After many months in Panama and the end of hurricane season near, we were anxious to get moving again. The heat and humidity of Panama was also wearing on us so we prepared to set off northward. We had spent a pleasant week with the kids(minus Charlie) in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica and now they head off to pacific CR while we head back to Maraki.
The sail to Albuquerque Cays consisted of 170 miles, much motoring in little to no wind, little birds hitching a ride, catching a shark, and changing out an alternator due to it having frozen up. That was no small feat as the engine room was soooooo hot and the boat was a bit rocky. In two hours time, he has us going again under power. But it was a beautifully lit up full moon trip.i
The Albuquerque Cays are really only 2 little sand islands, one occupied by 11 Colombian soldiers on duty for 45 days straight guarding their coastline. I can think of much worse places for guard duty. They were very pleasant and friendly. We could walk around the perimeter of their island, the island had bunkers built into sand shores and an armed guard circling the beach at seemingly all hours. The other island was a “fishing camp and we should not go there as they could not guarantee our safety.” It was a little slice of heaven for us snorkelers. Large grass beds between big coral gardens. We spent a few days here in the company of 1 other boat, Yachtsmans Dream from Washington state. Delightful place. John continues to have lots of fun with his camera underwater.
The next island to the north was San Andreas and then another 50 miles to Providencia. Both belong to Colombia even though they are near the Nicaragua coast. We need to check into each island using a ships agent so we took the advise from past cruisers and skipped San Andreas. SA is reported to be very touristy so on through the night we go to Providencia. During this beautiful sail with steady 15 kts from the east, we suddenly found the jib letting loose from the top. The jib halyard had chafed through. So we dropped it on deck and hoisted a staysail. Onward we sailed so that by morning we were off Morgan’s head channel entrance. That cleft in the rock is called Morgan’s ass and it lines up with the headland called Morgan’s Head. There are also lighted buoys to guide one easily through reefs on both sides.
Providencia is a laid back clean island that tourism has not found yet. It has about 5000 residents who are very friendly to visitors. They all speak English, we were told “we speak in English but feel in Spanish”. We hiked to Morgan’s Head via a trail and found old cannons on the way.
We arrived just in time to see the annual Crab festival. To get there we hired this “mule” for $30 for 6 hours. John and Lela off Yachtsman dream accompanied us. There are many bicycles, scooters, motorcycles and mules on the road as well as cows, chickens etc. The speed limit was about 30 everywhere.
The Crab Festival features crab competition for biggest, a crab race involving the crab tied on one claw to a string, music played including a horses jaw bone, horse race between 2 horses down the beach. Lots of food including crab pizza and crab stew/soup. We had a really enjoyable day and felt so welcomed by the local population.