Postmortem of the trip
26 February 2021 | 10 24.394’N:75 32.692’W, Club de Pesca, Cartegena, Colombia
10 24.394 N
75 32.692 W
Weather; sunny, wind n/a, waves n/a
Good morning one and all! After a decent night's sleep we feel almost human once again, it's amazing what a reasonably comfortable bed and no rocking, rolling or bouncing can do to make you feel like you want to actually be alive today! Of course a hot shower and a cup of coffee helped as well. Today was time to reflect and carry out a postmortem of the trip to see how we could have managed it better. Our agent arrived pretty much as he had said, around 9 am to return our passports and the clearance papers, he didn't have our Covid test results, they would be emailed around 11 am and then we would be able to get off the boat and be free to do whatever we wished as long as they were negative results. So we cooled our heels discussing the passage and trying to think of things that we could have done differently, to be honest there wasn't much as most of the problems stem from inaccurate weather predictions and although we compare a couple of sites there was nothing indicating the weather we actually encountered. So next it was a quick look at the things that need fixing, the list for the hardware or chandlery store was growing longer by the second. At 11am Gerry got a large email which wouldn't download, it was apparently from the agent's office so he rang her, having to use skype as it was our only option given that we have no local phone sim card so couldn't phone, text or use WhatsApp and we hadn't been able to get the satellite phone to connect in the marina so far - something to investigate today as to why, it had worked all the way into the harbor and just not here in the marina. Anyway he got through on skype and spoke to the agent, Maria, who told us that they were our Covid results - both negative so we were free to go! At almost the same moment we had a knocking on the boat, the dock master wanted us to move slips - into a more permanent slip which has water and power, he indicated the slip and then with much gesticulating and Spanish babbling he let us know that we needed to reverse into the slip. Gerry was horrified, he carried on about the dinghy on the back of the boat and us not having a walk through transom, wasn't there a different slip? Short answer was no, we were going to have to take the dinghy off of the davits, leave it behind in the current slip, move the boat then walk back to the dinghy and row it around to the new slip and tie it up somehow. Gerry was not a happy chap as we set about lowering the dinghy into the water and tying it up in the current slip. We put out lines and fenders to the side indicated by the dock master and began to motor around to the new slip, the wind was howling through the place and we were being blown sideways if we did anything in a slow steady manner, it was balls to the wall or nothing! When we got around to the slip we found that we were meant to be between 2 large motor boats - that was OK, but the fairway was quite narrow making maneuvering somewhat difficult add into the mix that the outer slip poles for tying up to are concrete with no rubber fenders around them and the wind blowing us sideways, our boat warps badly to port in reverse and we don't have bow thrusters to assist - it was a recipe for disaster. Gerry steered us in and tried reversing from two different angles to get us close to the slip without hitting another boat, it just was an impossible ask and he indicated to the dock master that there was no way we were going to get into the slip in reverse so he headed back out into the main drag turned the boat around and began to head into the slip going forward. I was out on deck watching to make sure that we didn't scrape the side of the boat on the poles as we went in and to be ready to throw the dock lines once we were close enough, I should also have had eyes in the back of my head watching the bow but as the dock master and 4 helpers were on the dock I thought that bit was under control - never take anything for granted! There was suddenly an almighty crunch from the bow and a few shouts from the dock guys as our anchor smashed its way through the power and water lighthouse on the dock. I yelled for Gerry to reverse which he did but it was too little too late, the damage was done, the lighthouse was on its side, water was gushing upwards from the two connections in that lighthouse and the power had gone out - WHOOPS! I threw dock lines to the guys so that we could get tied up and sort out the damage. It was the worst possible case scenario for tying up, we couldn't get stern lines to the poles without clambering onto the boat next to us and it was locked up, the finger pier on the other side was concrete with no fender guard, we couldn't tie up close enough to the dock to be able to climb off the boat using the anchor so we had to be close to the concrete finger pier, the wind was blowing us all over the place and we were all being sprayed by the broken water pipes. To top it off I managed to cut the sole of my foot on something and was leaving a trail of blood all down the sides of the boat as I threw out the dock lines to secure us. Finally and with the help of the owner from the boat on the other side of us plus 2 of his crew we got to the point where we were safely tied up in the slip, just needed to make a few adjustments, work out how we were going to be able to get off the boat, reposition enough of our fenders to prevent us from damaging our boat on the concrete finger pier, add some extra lines to the outer poles and inspect the bow of our boat to see if we had damaged it when we knocked over the lighthouse. One of the dock guys had turned the water main off and presumably the power, so we were back to having no power or water just in a different slip! Everyone dispersed and Gerry managed to find a way for us to get off the boat, unfortunately the place where we have to climb over is right where the stantion has pulled out of the deck and bent meaning that we can't put any pressure on it by holding on to it as we climb over the safety rail - these things are sent to try us! Anyway with some relief we hadn't damaged our boat or scraped it for all the difficulty we had getting into the slip. Gerry walked back to our previous slip to retrieve our dinghy, rowing it back he somehow managed to have one of the rowlocks unscrew itself and the nut fell in to the water never to be seen again, luckily the rest of the assembly fell inside the dinghy. as I am sure you can imagine the grey cloud residing over Gerry's head turned a darker shade of black - could anything else go wrong? in the end we just needed to find a nut that fits the screw and we'll be good! of course we didn't have one, why would we? The good thing was that we did have a wing nut that was the right size so for the moment that is going to have to do. The dinghy was tied and bolted alongside the boat for the night, it was in the too hard basket to get it into the davits underneath the dock lines - that's a job for tomorrow! It was now about lunchtime so we took time out to eat and decide what we would break next, oops I mean what we would fix next! Gerry went back to trying to get our internet up and running, as you can probably tell it was successful and the satellite phone is operational again - it must just have been where we were in the other slip that had interference or something, after all we are surrounded by a lot of large skyscrapers but who knows or cares at least we are back on the information highway again and in touch with the world. So began the fixing stuff we began with the easier stuff and changed out the lines on the traveler, putting a new block in place of the broken one then progressed to the main sheet which we had a spare of - well sort of, it's actually the spinnaker sheet which gets no use what so ever, so that got changed out. The old main sheet was then repurposed as the new preventer.
By now we had had enough of things that had gone wrong for today so we stopped all work and took a much needed rest. I watched the dock guys fix the lighthouse which they did quite quickly really, we had power and water back on by 1 pm - we were the test case, plugged in our cables and turned it on, yay we had power, nothing blew up and we could close up the boat, turn the air conditioner units on and not have to worry that we were draining the batteries every time we switched something on. The water turned on at the lighthouse so we could attach our hose and have an endless supply of water without having to use our water maker - something else to add to the whiteboard list - flush the water maker as it will be out of use! Gerry went to the office to see about sorting out the damage to the lighthouse and came back with the good news that they had said to just forget about it, we weren't going to have to pay for it, I suspect we aren't the first people to have knocked over the lighthouse in these tight slips.
Time now to start looking at the fix for the salon table, the first thing was taking the flap off of the side that it had fallen on to as the hinges for that flap had sustained some damage and we needed to see if and how it needed to be fixed. The hinges were bent beyond use and the screws holding them in place had wrecked the hinge screw holes, we were going to have to replace the hinges. So for the moment the flap is resting leaning against the table - not the best place in the world as Gerry has since found out on a couple of occasions when he has stubbed his toes as he walked past it! The hooks which hold the flaps down to the table when the table isn't in use are also broken and beyond use - the list for the hardware store is growing like Topsy!
It was time to stop doing anything else for today, there is always tomorrow to fix more stuff so we had a hour or so of reading our books or in my case of trying to load photos to the blog - it was painfully slow and I gave up with only about half of them loaded so do check again in a couple of days as there will be more when I have the patience to load them.
At 5.30 Gerry was ready to go ashore and eat at the closest, in the marina, restaurant. Off we set and walked down the dock passing by the old fort wall where a group of ladies were doing Zumba out in the open air on the top of the fort walls - I thought of you Colly! We got to the restaurant only to find that they were stacking away the chairs, Gerry spoke to the man doing the stacking and found that they were about to close for the day - what sort of restaurant is that? More of a bar me thinks! Anyway they are open tomorrow until 9pm - that must be when Covid comes out to play! It's a good job we weren't really hungry as we made our way back to the boat we ran through the options for dinner and ended up at soup and bread which I might add was delicious and just enough for us. We even managed to watch a couple of episodes of Netflix - it works here so all good, before going to bed. We know there is another day of fixing stuff ahead of us tomorrow so we need our restorative sleep.