For many participants the group of cruisers, with which we crossed the Atlantic Ocean, Saint Lucia represented the end of the rally and had already long parted our separate ways, leaving a furrow memories of a wonderful friendship in which we all breathed together as one and had a common goal, to win the Atlantic. Party meeting with the new group of sailors, which we joined and marked the sixth anniversary of the ARC Round the World Rally 2016-2017, was spent in a beautiful and friendly atmosphere with hot salsa rhythms. We had two more days to start. Although we felt completely ready for the beginning of a new and apparently demanding adventure, we still could find the little things to fix.
We set sail with great impatience. Back to the sea, was the thought that ran through our veins, mental food that we gave life and bird in flight, when her wind hits the chest. It was a thought full of pride and happiness that we felt while stood on the deck and watched the forest of white sails with the other vessels, which surrounded us as we descended down the west coast of Saint Lucia, sailing toward open sea of the Caribbean Sea.
Never in our life we haven’t dreamed that we would ever visit Columbia and all of our knowledge about it, we were picked up with the TV or from the papers. A large number of active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes, make her as fiery land of Pacific, tropical rainforest region of the Amazon, the high Andes mountains and prairie plains, in many documentaries, describe it as a place that arouses interest and curiosity, while my favorite movie “Romancing The Stone”, displays her as adventurous country full of romance. The world-famous first-class coffee “Juan Valdez” certainly promises an irresistible pleasure in its taste and smell, while the name of the most notorious criminal in its history and the leader of the most powerful drug-cartel, Pablo Escobar, presents her as a country of crime and drugs. As I thought about Colombia, the compass led us right to the Cape Gallinas and Peninsula De Guajira.
The day was beautiful with the wind perfect for sailing. It was one of the most comfortable trips by then. Completely calm sea and ideal wind 15-18 knots, woke the sailing passion. Meermowe was simply sliding surface of the sea as with the skates on the ice. Even the world famous skater’s names on skating, such as the Russians’ couple Protupopov, were not our level. Their virtuosity on the ice we replaced with triple fishing twists and fishermen’s complains. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the well-known biting sound of nylon Zzzzzzzzzzzz …, which turns into the most beautiful note, once again sounded and passed through our ears. That we after several months of navigation have seen the land, we would not be such happy, but we would probably even missed it, when it comes fish. All the senses we have given to these pleasures of duel. Twitches and the way in which our beauty moved through the water they said that it was a new species. Indeed, it was a long, flat fish dark gray and white color with vertical stripes heavy 8.5 kg. After some time, a mysterious dandy there was in safe hands and quickly became the star of the day, but not for long. Its resemblance to a barracuda, which differs only their short vertical lines and the realization that she might be infected with various viruses that picked up by eating small animals of coral reefs, they created dilemma at Peter. In a conversation over radio station with a crew of other ships, even more so, it was confirmed that in the case of barracuda longer than a meter that does not we reserve for possible infection. Assuredness ruled. “Roger” has exceeded a length of 125 cm, so we were happy to get him back into the sea while he was still alive. But this glorious and dangerous fishing story full of viruses experienced its peak and ended a few days later after arriving in Santa Marta, when we saw the fishermen carrying three completely identical “infected fish” in first-class restaurants. At that moment, we found out that this is a first class and very tasty fish of Wahoo. I just closed my eyes and stayed with no words. Returning back the movie I felt “Roger’s” closeness.
Looking Wahoo how happy loses in depth, we decided to have a coffee and enjoy the rest of the day. While Pipo was resting in the sun, Dino enjoyed the view of the sea observing fishing rod. The water just started to boil when Dino began yelling “Fishhhhhh…, Fishhhh… Hurry up”. So much was screaming that we have not heard the buzzing of nylon. Removing water from the fire, hastily I went out and really nylon was difficult hauling. “There will again be an epidemic,” teased the Dino. But this time twitches were recognized, it was a “blue tail” tuna. Soon we found ourselves face to face with Peter’s favorite fish that was real excitement and happiness, and Dino was not indifferent while it’s beauty has won its look and charm.
Further journey we spent enjoying in the sun, play, everyday obligations as well as romantic sunsets and sunrises. Fifteen miles before Punta Aguja it looked as if we were mistakenly sailed into another story. Weather conditions have drastically changed. A cold wind and the sea simply went on a rampage and watered us from all sides. It seemed that we are in the vortex that we do not move from the place. As it were, for us, Santa Marta simultaneously has been so close and so far. In that swirling, gusts of the wind have ranked the volume up to 35 knots while the sea foamed and pounded on the nearby cliffs. We moved stormy shortened sail until we went into Punta when the wind and the sea have began to calm down. We crossed the finish lane early in the morning and sailed into the marina of the oldest city in Columbia and successfully bind to the pier “F”.
Santa Marta is the first established place in Columbia. It is situated in the Bay on the coast of the Caribbean Sea at the foot of the mountain massif of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The popular beach of Playa Blanca, extends along its coast. The city is not characterized by clean streets, but stands out a rich and ancient history, colonial architecture, beautiful beaches and national parks, which certainly reveals the beauty of this country. Promenade along the waterfront is not full of floral aromas, abundant with large sculptures of human figures that express the weight of life and the struggle for life as well as vividly and a lot of people in the evening. That first night we arrived, effusive of the walker’s river, we enjoyed the atmosphere that surrounded us. Handicrafts, clothing and footwear were offered on mobile tables and trolleys at every step, while the smells cooked food and chorizo sausages with barbecue spread all around us. It looked expensive and unattractive and so we were not too disturbed after a very tasty tuna with spinach and lettuce as I prepared for dinner. In Santa Marta, we stayed pretty short, only four days, so we tried to maximally use the time to get to know the city and its surroundings.
My husband and I, frankly, have never been big fans of visiting a museum, and especially not in the heat and sultriness in the broad daylight. Never say “never” because the Museum Del Oro Tairona, with whom we met as part of an organized visit the next day, we were very interested. It is located in a beautiful colonial villa known as Casa de la Aduana, which means the customs office. The museum is not only living story of the history of the development of the people and city of the time, but a treasure of interesting collections of objects Tairona. These are mostly ceramics and gold, which were decorated men and women, describing their life, death, ceremonies and rituals. The most interesting part of the museum was about Simon Bolivar, the great unifier of Columbia, whose chronology of life, triumphs and his affairs, are the memory of the time in which he lived. We were impressed by beautiful specimens of cactuses and iguanas in the Botanical Garden that is located as a part of his residence where he was living. The authentic look of buildings and things that he used, return it to life, while the museum and theater under the open sky are used for organizing various events. Bolivar clearly not lived “evergreen life”. His life was very tumultuous and spectacular. As a great womanizer and supporter of drinks, has famously died of syphilis, liver cirrhosis and tuberculosis. What can a real Don Juan ask for more? That evening, after returning to the ship, we decided to go out with friends for dinner. A wonderful restaurant in the city center provided us, with soft music, the intimate atmosphere and an intoxicating scent of grill, promising an enjoyable bite It was ten o’clock at night when we got happily back to the ship and went to sleep.
Discovering new spaces of Caribbean coast, companionship, entertainment and dinner on the beach, have described tomorrow’s day trip to Tayrona National Park. Bus full of sailors, our friends, left the marina at eight o’clock in the morning. The park is located about 34 km away from Santa Marta, and extends from Bahia de Taganke to the mouth of the Rio Pedras. Fortunately, the ride lasted a relatively short and finally forced our guide to turned off. He drowned us with his, from Kulin Ban memorized Tayrona prehistoric story, which has recited as a poem for Mother’s Day. The narrow and winding road led through a dry wooded area to one of the most beautiful beaches on attractive coast of South America, Bahia Concha. When we arrived, the white tents and a large round tables covered with white tablecloths were already prepared. Romantic atmosphere, white sand and crystal clear waters offered the unique charm and relaxation. Peter soon found his self in the shade with a good male company, relaxing with a cool beer and quality rum, while I could not wait to throw myself into the sea. This lovely and the surrounding hills protected beach, situated in a deep bay so I carelessly enjoyed all the benefits of the sea. Regardless of the heat, that natural beauty with no time has awakened the spirit of sport, without regard for age. While some played volleyball in the water and instead of over the network hit on the ball over the rope of motor yacht tied for the coast, others were enjoying on the sand playing cricket. Clamor, noise, winding, sacrifice and celebration of every winning point, were spreads all over the place attracting curious people who gathered in ever greater numbers. Even a few of the owners of motor boats soon found itself in the sea, throwing himself on the ball, defending the colors of the team. Princes and princesses received new modern sand castles of 21. Century, with the Internet and satellites, fortresses and tunnels, and the youngest members of our group got happy moments in the world of imagination. The day was fictional. Time passed slowly and the smell of meat and sausages from the grill began to spread through the air. Before dinner I walked along the beach. I enjoyed watching people, their relaxed and smiling faces and children how safely and happily they jump and play with the waves. So, carried away with, I did not even notice that I have reached the end of the beach. Returning back, my attention was attracted by a group of people gathered around a local boy who was holding something in his hand while the group excitedly watched and commented. I walked up to them to see what it was. On his palm calmly stood blue crab. That was a fantastic and beautiful example, of how he said, poisoned crab. It is obvious that he knew how to hold it in his hand without being bitten. It was carefully lowered to the sand. The moment of his confusion I used to take a picture. Tayrona beaches are very rich by underwater world, so that, walking along them, there is big opportunity to see such a large crab. I had a very pleasant chat with Dave and saying goodbye to him, I went on. The smell of barbecue lured me all over, while an empty stomach had accelerated pace. Dinner and society at the table were great. There’s a saying “where you eat, be as closer to the kitchen,” so our table had managed to win a waiter who is his benevolence, instead of one allowed, showed by serving a double portion of the cake. The mood was on the level. The main theme for teasing of male composition was about the beach that was located near us, Playa Nudist, to which it can bring only a
sombrero, mask and fins. With laughter and like Mexican salsa hot comments, pretty soon we were greeted with the whole team of the host and left the Tayrona. Driving into the bus, in the late afternoon, happy, tired and full of impressions, we returned to the marina. It was a beautiful day and socializing that we will long remember.
Days went by like hours, and brought bad weather. Because of the stormy wind and rough sea, the Office closed the marina and banned any sailing out so our stay in Santa Marta extended for one day. It serves us well to take advantage of the time to go to the center to repair Peter’s bracelet wristwatch. A
series of minor and relatively empty block streets led us to the main street in the city where we were suddenly in bustle and merged with the river of people and traffic jams that ruled on the road. Buses like pomegranate full of people, cars, trucks, motorbikes, bicycles, trolleys with one or two wheels and everything that had a chance to roll, it was part of the urban chaos. On the streets there is nothing you cannot find. While are jugglers with oranges advertised orange juice on the mobile carts, on market stalls were offered, from street food and jewelry to small sewing machines, home appliances and tools. Santa Marta is not only the city of fiery colors expressed through the way they dress and making handicraft of fabric or knitted from the thread, but also a city of contrasts. In contrast to bright windows are unsightly holes and sheds crammed with a bunch of stuff garbage on the street. The atmosphere around us was very interesting and impressive. For hours we both could stand and record this city bustle. Columbia’s cuisine is rich in a wide range of foods, flavors and fragrances, depending on the area where it is served. From simple everyday tortilla with meat, seafood and vegetables, pizzas prepared in the fire, in which we ourselves enjoyed for lunch in the afternoon, to extravagant succulent crispy fried ants, Hormiga Culone, which are prepared south of Santa Marta, in Santander Department for those daring with a stomach hard as a peasant shoe. Services for the repair of watches was on the street. Trolleys, in which stood a young Colombian, were full of watches, hands, the springs, small screws, bracelets, as well as necessary tools. While Peter waited at his watch, I walked to a nearby shoe store and bought a very favorable sandal. As the day draws to a close, we are slowly walks back to the ship. In one moment, my attention was attracted by this dustbin, which I picked up with camera, as a great idea, how to take advantage of plastic bottles and decorate the city streets.
The morning was still quite windy. The weather began to calm down only about eleven o’clock when we got permission to sailing out. Meermowe has once again successfully crossed the start line, carrying us towards the dreamy islands of Panama, San Blass. Standing on the stern, I looked at Santa Marta as in a place that gave us a fantastic and memorable experience until we passed islet El Morro.