December 27, 2013-Leaving Cartagena
wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Ready to leave Club Nautico
Breaking Free of Marina Comforts
Life becomes comfortable when you are in port with the conveniences you have at the dock and the friends you invariably make and after a period of time in port you have developed some familiar routines and it becomes hard to leave. Days turn into weeks and weeks into months and months can become years as has happened to cruisers in every port we’ve been in; they never meant to stay there but all of a sudden it has been, well, as in the case of our friends Kenny and Jessie in Cartagena, six years.
It could happen to us, and certainly it will one day, but not this time.
So on Saturday we broke free of the inertia of port. We ran Blue Peter up, loaded the last of the provisions, collected the crew (just ourselves) , and cast off the lines. We pulled out of Cartagena and barely looked back.
Oh we’ll miss Cartagena, especially some friends like Omar and Geoff, and Kenny and Jessie and the others, and Cartagena has been good, but now it is time for a new adventures; there are new horizons calling to us and we are eager to go meet them.
We headed south.
Kenny told us about a patch of sand in 18 feet of water in a protected spot between two islands, Isla Grande and Isla Caribaru, called Isla Naval and that’s where we headed first. Coral reefs extend for miles around the Colombian islands known as the Rosariaos and it is rare to find a sheltered anchorage deep enough for a sailing yacht among the flats and but this place is one and we are glad to find it with its crystal clear water, which after Cartagena, was welcome. We stayed five days, swam a lot, saw some fish, and we cleaned the bottom and were astonished at the growth which happened in just one month in Cartagena since the antifouling paint was applied and visited the aquarium a few miles west, which was nice too. We enjoyed our first anchorage in the Rosarios. Thank you, Kenny.
Anchored in The Rosarios
But the wind blew hard every night at Isla Naval, it’s the season of the feared Christmas Winds, and we were ready to leave by Boxing Day so the morning after a nice Christmas dinner for just the two of us onboard Wings, we weighed and headed for the town of Baru.
Hectic Day to go to Baru
On Boxing Day (December 26) we had a few minor issues to deal with:
- We found we had a big propane leak which emptied one of our two tanks, we disassembled the propane plumbing and found a leak which was a cracked fitting for the pressure gauge, which we bypassed and hope that solves the problem.
- We broke the windlass raising anchor and we had to drive around with the anchor hanging down while we installed the spare, home-made, chain stripper.
- Racing to town to buy propane to replace what we lost the Mercury outboard motor stalled and we had to row back to Wings and take off carburetor and float chamber and free what looked like a stuck float valve and we were lucky not to lose the small parts which dropped into dingy bottom.
- Finally got to town and we had to buy 40lb propane tank since they don't refill propane here and that was the smallest they sell and besides being 4 times the amount we needed, it was heavy. But we got it out to the boat OK.
- We got lost in the bayous coming back from Baru but found our way shortly.
- Our dingy flooded and nearly sank. It's leaking water really badly, but we think it is the drain valve so we closed that and bailed like crazy.
- Back on Wings we tipped the big tank over and hung it from the boom and poured propane into our tank (using cannibalized parts from our system which had to be disassembled again) and we were very happy to get our tank filled.
- However, tipping the big tank over got dirt in valve and we could not shut off the flow of propane, so quite a bit of propane was vented to the atmosphere, lucky we had extra, and lucky there was no explosion. We're sorry about the air pollution, we hope it does not destroy the ozone layer.
- Finally we put everything back together and had a drink.
- (Oh, I forgot to mention, we broke one of our oars, Dang!)
The boy that fixed our outboard
Even after working for a couple of hours on the outboard on Thursday it still gave us problems on Friday when we left to go to town to return the propane tank. I thought for sure that the float was stuck again but we were short of time and we struggled with it instead of stopping to fix it and finally got to town to return our half filled, extra large, broken valve'd, propane tank so we could reclaim our deposit. While docking the motor finally gave out big time; I couldn't get it started to save my soul and we rowed to the dock. Two small boys were watching and I gave them a "its dead" slice across my neck. They looked on impassively.
Then we put the motor issues behind us for a while and went to town. We returned the propane tank and walked every street I think, many of them more than once. Got some nice photos. Baru is a very tranquil place. Most of our photo shots of the streets showed no people. There weren't many. But the ones we found were friendly and helpful. Some even spoke English.
The highlight of the day was buying two very cold beers at one small store, which was our lunch, since the restaurants were not open yet.
Getting back to the dingy a couple of hours later, as we came around the corner, I saw one of the boys fiddling with our outboard. Without giving it a thought I gave a whistle and waved him away. It's not surprising to find boys messing around with your dingy while you are gone but this was different. When we got to the boat the one boy said something to me about the fuel line, and pointed to it. I said, "This line?" and he nodded. "So What." I thought, but when I tried the motor it started right away. More amazing, it ran perfectly all the way back out to Wings.
So I guess that boy did something to our fuel line, what I have no idea, but it was a nice thing. Too bad I didn't give him credit or even thank him, but I didn't know he was just helping us out.
Click here for more photos of the Rosarios.
Click here for more photos of Baru.
Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Baru, Colombia