June 20 – July 11, 2022; 8901 nm and 1208 days after departure from La Rochelle.
Santa Marta is a crazy, colourful, noisy and bustling city. After living for so many month in laid back Caribbean islands it was almost a shock (though a nice one) being back in a proper city. So many people, houses, big buildings, boats, cars, motor cycles, noise, stench, street vendors, beggars, street performer – wow what a difference! We immediately fell in love and wanted to dig deeper into the culture of Colombia. Santa Marta (which is btw the oldest remaining city in Colombia, founded in 1525 by a Spanish conquistador) and its surroundings had so much to offer. Hikes in Parque Tayrona, day trips to Minca, treks to the famous lost city, sailing to anchorages at the Tayrona National Park, just to mention a few of the many possibilities.
Of course it would have been nice to just jump in a bus and start exploring but …yes, there was a reason why we picked to come here. The wedding!!! Another exciting event to look for. But, first things first as the departure was coming closer in big steps. That’s why exploring was postponed to after returning from Germany. Our to do list was anyhow already quite long but with our lightning experience it got even longer. Next to many other duties our main focus was on getting appropriate clothing for the wedding (what ever that meant 😁), getting enough information about what was possible to purchase regarding boat equipment in Santa Marta and some new glasses for me. The salty sea environment is ageing glasses much quicker than usual. My favourite spectacle slowly became blurry due to little scratches in the glass. Probably caused by salty air and hence a lot of cleaning. Anyhow, a new one was due to have a backup visibility. Who needs a blind co skipper?
Our next weeks were mainly filled with running our errands. Sometimes we were walking into town to try to find what we needed and other days we jumped in a taxi to get to one of the malls for finding a wedding outfit. That was awesome here in Colombia. The taxis were so cheap that we didn’t bother to take a crowded bus to wheresoever. Using the convenient way of travelling also hopefully helped us to reduce the possibility of catching the new covid variant. We didn’t want to tempt fate! That said unfortunately didn’t help us from catching tummy issues. Not nice! For a couple of days we were knocked out. Just laying in the cockpit and hoping to get through the plight. The heat didn’t really help to make us feel better but still after 2 days we were almost back to normal. Back to getting our list shorter and Altimate ready to be on her own for 4 weeks. A good thing that we had so much time to get our duties done! Not only because of our unpleasant bowel experience but also because of the heat. We knew that it would be hot here but it was different to actually experience the heat. At anchor we always had the pleasure of having the wind nicely blowing through the boat as the boat turns with the wind. Of course in a marina you don’t really want the boat to move. Thus it was just a matter of luck to get the wind, if at all present, from the right angle. However our generously planned time frame gave us the luxury of not needing to rush and only work when it was bearable.
Not to worry now. It might have sounded that we only just worked and sweated the last three weeks. Well actually we did but here some good news, we also had some fun 😁. The marina staff is amazing and organises regularly come together evenings for sailors and locals. Through our dear Canadian friends who’ve been here a couple of month last year, we got in contact with a nice local family. They helped us with any kind of question we had and introduced us to a very delicious seafood restaurant. OMG, if I think about it now, I start drooling. What is wrong with me and food?! I keep drifting away when I think about it. Of course we got to know many more sailors. Meanwhile when we walk through the marina we could just stop anywhere and have a chat. Very nice! The only obstacle is still unfortunately the lack of being able to speak reasonable Spanish. It shortens the conversation with locals only a little… but we’re getting there!
Saturday before we left to fly back home, we were invited by Cameron, an American guy which we had met at the marina. A nice fellow with a good heart. He set up a party to give a flamenco guitarist an opportunity to earn some money and let others enjoy a party including a live performance. Hector was an exceptionally gifted Spanish guitarist who also lived on a sailing boat with his wife and baby. Unlike to lucky us he still had to earn his living. A win-win situation for all of us. Much to German ,we arrived with a salad and some beverages in time at the party. Hahaha, we thought 15 minutes later would be not early but of course we were the first! Lesson again learned, next time we we’ll be muuuuch later. Hector and his family were already there and we had brought our new friends Vicky and Brett. Enough people to not feel awkward. Slowly all the other people arrived. It was an international mixture of cultures. Colombian, French, American, English, Spanish, Austrian and German people. A language challenge for sure! It was a great evening with interesting chats, high quality music and a proper dance party. I can’t remember when we had our last big party? It sure felt good!
Now we’re off for 4 weeks. Europe, France, Germany, Netherlands and of course the wedding. So much to look forward to.Yeaaaaaahhhhhhh