bugs sadly) reappear in flocks. I can put laundry out to dry on the lifelines without fear they'll blow away. Aahhhh..