Isla Wichitupo Grande: Sailing across the Carribean, next stop Colombia!
13 Jul 2007
|Time to leave paradise
As the saying goes all good thing must come to an end and so does our time in paradise. After the past few days of island hopping we have to psyche ourselves up for the big 30 hour push across the Caribbean Ocean and onto Cartagena. No more swimming or lying on beaches for us, now it was just going to be the open sea. Manage to grab a fresh water 'shower' from the well on the island and wash off all the sea salt before we packed up and headed out to sea. So far our sailing had been pretty short punctuated with nice restful stops besides sheltered islands but the reality of the sea soon hit us as we headed into deeper waters leaving all sight of land behind us. The swells were pretty large and it was all we could do to keep ourselves lying on the foredeck under the sun shade as the boat rolled up over one peak only to dive into the following trough left behind it. The boat had been rigged for sea and the foredeck was covered by a big tarp to protect us from the sun, the stern deck was designated the navigation station and thus was off limits to us. Anyone venturing into the no mans land soon came back well and truly scolded. The fore deck became the only place where we could find some semblance of comfort and everyone gathered there together - we must have looked like a bunch of human sardines as we all squeezed in side by side. People kept themselves busy buy reading, listening to their MP3 players or the music being blasted from the bridge or we just chatted.
The infamous bucket
The ship had a toilet on board but because you needed an engineering degree from NASA to operate it and with the added pressure that if you did it wrong you could sink the boat therefore it was only used when you had to drop some luggage off if you get my drift. So for the guys it was easy but the girls all soon embraced the 'bucket technique' for number 1s. The turquoise bucket located at the bow of the ship became the girls saviour, no need to be turning complex valves or pumping etc....they literally just filled the bucket, after clearing everybody away from sight of cause, threw it overboard, hopefully not into the wind then washed it out with sea water. Nice and easy although girls being girls couldn't help telling us that us guys still had it easy as we didn't know how hard it was to squat over a bucket on a moving ship.
Seeing stars and dolphins
That night I had the pleasure to witness one of the most incredible things I'd seen in my life. It was pitch black outside and a only four of us were still out enjoying the amazing sky full of stars when I was over the bow an spotted an amazing sight - dolphins swimming in front of the boat. A usual occurrence at sea but what made this so special was the dolphins were leaving a bio-luminescent trail behind them and over their bodies as they passed through the bio-luminescent plankton. It was like watching an air show as these trails zigzagged all over the sea. We all just stood there watching and not believing or luck.
All hail to Frenchie the chef!
The second day of the long crossing was very slow as the sun beat down relentlessly and the swells never let up and only got bigger. We all just tried to remain on deck lying flat and moving as little as possible as that seemed to be the safest way of avoiding the onset of seasickness. So as we all cower on deck it amazed us all as Frenchie is inside cooking in the furnace of the kitchen and comes out with one of the best tuna and rice dishes I've ever tasted. And it didn't come any fresher either as we'd only caught the three huge fish a few hours before. Frenchie was hilarious too, a 60 year old veteran seaman who kept us entertained by regaling us with stories of smuggling gold and sailing in the old days - the stories even sound better with his thick French accent especially after a few drinks.
Adrift once more...just my bad luck
Guess I'll never make it to a sea journey without some sort of drama it seems. Its morning of the sixth day and we should have been waking up to a glorious morning anchored up in the port of Cartagena but at some time during the night the steady rumble of the engine could no longer be heard and looking up from my bed I see the top half of Guido's torso sticking out from the engine compartment and hear cursing in German - both are never a good sign. Seems something had got jammed in the propeller and we were drifting at the mercy of the sea until morning when there was enough light to snorkel under the boat and remove it. The sails were out but there wasn't any wind. Morning came and Pete from the UK and Guido don some snorkel gear and take a look but find that what ever it was must have come loose so it full steam ahead and in 2 hours we're entering the port of Cartagena. One of the great things about the See Adler is that we always had music coming over the loud speaker. What was questionable at times though was the choice of music. So was very surreal as we sail into Cartagena, the sky is blue, the sun is beating down and John Lennon's voice can be heard singing "So this is Christmas, and what have you done, another year over..."