We arrived to the marina in Santa Marta, Colombia after a brutal 26-hours of travel. Our bags were strapped to the smallest taxi ever and
we had traveled four hours in this Romancing the Stone-esque car (the one that Danny Davito hid in when they were looking for the stone). The kids poured themselves out of the taxi, having been woken up every hour or so as the taxi pulled into a random-open-all-night gas station to put a couple pesos worth of propane in his car. Every time he filled up, we all had to pile out of the car. It is now four-o’clock in the morning and we are beyond exhausted. We get all of the bags out of the car and traipse down to our boat. She looks beautiful, the kids run around yelling, happy to be back, exhaustion apparently forgotten in the light of old, familiar toys. It is already hot, Brad tries out the air-conditioning, since we are still attached to the dock and can use electricity, it works, wonderful. We all finally decide that old toys will be just as cool after a few hours of sleep.
After a couple hours of sleep, we get up, unpack, and see our boat in the sunlight; it is nearly black with dirt. Caked on, sooty, literally….black. Too exhausted to even deal with that, I concentrate on the inside. It seems less intimidating. After a couple of hours of Pinesol, she’s smelling like a Colorado Pine tree Forest….perfect (the less charred part). We decide to take a nap and I look for my book…..Where is my book? Uh-oh. I left it in the taxi from Cartagena….including the kids’ favorite snuggly toys, Brad’s snoopy from childhood that has now become Turtle’s favorite snuggly toy, my wallet, my favorite skirt that the wallet was in, and probably ten more things I am forgetting. The full magnitude hits us and we start frantically calling the credit card company. No new purchases but now what do we do for money? We don’t know if we can stay past another 48 hours so we can’t have them
send another one. Brad has a different card but it keeps declining because: we “didn’t tell them we were traveling.” After Brad explained that we had been traveling for a year and he told them that then, at which point the worker said he’s only been working for three months, great. Can you make a memo please? He said it should be working in 2 minutes. Meanwhile
we are standing in a packed grocery store with 785,000 pesos worth of food (meat, ice cream, other various really-painful-to-you-foods-if they-spoil) surrounding us and people wondering who the obvious foreigner-freaks are that are holding up the line. They put us in the “other line” and Brad tries again with the card after the designated “2-minutes” (it has really been about 15) it declines again. We return to the telephone salesman and ask to use the phone again. This time Brad is
not so pleasant as he pleads our case. A new customer service representative doesn’t know why it won’t work and explains that “99% of the credit card purchases in Santa Marta, Colombia are fraudulent” Great….Did I only have one card in my wallet or was the other one in there too and now we have $??,??? charged on our accounts….I start panicking. Brad gets the ok to try the card again, it works.
We go home, put the food away and await our “agent” to see if we can stay in Colombia for longer than a few more hours. I talk to the
home school program that was supposed to send Ella her curriculum in Colorado but there was a mix-up at the main warehouse and we didn’t get it, then they said they could send it to Colombia, but turns out they don’t think they can after all…..great. Ella just got a continuance on her summer for another four months. We wash the outside of the boat, put everything out and get ready to sail. We hear from our agent (after Brad sat in Customs for four hours) that we can stay for another three months if we would like. Good. That out of the way we turn to properly provisioning the boat, slowly. After we leave
Colombia, we will be in the beautiful San Blas Islands of Panama. Brad has been talking about them since I met him so I am excited to see them. The only downside is we have to have all of our food and drink on board; Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts and drinks for two plus months. Provisioning is difficult as Chase and Ella sometimes eat a lot…..sometimes not so much, and what do you get that you will want to eat for snacks, dessert etc. two months from now?? The problem is daunting but we are now taking it slowly and buying a little bit each day. Ella is tired of going to the store every day but it is a necessary evil.
We can also relax and enjoy being in Santa Marta again. It is a bustling little metropolis; the marina has many more cruisers in it compared to when we left. We have met a lot of other people stocking up before moving on to San Blas. When we were here in May, we had met
another cruiser family on a catamaran, Freda and Jean-Noel. They had two girls slightly older than Ella and Turtle. We had a great time with them in a short amount of time; I find that I miss them a lot. We have met another French boat with two little girls, 1.5 and 4 years old. The kids ran endlessly up and down the dock, until after dark, Chase was “tagged” into the dark water. With Ella screaming: “Mommy, Daddy! Chase went into the water!!! Chase went into the water!!! Brad was over the side, completely clothed including sunglasses, and propped him back up onto the dock. He was not happy and that was the end of freeze tag with an “I get to be the tagger next, mommy.” Salt water was dripping off of him everywhere. The kids played a couple more days until it was time for their boat to move on to Cartagena.
We have turned our efforts to exploring the city, finding markets and cold beers in little corner bars, museums and beaches. The water is really polluted here so our little water babies have been land monkeys for the time being, they are definitely ready to return to the sea. We talked with the Bartlett’s yesterday and made the final plans, as much as we could guess, for Evan and his wife, Olivia to meet us in Panama. Looking forward to some good times with them and perhaps a new credit card) Brad and Ella have just left to buy a paddle from a local fisherman, and Chase and I are “chillaxn” (Chase’s word, not mine) together finding new apps to fill the iPad for the long months ahead without internet. We are looking forward to the quietness of the islands and the adventure of the next couple of months…. Enjoy the cold weather wherever you are…….it is HOT here!!