Our voyage across the Caribbean was in a Force 7 moderate gale; strong north-east winds and a steep, short swell. Not too uncomfortable for most of my hardy guests, however some were laid-low and confined to their staterooms.
Santa Marta, founded in 1525, is America’s oldest city, and Colombia´s second most popular Caribbean tourist destination-after Cartagena. Crystal clear waters, miles of sandy white beaches, great off-shore reefs and diving, plus historical and Ecological treasures add to the experience,
We arrived off the port at 5:45 a.m. with the intention of embarking our compulsory pilot at 6 a.m. As is the case, (unfortunately, on a Grand Voyage), calling at ports which generally deal with cargo ships, seldom seeing a Cruise ship, our berth was occupied. The interloper, a container-ship, was trying to finish cargo as fast as she could; nevertheless we spent 30 minutes ‘hovering’ on joystick in the harbour while we waited. I kept her ‘head to wind’; with the wind conditions, it is easier to maintain position by taking any side-wind out of the equation.
One of our weather programmes is provided to us via email and internet, by a company which specialises in weather forecasts for vessels, had been forecasting strong winds in Santa Marta for several days.
I, being the optimist that I am and, having learned long ago that worrying about it for days was neither good for one’s health, nor could one do anything about it anyway; it being best to wait and see what the conditions were, once we arrived. Unfortunately, the forecast proved to be all too correct, north-east winds, gusting to 40 knots and average 35. (40 kts equates to 44 mph, 64 kph)
After a leave period, it takes a little time to ‘get one’s eye in’ with regard to ship-handling. Arriving in a port with high winds is something that one would not wish for; had their been a choice, obviously there wasn’t. It was either ‘have a go’, or abort if necessary.
I can happily write while alongside the berth, ‘parked’ adjacent to containers and container cranes; there is a proviso though, that I have had to leave one of our azipods and our bow-thrusts running, to assist us staying alongside. 😥
We leave at 4 p.m., bound for the San Blas Islands. Seas should be better as we are ‘running’ with the weather………………