Saturday, October 20, 2007

Punta Hermosa to Cartagena

Punta Hermosa is a big protected shallow harbor that hardly shows up on the charts. It has evidently been developing from debris from the Rio and maybe human assistance. No high rise buildings here or fancy restaurants. Hundreds of reed beach hut line the bay and a few casual places to eat and rent small boats. The wealthy go to Rodadero and the rest of the Columbians are here - all having about the same amount of fun. We only planned one night here but as we were leaving early in the morning, Unplugged had problems with their charger. By the time Tom replaced it, it was too late to make it to Cartegena by dark, so we reanchored. Actually it was a lovely lazy day, doing nothing but swimming, reading and of course, saying good night to the sun with a tradional sundowner. The next day we were off by 5:30 AM and motored the whole way, arriving around 2:30 PM.
During this trip we had an hour long visit from a small green bird. He flew in and out of the cabin exploring the premises thoroughly. Finally he headed off when a small island of vegetation appeared floating past. What a sight when

the city came into view! Cartagena is one of the most beautiful cities I've seen. The modern section, which is huge, looks like Miami, with hills. The old central part is a beautifully restored and maintained 15C Spanish city - still surrounded by the old walls. The harbor is protected by a seawall, now mostly underwater, broken by a 100 foot entrance and a larger one further south. This is a busy sea port with a lot of commercial traffic and many recreational boats as well. The anchorage is tucked in one corner near the two marinas. We waited for five days for a slip to open up at Club Nautico and tied up there this morning.
Two days ago we heard guns going off and came out in the cockpit to see the Argentine tall training ship enter the harbor to a 21 gun salute from the fort. Cadets lined every yardarm on the huge masts (we were glad to see they were wearing safety harnesses). What a sight! Cruise ships, some looking like cities themselves, are in and out of here all the time. Our very first morning we dingied in at 6 AM and walked all around the old city as it woke up. This is a magical place and we feel so lucky to be here. Years ago when we started this voyage this seemed unimmaginably far away (and kind of scary) so we have to pinch ourselves a bit to believe we're here.

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