The water in the Cartagena anchorage is extremely icky. That is a nautical term that means gross things float through the dirty water and lots of stuff grows on the boat's bottom. After only ten days, our engines showed their displeasure by running hot (port engine) and stopping altogether (starboard) as we motored out of the anchorage. Our friends on Amelie IV had dark smoke coming out of their exhaust.
With what little wind there was coming right on our nose, we motored from Cartagena to the Rosarios, a group a islands that belongs to Colombia. Despite the complaints from our engines, we made it without much incident. Matthew from Amelie IV yelled "Yes!" as he jumped into the relatively clean and clear water and we all felt the same relief at finally being able to swim again. We enjoyed swimming and started the process of cleaning the bottom. Our hull looked like it had the worst case of eczema ever, with the tiny barnacles and reddish algae covering the entire surface. The propellers were completely encrusted with barnacles.
We spent a few days near Isla Grande, in the Rosarios, with Amelie IV and Kazaio. The aquarium there is surprisingly good and it was interesting to see the small village on the island. We then completed the overnight passage to the San Blas. The winds were better than forecasted but local weather patterns kicked up a strong current, so that we had 3 knots against us at times. At one point, the wind died a bit and although we were moving through the water (you could see the boat moving over the waves), our instruments showed that we were almost at a standstill. We turned one motor on and motor-sailed for the remainder of the trip but were grateful to have been able to sail while we could. We caught a good-sized black fin tuna and had a few dolphins on our bow.
|Arquim from Playon Chica|
Our visit to Niadup village in Cayos Diablo was without a guide and allowed us to interact more directly with the villagers. We met the chief, were taken into the home of a local, and witnessed a village-wide celebration of a young girl's "coming of age" (the start of her monthly cycle). Although the villages have been traditional, they can't help but be influenced by tourists. The colorfully adorned women charge a dollar to be photographed and there are Kunas that want to either sell you something or a few that will just ask outright to be given things.