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Santa Marta
03/06/2012, Columbia

We are very pleased to be in a Marina. The wind has been blowing at gale force and the windspeed on the adjacent yacht read 54 knots earlier.
We have removed most stuff of the deck and have doubled up our mooring lines.
Its forcast to blow like this for a few days so this is home for a while.
Actualy this suits us fine. It will give us a few days to do the mending and boat jobs that need attention.
The current list of stuff to do before sailing off again includes.... going up the mast to replace or mend the masthead tri, which broke on passage. Source new bulb for port running light which also broke on passage. Remove genoa mend the rip or put on another sail. Source propane gas bottles as our butane bottles are probably not refiilable from here onwards. Check whether we can now get some boat insurance at a sensible price. Source a new pump for the heads as its completely broke. Replace connection for ssb antenae to backstay.Tighten the lower stays as they seem to have become loose.
We may not get everything done as this is really not the place to buy anything as their is not even a chandlers
We are just east of Cartegena the capital and we hope we can take a trip for a couple of days once we have sorted the official paperwork here; we have hired an agent to do this for us . ... well there is no way we could do it ourselves.
We seem to be eating out a lot. Its not too expensive and generaly the food is good.
There are many street stalls selling fruit smoothies; you choose the fruit and they make it for you lovely cool and refreshing....despite the wind it is very hot and in true English stylee we always make sure that we are out in the midday sun.

We are safe
03/03/2012, Santa Marta, Columbia

We made it into Santa Marta late yesterday. Santa Marta Marina is brand new, sparkling clean, has extremely helpful staff and is likely to be our home for at least a week while we do boat jobs (mend the heads again, repair our ripped genoa). I had my first hot shower since Gran Canaria before Christmas!
It was very poignant when we hoisted our Columbian courtesy flag yesterday, it had been made for us by Dick.
Thats all for now, just wanted you all to know we are in a safe haven and will not be leaving until the wind has calmed right down.

Caribbean crossing Thursday 1st March

All is well aboard Wanda. No more news about friends Dick and Ann. We are sailing down the Columbian coast towards Cartegena.Good sailing. We may put into Santa Marta as an alternative to Cartagena or we may go on to Panama.Kev

Caribbean crossing Wednesday 29th

All is well aboard Wanda. Chinook Wind a Tayana sailed by friends Dick and Ann unfortunately struck a reefnear Bonaire and was wrecked yesterday morning. Both Dick and Ann were rescued by coastguard. We were sailing with them about 30 NM behind (on a course much further out to sea) just outside VHF contact. Shocking news we just heard this on the SSB net. Kev

Caribbean crossing day 3

Good 3 days sailing 135NM yesterday. All is well aboard except our genoa which is ripped.Kev

Pip's Prickly...

I've thoroughly enjoyed myself here. Although I can take or leave things like Bingo, I have really liked a lot of the rest of what's going on. My favourite 'event' was the Mount Airey Young Readers Programme: run by Mrs Jeanne Pascal and supported by cruisers, this Saturday morning club sees up to 50 children aged 4/5 up to 18 turn up to a Community hall in St Pauls, which is up in the hills nearby. A bus picks us cruisers up and takes us there- we get a free mini tour of the south part of this incredibly lush verdant island. The hills are steep and thickly forested, studded with the bright roofs of the multi-coloured houses. Most houses are substantially built on stilts or pillars on the steep hillside, with balconies overlooking densely planted gardens, which usually support a goat, sheep, donkey or cow as well- all with their accompanying egret.
At the Young Readers programme we start with prayers and songs, then read with the children, write, draw, play Scrabble or other board games. My new friend Kimmisha and I made a book based on 'Green Eggs and Ham' and I showed her where England was in an atlas- then we talked about the queen (who still appears on the currency) and shared nursery rhymes like 'Pussycat pussycat where have you been'. Next - and a huge challenge for me!- comes reciting times tables, and older children read aloud from books like 'Danny champion of the world'.
I suspect cruisers like me keep volunteering for this scheme because it is so much fun and so rewarding- for us... what the children think of a load of white americans etc descending on them every Saturday goodness only knows! But they seem to have fun. The scheme has been going 4 years.
I have also enjoyed cooking with the local fruit and veg; spotting plants I've never seen before; dancing in the beach bars; losing in the quiz night; drinking rum punches.
We've managed to do a few boat jobs as well- mostly replacing things that we lost overboard! Kevin has made an LED anchor light, mended the dinghy again and again (half of the inflatable floor I suspect will never inflate again), and has done a sterling job at eventually sorting some internet, thanks to a new 'Wifi wand' booster aerial courtesy of our new friends Steve and Julie.
I've made a new boat hook, and inserted a canvas pipe and hose fitting into our sunshade, so if it rains (which it does rather a lot here- the island isn't lushly green for nothing)- if it rains, I can turn a little tap on the hose fitting and fill my camp shower for free. Of course since I made it it hasn't rained.
I've put a few more photos on as well. Hopefully.
Ok, back to getting the boat ready for the next leg- we might leave very soon, so expect another internet-free hiatus.

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