In this video/collage I attempt to, oh so briefly, describe two of the faces of Cartagena......one, the elegance, quiet and majesty of the 'ciudad vieja' in which the buildings, their walls, the streets seem to whisper its six hundred year history: the other, the frenetic bustle of this dirty and chaotic gigantic outdoor market.
While the locations are totally separate....the Colombian character emerges intertwined from both - energetic, generous, and from just below the surface, an almost sardonic sense of humour.
The music is currently a very popular song officially entitled "The Invitation" but is better known as "Te Quiero Colombia"("I Love Colombia") The song describes the different beauties found in this topographically rich country: from Calle in the south, to Medellin in the middle, from Barranquilla in the north to the center of tourism....Cartagena.
MANGO taking in the sites of Cartagena!
08 September 2009
David' ,Mango's personal cinematographer
Voyage Across the Caribbean!
16 August 2009 | Colombia
Voyage Across the Caribbean
To be honest, the trip from Jamaica to Colombia was awful yet fascinating. The myriad of forces present and how they acted toward boat and crew defined this dichotomy between horror as to what could be and the uniqueness of being in its naked grip..
It was an angry sea from the start...no, that "nice" little Caribbean and its idyllic islands that we are so used to hearing about is, at its heart, a strong and aggressive sea.
I hated it and yet I loved it. I cursed ...begged to slow down. The winds, sustained at 30 knots, heard nothing of it. Every curse seemed only to egg her on to gusts of 40 knots. Shearwater was now going 15 knots regularly and she too.....I now hated and loved. I admired her as she plunged through the waves yet the clashes shook her to the core and also us.....at what point was she going to come apart? When a boat shivers below one.....it tends to cool ones blood. Again, in the pitch black, the wind howled and Shearwater continued. One day gone....two days to go.....
Now the auto pilot is gone, necessitating someone at the helm every moment of the hours that passed. For a minute or two it would function giving small relief.... yet ones eyes could never left the display.....for when that awful word "FAULT" appeared in the display the boat, in about 5 seconds, would be 90 degrees to our course.
My crew was sick in both ways and ......
Morning came on the second day......the winds had picked up and all hopes of a calming were gone......the light showed the jib beginning to part - the Cuban fix was not holding - how long before it went ... the reduced speed would add another day to this already strained trip.
That....was the question....slow down and face more time in this grip or keep going, faster to the end.
The night once again came and anxiousness mounted.....those dark hours are long. As the light left, I noticed the No. 1 reef line was almost chaffed through. Would it hold another night?
How important is the three hours of rest one has, off duty. Yet by now, my berth is completely wet ....as upon every clash the window would open and the waves would be on the bed.
In each berth... an engine.... sort of like the heart in ones body....they must be protected at any cost ... now, it was only the doors of the engine cover stopping the engines from drowning in this wetness.
This second night.... the wind increased and the sounds of Shearwater and the ocean ....surreal. As I sat at the helm in the darkness with only the light of my GPS display, I tried to describe it...that surreality......it seemed the water was full of creatures that lashed upwards through the netting behind me... as though to pull Mangoandme down. Mango sat at my side. It was a sound I had not heard..... like giant cats hissing and the sound of lightning as it strikes close, aggressively and quick....dimly, one could see something but that dimness caused the sounds to be ever more dominant.
Shearwater continued, the wind continued and the waves kept crashing her bows and the windward side. And then luck and horror. In the night and in those conditions it is the last thing one wants to do.....to leave the cockpit.....to go around the boat...up to its bow... to inspect ......I took everything off my body, put a harness on and, with my light, started this most important of tasks. I had gone but a few steps when I saw at the end of the beam of light what no sailor wants to see....the pin holding the boom to the mast had come loose ....there was now a quarter of an inch left.... holding the boat together....I was stunned. The boom weighs about 200 lbs and had it left the mast, the sail would have pulled it from the boat in an instant destroying everything in its path. It is my guess the forces and that flying boom would have brought the whole rig down ....all would have dove into the sea leaving......I don't know what..... we sit at the back of the boat ... in its furious path. The pin was almost out, the 'lock' nut was gone...quickly we combed the boat for a replacement ... we had none....and then luck......the nut had fallen into the traveler track and remained on the boat!!...never had a nut been so praised and coveted. With great difficulty and with determined resistance from Shearwater we stopped the boat in a maneuver we call "heaving to" and wrestled these masses of steel and aluminum back together and to their proper places......
On we went......wetter, more tired and resigned to no change......but ...we were now past half way.
......Noticing the rotated mast looked exaggerated to the port side, I rushed up and again was aghast at what I saw. Every mast has "spreaders" which are the cross pieces extruding from the mast. Seemingly, at one point the jib and the starboard spreader had collided and now the jib was ripped beyond use.....I had no choice but to take it down.
What was next....I was now truly worried....and wondering.... on a superstitious level.....too much had happened.
How would this trip end? As Colombia approached the conditions worsened. But...... because of the speed of Shearwater for all those hours in this enormous wind, we were 12 hours ahead of schedule. Eagerly as the third night came we peered out begging for lights of a city..... and then.... they appeared.....Cartagena was in sight - the lights caused a warm glow on the horizon and seemingly instantaneously, the seas calmed, the wind lost its fury, Shearwater slowed...... this inexorable dash across the Caribbean had ended.
Good Luck Zach
08 August 2009
After about 6 weeks with Zach, I want to take this opportunity to wish him and "hug it forward' the best of luck in the future-Im glad to have been able to, in some little way, further the cause
Departing Jamaica NASTY DOG POLICY
08 August 2009 | Jamaica to Cartagena, Colombia
As the sun comes up tomorrow, Sunday August9th we, Mango and Me and new crew member Lou will set sail across the heart of the Caribbean with the destination of Cartagena Colombia.
This is a rather hasty departure for upon arrival we were greeted by the very unfriendly news that if my dear dog Mango was caught off the boat, he would probably be shot. Looking further into such a monstrous law, I discovered that indeed the law is even more insidious. If a boat with a dog on board comes within ONE mile of the Jamaican 3 mile territorial waters, the boat can be boarded and the dog shot. This puts Mango in violation of the law as we sit on the dock.
More later on efforts to insulate him.....corruption corruption.
So...needless to say, I have little to say for Jamaica and hence the speedy departure.
Zach Heenal left the boat to have a look around Jamaica.
In their place comes Lou from West Palm Beach. Lou knows the boat well as we tested the boat on numerous occasions together. It will be good to have an experienced hand on board.
We are expecting r ather big seas and waves.....averaging 20-30 knots and 6-10 foot waves. The jib worries me as it is now 3-4 days straight with no stops.
We need to be in Cartagena by Wednesday morning before the conditions worsen.
I promise when I arrive in Cartagena I will put together a video of two of our experiences, especially Cuba.
All the best and thanks ever so much for checking in
Mango is a smart, funny, sensitive and totally unique wheaton/sheepdog. . He is my partner on this patently undoglike voyage but remains cheerful about the whole affair. [...]
David, the "Me" part of MangoandMe is awed by
Shearwater as it will always be a better boat than he a sailor-the way it should be. First stop, South America.
Shearwater is a 47 foot, very sleek and light catamaran.
She is part of a fleet of 11 that were built - its a sister ship of Shearwater that holds the unofficial speed record.
Of the this fleet, only one has flipped...so we are on the side of good odds!