Wednesday 23 January 2019

Windy Santa Marta

We were due to set off from Santa M|arta today for the next leg of our journey to the San Blas islands, 283 miles away off the northern coast of Panama. However we are all staying put for now because it is blowing old boots. Santa Marta is living up to its reputation as being a windy city, and in the last 36 hours we have seen gusts of up to Force 9. With the sunshine and blue skies, it doesn't feel as threatening as a gale under grey clouds. In fact, it feels as if we are in a hot hairdrier all the time!

Tintin is covered with dust from the Sierra Nevada (the mountains which give the city its stunning backdrop) and sand from the nearby beach. We have needed to check and double check the mooring lines and make sure nothing on deck is loose, with the sails tightly furled so they don't flog and rip.

We are quite happy to wait for more favourable conditions to exit the marina safely and to continue our voyage. The plan is to start tomorrow at noon, which should give us daylight passage past the mouth of the Ria Magdalena about 30 miles west of here. We'll need to look out for logs and trees which are often borne out to sea by the river. We hope to make landfall at the San Blas islands on Saturday in daylight, when we will need to navigate coral reefs to make passage into anchorages by the islands.

We have enjoyed visiting Columbia by sea. It is a country full of colour, energy and optimism for its future, and we have been very warmly welcomed as visitors. It is high on our "return to and explore more" list. The lost (and now found) ancient city of Pueblito in the depths of the Tayrona National park takes 6 days trekking to reach - anyone up for the challenge?

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