The motorsail to Cholon was uneventful. It took a couple of hours, and I played with the sails – but we never really had enough wind. And we were loaded down. That many people – with enough food and water to support them, is quite a bit of weight.
As we pulled into Cholon on Thursday afternoon, the party was already in full swing – though it was going to get much bigger as the weekend progressed. The deeper water, at the entrance, is closer to the boats/tiki huts – so we passed only a couple of feet in front of a bunch of powerboats with Colombian girls dancing on the bows. Though the party wasn’t for us, I couldn’t have asked for a better welcoming committee.
I wasn’t ready to get into full-blown party mode quite yet. So we anchored a mile or so into the bay, but we could still hear girls screaming and music blaring. We had a couple of beers and practiced different ways to jump off the boat. Mani (my Colombian buddy) presented me with a great bottle of Colombian rum, to say thanks for me helping him in the Rosarios – and letting him and the girls jump onboard for the weekend. He teared up a little, then we killed the bottle.
The next morning we saw Kenny’s Formosa (Makai) sail into the bay. He pulled up alongside NOMAD and we had a quick chat as we drank our coffee – me reclining on the back deck of NOMAD, him steering Makai. Then he moved on, anchoring even further from the craziness. Later in the day, we headed over to the party – there we made a few friends and learned how quickly the Colombian guys migrate to blonde girls in bikinis. The girls handled it well, but if I were female – I’d dye my hair a different color rather than put up with the harassment. A couple of times Mani and I had to, politely and with smiles, step in.
Back onboard we continued our own small party until the wee hours of the morning. We all crashed heavily and slept well – a day full of rum in the sun will do that to you. The next day we woke up very early and moved NOMAD into the middle of what would be a giant, rum-fueled, mess of boats and bikinis. We were the first ones there, dropped anchor, dove the anchor, and then proceeded to start our breakfast.
By 9AM things were picking up. The Colombian powerboats were moving in, all working very hard to play music louder than the others. We just sat on my back deck and watched it happen. By noon things were getting a little nuts, and I had vowed to not have a sip of alcohol before 2PM. I knew the folly of starting early when you’re in the middle of a party like this. So Kenny and I escaped – we went to look for a converted Bertram 31 (converted from inboards to outboards). We both love the Bertram hulls, and we both love when they’ve been converted to outboards – they’re fast, stable, and efficient… We didn’t find the boat.
When I got back onboard NOMAD it was near lunch. We ate a bite, and then shortly the party really started. We put our music into the mix and soon everyone was dancing with a beer in hand. Boats kept piling in. All day and all night we partied. We were invited on other people’s boats, we made friends, we swam, we danced, and we made a Hell of a day of it. A bunch of fun, with a bunch of people, who know how to party.
The next day was a little rough. The party had wound down, the only evidence of it was scattered around NOMAD in the form of beer cans, glasses, and sunscreen stains on the decks. But the real kicker is that I’d become horribly ill. Some kind of stomach bug had me and it wasn’t fun. Mani was leaving with the Swedes, and it was all I could do to come upstairs and see them off. My whole body hurt, and I couldn’t keep anything down. Add to that a fever and a hangover the like of which most have never seen… I was hurting.
I spent the day curled up below decks sweating and shivering and trying to keep (at least) water down. Toward the end of the day I gave up and took a couple of drugs – which helped me keep food down and reduced my fever and aches. Of course, that’s when Lauren got sick. This continued for two days. We just laid around and sweated and complained and occasionally we’d hear the other crawl out from their respective cave, grab some water, and head back down. We were a pretty miserable crew, but we managed to move NOMAD out of the center of the party into a more tranquil area of Cholon Bay.
I came to the conclusion that this sickness was some sort of party-karma. Something to punish us for having a better time than everyone else in the world that day. I’m still not feeling 100%, so I can’t say “it was worth it” – but I can say that we had a great time, and it was well deserved.
Now, though, it’s back to reality and boatwork. Let’s see how that feels.