200 Miles From Cartagena: The Title of a Song or Just Another Passage?

I left Bonaire on Wednesday. I joined a boat called Atalanta, owned by some friends I met last year in Mauritius, Keith and Mildred Brauer. It was about a 500 mile passage or for us a journey of around 4 days. We had 15-20 knots of wind pretty consistently until we got 200 miles from Cartagena. Then we dropped to 5 knots of wind and it looked like it would take us another 3 days to get there. We ended up motoring all night until the wind came back the next day.

During our slow time, we averaged 3 knots of boat speed, which was quite slow, but very peaceful. I just spent my time reading a book and relaxing in the cockpit. Good friends, comfortable weather, a good book, and a boat moving 3 mph. It felt like I was in someone’s living room enjoying a good book while my friends were doing this that and the other to pass the time. It wasn’t so horrible.

Sunset on Passage

Then we enjoyed something that has happened quite often on my journey around the world, even though I have started taking it for granted. The biggest dolphins I’ve ever seen came to visit us and they hung out for at least 15 minutes. They were so big I thought they might be small orcas at first, but nope, just big dolphins. I’ve been told that whistling and singing to dolphins doesn’t impact their connection to you but based on my experience, when I whistle or sing to them, calling them, they stick around for an extra long time. And I. This case they left a few times and then came back when I whistled my song to them. It was nice since we were going quite slow and could really enjoy them swimming along the bow with us. Here are some shots and a quick video clip.

After our dry spell, we carried on to Cartagena, getting to where we could see the skyscrapers of the city and then the wind died again. We decided to drop the sails and motor the remaining 4 miles into the harbor. When we did we found we couldn’t get the motor started. It had been working fine the entire passage. We spent an hour trying to get it started but no such luck. We believe it is a starter issue.

Since there was no wind, we were stuck with a few options. We could wait for the wind to come back. We could call for a tow from the coast guard or a towing agency. Or we could do something creative like dropping our dingy and using it to tow ourselves into the harbor. Being the self sufficient types, we elected for the latter choice.

It took us a few hours at 2.5 knots, but we finally got the boat into the harbor and set the anchor. It was a good experience knowing how to tow your boat with a dingy. We tied it up on the starboard hind-quarter with a rope tied to the mid-ship cleat and another on the stern cleat. The stern rope did all the work and it also allowed a controlled tow and we could even leave the dingy while we went along. Initially, Keith rode in the dingy while Mildred and I took care of steering the boat into the harbor. Made for an exciting ending to the passage and hopefully we’ll get the starter issues resolved soon.

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2 thoughts on “200 Miles From Cartagena: The Title of a Song or Just Another Passage?

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