Posted by: rosyroadsadventures | April 1, 2013

The Sea of Seven Colors

N 12° 33.74′   W 81° 41.5′

San Andrés, Colombia.

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The “Capitan Morgan” pirate ship moored nearby is one of many sightseeing boats that cruises the sea of seven colors

The Archipelago that includes San Andrés is sometimes referred to as “el mar de siete colores”, the sea of seven colors. As my mother pointed out, San Andrés is a really tiny island over 100 miles from the nearest continent.  The little speck on a map looks very alone and vulnerable to the often formidable Caribbean Seas.  A large reef system to the east cradles the shallower waters of varying depths that lie within its protection, creating breathtaking hues and a safe harbor. White sandy beaches are the perfect complement. Colombians can take pride in this area, perhaps their greatest seaside asset.

We are camped out in the main anchorage in San Andrés harbor just off the Club Nautico, a private facility designed for small power vessels, where we have purchased dinghy dock and Club privileges by the week. We have made foot excursions around the adjacent bustling town on the north end of the island. We will tour the other parts of the island one day soon.  Bob is repairing the hot water heater, which is turning into a laborious project with the hodgepodge of metric and imperial-sized parts not wanting to seal properly.  I am working on some organizing and sewing projects.  Life is good.

San Andrés is primarily a vacation spot for Latin Americans. The island has scheduled airline service to and from Panama City and many of the Colombian cities and occasional charter flights from Montreal. We have yet to meet an American here.  The nicer hotels are of the comfortable 3-star variety and no international chains are present. Most lie along the gorgeous northeastern beaches.  The island offers duty-free shopping and there are many stores to browse.  They have more perfumeries here than I have ever seen in one place. There are lots of restaurants although this doesn’t seem to be a gastronomic paradise by any means. We’ll keep trying . . . The town feels safe and is well patrolled by the policia.

The bay bustles with tour boats, private boats, jet skis, water skiers and an occasional brave kayaker.  Many of the boats blast by at high speeds, some generating vicious wakes. They are not trying to be malicious.  It does not occur to most to slow down until they have reached their destination.  Not one second sooner.   “No Wake Zones” are not part of the culture.

There are several boats moored nearby that receive tourists shuttled by smaller boats, since there are few large docks in town. They go on excursions to the nearby cays day and night and look packed beyond comfort.   The 100+ foot boat “Riviel” next door hosts parties aboard that usually get started about the time we are going to bed for the night. Most nights they don’t go anywhere, they party at anchor. There is constant free entertainment and music ranging from reggae and calypso to lively pop tunes in both Spanish and English. The “peace and tranquility” mentioned in some of the literature about the Archipelago is absent here. I think we will find that in the next island, Providencia.

The lively atmosphere is a pleasant change from the solitude of some of our more recent destinations. The revelry paused briefly on Easter morning, the fifth holiday of the week which added St. Joseph’s Day on Monday and Maundy Thursday to the more familiar religious calendar.  Latin America places great importance on holidays and the Holy Week, or “Semana Santa” is one of the biggest celebrations.

There are three other cruising boats in our anchorage, hailing from Australia, France & Sweden. All have a somewhat different itinerary, although the Australian boat will travel in our direction until Honduras.  I’m still hoping to find a buddy boat for the upcoming long passage to Honduras but that doesn’t seem very likely.  The sailors move at varying wind-dictated speeds and we try to travel when the winds are light.  We have not seen any other cruising trawler boats for many miles.

The trade winds are roaring in the central Caribbean pushing 8 – 11 foot seas our way. We are waiting for an opportunity to travel the next 50 miles north to Providencia. We are still ahead of schedule but not seeing good travel weather on the 2 week horizon is disconcerting.  Today there are whitecaps in the anchorage.  It looks like we are going to be here awhile.

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One of the many tour boats in the harbor

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Faster is better!!

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Jet skis wind through the anchorage at insane speeds, some towing skiers

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Lady has learned to be more discriminating in her barking targets to avoid exhaustion

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