Greetings all good readers! We have had a lot of adventures since Mel last posted. Wi-Fi was unstable until we figured out our neighbor boat was hogging the bandwidth. Mel would love to say the boat was owned by a Colombian drug lord, because that would make a good post, but alas, it is instead Steve from Detroit. So we sorted it out amicably, and here’s our post!
I am writing this from a slip at Club de Pesca. This is one of two marinas in Cartagena, and it’s apparently hard to get a slip here. We emailed ahead of time and got one, as they are just now opening the marina up a bit to “transients.” Yep, that’s us. Transients. We are sitting amongst poweryachts that are kept here full time. Each yacht has its own locker room labeled with its name, which allows us to quickly make fun of the boat names. My Big Toy? We like it because it seems safe. We see the security guards all of the time, anyway, and so far no stuff has been stolen. They also have a lady here that does your laundry for you. Awesome!
Speaking of boat names, the agent we hired to work with Customs for us (you have to get an agent), Manfred, spelled our boat name wrong on all of our forms. Name is above. It’s not even a word! I guess the poor guy is so used to misspellings in boat names that he didn’t even question it… What was his name again? Manmfred?
Greg and Mel have now mastered the following boat skills: Dropping anchor, detecting anchor dragging, and pulling up the anchor. Repeat that 7 times in a crowded anchorage in Cartagena and you will have 2 Frenchmen, one salty American, and one Colombian offering help. Well, I think that was what they are offering. Either that or they were thanking us for entertaining them. ( In Cartagena, you have to guess a lot what people are saying. Not knowing Spanish isn’t as big a problem as we thought it would be because apparently even our Colombian friends don’t always understand what people here are saying.) Anyway, in addition to learning how to run the helm while Greg anchors, Mel learned during this exercise that Greg does not like help. We’ll just leave it at that.
Shortly after our arrival in Cartagena we were joined by Johanna and her lovely family, who had never been to Cartagena. We hosted Johanna last year in our home when she was in the Amity Intern program, a sort of exchange program for Spanish speakers who want to be teachers. We have spent some fun and busy days exploring the city with them. We also took a day trip on Marvin to the beautiful Bay of Cholón and got all of our skin imperfections smoothed down by the sand on the beach blasting us in the 25 knot winds. Here we finally made use of Susie, our dinghy, and felt like we were becoming “real” cruisers! By that I mean we got pissed off that our dinghy would not plane and found it was hard to put it on the davits when the bay was choppy.
Because just being on a boat seems to ask the universe to break something so you can fix it, we managed to have our first winch override with 5 Colombians on board. Mel wishes she took a picture of Greg’s face as he desperately scrambled for a way to blame her! It wasn’t her, it was the universe! Fortunately, none of our guests seemed to notice us heaving to so we would not crash into the Isla Baru and then playing with various lines, knots, and winches. The boat heaves to quite nicely but drifts off in some weirdo direction that we will have to figure out later. Strangely, Mel is glad that the problem finally happened, because now we know how to fix it!
Cartagena is a beautiful city on the surface, but apparently the glitzy, touristy exterior hides a large, very poor, and near-homeless interior. It is like the last chocolate left in the assorted chocolate box. Beautiful and creamy on the outside, but what the hell is happening on the inside? Like many gorgeous foreign destinations, for unfathomable reasons it wants to be like a crappy American city instead. In Cartagena’s case, it is Miami. Miami with no traffic rules and LOTS of cops.
See pics below for a taste of Cartagena. I will try to post more on the BurnettsAhoy Facebook page. Cartagena is amnazing!