It’s rarely enough time. In anything. Well, anything good I suppose. Dan was leaving and it felt like too soon. We were headed back to CTG, and I wanted another week in San Bernardos. We all did. But the boring stuff we’ve named “real-life” was calling, and unfortunately we had to take the call. I have a permanent “Out Of Office” voicemail, but not everyone is on the same wavelength. Alas.
The way back to Cartagena from San Bernardos is against the wind and waves. There’s also a daily/nightly wind pattern in San Bernardos (and a very similar one in CTG) this time of year. The wind typically begins picking up mid afternoon, and typically from the North. It can climb from 8-10 knots to 20 or more until later in the evening – usually peaking around 10 or 11PM. At that point it begins to slow down again, and (usually) by midnight or 1AM it’s back to almost nothing. Motoring against 20 knots of wind isn’t something I planned on doing – so we picked up our anchor in San Bernardos about midnight.
With the anchor up, I dropped back offshore and made a very conservative curve around the barrier reef to open water. Once out of the lee of the islands – we took a 5 foot sea on the nose, with about 5 knots of wind. The wind was dying, but it had already worked the seas up a bit. With both engines on, and not a shred of sail up – we were motoring about 5 knots. 50 miles is a long way at 5 knots…
Lauren and Dan crashed – I was solo again on the Caribe, in the middle of the night – just my electronics casting a dim glow in the cockpit and only the rumbling of the diesels to occasionally drown out the sound of the waves breaking over the bow. NOMAD settled into a rhythm, and before I knew it – we were back in the Southern portion of the Rosarios.
Anytime I have to sail (or motor) through an island chain or reef at night – it increases the pucker-factor. The SOP is to slow down to a crawl, and pretend like my life depends on following the previous GPS track (if I didn’t have a previous track, I wouldn’t do it) – all while paying very close attention to the sounds of the ocean. You can usually hear a reef break before you can see it at night, unless there’s a full moon.
So we crawled through the Rosarios.
Once we got back into open water, the wind moved to a more favorable angle. I raised the main, let out the genoa, and turned off one engine – all without stepping on, or waking Dan.
The sky started to turn pink, then orange, and then it was dawn and Dan started stirring. He took the wheel while I napped, and an hour later I woke up to guide us into the bay in CTG.
I really do love this city. But the itch gets stronger everyday. The feel of miles vanishing beneath the keels of NOMAD is one that I almost don’t remember. Still, there’s much work to be done. There are systems to install, engines to repaint, things to fix, and things to improve. And here I know the right people to help with the various projects – so it’s far more efficient to do most of that work here.
So coming back to CTG is bittersweet.
We arrived, squeezed into the anchorage, and shut everything down. I was beaten – a full day of diving followed by a full night of navigating took it out of me. So I told Dan and Lauren they were welcome to use the dingy, but that I needed sleep. I went below, Dan and Lauren went to explore Cartagena again. Dan’s got a sense of humor, so you should Google that hotel in the last picture.
And then it was evening, I was awake, and Dan and Lauren and I ate dinner and had drinks and talked. Dan left mid morning the next day and then my life returned to being governed by boat-projects.